1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Avalon Waterways
  4. Avalon Waterways Cruise Reviews
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
This cruise had a great variety of large cities and small towns and 4 countries to visit. The High speed train ride to Paris was what clinched it for me. The cruise went like clockwork. Avalon took care of everything. Our cruise director ... Read More
This cruise had a great variety of large cities and small towns and 4 countries to visit. The High speed train ride to Paris was what clinched it for me. The cruise went like clockwork. Avalon took care of everything. Our cruise director Mark was superb. He was extremely thorough, smart, and had great sense of humor. He is also fluent in 6 different languages. The crew was mostly young. They all worked very hard and we enjoyed getting to know them a little bit. The ship was "just right" in size and scale. We had 85 passengers and 40 crew. This created a very intimate and comfortable environment. The total opposite of the monster cruise ships with 3,000+ passengers on board. The excursions were well thought out and went like clockwork. We would highly recommend Avalon to anyone that asks me for a cruise line. A river cruise is definitely the way to see Europe. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
After numerous ocean cruises, we decided it was time to try a European river cruise and friends suggested Avalon. Choose the Blue Danube Budapest-Prague itinerary for mid-Oct based on the sites, included pre and post-cruise hotels, the ... Read More
After numerous ocean cruises, we decided it was time to try a European river cruise and friends suggested Avalon. Choose the Blue Danube Budapest-Prague itinerary for mid-Oct based on the sites, included pre and post-cruise hotels, the price of a Royal Suite and hopes for fall colors. Overall, we were delighted with the stay in Budapest and Prague, the included city tours and the awesome fall colors along the Danube. Biggest disappointments included the lack of any on-board amenities for a suite, mediocre food and entertainment, an egotistical Cruise Director, poor communications and policies before and during the cruise. Specifics include poor excursion policies, pricing where excursions booked on-line cannot be changed beyond four days prior to the cruise. After listening to the Cruise Director's on board review I met with him to request changes including canceling and adding some. While able to add excursions, he immediately disclaimed any association with pre-booked excursions and would not cancel. Find this very disappointing, frustrating so warn others not to book pre-cruise as there were always plenty, but pricey, openings. Also, unlike suites on ocean cruises, we did not have any on-board amenities. In fact, while we could get only a continental breakfast delivered they charged $2 pp! With 137 passengers we only saw the officers at the first and last cocktail receptions! Overall, think ocean cruises on small ships offers much more than river boats! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We love Avalon Waterways, have had great experiences with their ships! Embarking and disembarking smooth as can be, love the way you can place your suitcase at end of cruise for early morning pickup and not midnight like big ships! 2 ... Read More
We love Avalon Waterways, have had great experiences with their ships! Embarking and disembarking smooth as can be, love the way you can place your suitcase at end of cruise for early morning pickup and not midnight like big ships! 2 nights in Prague before boarding the ship was a good start. Cabins have plenty of room, love the full glass sliding doors with bed facing the doors. Dining room beautiful with terrific service, flowing wine, and many food choices at all meals! Great room with coffee/snacks available at back of ship all day. The staff and cruise director Tony on our cruise were exceptional! All ports and shore excursions were so well planned, afternoons at leisure to go off on your own, easy access on and off boat. If thinking about river cruising, don't wait any longer!! We really loved our trip and will definitely sail again with Avalon! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this river cruise because we wanted a more personal experience, and to be on a smaller boat than a cruise ship. We had a feeling we would like this more than prior cruises we went on before, but didn't expect to love most ... Read More
We chose this river cruise because we wanted a more personal experience, and to be on a smaller boat than a cruise ship. We had a feeling we would like this more than prior cruises we went on before, but didn't expect to love most things about it as much as we did. The food was exceptional, with many offerings that covered everything from fresh and healthy, to rich and satisfying. Always very fresh and well prepared. The wines were very nice and of a wide variety. It was nice to taste different wines from different regions every night. The inclusive details made this a no -brainer for us. The excursions were all well thought out, and with very hospitable and knowledgeable guides. The travel to and fro to the different off site excursions were comfortable, and the drivers were very professional. The service was top tier as well. The smiling faces greeted us daily and consistently had very positive attitudes and pleasant conversation. Everyone who we encountered on the boat spoke very good English! It (their English) was very good! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We had a wonderful experience on Poetry II. The intercontinental hotel in Nice was fabulous. We were right on the The Mediterranean and had a lovely time befor we got on the ship. We also stayed in the Intercontinental in Paris and ... Read More
