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7 Basel to Europe - River Cruise Avalon Affinity Cruise Reviews

What a wonderful way to travel!! Avelon Waterways met all my expectations and then exceeded them. Every member of the crew was friendly and helpful and went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable and content. We ran into low ... Read More
What a wonderful way to travel!! Avelon Waterways met all my expectations and then exceeded them. Every member of the crew was friendly and helpful and went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable and content. We ran into low water levels on the Reine that required us to exchange boats so we could continue our travels toward Amsterdam. This could have been a major irritation but it was done so smoothly and professionally that it caused only a very slight change in our expected itinerary. We were extremely fairly compensated for the minor inconvenience. The tours were interesting and well done, with ample time to explore on our own at our leisure. The company offered a tour guide for "gentle walkers" at each port which was very helpful for those who needed a bit of extra time. Meals were delicious with enough options to please all palates. There was only one seating which meant there was never a feeling of being rushed to prepare for another meal service. Wait staff were friendly on both boats and made the meals that much more enjoyable. A final note, the crews of both boats had to efficiently get their passengers off their respective vessels, clean them, receive new passengers then do it all again 3 days later. We never saw any sign of any of them being irritated, disgruntled or rushed. The sign of a well run company is not how they perform when things go smoothly but when they don't. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Always wanted to take a European river cruise. So happy with the Avalon experience. The Rhine River ports of call were all exciting and never a dull moment. And looking at all the castles while you cruise along the river is beautiful. ... Read More
Always wanted to take a European river cruise. So happy with the Avalon experience. The Rhine River ports of call were all exciting and never a dull moment. And looking at all the castles while you cruise along the river is beautiful. The cabins were spacious and housekeeping kept them immaculate. Large bathrooms with great amenities. Crew was excellent. The dining room staff was always attentive and would remember the little things that made a difference. Wonderful assortment of food and usually had specialties from the local region. Bartenders were friendly and kept your glasses full! Wonderful that beer and wine are included with meals. Each meal featured great wines often from the region we saw out the windows. The lounge was comfortable but the music was geared towards an older crowd. Cruise director was very informative with activies that are must see in each port. I can't wait to do my next one! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
A stimulating introduction to Europe. The Tour director Tamas had things very well managed. The dining experience and wait staff exceeded my expectations. Single serve eggs benedict each day was a marvellous yet not overindulgent way to ... Read More
A stimulating introduction to Europe. The Tour director Tamas had things very well managed. The dining experience and wait staff exceeded my expectations. Single serve eggs benedict each day was a marvellous yet not overindulgent way to start each day. Wafting along the Rhine gorge passed the historic castles was a real sublime treat. All of the tour guides were incredibly knowledgable and imparted some excellent content. The cathedrals were spectacular . The visit to the music instrument museum in Rudesheim which absolutely mind blowing , the essence of music as we know it before computerisation. The cabin was impeccably kept by the staff. The staff were incredibly friendly and customer focussed. We really appreciated that the attire for each stage of the day was casual and relaxed which meant we felt we always fitted in .We made some lovely friends who we will stay in touch with. A memorable trip for my husband's 60th birthday. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
3 generations (grandson, daughter/son-in-law and grandparents) elected to take this trip. Wonderful way to travel through Europe — no traffic, no changing hotels — Boat was beautiful and crew was incredible. Daily tours provided ... Read More
