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28 Basel to Europe - River Cruise Avalon Waterways Avalon Tranquility II Cruise Reviews

I'm a travel agent who's been on 30 ocean cruises and this is my first river cruise. I decided to give Avalon a try so I'm able to share my experience with my clients and my experience was wonderful. We flew from Atlanta ... Read More
I'm a travel agent who's been on 30 ocean cruises and this is my first river cruise. I decided to give Avalon a try so I'm able to share my experience with my clients and my experience was wonderful. We flew from Atlanta to Zurich and were met at the airport for our transfer to Lucerne. It was wonderful being met by our driver at luggage claim and escorted to his car. We included a two night pre-cruise land package in Lucerne where we met our Cruise Director Akos as well as the other 13 passengers who arrived two nights early at our hotel. Our time in Lucerne included walking tours and a cruise around Lake Lucerne. I'm so glad we did this pre-cruise addition and I highly recommend it. Our transfer to Basel included a stop at Mount Pilatus, which was incredible, as well as the Lion sculpture. By the time we arrived in Basel, we were ready to embark the Tranquility II and the check-in process was incredible. There were only 107 passengers on this sailing with 38 crew. There was no wait to check-in. We were immediately escorted to our cabin, #322. The cabin is quite cozy compared to ocean cruise cabins but the views were amazing. I love that our bed faced the full wall of glass. We didn't keep the sliding glass wall open because there were too many bugs flying around outside and the weather was extremely hot. It got up to 100 degrees in Amsterdam. That's hot! Our excursions were wonderful. We were divided into four groups according to our chosen excursion and were given our own headphones as well as a receiver to hear our tour guide. It's great not having to try to hear a shouting tour guide. We participated every day in the included morning excursions after the buffet breakfast but were often too tired to attend the afternoon excursions. The morning excursion usually ended by the time our lunch buffet was ready to begin. We were able to sit wherever we chose in the dining room but we befriended 4 other couples and usually sat as a group. The waitstaff were very accommodated and would remember our likes and dislikes. I liked that. I especially liked the briefings we had for tomorrow's schedule. It was great knowing in advance what to expect for tomorrow before it was dinner time tonight. We didn't partake much of the included beverages because we didn't like most of the wine or beer that was being offered but that didn't necessarily mean it wasn't good, It just wasn't what we like. The food was good but the bread was great. I usually enjoyed too much bread and appetizers so I skipped dessert. I enjoyed the food more than my husband. He's happy with a steak and baked potato whereas I like to try new foods. No matter what was on the dinner menu, they always had the steak, chicken, fish or vegetarian alternatives. We also enjoyed the coffee and cookies offered in the rear lounge during the day just in case we might get hungry. We didn't need the cookies but we're glad they were there for us to enjoy. The entertainment was nice but there were times when we really missed the casino and the big shows you get on the bigger ships. Disembarkation went just as well as embarkation. It's really nice having such a small group of passengers during this procedure. I would highly recommend Avalon to my clients and without a doubt, I'll be back on another Avalon river cruise in the next year or two. This was by far our most expensive cruise experience in 31 cruises and I'm looking forward to sailing with Avalon again. Yes, it was well worth the high cost. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Avalon was more upscale than the last river cruise we went on 10 yrs ago. Our cruise director Andre was incredible! His evening briefings for the next day were very informative. We really enjoyed our extension in Lucerne. The staff was ... Read More
Avalon was more upscale than the last river cruise we went on 10 yrs ago. Our cruise director Andre was incredible! His evening briefings for the next day were very informative. We really enjoyed our extension in Lucerne. The staff was very accommodating! We would definitely choose Avalon again & would recommend it to others. We were hoping for a little bit more scenery along the Rhine. Several days were industrialized & not as scenic as the Rhône. It was quite windy when we tried viewing from the rooftop. The dining experience was very enjoyable. The trio that performed one evening was very entertaining. We would have maybe preferred dinner to be a tad bit earlier - maybe 6:30 rather than 7:00. It was nice to not have to bring any real dressy clothes for a formal night. Loved having only 120 passengers aboard! All in all it was a very pleasant experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