We had a wonderful experience on Poetry II. The intercontinental hotel in Nice was fabulous. We were right on the The Mediterranean and had a lovely time befor we got on the ship. We also stayed in the Intercontinental in Paris and that was equally as nice and in a wonderful location. Once on the ship the room food was excellent, the staff outstanding and the excursions were informative and enjoyable. We went with great friends and made some new friends that we really enjoyed and hope to see again. The cocktail hour was very popular for us as we got together with friends and discussed the day. We enjoyed the entertainment that was provided and took part in all that was offered to us. The staff was extremely helpful and always available for questions. We appreciated the meeting helps almost every nigh keeping us on target for what was expected of us. This was our second Avalon Cruise and we would do it again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Went on Avalon cruise a few years ago and the river was “closed”. We were very disappointed. We were not sure we wanted to try this again. Avalon kindly refunded part of our trip cost. We wanted to try again and give Avalon another ... Read More
Went on Avalon cruise a few years ago and the river was “closed”. We were very disappointed. We were not sure we wanted to try this again. Avalon kindly refunded part of our trip cost. We wanted to try again and give Avalon another chance. So glad we did. We started in Basel and ended the cruise in Amsterdam. Boarding was very prompt and staff could not have been more helpful. Our room was spacious. Food was DELICIOUS. My husband had a birthday while on the cruise and he had a birthday cake with candles presented to him after dinner. Cruise director was very helpful and a lot of fun. We are grateful we met several couples from other countries during our week and had the best time comparing country habits and happenings. The only complaint I would have is the early starts every day. We are not late sleepers but a week of getting up early and eating breakfast before 8:30 am got a little tiring. Have been looking at taking a France trip in the future. Thank you Avalon. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We looked at a few cruises and the Avalon cruise fit our timetable the best. Also the cabins were a little larger which is nice for 2 friends traveling. It was nice to have the panoramic window. I would highly recommend that feature. ... Read More
We looked at a few cruises and the Avalon cruise fit our timetable the best. Also the cabins were a little larger which is nice for 2 friends traveling. It was nice to have the panoramic window. I would highly recommend that feature. Really made waking up in the morning pleasant. The scenery as we floated down the river was amazing. Very much appreciated the size of the ship versus the huge cruise ships. Much more intimate and we especially appreciated getting to know a lot of our fellow travelers. Good selection of ports to explore. We mostly did the walking tours included but also did a number of extra excursions. Appreciated that the cost of the extra excursions were affordable and worth the price. Good variety of places to see and explore. Was also impressed that a number of the activities included lunch. Lunch is probably not a good word. Unbelievable how much(delicious) food was included. Of course we did a lot of walking so figured that for every bite we were burning calories. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We had never done a river cruise. So we arrived with a little trepidation. Left with love. Food,crew, boat, was perfect. Other passengers were fine, mostly from the US. We fell in with a couple from Canada and another couple from Aussie ... Read More
We had never done a river cruise. So we arrived with a little trepidation. Left with love. Food,crew, boat, was perfect. Other passengers were fine, mostly from the US. We fell in with a couple from Canada and another couple from Aussie land and a group from the US, don't think we've laughed that much for years I'd include the crew in that. Cabins were as good as any hotel we've stayed in around the world, not huge, but then we spent most of our time either on trips or in the public lounge, on the sun deck or in the spar, we had a great bed and beautiful bathroom. I'm a fussy sleeper, a feather pillow I asked, "no problem said reception" We had been on a sea cruise in 2016, it was fine! But we are now river cruisers. The Captain and crew were friendly and very hard working. My advice to anyone reading this review is, ignore reviews that complain about food or their cabins or the crew. My wife and I spend a lot of the year traveling and if you think this review is over the top and sycophantic, please see other reviews on TripAdvisor under my Whinchmore hill reviews. For me the highlight of the trip was the excursion to the Normandy beach's, while my wife loved the visit to the Chateau of (Not to night) Josephine and Napoleon. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2017
This was our first river cruise after completing over 20 ocean cruises in the past few years and we would do another in a heart beat. We were concerned that the smaller vessel would be too confined after the space and entertainment ... Read More
This was our first river cruise after completing over 20 ocean cruises in the past few years and we would do another in a heart beat. We were concerned that the smaller vessel would be too confined after the space and entertainment facilities on the larger cruise ships but we were not disappointed. The cabins were very well appointed with facilities beyond our expectations and the the public rooms were large enough to hold all the ships guests at one sitting. The food on board was excellent and it was very pleasing to see the Chef and his assistants returning daily from the local markets with fresh produce and supplies for our enjoyment. The shore excursions were very professionally handled...departing and arriving back at the ship on time which meant everyone had time to relax before the next activity started. As expected due to space limitations the entertainment was scaled down compared to the large cruise ships however there was music recitals, dancing and lectures to keep everyone entertained. No complaints means a satisfying relaxing holiday and that's what we got from Analon. Thoroughly recommended. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We are UK residents and live about 30 miles from London. We wanted a 7-day cruise with not too far to travel, so went for 7-days Paris to Normandy & return to Paris. Used Avalon last year on the Rhine and it was great. We ... Read More