3 generations (grandson, daughter/son-in-law and grandparents) elected to take this trip. Wonderful way to travel through Europe — no traffic, no changing hotels — Boat was beautiful and crew was incredible. Daily tours provided historical perspectives with a local feel. Tour guides (bar one) were exceptional. Port cities provided a wide range of European experience — from tiny to bustling. The pace was a bit slow for the younger generations, and the youngest was certainly more interested in the larger cities (Amsterdam). Given the distance traveled during the week, there often wasnt time to explore in more depth, but this provided a great opportunity to note places for future visits. The scenery while traveling was beautiful — European countryside! Some of the ports were more industrial. Transport to tour locations (typically bus) were efficient and comfortable. Most trips were under 30 minutes, so time wasn’t wasted on coaches, which was great. The boat itself was very comfortable. Rooms were “tight”, but not uncomfortably so. Plenty of storage for unpacking and room under the bed for suitcases. The staff, as mentioned above were helpful, accommodating and very service oriented. Food was plentiful!! One traveler was vegetarian and could easily find great choices. Would definitely travel on Avalon again, but younger generations would probably not unless there was a more “active” option. Overall, great experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We were looking for a cruise with less people and excursions to show us parts of the world we've never seen before. As our first ever cruise we didn't wish to be overwhelmed by people. The ship was quite lovely and our cabin ... Read More
We were looking for a cruise with less people and excursions to show us parts of the world we've never seen before. As our first ever cruise we didn't wish to be overwhelmed by people. The ship was quite lovely and our cabin large than anticipated. The crew took very good care of the passengers. Buffet breakfast and lunch with your choice of a sit down dinner or a buffet in the lounge. The food was delicious and there was a wide variety to choose from. Embaration and disembarkation was very smooth - clearly has the process down to a science! The ports and excurions were totally optional but we took advantage of tthe opportunity to experience the local sights. Most guided excurions also included some "free" time to roam on your own - amount of time varied from place to place. We would most definitely go on another Avalon cruise! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
My husband and I are in our early 60's and have enjoy traveling a lot. For the past few years we have been thinking about going on a river cruise and decided this was the year, to celebrate our 40th anniversary. We chose Avalon ... Read More
My husband and I are in our early 60's and have enjoy traveling a lot. For the past few years we have been thinking about going on a river cruise and decided this was the year, to celebrate our 40th anniversary. We chose Avalon partly because of a recommendation from someone who had traveled with Avalon and partly because of the itinerary. We flew into Zurich a day early and stayed at Hotel Walhalla, which we booked ourselves. It was very close to the train station. We did our own thing for the day, enjoying the sights on a free walking tour we had read about online. The following afternoon we took the train back to the airport where an Avalon rep walked us to the hotel shuttle bus which took us to our meeting place. From that hotel three buses drove all the cruise passengers to Basel where our ship was docked. We were quickly shown to our room and our luggage arrived within 10 minutes. Our stateroom was a little smaller than ones we are used to on big cruise ships but it was fine for the two of us. We had plenty of storage space for our clothes and our two big suitcases fit nicely under the bed. The bathroom had a glass door shower which was very good and the L'Occitane bath products -- well they're my favourite anyways so we really enjoyed them. Soap, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and lotion were provided. The wifi worked great and it's free. I think the only time I had some trouble with it was when we were deep in a few of the locks on the canals. We found the crew to be the most friendly of any ship we have ever been on. We had an excellent cruise director in Erik. He had everything under control, held excellent port talks every evening in the lounge just before dinner, and was always happy to answer any questions you might have. I think it was the previous reviewer who said that Chef Nico would go off the ship to buy special breads. We heard he did that on our cruise too. Also, one couple told us that they were enjoying a particular drink each evening but one day they had run out, so the very next day a crew member was sent off to buy another bottle. He came back with the wrong one so he was sent out again to get the right one. Also, one day we discovered the specialty coffee machine at the back of the third deck was not working. They sent someone out to buy a new one the next day. Nothing seemed too big of a problem. We were really impressed! We really enjoyed the food onboard. It is amazing what they can produce in that small kitchen at the bow of the ship. One of our favourites was the halibut on the second night. It was moist and delicious. I had the salmon two nights and both times it was tender and moist and came with lovely sauces. Breakfast can of course become repetitive, but really there are only so