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19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Has Avalon lost the plot or are they about to sink into murky water? One would think so by our experience. Picked up at 4.30am in the morning, in Amsterdam by 10.25am we were taken to a hotel where a meeting room has been hired and told ... Read More
Has Avalon lost the plot or are they about to sink into murky water? One would think so by our experience. Picked up at 4.30am in the morning, in Amsterdam by 10.25am we were taken to a hotel where a meeting room has been hired and told we have a choice, sit there until 4.00pm before we go to the ship with provided refreshments of lukewarm coffee in jugs, or go and walk around Amsterdam centre which was twenty minutes walk away. Okay, fair enough, we were early, although not our fault Avalon had booked the aircraft, so we wandered off, carrying all our belongings being no secure storage. Now to the boat (which we've decided it to be rather than a ship) and to a 'State Room' sold in the brochure to us as spacious with panoramic floor to ceiling window and comfortable seating, while we cruised along through the tulip fields of Holland. In our case the 'State Room' should be more aptly named 'Cabin in the Bilges' as a better description. I kid you not, the panoramic window turned out to be two narrow slits looking out at the concrete side of the jetty and a warning from the man who took us to the cabin to keep the curtains closed if we were changing. Although to be fair, when the boat was cruising you could look out, if you stood on your bed and held onto the ledge that is! Then the brochure claimed the cabins were the largest for this type of boat. We tend to disagree, the end of the bed was eleven inches from the dressing table, either side of the bed twelve inches from walls. The single chair (not two, one for each of us) to sit on, was more like a one you'd find in a kitchen, jammed under the dressing table with not enough room to be pulled out and use. Then the lighting of the room (we needed that having little or no window) was so bad we were forced to use the lights on our mobiles to look into the wardrobe, or the tiny safe seated at the back. Then, if you wanted a wet shave, forget it, far too dark in an en-suite that could only be described as bijou, or in practical terms so small that if the boat hit the jetty at least you couldn't fall over. Naturally, as one does, faced with this, you complain, after all the boat was only two thirds full, so they must have something better for two people in their late sixties? They did, we were proudly shown around a cabin with lounge chairs, panoramic window and actually room to walk around and could move, if we paid £1600 hundred pounds more that is, otherwise we stayed where we were and put up with it. That works out at £228 a night extra for the two of us, to be added to the £431 a night we'd already paid. Why was it, talking to people in these so called luxury rooms, that they paid the same as us? Very strange, or was it an attempt at extortion by the cruise manager once you are captured? However, being British we are are resourceful. We had the bed turned around sideways, got rid of the side tables, leaving the telephone on the floor and had two chairs brought from the lounge. Clever, eh? At least we could sit down, although one of us had to climb over the other to get into bed, then we had to stack the chairs on top of each other at the entrance door at night, to have room to get out of bed and go to the loo. That was because we were banned from leaving the chairs in the corridor at night, even after we said blocking our door was a fire hazard for us. They claimed that to have us leave chairs in the corridor would look bad for a boat offering four star accommodation, besides a hazard to other passengers. Right we were off, uncomfortable, yes, but the tulips awaited. No they didn't, there wasn't any. Why didn't someone tell us this little fact, that in late May the tulip cruise which we were on isn't? No one mentioned that even though the question was asked and verified, till we were aboard that is and holding an itinerary sent in advance included a day at the world renowned tulip gardens of Keukenhof, which was closed. At this point we wanted to go home, after all, we're only an hour or so flight away. But they convinced us that the alternative itinerary would make up. Well, yes and no, if you like to wander around towns at eight thirty in the morning, full of delivery lorries, smelly bags of rubbish besides rubbish carts and completely void of life. We found that out more than once, when ignoring the optional coach trips at an average cost of £55 each, we went back to the towns later in the day to find a vibrant cafe culture, open shops and people, yes people and no rubbish carts. I must mention the food, after all food is important on such holidays. It was okay, we've had better. Then most of the menu of the next day seemed to be recycled using a variation of the previous day's offerings they had over. As for breakfast, avoid the jams and honey in packets. They are so old the jam had gone a funny colour and the honey granulated. Also forget bacon unless you like it crispy, well burnt really and toast that one day gave you anemic toast, the next so charred you had to scrape it. Best meal advice. Avoid the fancy stuff, most are pretty ordinary, but they will make you steak and chips as an alternative, we lived on that. Overall impressions? I'm months off seventy, my partner is disabled, with a heart valve and pacemaker, besides associated problems. So maybe the hardened cruisers among you will laugh at our naivety. Maybe we shouldn't have believed the brochure that all cabins had panoramic windows and we really couldn't expect a two chairs in our cabin for £3500 on an eight day cruise. Maybe we should have realised the tulips were finished, even though we'd still few in our garden. Even so, we were entitled to some consideration rather than complacency, after the cruise director could only laugh that we'd had the bed turned around, bedside cabinets removed and another chair brought just to sit down. Besides required to climb over a bed to get in and stack chairs up blocking the exit. We’re going back to a cruise line that tells the truth and looks after you. Besides giving you a cabin for two and not a converted single cabin, where the bed won't fit the room and an en-suite that you can actually turn round in. As for Avalon, half empty boats, out and out lies to get you aboard, followed by indifference when something can be done about an obvious problem, for us indicates a cruise line that has no concern for its passengers. Be warned, make sure you are very clear what they are offering you, preferably in writing, or just don't go with them and find a cruise company that cares. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
I have always wanted to see the tulip fields of Holland in bloom so for our 40th anniversary we chose this cruise. It was even better that we had hoped. We loved the cabin and waking up each morning watching the sites go by even before ... Read More
I have always wanted to see the tulip fields of Holland in bloom so for our 40th anniversary we chose this cruise. It was even better that we had hoped. We loved the cabin and waking up each morning watching the sites go by even before we got out of bed! It was also nice having a choice if included excursions at each port. Everything was so well organized and the port talks during cocktail hour each evening were very helpful to get us prepared for our adventures the next day. We were amazed at how quickly and efficiently the meals were served to so many in the dining room. The service in every area of the ship was phenomenal as well because it was clear that each member of the staff really enjoyed their job and bent over backwards to make our journey exceptional. We will be back for more Avalon cruises in the future I am sure. Read Less
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