We are UK residents and live about 30 miles from London. We wanted a 7-day cruise with not too far to travel, so went for 7-days Paris to Normandy & return to Paris. Used Avalon last year on the Rhine and it was great. We travelled by air then, not our favourite these days but it was good from Heathrow to Zurich and return. This year we opted for Eurostar as our only previous experience, a short break to Lille, was good. This time it was a disaster, we missed our train by 2 minutes, as the security/passport control queue was massive. (Sat. morning). This cost us an extra £190 to get on a train 4 hours later, in separate seats, that was the only option. Return journey was terrible, we were dropped off at a side entrance and had a massively long walk to get to the Eurostar Terminal. The economy seats were tired and uncomfortable. At the end of the journey we had a massive walk to find our pick-up driver and then another huge walk to the car park. So our advice is unless you are young and fit, avoid Eurostar. The Avalon River Cruise part was very good, service, food accommodation etc. first class. Avalon include tips as well for UK customers and offer beer, wine & soft drinks at lunch and dinner included. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2017
We had a nine year old and could not find a lot of cruise lines that allowed children. She had an excellent time and really enjoyed all the attention. Excellent food, great excursions and the service was exceptional. Next cruise ... Read More
We had a nine year old and could not find a lot of cruise lines that allowed children. She had an excellent time and really enjoyed all the attention. Excellent food, great excursions and the service was exceptional. Next cruise would be from Amsterdam to Budapest and definitely on Avalon. I love the smaller ship and special attention afforded all guest. This was our first river cruise and I found it much above an ocean cruise. I never realized that on an ocean cruise you spend so much of your time viewing water. On a river cruise you spend most of your day time exploring sites that have a lot of history and different culture. In the evening it is very relaxing to sit on top and watch the float up or down the river seeing the sites of river life. The next morning you are at a new port with all new experiences for that day. Very rewarding to a history buff. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
One of my friends and I have been talking about taking a river cruise for years. Let's face it - those Viking commercials are very inviting. Now that my three kids are grown, in the spring of 2016 we decided now was the time to start ... Read More
One of my friends and I have been talking about taking a river cruise for years. Let's face it - those Viking commercials are very inviting. Now that my three kids are grown, in the spring of 2016 we decided now was the time to start planning. I first sent for brochures from several river cruise companies to compare intineraries etc. My friend and I have both travelled to Europe previously and wanted to go someplace new so we chose to take a Danube river cruise. I then met with a local travel agent who specificalizes in river cruises. She steered me away from Viking and helped me narrow our choices to AMA or Avalon. When she quoted out the price it was much higher than we had anticipated so we chose to watch and wait. By the fall of 2016 Avalon came out with a great sale - $1000 off per person + free air. That seemed too good to be true. I called the travel agent and we were booked within a few days! We ended up choosing this itinerary since it was short and we did not know if we would like river cruising. About a week after we booked my 27 year old daughter decided she wanted to go with us. She was able to get the single supplement waived and she booked as well. She could not get the single supplement waiver and free air but she was able to book on the same flights we were on so we could fly together. We all absolutely loved this cruise!! Everything about it was wonderful. It was a nice mix of small towns and big cities. We added a few days to the end of cruise and took the train to Budapest. We wished we had chosen a longer intinerary that included Budapest so we could stay on the ship. The ship: Our ship was the Avalon Passion. This was a new ship in 2016 and it was beautiful. Everything was sparkling clean and very tastefully decorated. The ship was actually much longer than I had anticipated. The rooms were spacious and that wall of windows was in the room was just awesome. We loved waking up in the morning and looking out at the river going by. The lounges, sky deck and dining room were equally beautiful. The age of passengers: Our sailing had a mix of American, Canadian, British, Australians, New Zealanders, one mom/daughter from India and two young ladies from Korea. I had expected mostly retirement age passangers but that was not the case at all. There was a real mix of 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s on up. I am in my early 50s and I felt like one of the older people on the cruise. There were quite a few mother/daughter pairs and several groups of younger women traveling together. We had a wonderful time chatting with everyone and hearing about everyone's travel experiences. Crew: I cannot say enough about how attentive and friendly the crew was. They went above and beyond on a daily basis. Our cruise director was Andrej (sp?). He was awesome. He was a kind person with a quirky sense of humor. His nightly port talks were always informative and entertaining at the same time. We added three days at the end of cruise and travelled on our own to