My friend and I chose this cruise because of the ports visited as we traveled north on the Rhein river. We loved the small size of the boat and number of passengers which allowed us to get to know members of the crew and guests. Of all the ... Read More
My friend and I chose this cruise because of the ports visited as we traveled north on the Rhein river. We loved the small size of the boat and number of passengers which allowed us to get to know members of the crew and guests. Of all the many excursions, there was only one that we wished we had skipped (the Black Forest trip, aside from the cuckoo clock stop, was a bit disappointing). We loved all of the other excursions and felt they were well organized and interesting. We also loved the optional excursion to Mt. Pilatus prior to embarkation. The cabin itself was very spacious compared to other boats and ships we’d been on. And the space in the bathroom was great! Service on board was excellent as was the food. We especially appreciated seeing local cuisine offered in the various ports. We would definitely go on an Avalon tour again! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
the quality of the rooms, service, and food on board completely shattered the preconception i had of such way of travelling before i joined our rhine river cruise with avalon waterways. pleasantly surprised all the way. i really enjoyed ... Read More
the quality of the rooms, service, and food on board completely shattered the preconception i had of such way of travelling before i joined our rhine river cruise with avalon waterways. pleasantly surprised all the way. i really enjoyed the service provided by the staff who is most helpful, attentive and careful to our needs. the stops were well balanced and allowed to visit a great diversity of places to understand and experience the culture along the river from basel to amsterdam. the guides at each stops were enteraintaing and knowledgeable which made for a pleasant introduction of each town. however, if i returno n board, i will not join such guided tours and will hope that avalon can provide more tips about each destinations (perhaps in the form of a detailed map with points of interest) so that i can go and wander around bymyself without the fear of "missing out". a wonderful way to travel europe without the hassles of driving or airport management. the only draw back was the fact that ships sometimes dock alongside each other completely removing the view and privacy of the room. even so, an absolutely wonderful experience to be repeated as soon as possible. well done! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
My wife and I booked this cruise to celebrate our 35th Wedding Anniversary. We were met at the airport and taken to a nearby hotel where we met fellow passengers before our first excursion. Each excursion was well thought out and we were ... Read More
My wife and I booked this cruise to celebrate our 35th Wedding Anniversary. We were met at the airport and taken to a nearby hotel where we met fellow passengers before our first excursion. Each excursion was well thought out and we were led by knowledgeable personable tour guides. On-Board we were treated incredibly well by the entire crew from the porters to the Captain. We are both Gluten Free and the Head of the Wait Staff went out of his way to attend to us. We were quite surprised to be given gluten free breads and croissants and other treats and we did not feel like we were being singled out because of our food allergies. Because of the size of the ship it was easy to mingle and meet other passengers. The cruise director Monica was exceptional. She had the days planned out perfectly with excursions and downtime. Our favourite part of the cruise was the day we remained on-board and sat up on deck and sailed thorough the Rhine River Gorge with Monica narrating the history of the castles. To conclude, we very much appreciated the fact that Avalon took care of all the details including the excursions, meals and arrival and departure to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Reason we choose Avalon was the size and arrangements of the staterooms. The number of guests allowed for personal attention from the staff. The itinerary looked amazing and was! We could participate as we choose or relax on board. Our ... Read More
Reason we choose Avalon was the size and arrangements of the staterooms. The number of guests allowed for personal attention from the staff. The itinerary looked amazing and was! We could participate as we choose or relax on board. Our cruise director Chistina was eager to assist us with alternative plans for the afternoon such as taking a cab into town and making sure we were knowledgeable in how to make our way back safely. Dining at all meals excellent! Freeform seating at dinner helped us to meet many of the other guests, many were on their second or third Cruise with Avalon. We learned so much from them about cruising, destinations, and their home towns. Will sadly miss so many of the people, but never forget them. Accommodations were very comfortable and the staff was wonderful!!! We will be looking forward to booking our next cruise with Avalon Cruises. We would also recommend a precruise stay at the Radisson Blu, and precruise excursion to Lucerne and Mt. Pilatus. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Great price, great ship reviews, great location to sail for first riverboat cruise. Excellent care by staff, great food, very clean. The excursions were fun and informative. We were very busy each day. Would have enjoyed more corporate ... Read More
Great price, great ship reviews, great location to sail for first riverboat cruise. Excellent care by staff, great food, very clean. The excursions were fun and informative. We were very busy each day. Would have enjoyed more corporate activity at night such as dancing, trivia games, karaoke. We are looking forward to traveling with Avalon again. I think it is important to select one of the newer ships based on a conversation with a couple who made the same trip we did the same week on another ship. Their experience was not as positive as ours. Some of our excursions were a little too "touristy" and expensive. I would have preferred a little more free time along with suggestions of things to see. We sometimes felt rushed. Our favorite excursions were Mt Pilates in Zurich and Heidelberg. Also the wine tasting excursion in Alsace. We really liked the canal boat tour in Amsterdam but not much else there. The windmill excursion was very touristy and expensive. However I would definitely recommend this cruise no matter what! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We looked at Viking and Avalon. The reviews for Avalon were great and our travel agent gave it a great review. We had a wonderful time. Everything went great. We did have disembark at some ports through other ships but it went ... Read More
We looked at Viking and Avalon. The reviews for Avalon were great and our travel agent gave it a great review. We had a wonderful time. Everything went great. We did have disembark at some ports through other ships but it went smoothly. The food was delish the menus had great selections every evening, and the breakfast and lunch buffets were always full of great selections. We did love the staff the waiters and waitresses and bartenders all were excellent. You couldn't have asked for better service, by the end of our trip we knew we would miss there happy smiles and wonderful attentive service. The cabins were beautiful and always made up and straightened up throughout the day. The Panoramic views from our rooms were spectacular. And not to forget the wonderful excursions. Everyday was filled with interesting venues. All our guides were fantastic. They were locals usually and had personal knowledge of the area. The young woman that coordinated all the excursions was wonderfully helpful with everything. And the welcome desk personnel we also a great help. We had so much fun! It was truly an amazing vacation! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We had a fabulous rive cruise just before Christmas with Avalon. We started in Zurich, Switzerland which was beautiful. We enjoyed spending 2 days touring Zurich before we got on the riverboat in Basil. The riverboat was fabulous. The ... Read More
We had a fabulous rive cruise just before Christmas with Avalon. We started in Zurich, Switzerland which was beautiful. We enjoyed spending 2 days touring Zurich before we got on the riverboat in Basil. The riverboat was fabulous. The staterooms have been redone and are so much more comfortable with the bed facing the outside and the nice sofa and chair. We loved all of our stops in France and Germany to see the towns and visit the Christmas markets. Christmas decorations were everywhere and you felt like you were in fairyland We enjoyed the onboard entertainment. The food on the boat and on the land was superb. We ended by being bused to Prague which is a gorgeous city. We spend 2 extra nights there as there is so much to see. This was the very best river cruise that we have ever been on. Avalon does an incredible job!!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
After talking about taking a cruise for years, my wife and I finally booked this one -- Christmas on the Rhine. We traveled through the beautiful Alsace region, on a luxurious boat with amazing food. We were greeted at the airport by a ... Read More
After talking about taking a cruise for years, my wife and I finally booked this one -- Christmas on the Rhine. We traveled through the beautiful Alsace region, on a luxurious boat with amazing food. We were greeted at the airport by a friendly shuttle driver and taken to a central location where other cruisers were waiting. Together we boarded a bus that took us directly to the boat. A few minutes later and we were in our room! We were both blown away by the quality of the room and facilities. There was time for a quick shower and then we headed to the welcome meeting where we learned the rules of the trip. We enjoyed going up above deck and passing through a lock. Looking out over this beautiful, ancient river and watching Europe glide by in the moonlight. It was a special time! Our tour director, Vlad, did a phenomenal job managing all of the tour arrangements and we enjoyed each one of our unique local guides. We learned so much more than doing our more normal trip of going, renting a car and driving around! The shore excursions/tours were the highlight for us, but I don't want to take anything away from the boat, the crew, or the kitchen and dining staff. We were treated incredibly well by everyone, and the food never left anything to be desired. We'll be on one again before long, I suspect! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
First river cruise -- wanted to see Rhine. Was extremely pleased with attentive and pleasant staff, the calm and leisurely schedule and the absence of rushing crowds. We have done 14 ocean cruises and plan to do more on the rivers. It came ... Read More
First river cruise -- wanted to see Rhine. Was extremely pleased with attentive and pleasant staff, the calm and leisurely schedule and the absence of rushing crowds. We have done 14 ocean cruises and plan to do more on the rivers. It came down to a choice between Viking and Avalon and we are very happy with our final selection and will try Avalon again.This was a surprise 48th wedding anniversary present to wife.We truly enjoyed the shore excursions -- particularly in Strasbourg and Cologne at the cathedrals. Was also pleased with Cruise Director's daily briefing and great information. The ship was very nice and atmosphere was comfortable and casual. The dining experience was excellent at every meal. The complimentary selections of regional wines were also a very nice addition to cruise. We did come home to Colorado with many wonderful memories, lots of pictures and a terrific cuckoo clock from the Black Forest. Thanks.. Read Less
Sail Date October 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
Sail Date September 2017
My husband and I and another couple sailed on this trip for our anniversaries. Unfortunately my luggage did not make it to our destination. As soon as I arrived on the ship, I advised the cruise director and he immediately started to ... Read More
My husband and I and another couple sailed on this trip for our anniversaries. Unfortunately my luggage did not make it to our destination. As soon as I arrived on the ship, I advised the cruise director and he immediately started to track it down. Only had the clothes I traveled in but luckily the airline gave me a t-shirt so I could alternate tops until we got to a port where I could shop. I found out later that the ship had shirts that I could purchase. It would have been nice for them to tell me that or give me one. To add to the disappointment of not having my luggage, our friends missed the whole first day of the trip due to the airlines. Avalon was not helpful with getting them to the ship even though they booked the airlines. When they finally arrived in Basel they were to,d they would have to pay the transportation to the ship which was now at the second port. Problems aside, the food, the ship, the crew and the cruise director were wonderful. The ship is beautifully decorated with wood and granite, the bedding is very comfortable and we slept very well. The crew was so much fun, even the captain was fun and friendly. Shout outs to Justas, Petru, Lucia, Nicolette, Madelin, Sorin, Danny, Daniel, Hendrik and more. The tours that were included were fun and informative. There were other tours that you could pay for that were also nice. The entertainment is minimal; piano player/singer at night. One evening we had local entertainment come on board. They were very good. The trip was wonderful. I would not hesitate to do a river cruise again and I would consider Avalon. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
The staff on board the ship were all extremely courteous and friendly. The ship was spotless and well organized. Every request was met with kindness and efficiency. The food selection was wonderful, with plenty of variety, and accommodated ... Read More
The staff on board the ship were all extremely courteous and friendly. The ship was spotless and well organized. Every request was met with kindness and efficiency. The food selection was wonderful, with plenty of variety, and accommodated special dietary needs. Our stateroom contained a fridge which met medication needs. Each request at every meal was fulfilled quickly and easily. Our cruise director was very informative and personable. Our waiter in particular was amazing - friendly and catered to us personally. We particularly were grateful for the quiet lounge at the rear of the ship where tea, coffee, fresh juice, cookies and pastry were always available twenty-four-seven. Embarkation and disembarkation were always easy and quickly managed. Tours were well organized and hosted by very knowledgeable tour guides and clean, efficient motor coaches. While we did not travel with children, there were a handful aboard and activities available for them. We would highly recommend Avalon Waterways to anyone looking for a taste of Europe. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
I sailed on Avalon’s Romantic Rhine cruise from Basel to Amsterdam in June 2017. Everything was top notch from start to finish. I was treated like royalty the whole time. The entire crew was phenomenal - from initial check in at the ... Read More
I sailed on Avalon’s Romantic Rhine cruise from Basel to Amsterdam in June 2017. Everything was top notch from start to finish. I was treated like royalty the whole time. The entire crew was phenomenal - from initial check in at the hotel in Zurich to the final drop off at the airport in Amsterdam, everyone was friendly and helpful. The ship was gorgeous and spotless...the common areas and my stateroom. The food was absolutely delicious. I loved the wide variety of options at breakfast and lunch buffets. The dinners were out of this world! Every night was a delicious multi-course journey which highlighted our current location with local food and wine to choose from. I also really enjoyed the open seating and the opportunity to meet new people at every meal. The daily excursions were a lot of fun. I took advantage of all of the included excursions as well as several optional (extra charge) ones. They each gave a great overview of each of our stops, and the local tour guides were both friendly and knowledgeable. I also liked that we had at least a little bit of free time at each stop, so there was always an opportunity to do some shopping or get a snack or beverage. It was also great to be welcomed back to the ship after each excursion by the smiling faces of the crew and a nice, cool drink and a refreshing towel. The staterooms are fantastic, even though I did not spend much time there! The floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall sliding glass door really makes a difference. It was nice to sit and relax by that window either while sitting in port or sailing onto the next stop. Such a unique way to see everything! I am a regular solo traveler and did so on this cruise. It was very easy to travel solo with Avalon. I quickly made some new friends on our first pre-embarkation excursion to Mt Pilatus, and I spent a lot of time with them throughout the cruise. The variety of excursions and the open dining room also make it easy to meet a lot of new friends. I fell in love with Avalon on this, my inaugural river cruise and cannot stop bragging about them to all of my friends and family! I have already booked my next journey with them...the Active Discovery on the Danube in July 2018. I am very much looking forward to traveling in style with Avalon again, and I highly recommend them. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This was my first foray into cruising. My friend and I didn't think we would like cruises but I wanted to check it off my bucket list. So we chose a cruise that was relatively short so that we wouldn't be "stuck" ... Read More
This was my first foray into cruising. My friend and I didn't think we would like cruises but I wanted to check it off my bucket list. So we chose a cruise that was relatively short so that we wouldn't be "stuck" doing something that didn't meet expectations. Avalon exceeded all my expectations. We were both extremely pleased with everything about the cruise. The cabin was more than large enough for both of us. The beds were very comfortable. The panoramic window provided an excellent view of the passing scenery. The shore excursions were varied and the local guides were excellent. The food was fabulous. My only complaint was that there was too much of it and it was so good that it was difficult to refrain from eating too much. I stayed in my room and skipped one meal because I knew I couldn't turn anything down. The service was extraordinary. I can't think of one thing that was negative. The WIFI worked well all of the time. The bathroom was comfortable and the toiletries were excellent. The room was always clean. The staff was more than pleasant. I praise Avalon and river cruising to everyone interested in hearing about my trip (and to people who aren't interested. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
The stops were fascinating and culturally diverse. We loved visiting all 4 countries. We felt safe and enjoyed the experience. Our favorite stops were Basel and Prague. This was mainly because we experienced the market at night. Seeing ... Read More
The stops were fascinating and culturally diverse. We loved visiting all 4 countries. We felt safe and enjoyed the experience. Our favorite stops were Basel and Prague. This was mainly because we experienced the market at night. Seeing the city lights and the decorations at night was special. We wished we could have visited every stop after dinner. The ship was comfortable and accessible. We loved having the coffee machines available throughout the day. The staff was friendly and helpful. The staff in the dining room were friendly and attentive. We wished that we could have brought our own wine on board without paying a corkage fee. The buses were comfortable. The local guides were excellent. They were friendly and knowledgeable. We could tell they loved their countries and cities. The places we visited were exactly what we expected. We would do another Christmas market cruise in a couple of years. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This is the best way to see several different places - no packing and unpacking involved The crew work very hard, and cheerfully, to make your week special, the service was excellent and the food was restaurant quality every time. ... Read More
This is the best way to see several different places - no packing and unpacking involved The crew work very hard, and cheerfully, to make your week special, the service was excellent and the food was restaurant quality every time. The ship is spacious and the lounge, dining room and bars were all well furnished and comfortable. Going late season we found the shore excursions a pleasure as nowhere were we crowded which was a bonus The standard of service was really excellent and without exception the crew were charming. We go on holiday to be with each other but did enjoy meeting others over dinner. The tours were well run and we really felt we got a feel for each place with local guides. Our tour director was excellent, amusing, helpful and pleasant whilst at the same time letting you get on and enjoy yourself, a credit to the company (thank you Valentin) I would unhesitatingly recommend them and indeed we are already looking at going on another river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We have never cruised before so this was a first for us. We were not keen on the idea of ocean cruising due to the size of vessel, number of passengers & possibility of sea sickness! Our cruise down the Rhine from Basel to ... Read More
We have never cruised before so this was a first for us. We were not keen on the idea of ocean cruising due to the size of vessel, number of passengers & possibility of sea sickness! Our cruise down the Rhine from Basel to Amsterdam suited us perfectly. Not too many passengers. A different port every day, sometimes two and a very gentle pace. Always something to see from the window. Ship was immaculate & very well designed. Great attention to detail. Good food, plenty of choice and wine included with dinner. We are usually independent travellers and liked that we were always moored in towns so we could choose do our own thing rather than always take an organised excursion. The excursions we did take were good but we don't like to be too 'organised'. The crew were exceptional. Always cheerful & friendly and so efficient. Nothing was too much trouble. Tour of the bridge was very interesting. The water level was very low when we travelled & we had no interruptions to our itinerary. The captain did a great job of navigating in only 3 feet of water at one point. Embarkation & disembarkation also very well organised. I particularly appreciated the chauffeur service to and from the airport. I didn't have to drive at 5am or pay for airport parking! The whole experience was excellent & we would definitely choose Avalon if we take another river cruise in future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We chose this cruise as a recommendation from a friend, who had cruised with Avalon Waterways. I went to the website filled out a form and was assigned a cruise coordinator. She was just wonderful. She was efficient and friendly and always ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a recommendation from a friend, who had cruised with Avalon Waterways. I went to the website filled out a form and was assigned a cruise coordinator. She was just wonderful. She was efficient and friendly and always took my call or answered my emails quickly. Lucky for us she was going on the exact same cruise in August, so she was able to answer all my very specific questions. The ship is beautiful, I think it is it's second year in service. All the staff, everyone was always smiling and friendly. The ship was clean, clean, clean. The cabin was just perfect. We were on the 3rd floor suites, near the rear lounge that had 24/7 coffee & snacks. The dining was great, lots of variety and the staff was great. The wine ran continually during dinner. We did quite a few shore excursions and they were very well coordinated and delivered exactly as promised. We had the best Cruise Director, Carolina. She made the whole time a great experience. When we book our next river cruise, it will be with Avalon Waterways, for sure. There were only 114 passengers on the cruise, so you really go to meet and spend time with a variety of people, it was fun, fun, fun. Our most favorite excursions were bike riding through the Amsterdam countryside, it was a 13 mile ride, but it was flat and fairly easy (we bike ride at home) with beautiful scenery. The other favorite excursion was Stonehenge. We booked extra nights on the front end in Zurich and on the back end in London. The Park Place Westminster Bridge add on hotel option was perfect, when you walked out the front door you see Big Ben. In Zurich the Movenpick was an easy hotel shuttle to the airport and then a train ride into town, which we did often. Just the best time! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
My wife and I just returned from our very first river cruise on the Tranquility II. We sailed northbound on the Rhine, from Basel to Amsterdam. We were by ourselves but met many interesting people from the UK, Australia, Canada, and of ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from our very first river cruise on the Tranquility II. We sailed northbound on the Rhine, from Basel to Amsterdam. We were by ourselves but met many interesting people from the UK, Australia, Canada, and of course, most were from the US. The meals were course after course of appetizing, creative and country-oriented flavors. There were four entrees that were always available. Breakfasts included made-to-order eggs and omelettes, lunches were also buffet style and offered a huge array of meats, cheeses, vegetables, and breads. Dinners were multiple courses with plenty of options. Happy hour was a great time and Stefano, our cruise director, was there to give us information about the next day. On board newsletter was great. The wait staff were efficient and friendly, quick to refill our wines, beer and sodas, and eager to get something special for us if we wanted. Avalon is known for their excellent service and we were not disappointed. All the crew on the ship were friendly and eager to help. I did not feel they were overburdened as on the larger cruise ships. They worked hard and did multiple jobs, but the ratio of staff to passengers was much better than on large cruise ships. They also got along well with each other - the crew entertainment night, which I normally do not attend, was an absolute riot! I really appreciated the attention to detail across the board, including activities and excursions and the ability to pre-pay gratuities. Stayed an extra night in Amsterdam and all the transfers and connections were seamless. My wife and I would absolutely go on another Avalon cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We chose to book the Romantic Rhine cruise on the Avalon Tranquility II. We traveled in mid-late September and were glad we had heavy jackets, gloves, and knit hats, as we needed them on Mt. Pilatus and while on the deck when going ... Read More
We chose to book the Romantic Rhine cruise on the Avalon Tranquility II. We traveled in mid-late September and were glad we had heavy jackets, gloves, and knit hats, as we needed them on Mt. Pilatus and while on the deck when going through the Rhine gorge. We flew into Zurich a day early so we could take the optional Mt. Pilatus tour. This tour was worth the money as one gets to view the countryside from the high mountains. The tour also included a trip to Lucerne which was quite lovely. When we arrived at our ship, we were greeted by the crew and given our room keys. Our room was 207, and very nice with a sliding glass door that opens up to view the river. It is like having a room-wide balcony. The bed faces outward toward the river which seems to be very romantic. A wall mounted TV was included in each room, but we never did use ours. The bathroom was moderately sized, but did seem to be bigger than that of an ocean ships bathroom, and the shower was much larger than on an ocean cruise ship. Also include in the bathroom were under the counter, enclosed storage, bath amenities and hair dryer. Nice terry robes and house slippers were in the closet, along with other amenities. A European electric converter is highly recommended if you wish to charge many electronic devices. The meals on board did not have as large a selection as that of an ocean cruise, but one still had a nice selection of food. Breakfasts and lunches were buffet style, and dinner was to order. At breakfast, there was a nice selection of meats, cheeses, fruits, eggs or omelets to order, and different vegetables, local breads, and pastries. We were given a tour of the galley later during the cruise, and were amazed at the food that can be prepared in such a small galley. With the number of guests at around 120, it was easy to meet a lot of different people as seating was never defined, so one sat where they wish. In the evening, there is just one seating for dinner. Dinner dress for men was slacks. Evening entertainment on board ship was sometimes local talent, or the ship’s crew. There were no children on board, and the mix of people were mostly in the 60-70 year range. All day long in the library, cookies, muffins, coffee, tea, and cappuccino were available. Smoking is allowed outside, in the back of deck three. Outside on the sky deck , were many lounge chairs and even a small hot tub. We cruised from Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam and I would recommend this routing for two reasons. (1) When going through the Rhine gorge, the sun will be behind you allowing for excellent photographs. (2) Even though you are going northward, you are going down river which allows the ship to travel faster and can even cruise when the river is at a lower level than it can when going upriver. For photographers, I took a DSLR and a 15-85mm lens, and a 70-200mm lens. The 70-200mm was too strong, even when shooting in the Rhine gorge, so it was left in the room safe. Our stops during this cruise included Strasbourg, Heidelberg, Mainz, Rudesheim, Koblenz, Cologne, and Amsterdam, with included tours at each location. Our tour guides all spoke excellent English and were very knowledgeable of their location. The tours were informative and you learned a lot about the city, its history, and local people. Each person was given a headset and the tour guide wore a transmitter, so one could hear what was being said even while in the back of a group. After each tour, time was given for shopping if it was desired. Many of the streets and alleys we walked were cobblestones, so good walking shoes are recommended. From the onset, we were given a folder with daily information sheets and maps of our next stops and information about each stop. These would be filed in the folder, making a nice remembrance of our cruise. Each evening in the lounge before dinner, our tour director would give an informational talk about the following day’s activities, where to meet buses, and information about the different tour groups. They even had a tour group for gentle walkers. Embarkation and disembarkation were easy and fast. When leaving the ship during every port stop, each person was given a card with their room number and would return it when coming back on board. This lets the crew know who is still off the ship. When returning from a port visit, we were greeted by a crew member and given a warm refreshment towel and a cold fruit drink. The service by all crew members was top notch and if one had a problem and it was reported, it was addressed immediately. The Wi-Fi on board seemed to work very well and we were able to Face time our daughter back home. I believe Avalon does an outstanding job and their cruises are a great value for the dollar. We are already looking forward to our next Avalon cruise, but have yet to decide on which one we want to choose. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
My husband and I just returned from our very first river cruise on the Tranquility II. We sailed northbound on the Rhine, from Basel to Amsterdam. We stayed 4 days prior to the cruise in Switzerland, 2 nights in Zurich at the Central ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from our very first river cruise on the Tranquility II. We sailed northbound on the Rhine, from Basel to Amsterdam. We stayed 4 days prior to the cruise in Switzerland, 2 nights in Zurich at the Central Plaza Hotel and 2 nights in Lucerne at the Hotel Flora. I would highly recommend both hotels. We returned to Zurich via train, then caught the Avalon shuttle to the Hotel Movenpick to join our fellow cruisers. We then boarded buses for the hour ride to Basel to board the ship. Avalon provided a seamless transition onto the ship. Our keys were waiting for us and our luggage was delivered in less than 10 minutes. We stayed in cabin 311. It was beautiful and had plenty of storage for our clothes. The bathroom was especially nice with a good size shower. Breakfast and lunch were served buffet style. Dinner was good, but we would have liked some additional choices, Only 3 meals were available, one meat, one fish and one vegetarian. also, there were every night choices of steak and chicken. Also, there were several grill lunches served outside on the deck, in addition to several bistro style dinners a couple of nights. You had to sign up in advance for these. We thought the provided walking tours in the ports were good, plus there was plenty of time for shopping. We took 2 of the optional additional cost excursions, the Alsace wine tasting and the windmill excursion in Amsterdam. I would recommend both. There was a German dinner option in town one night but not many took advantage of it. You could go into town and to the same restaurant on your own. Avalon is known for their excellent service and we were not disappointed. All staff on the ship were friendly and eager to help. I did not feel they were overburdened as on the larger cruise ships. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Avalon Tranquility II Ratings
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