many things people eat at breakfast anyways. They always had smoked salmon so I was happy. Lunch was great. There was always a hot fresh pasta, two soups, probably 10 hot items including the vegetables, at least four or five salads, fresh fruit, cheese and crackers, and you could order dessert from the waiter. They even served ribs one day at lunch that we really enjoyed. One day they had a German lunch and it was very good too. Coffee/tea and cake was served from 4:00 - 4:45 each day in the lounge and oh my were those cakes wonderful. Don't miss it. Each day there was an included walking tour. We enjoyed all our guides except one. Just too much information. We found most of them walked too slow for our liking but we had to realize we were younger than most of the folks on the tour. There is a slower walkers tour offered. It must be very slow. I think almost anyone could keep up with the ones we took. I must say that these towns would not be good for anyone with a walker. Most of these old cities have cobblestone roads and sidewalks and you need to wear runners and watch your step. A couple of people had canes and they were OK. We encountered low water levels on what they called the German Danube and that day all passengers had to be off the ship for the whole day. That was our day in Regensburg. Avalon paid for all passengers to take the optional excursion thru the Danube Gorge to Weltenburg Abbey. Any who had already paid to take this excursion were reimbursed. They also gave us 15.00 euros each to cover the cost of lunch. Once again we were really impressed at the way they handled things. The afternoon carried on in Regensburg as planned. Erik came with us to be sure everything went smoothly. It was a 1 1/2 hour bus ride to catch up to our ship which had sailed through the low water without us but the scenery was lovely and we enjoyed the drive. All together we travelled through 74 locks on this cruise and one afternoon we had someone come onboard who gave a talk on the locks. It was very interesting. We even crossed the Continental Divide while on this cruise. Disembarkation in Vienna was very well planned and was a breeze. We would definity recommend Avalon and we would travel with them again should the itinerary be what we're wanting. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
First River Cruise in Europe (previously did the Nile in Egypt). First with Avalon. I researched many European River Cruise companies and talked to friends and family before selecting Avalon. It exceeded every expectation. Rooms were ... Read More
First River Cruise in Europe (previously did the Nile in Egypt). First with Avalon. I researched many European River Cruise companies and talked to friends and family before selecting Avalon. It exceeded every expectation. Rooms were spacious with more storage than we could use. The L'Occitane amentities were great. The ship was spotless everyday and the crew could not have been nicer. We had a problem with our room door lock sticking which maintenance resolved. The food was excellent. Always great fresh fruit at every meal and multiple entrees at every meal. Many salads, soups, and entrees were low-fat and low-sodium, but tasted great! Chef Nemo worked very hard to ensure the meals were delicious. He even went to local bakeries to get bread and gluten-free items for passengers. Wine flowed freely at dinner and we never had a glass we didn't like. Our captain Viktor was excellent. We were really glad he was on board when we hit some low water at Konigsberg. He got us out of a really tight spot. (He must be "the guy" for low water as he had to fly down to the Danube for 2 days to help out another Avalon ship.) We enjoyed all the ports but felt that we got short-changed on Cologne and Mainz. We were at Cologne late Saturday night and 1/2 day on a Sunday so could not tour the cathedral during daylight. At Mainz, we arrived late on a Monday and the Gutenberg Museum was closed. Most churches closed before we could get inside. (Check your itinerary if these spots are important to you.) If you want to see the Ann Frank House, book the optional tour with Avalon. We bypassed all the lines! Also, Roman Trier was excellent. We heard Jewish Cologne tour was good. (We did the "regular" Cologne trip.) I would forego the Luxembourg excursion. It was boring and there wasn't much to see there and to/from. The Black Forest museum was good, although a long bus ride to/from. Great mix of passengers from Canada, UK, New Zealand, Australia, and the US. Also 4 couples from Mexico. Not sure why they took this cruise as their English was not great. But kudos to our cruise director Isabel who worked hard to find them Spanish speaking guides, when available. We did not need to avail ourselves of the "Gentle Walkers" excursions, but these were always available for travelers. Wi-Fi was not the greatest. Lots of competition during the day. We definitely plan to do Avalon again! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Avalon Affinity Ratings
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