Budapest. He gave us a Budapest map and recommended some sights and restaturants for us to see during our time there. So nice of him! Our server at dinner was Liza from the Phillipines. We sat in her section most meals since she was so nice and friendly. She got to know what we liked and we looked forward to seeing her at every meal. Valentin was the person who cleaned our room daily. He always had a smile on his face and left us a wonderful towel animal on our last day. Food: My friend and my daughter are both vegetarians and I am a "meat and potatoes" kind of person so it is not easy to find meals we all like. Avalon started their Avalon Fresh menu offerings in 2017 offereing enhanced menu options for vegetarians which sounded like a good fit for our group. Each one of us ended up loving the food!! It was so nice to have a floating restaurant with awesome food each day instead of searching around for a restaurant in each city. Breakfast and lunch were buffet with loads of choices. We loved the Belgian waffles and made to order omelets at breakfast. We loved all the desserts too. Dinner had several choices and none of us had any problem finding something we liked. We tried different wines each night and Liza just kept filling our glasses. In addition to the meals every day about 4pm was cake time with several different cakes to try. And...on the third floor was a lounge with cookies and cakes all day long. I have to admit - we visited the "cookie room" on more than one night about 11pm. Entertainment: We came on this cruise to sightsee at the various cities and were not expecing much in the way of entertainment. We did end up taking part in some of the nightly entertainment and it was really nice. Every night there was a piano player playing which was nice if you wanted to grab a drink or dance a little. One night there was a wine tasting demonstration which was perfect since we were sailing through the Wachau Valley past numerous vineyards. One night we had a singer/guitar player who played a mix of country and oldies. He was quite good and the dance floor was full for most of the night. The Australians were a bit rowdier than the rest of us and frankly made it so much more fun. I cannot think of anything I would change from this cruise. I can't wait to take another Avalon cruise. I am hooked! Read Less
71 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We just got back from a wonderful trip on the Siem Reap Riverboat from Siem Reap to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) in February, 2017. There weren’t many reviews of this boat and I had so many unanswered questions prior to leaving that I ... Read More
We just got back from a wonderful trip on the Siem Reap Riverboat from Siem Reap to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) in February, 2017. There weren’t many reviews of this boat and I had so many unanswered questions prior to leaving that I really wanted to help others thinking about taking this trip. This review is long, but I have broken it down into sections so you can skip to what interests you. First, it’s important to note that my husband and I have primarily gone on ocean cruises. We did take a short Riverboat cruise on the Yangtze though. Generally, this trip was very interesting and enlightening. The quality of the facilities and excursions were excellent and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in visiting this area. I think that seeing the two countries from the vantage of the Mekong River was a great way to tie the trip together. It was an unforgettable journey! Passenger Composition: We were 31 people on the tour; mostly Americans, with around 6 Canadians, 3 from New Zealand, and 1 German (although 1 Canadian and 1 Kiwi were originally from Germany). Three of the men were former service men who served in Vietnam during the war. Most of the people were over 55, however, there was one younger couple. It was a very cohesive group. Avalon likes to think of their passengers, as it is a small ship, as a “family” and, in fact, it does start to feel that way. Tour Guides: We had a wonderful Avalon Guide/Manager the entire trip. Ho Huu Phiem is an incredibly organized, professional, knowledgeable and genuinely caring person who goes out of his way to make sure that everyone’s needs are addressed. He notices everything. This is so important and is one of the reasons the trip was so fantastic. Phiem is the Avalon representative on only the South-bound journeys. There is always another guide with the group as well, who is a specialist in the country you are visiting. Those guides were good, not great. The Riverboat: General: The Siem Reap is a small and well maintained boat. The Staterooms are all the same, the only difference is the floor you are on. We had #108 on the first floor. The layout of the room is beautiful. The bed faces floor to ceiling windows which open completely, you really feel like your whole room is a balcony. The linens are lovely, the bathroom is fairly large and there is plenty of storage. The boat is very clean and in fact, after walking around along the river (shore excursions), the crew takes your shoes and cleans them before you can enter the ship. The public spaces are very nice to gather in and there is room to sit on your own or gather and visit with new friends, both inside and outside. Crew: The Siem Reap has an incredibly wonderful crew who go out of their way to please everyone. If they don’t understand your request, they ask Phiem to help them, because they really want to do a good job. Food: With a mixture of both local and western choices for all meals, it would work for the most finicky or adventurous eater. I have a very touchy stomach and the chief would make special bland food for me. My husband, who has an iron gut always asked for a bowl of chilies to add to his food! We also had a Vegan and a Vegetarian; there were always choices that looked delicious for them as well. There were lovely baked goods and the tropical fruit choices were fantastic. Internet: I was really concerned prior to the cruise that I wouldn’t be able to access the internet. I know it’s a vacation, but there was an issue at home I needed to keep abreast of so I was worried prior to the cruise after reading Avalon’s information that said it was spotty and they may not have access. However, every day I was able to access the internet. Sometimes it wasn’t as fast as others, but I could get an email every day. The internet was generally available only in the lounges; however, those with Staterooms adjacent the lounge may have access. We were below and adjacent the lounge and most days I could access the internet from the Stateroom. Itinerary: I really enjoyed this itinerary. Because of the heat and humidity, Avalon generally had two – three hour tours; one early in the morning, then a break and another tour of the same duration in the afternoon. Having a break to rest and refresh was well thought out. The first two days of the trip were in Siem Reap with tours of several temple complexes. What an incredible site! I do think if you can arrive a day early than the official start date of the tour and sign up with an independent guide to see Angkor Wat at sunrise is well worth the extra time. The Avalon Tour goes after sunrise and I am glad I went to see that wonderful view of the temple at sunrise! The excursions on the Riverboat were fantastic. We went to different villages, on all different modes of transportation. We had an opportunity to engage with some of the people in the villages both planned by Avalon and spontaneous. One important note is that since Avalon is a small ship with only two stories, it can go down portions of the River that the larger ships like Viking and Ama Waterways can’t access. Therefore, there weren’t other ships visiting the villages we visited. Some of the excursions were difficult and made your heart ache for what man has done to man, but at the same time, you get a real flavor of the strength and endurance of the people. It was an experience that I am so glad to have had. Since it was very hot and humid, Avalon made sure that everyone had plenty of water and encouraged everyone to stay hydrated. Additionally, they frequently handed wet towels to refresh us. Dress: It was really all over the map. Some people were casual the entire time. Others dressed a little nicer for dinner. Really, you could do as you pleased. Laundry was available for a fee in the hotels and on the ship. It should be noted that it wasn’t inexpensive. For example, on the boat it was $1.50 to wash a T-shirt or ladies panties. Land Accommodations: Both hotels selected by Avalon were of very high caliber and were centrally located. Flight Arrangements: We arranged our own flights as when we compared prices with Avalon, we could do it for less money and the schedule we wanted. We did arrive a day and half earlier than the trip officially began. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
This was our 4th experience with Avalon river cruises and each one has been a wonderful experience. This ship was beautifully designed and decorated. Particularly memorable highlights were… · the sunrise and balloons ... Read More
This was our 4th experience with Avalon river cruises and each one has been a wonderful experience. This ship was beautifully designed and decorated. Particularly memorable highlights were… · the sunrise and balloons over the temples at Bagan...magical! · The sunset over the teak footbridge we viewed from sampans . · The children in the Monastery school doing the Hokey Pokey with a guy couple from our group. · The fire pit and local dance troupe on the sandbar at night. · The spectacular Buddhas and temples. · emotional experience with the founding Nun at the Nunnery. · The pass through the 2nd defile. · Sai entertaining and serving us great drinks on the ship We feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to experience this amazing culture with informed tour guides and service oriented crew. While all the crew were so professional and helpful, we particularly want to acknowledge Mark and Dorothy Bauk. Mark kept the whole trip on track and was always willing to share a story and take care of our every need. He is an excellent communicator with a great sense of humor, incredibly competent, and a very likeable person. Dorothy is just a real sweetheart and a genuinely caring person….we so enjoyed our time with her on the trip. She is extremely intelligent, well organized, and has an incredible knowledge of the history and present state of the country. After we left the cruise and were spending our last couple days in Yangon, she went "above and beyond" by arranging for me to have a tailor made longyi and blouse, taking several of us jewelry shopping, and taking us out for dinner at an incredible restaurant on the lake. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2016
Right time / rather new cruise ship / Love the cruise director, loved the crew always happy, friendly and willing to do whatever to make the trip an experience!! The food portions were very good, not too large and plenty to eat. Sometimes ... Read More
Right time / rather new cruise ship / Love the cruise director, loved the crew always happy, friendly and willing to do whatever to make the trip an experience!! The food portions were very good, not too large and plenty to eat. Sometimes the food was locally focused and it gave you the opportunity to try something different and other options if you chose not to try something different. The nightly entertainment was good, but repetitive with the same music night after night. We did however have some different entertainers come on the ship 2-4 times during the trip. The weather was cold & gloomy but what do you expect for December in Europe. Wish we could of stayed longer in each village, city we toured just so much to take in. As a first timer river cruiser we will be back, probably in warmer weather to experience instead of freezing. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Three years ago we took an Avalon cruise on the Rhine River and loved the experience. We decided to take the Christmas Market cruise on the Danube to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We were not disappointed. Avalon does everything so ... Read More
Three years ago we took an Avalon cruise on the Rhine River and loved the experience. We decided to take the Christmas Market cruise on the Danube to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We were not disappointed. Avalon does everything so very well. The ship was wonderful and beautifully decorated for Christmas. St. Nicholas even left us sweet treats on his feast day, December 6th. Speaking of sweet treats, we loved the traditional ginger cookies always available to enjoy. I am a cookie baker and the Executive Chef helped me with the recipe to bake at home. The staff, crew and Robert our cruise director were all exceptional. The Captain was very approachable and spent time answering passenger questions. I was fascinated by all the locks we traveled through and enjoyed the presentation on the topic. The ports were all special and unique. The food for was delicious. Evening entertainment was very enjoyable. We enjoyed the wine and beer tastings. We had perfect shore excursions and plenty of time to visit the Christmas markets. We met many nice people and will always treasure the memories made on this very special cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We wanted to tour Europe without transportation hassles, This was our first river cruise after attending several ocean cruises. The cruise director was charming and excellent at explaining all options available to us. All of the service ... Read More
We wanted to tour Europe without transportation hassles, This was our first river cruise after attending several ocean cruises. The cruise director was charming and excellent at explaining all options available to us. All of the service personnel were pleasant and professional. They remembered our names and cabin number which indicated to us how much they enjoyed their jobs. The talent night that they presented was great and very entertaining. The cabin felt more like a hotel than a cruise ship. The food and service was excellent and the small size of passengers made it easy to get to know new people during the week long vacation. We liked the variety of going to several different cities along the Rhine and the view of the castles from the deck along with the panoramic windows within the cabin was very unique and appealing. In the future we look forward to attending similar cruises in other parts of Europe. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We had heard that river cruises were excellent. Love the smaller atmosphere and personal service. The embarkation and disembarkation were extremely easy, well planned and executed. Our cabin was beautiful and well maintained. We were ... Read More
We had heard that river cruises were excellent. Love the smaller atmosphere and personal service. The embarkation and disembarkation were extremely easy, well planned and executed. Our cabin was beautiful and well maintained. We were very pleased with the beautiful accomodations and views from our room. The dining experience was exceptional each and every meal. We would definitely return and highly recommend this experience to our friends. I loved the relaxed atmosphere and personal relationship we acquired with the staff and cruise director as well as the chef and serving staff. My husband has extreme shellfish allergies and the chef and head waiter personally sat down with my husband on the first day to review his allergies. Then each meal the head waiter or the chef would go over each menu to help my husband avoid any foods that might cause him concern. I found this to be exceptional service. Our shore excursions that were included with the cruise were very interesting and far exceeded my expectations. The tour guides were extremely knowlegable and friendly. We took one added tour, Paris by Night, which I found we could have skipped as it was a bit expensive and short. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We had serious limitations as to the dates and the amount of time for traveling this year; we have always been intrigued by some of the former communist countries with a great past and their way back to democracy. While we were told that ... Read More
We had serious limitations as to the dates and the amount of time for traveling this year; we have always been intrigued by some of the former communist countries with a great past and their way back to democracy. While we were told that this trip went to places that were not that interesting, we found that, on the contrary, they were very different from other places and enjoyable in their own way. The cruise might not be at par with some of our previous cruises that went to Praga, Budapest, Amsterdam, etc., but the ship made for it. Brand new, the cabins were bigger and more comfortable that all the others in Avalon and Viking. There were 2 dinners that were spectacular with 5 course meals; all the others were very good. Tours were interesting and the price unbeatable. Highly recommended. The only negative was the lack of entertainment at night. Even the hiring of local artist in the different ports or a good DJ would had made a difference Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
~ Avalon Illumination 2016 ~ Dear friends I hope to entertain you with this rhyming illustration Of our experience on board the good ship Avalon ‘Illumination’ We’d often talked about it but we had never cruised before ... Read More
~ Avalon Illumination 2016 ~ Dear friends I hope to entertain you with this rhyming illustration Of our experience on board the good ship Avalon ‘Illumination’ We’d often talked about it but we had never cruised before So in all our worldly travels we’d stayed firmly on the shore Unpacking just the once was something that really did appeal With destinations brought to us, and free wine at every meal! The downside might be the seniors who this way often choose to roam Which meant we might be boarding a sort of floating old folks home! The ship and our cabin was perfect, fitted out like a 5 star hotel When we cast off and sailed bidding Amsterdam farewell I could barely feel any movement such was the smoothness of the motion That’s because it’s a river, I’m sure it’s not like that on the ocean The restaurant and food was like a gourmet dining experience A printed new menu every night, of quality there was no variance The waiters got to know us and they knew best not to pass Our table before they’d brought the wine and re-filled up my glass We’re Brits but from across the globe we saw other guests had come Americans, Canadians, Aussies, Kiwis and there was also one Odd couple there from Turkey, with a blonde who never did a thing Except follow her friend around as if she was tied to her apron string Most often folks forget their cares when they go away on ships But there was a world event taking place that was on everybody’s lips I’m sure you’ll always remember where you were when you heard the news That Trump became U.S. President when you were on that cruise! The first night we went down to eat we sat there quite at random Bob was to my left and we were quickly both in tandem Since our musical tastes were pretty much exactly corresponding As we talked yet more and the wine did flow we were obviously bonding He had a Fender Strat at home that he’d not yet learned to play When he told me he was left-handed I said “what really man? no way! Because I’m left-handed too and I’ve got my guitar on board We can make a start with mine and I’ll show you how to strum a chord!” So that’s exactly what we did and I got his fingers moving And though we didn’t have much time I could see he was improving It’s definite that Bob became my buddy on that cruise The more we talked, the more we found we were similar in our views One night we skipped a concert that we both thought would be boring Like kids playing hooky out of school we both went off exploring We found the only bar around and bought ourselves some beer We drunk with friendly locals and left with handshakes and great cheer. I knew that I could pass the time because I love to play guitar But I never dreamed I’d end up doing real gigs in the bar! Delyan the ship’s piano man, was also a very fine musician We found that we could play as a duo and give a joint rendition They seemed to like what I was doing since most nights I did play In the club lounge at the rear of the ship as we went on our way We’d get some beers to drink back there and soon I would be strumming I’d take requests and play the songs to get everybody humming This trip we were told was being billed as a ‘Musical Themed Cruise’ But this was mainly classical music and not rock ‘n’ roll or blues But nevertheless I must confess they put some great musicians on And I even played harmonica on one bluesy type of song. Great acquaintances we did make with all those people that we met Bob, Betty, Chris, Jane, both Ron’s, Mary, Harriet Email addresses were exchanged with intent to try and keep in touch Looking back on it now I can hardly believe we ate and drank so much! So now the time has come to bring my little rhyme to an end We had the most fantastic trip and made some lovely friends Arrivederci, Bon Voyage, Ciao, Farewell and Adieu To those marvellous people that passed through our lives, We’ll fondly remember you Now to the Illumination’s, Captain, and all of your ship’s crew You delivered the experience and made our cruising dreams come true You were a credit to your company of that we can attest With the Avalon style and service we were thoroughly impressed So next time we go on a river cruise our loyalty will remain With the Avalon operation, since nothing else would be the same And for anyone planning such a trip we would heartily suggest That Avalon Waterways will do you proud, They simply were the best! C. Evans ~ 13th Nov 2016 Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Overall the river cruise was very good, it was just misleading in selling to us that all cabins are balcony, when in fact the level one was not. The several ports visited was more than what I expected. There was race discrimination ... Read More
Overall the river cruise was very good, it was just misleading in selling to us that all cabins are balcony, when in fact the level one was not. The several ports visited was more than what I expected. There was race discrimination on service especially the head of the dining or banquet including a female server. People were already seated and having their wine and were asked to leave and transfer to another table because this favored race came in. The hotel in Prague on their breakfast servers were also very rude. These people in hospitality industry should know how to treat with people of various colors of their skin!! The food was good and with just right serving amount, not too much and overwhelming. The cabin was clean all the time. The embarkation and disembarkation process were smooth. Being the first river cruise and comparing it to the regular cruises that we have experienced, it has its pluses and minuses. The broader tours are the big plus. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We wanted to see the Normandy Beaches. That was a high point but all the stops along the Seine had their own appeal. Actually, travelling along the Seine during the day was a relaxing experience. I did some exercises on the top deck as ... Read More
We wanted to see the Normandy Beaches. That was a high point but all the stops along the Seine had their own appeal. Actually, travelling along the Seine during the day was a relaxing experience. I did some exercises on the top deck as the boat moved along. We enjoyed climbing to Richard's fortress in little LesAndelys. Rouen was fabulous. We had an entire day there. Honfleur was delightful. One Sunday we decided not to go on an excursion and walked the little town of Conflans, which was having its local market. I find that doing something very ordinary, like visiting a street market or goong to a "pharmacie" and interacting, makes me feel much closer to a place and immediately illustrates the differences in such a positive way. All the local guides were excellent, especially Clarice, who took us through Versailles and thr Ile de la Cite. We had been there before but without such entertaining narrative. The crew was excellent. The bar crew was friendly. I found that the crew remembered you day to day in a way I had not experienced on precious cruises. They would make conversation and joke around but never in a way that was too casual. The seminars that were held when the boat sailed during the day were quite good. One seminar highlighted pastry making with a local chef. I finally learned how to use a pastry bag corrctly. The D-Day scholar was exceptional. He was a well-known British scholar. My husband attended a wine seminar. He is quite knowledgeable but said he learned a few things. One nice touch that I don't remeber from previous cruises was the free afternoon tea and cakes. It's a nice way to wind down before dinner and before th happy hour. The food was fabulous. The logistics of embarkation and disembarkation, as well as the day-to-day excursion travel were smooth. Our cruise diector was responsible for this. She held a daily meeting and was very clear about when and where. I think that was key. One other improvement from previous cruises was the new hotel. It seems every tour of any kind used that same huge hotel near the Arc de Triomphe. This time we were in the Montparnasse Pullman. We almost got off to a bad start because another perrson on a different tour at a different hotel took my husband's bag by mistake at the airport. Fortunately, his cell phone number was on the outside. It was the Pullman concierge who got the bag back to us that day. As it happenned, even the passengers were just the right mix and friendly. As always the Canadians were their wonderful selves. That is one thing I like about Avalon cruises. There is a mix of English-speaking travelers that gives you a nice international flavor but everyone speaks English. We would go again in a heartbeat. I am hoping to see a Portugal trip and a Garonne River trip, which were hinted at in one of the Avalon surveys. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
What a wonderful experience for our first cruise. We were celebrating our wedding anniversary and retirement. Everything was simply perfect from the day we first stepped on the boat to our day of departure. The room was superb. The ... Read More
What a wonderful experience for our first cruise. We were celebrating our wedding anniversary and retirement. Everything was simply perfect from the day we first stepped on the boat to our day of departure. The room was superb. The layout allowed for rom to walk around the bed and the bed facing the full length windows was a treat. What impressed us the most was the high quality and spacious bathroom. Almost like home, well almost. The added feature of having an onboard laundry facility was simply perfect. The food was excellent three times a day and numerous after-hour lighter meals. Wine flowed easily each night. The "special chef" meals were a treat and featured fresh ingredients form the local villages. We even met our Chef in the village at his favorite bakery. It was great. We met many new friends as well. Lots of fun to be had. The excursions were well planned and the tour guides experts on their locale. We have already chosen Avalon for our next cruise in 2017 on the Danube. The last day was hard to leave but they made it easy. The luggage was carried to an awaiting taxi and loaded piece by piece. No cares no worries. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
The ship looked appealing. The trip was where we wanted to travel. We tied this in to a bus trip in France also. We spent almost a month in France and thought this would be a good choice to finish our stay. the stateroom was very nice. ... Read More
The ship looked appealing. The trip was where we wanted to travel. We tied this in to a bus trip in France also. We spent almost a month in France and thought this would be a good choice to finish our stay. the stateroom was very nice. i liked that you could see the river from your bed. Unless of course you were docked side by side with another ship. That at times was disappointing. the ship excursions were for the most part very good. A dinner the last night near Nice was not worth the time or money. The service at the restuarant was terrible. the thing that most stands out was the crew. They were excellent. Everyone of them were friendly and very accomadating. You could not have put together a better crew. I have already recommended Avalon to our travel representative. I am sure if we choose another river cruise in the future it would be with you. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Choosing an Avalon cruise was really pretty easy after speaking to other people about river cruising and the recommendation of our travel agent. We chose the Rhine River Cruise aboard the Tranquility II in late September early October. ... Read More
Choosing an Avalon cruise was really pretty easy after speaking to other people about river cruising and the recommendation of our travel agent. We chose the Rhine River Cruise aboard the Tranquility II in late September early October. The ship and the cabins were everything they were advertised to be. The food on board was excellent and we were amazed that they were able to create such wonderful meals in the small galley they have. The staff on board was great starting with Robert our Cruise Director. The rest of the crew performed various duties quietly but superbly. All shore excursions were excellent in each port we visited. The rooms on board were spacious and well laid out. We enjoyed the fact that there was no assigned seating for meals which enabled us to meet many of our shipmates from various other countries. So to summarize we will definitely be recommending Avalon Waterway River Cruises to anyone who will listen. Definitely will be traveling with them again!! Read Less
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise