1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Avalon Waterways
  4. Avalon Waterways Cruise Reviews

85 Avalon Waterways Basel Cruise Reviews

We enjoyed the Avalon Romantic Rhine Cruise for our anniversary four year ago and tried the Christmas Market cruise on the Danube two years ago. We enjoyed both so much we did the Avalon Rhine Christmas Market cruise in December 2019. ... Read More
We enjoyed the Avalon Romantic Rhine Cruise for our anniversary four year ago and tried the Christmas Market cruise on the Danube two years ago. We enjoyed both so much we did the Avalon Rhine Christmas Market cruise in December 2019. The ship itself is beautiful. The crew was very professional and nice. We reserve the same cabin category on each cruise so we know what we are getting and are never let down, The food was wonderful and , as usual, would reflect the local cuisine. Even though it was December we still had excursions and enjoyed them. Having done some of them in the summer and then again in the winter gave them a whole new experience. We were pleasantly surprised to have one of our excursion guides again from prior trips. We would definitely cruise on Avalon again.We look forward to taking another cruise next year if not sooner. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Friends of ours asked if we would like to go on a river cruise with them. Having never been on one, and not a fan of being on a ship with thousands of people, I was a little hesitant. However, when I found how many we would be cruising ... Read More
Friends of ours asked if we would like to go on a river cruise with them. Having never been on one, and not a fan of being on a ship with thousands of people, I was a little hesitant. However, when I found how many we would be cruising with on this ship, I said yes....and I'm glad I did. The staff was amazing. The minute we arrived, even before stepping on the ship, the staff made us feel special. THE FOOD! The food was delicious with our waiter Sasha taking the best care of us. The entertainment fun, the excursions were amazing, and the staterooms were beautiful. Everyday, our cabin looked like it never had been slept in. Cruise Director Tony was great keeping us up to date on the itinerary and yoga with Milan was relaxing! I would go again in a heartbeat! Thank you all for a wonderful time!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We had a great time on our brief cruise of the Rhine for the Christmas in Alsace tour. To save money and time, we booked our own flights and we ended up adding a night before and after the cruise on our own. I'm glad we did because ... Read More
We had a great time on our brief cruise of the Rhine for the Christmas in Alsace tour. To save money and time, we booked our own flights and we ended up adding a night before and after the cruise on our own. I'm glad we did because we had the opportunity to tour the Christmas markets of Zurich and Frankfurt as an extra bonus. The Visionary ship was nicely appointed and the crew was very available and helpful. The room was nice, the bathroom large and there was plenty of space for storage. We enjoyed most of the cruise line's excursions but we made a few deviations that really made our trip. In Strasbourg, we did not return to the ship with the last bus so we could get to see the Christmas markets after dark, which was truly magical. It was a little bit of a challenge finding a cab but so worth the extra effort and mild anxiety. We also hung back after the Heidelberg tour. Our well-meaning castle tour guide took far too long talking about all the intricacies of the castle -- so much so that we didn't even get to enter the actual castle. We were then late getting to the the old town and had less than one hour to take it all in. Once again, we did not return with the group and found our own way back to the ship, thus getting an opportunity to enjoy Heidelberg at a comfortable pace. Since this was our first river cruise, a few things surprised me, both positive and negative. On the positive end, you really feel like a VIP since the ship is so small. You get to know people better and the staff seems extra helpful. Another good surprise, I didn't feel like the ship was moving at all, ever. We floated quietly and smoothly. This wasn't a bad thing, but it did surprise me that all travel happened in the dark. In commercials, you see river ships floating past cute villages, hilltop castles and hillside vineyards in the daylight. We didn't see any of that because we cruised at night. When we could see anything, it was largely industrial ports and locks. A native Floridian, my husband was fascinated by the locks so I did enjoy watching him marvel at how they worked. Not surprisingly, the weather was cold, so we were always happy to return to our floating home and snuggle at night. I don't recall any of the nighttime entertainment, but that wasn't really my thing. We did attend all port talks before dinner, which was helpful. I would recommend this cruise up, down and sideways for the following reasons: if you want to get a sample of the Christmas markets of Europe and/or if you've never cruised -- or never cruised on a river and want to see if it's for you. If you go though, please don't miss Strasbourg after dark, Zurich's train station Christmas market with the Swarovski tree or Frankfurt's main Christmas market with the cutest booths of any of the Christmas markets. Also, make sure to get a ceramic mug from each market you visit; they make great souvenirs of your visit. Of course, you'll have to suck down some gluhwein or cocoa in order to get them but you'll need it to shake off the cold. Have a wonderful time! We did! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The short cruise & itinerary fit our schedule. We’ve been on 35+ ocean cruises. This was our first river cruise. Very expensive. But it included everything, unlimited bottled water in room, fresh orchid in room, fruit delivery, free ... Read More
The short cruise & itinerary fit our schedule. We’ve been on 35+ ocean cruises. This was our first river cruise. Very expensive. But it included everything, unlimited bottled water in room, fresh orchid in room, fruit delivery, free excursions at every port, free fleet of bikes to use at every port, hot tub on the top deck, panoramic view sliding glass doors in room, small gymnasium, unlimited alcohol and soft drinks during all meals, mimosas for breakfast, free WiFi, etc. The ship, glass, windows, chrome were all super clean, as well as the tour buses used. One of the waiters hesitated when I asked for second appetizer and dessert during dinner but others didn’t blink an eye. One of the excursions led to just a lone gift shop but the long drive there and back was scenic, it would have been better if they drove us to an actual village in the Black Forest instead. Yes we would river cruise with Avalon again if we decided to go on another river cruise, but I think price & itinerary are more important than the actual cruise line especially since it seems all cruise lines are decent enough these days. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was our very first cruise and chose it because it was short (time wise) and the boat small (people wise). We would definitely sign up for another cruise as it is a great way to see multiple places that we probably wouldn’t see if ... Read More
This was our very first cruise and chose it because it was short (time wise) and the boat small (people wise). We would definitely sign up for another cruise as it is a great way to see multiple places that we probably wouldn’t see if traveling by land. Regarding this cruise in particular, Basel, Colmar, Strasbourg, Heidelberg & Speyer were absolutely beautiful! We are considering a Danube cruise next and can only hope the staff is as on point as on the Visionary. They were AWESOME!! I was not sure how the food was going to be....and had set my expectations low.....but was pleasantly surprised by both the quality and quantity. The only downfall is those big panoramic windows become somewhat useless as all the sailing is done at night. But if you want to see the Christmas markets along the Rhine (and so much more) in style, then this is the cruise for you!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We arrived at the Zurich airport after visiting friends in Zurich and the connection was perfect. We were sent to the bus to await the rest of the guests arriving that morning. The bus was clean and very comfortable (wish plane seats ... Read More
We arrived at the Zurich airport after visiting friends in Zurich and the connection was perfect. We were sent to the bus to await the rest of the guests arriving that morning. The bus was clean and very comfortable (wish plane seats were that comfortable). Once we arrived at the ship, we were escorted to the lounge where there were refreshments and a comfortable place to just relax. We were able to meet some of the passengers that would be traveling with us and had the opportunity to explore Basel if we wanted. I also love their new system of check in - check out. Great way to do it and it was quite efficient. Thank you for coming up with a better plan for this process. Our room was well appointed and easy to store all our belongings - plenty of storage for us. I love the large glass window and the bed facing outward - came in very handy during the week while we were cruising to be able to just sit on the bed and enjoy the scenery - GREAT concept. Food was very good and wait staff was enjoyable - always engaging no matter where we sat (we usually try to move around the dining room to experience different wait staff and they did not disappoint). Even with a gluten allergy, the staff and head waiter were always VERY attentive and made sure there were special gluten free extras. One especially enjoyable delight was the gluten free croissant that was made fresh and available for breakfast. Perfect! We were on the north bound tour which does allow for a few "extra" ports because of the current. The excursions were great and very informative. Tour guides were very knowledgeable and I am always amazed with the information they have in their heads - no notecards or cheat sheets - I couldn't do that. We also took the Jewish Heritage tour in Cologne and it was fabulous! If you have already been to Cologne, I would definitely do this tour (if you have never been there, do the Cologne city tour). This was a fabulous trip - the castles were amazing (we have done the Rhine southbound as well and I think the view of the castles was a little better northbound). I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone who wants to know more about this area of .Europe and to see the castles and villages. Although there is also its share of industrial - the northbound trip you were sailing through those areas more in the evenings so didn't ruin your views. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We had previously taken a cruise with Avalon of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers. We loved travelling through the Rhine gorge, so we took the Basel to Amsterdam cruise. This not only gave use a portion of the Rhine and cities in Switzerland, ... Read More
We had previously taken a cruise with Avalon of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers. We loved travelling through the Rhine gorge, so we took the Basel to Amsterdam cruise. This not only gave use a portion of the Rhine and cities in Switzerland, France and Germany we hade not visited before, but also took us again through the beautiful Rhine gorge with its magnificent scenery. We were not disappointed. The ship is amazing, with its French Balcony suite rooms, with the beds all facing the glass walls of the room, which slide open when the weather is permitting. The food and service were better than what we had on former cruises, which I thought would be impossible to match. The shore excursions were very interesting, informative and were worth the time. The extra excursions that we paid for were extraordinary and worth every penny spent. I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone interested in a magnificent experience of the Rhine River. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Our Avalon Rhine River cruise from Basel to Amsterdam was taken in late October 2019. The cruise was pleasant with no real negatives, but also without any exceptional experiences or excursions. The cruise is marketed as an 8 day ... Read More
Our Avalon Rhine River cruise from Basel to Amsterdam was taken in late October 2019. The cruise was pleasant with no real negatives, but also without any exceptional experiences or excursions. The cruise is marketed as an 8 day cruise, but there are 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 7 dinners included, so its a 7 day cruise at best. The last 24 hours are spent docked in Amsterdam, so you are effectively paying $1000 for one night in a small Amsterdam hotel room with a meal plan for two people. By comparison, we spent $250 a night for an entire floor of a canal house in a 9.8 out of 10 rated location for our other four nights in Amsterdam, and that includes a large breakfast We didn't spend close to $750 a day on meals or canal cruises on any of the other 4 days. We probably spent that collectively for the entire 4 days, and that includes $230 for two I Am City Cards for "free" admission to the most popular Amsterdam museums (except Anne Frank House bought two months in advance) and "free" public transportation and canal cruises. Our Category A cabin was excellent and is reviewed separately. We went with Avalon instead of Viking because the meals were supposedly better. The meals were good, but definitely not a culinary experience, so don't expect to be wowed. Across the entire staff, the onboard service was excellent. Embarkation was also a breeze. I would recommend going downstream from Basel to Amsterdam as you get between points quicker (17 hours Cologne to Amsterdam vs. 24 hours the other direction) and with less engine noise. On ship entertainment was limited to the same lounge singer every night, plus one night with three classical musicians (very enjoyable), and another night with a local band (average). Included excursions with local guides were informative, sometimes humorous, but not exceptional in any way. My expectation is that the Avalon river cruise experience is on par with cruises provided by other comparably priced cruise lines. But I think they are all expensive relative to a land tour option covering comparable sites. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We had never been on a river cruise. Yes, we had done multiple ocean cruises in the Caribbean and even Alaska, but never a river cruise. So we thought we would splurge and do it! We booked airline arrangements through Avalon and ... Read More
We had never been on a river cruise. Yes, we had done multiple ocean cruises in the Caribbean and even Alaska, but never a river cruise. So we thought we would splurge and do it! We booked airline arrangements through Avalon and planned for an extra day in case of airline problems - a good decision. We arrived in Zurich at 8:30pm and walked to the hotel at the airport where arrangements had been made. Raddisson Blu is a great place to stay. We were picked up the next morning by an Avalon representative and taken to the ship to check in and start our first excursion. The Visionary was spotless and there was a nice lunch buffet ready for us when we arrived. For every excursion there were receivers (we were given headsets and a lavaliere for the receiver at check in) that were color-coded for each excursion so that you could hear the guide. Avalon also had bottles of water available (at no extra charge). Upon return from the excursion they took the receivers in exchange for a warm, damp washcloth and a glass of juice or flavored water. Our cabin, which had the floor to ceiling glass sliding doors, was wonderful. There was so much storage space - cabinets, closet - and twenty clothes hangers in the closet! It was easy to unpack and settle in. The bathrooms had color coded towels - brown and white - so you didn't have to worry about who used which towel. (Even the room keys were color coded - blue and white.) Our room also had a potted orchid! A really nice touch, as well as two large bottles of water with glasses and the water was replenished as often as necessary (again, no extra charge). The dining room was nice and well laid out. Fresh flowers were on each table. There was wine and beer available for lunch and dinner - again, no charge, unless you desired a mixed drink or beer or wine that was not on the menu for the meal. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style with a variety of foods available. Always two soups to choose from, various greens and salads, assorted breads, and a wide variety of main dishes/meats. Special note regarding the meals: The first day on board the chef met with anybody who had special dietary needs (such as gluten-free, whatever) and they insured that you were served what was on your diet on the cruise. There were options for less formal dining in the main lounge for lunch and dinner - same menu but less options. We did not partake of that except on the first day at lunch, since that was all that was available. There was also a tea every afternoon at 4 with tea, of course, coffee, and cookies and pastries. Every morning there was a stretching/exercising class and I participated in most of them. Very few passengers did, however. Of the 138 passengers less than 10 showed up on any day. There was also a small gym on the lower level with weights, mats, a treadmill, two exercise bikes, available for use. Towels and bottles of water were also available there. My husband and I did not go to any of the entertainment or shows as we are early to bed types and the shows generally started about 9pm or later. There was a pianist in the main lounge that played during lunch and happy hour. He was quite good with a range from classical to modern. Service on board was excellent. The community rooms were always clean and the lounge on the third deck had a coffee maker with 8 or 9 choices and hot water with assorted teas as well as a stash of pastries and cookies to munch on when you were hungry (three good meals a day - how could you be hungry?). Most of the shore excursions were included in the cost of the cruise. We paid for three that were reasonably priced. The excursions had good English-speaking guides who were quite knowledgeable about their tour. The guides were personable and gave more than just a cursory explanation or description. The ports were ports! Some were "downtown" and some were a little out of the way but transportation was provided. Some of the excursions were biking trips (with a sack lunch included) and hiking trips. Bikes and Nordic trekking poles were provided. We are already planning our next cruise in 2021 or 2022. Again we will do Avalon. The ships are smaller (we parked next to a Viking Cruise ship and it was quite bigger), and with smaller ships you get to know the staff on a more personal level. We had our favorite servers in the dining room and tried to make sure we sat where they served. On a side note: The Visionary has an elevator for those who have limited mobility. They also make arrangements for those who are slow walkers to have a special tour that goes at a slower pace. There were no passengers in wheelchairs on the cruise, but there were several who used walkers or who were slower in walking than the majority. Age range for this cruise I would guess would be mid-fifties and up. There may have been a couple that were younger, but not many. Most seemed to be retirement age, or at least near retirement age. Overall, we were exceedingly pleased with our Avalon cruise, and are looking forward to our next one! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our first river cruise. AVALON was one of three recommended by our travel agent that had openings. We came into this with an open mind. Have done many (10) ocean cruises. We loved the intimacy of a smaller group of fellow ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. AVALON was one of three recommended by our travel agent that had openings. We came into this with an open mind. Have done many (10) ocean cruises. We loved the intimacy of a smaller group of fellow passengers. Missed entertainment at night. They did have some local singers, and a little musical ensemble come in twice. It was adequate. One suggestion would be to start dinner service at 6pm, instead of 7pm. By the time we were finished, it was 9pm and we were tired from the days activities. I loved the little lounge at the back of the ship that had the great coffee machine, juices, and pastries/cookies for the early risers. Also the tables sat 4; easy to talk, play cards, etc. The staff was great. Our cruise director was awesome. All shore excursions were super also. Price was a little high. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I chose this cruise because a stateroom on the middle deck was available without the single supplement. The cruise director and staff were all terrific, experienced and patient. This was my first Avalon cruise, having done one last October ... Read More
I chose this cruise because a stateroom on the middle deck was available without the single supplement. The cruise director and staff were all terrific, experienced and patient. This was my first Avalon cruise, having done one last October on a Viking boat. They are comparable in every way for quality. I would try another cruise with Avalon on another river route. Amsterdam is quite busy, so I might recommend that first-time cruisers go southbound from Amsterdam to Basel, which is calm and quiet for the disembarkation. Amsterdam's airport is close to the river (about 40 minutes) while the airport at Basel is more than an hour and fifteen minutes from the dock, but the transfers will work well in either port. There was a nice variety of passengers from Spain, Australia, New Zealand and the United States. The cabins were tended three times daily. Meals were just right with lots of variety. I like to spend as much time on the boat as possible and for me the excursions are always optional. Cheers to the entire staff, crew and service team. They were European and Southeast Asian and just wonderful to meet. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I eat Gluten Free for medical reasons and the Chef and his entire staff were very accommodating. This was very appreciated and I had a great dining experience. The dinner menu was marked with all the available gluten free items along ... Read More
I eat Gluten Free for medical reasons and the Chef and his entire staff were very accommodating. This was very appreciated and I had a great dining experience. The dinner menu was marked with all the available gluten free items along with separate choices if these weren't to my liking. I had no trouble choosing from the menu each night. Breakfast and lunch offered enough choices that were gluten free. Most soups were gluten free. The wait staff was very friendly and attentive at all times. The afternoon tea had gluten free options available if I wanted any. We all enjoyed the cocktail hour before the next day briefing and dinner. The briefing for the next day was very helpful for helping us decide what excursions we wanted to particpate in. We felt the excursions gave us a great variety of site seeing for each country. I would definately choose this cruise line again in the future for another vacation. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose a river cruise as it would be a first for us and I had gotten seasick on the one and only time we went on an ocean cruise. We chose the Rhine river cruise due to the start/end cities and length of cruise. I looked at several ... Read More
We chose a river cruise as it would be a first for us and I had gotten seasick on the one and only time we went on an ocean cruise. We chose the Rhine river cruise due to the start/end cities and length of cruise. I looked at several cruise lines until it came down to two- Avalon and AmaWaterways. Chose Avalon due to schedule/direction. With the intimacy of small boats and smooth sailing on rivers, I'll never go on an ocean cruise again. Fellow passengers were very nice, no one was disruptive onboard. Staff was for the most part excellent. I'd give our cruise 8 out of 10 stars. I subtracted points for lack of varied night time entertainment, communication issue with a cook, staff not being overly attentive in refilling wine and coffee during meals, and one optional excursion that we took that was unsatisfactory. Due to my rating the next time I go on a river cruise I'll look at other cruise lines. If I had rated it 9 or 10 stars I would definitely repeat with Avalon. Kudos to the excellent breakfasts, lunches, and dinners onboard, cabin/service, and the tours that were included with no charge. It would have been great if they had a karaoke night or maybe hire a dance instructor for one night. As a fitness buff I would've liked the fitness center to have dumbells weighing more than 10kg, but I liked that I was mostly to myself whenever I went (5 out of 7 days). Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We have taken several ocean liner type cruises, so we didn't know how this would differ. Now, I can say EVERYTHING was wonderful and went so smoothly. The transfers to / from airport, the availability of information, the excursions, ... Read More
We have taken several ocean liner type cruises, so we didn't know how this would differ. Now, I can say EVERYTHING was wonderful and went so smoothly. The transfers to / from airport, the availability of information, the excursions, the food choices, the staff...everything was great. We love that the excursions ran ON TIME. Our cruise director urged everyone to be early, because they don't wait for you if you're late. We've been on bigger cruises that have waited for stragglers (and then you end up losing time exploring) AND also experienced some very unorganized excursions. Not so on Avalon. Communication is clear, organized, and punctual. Food was spectacular, loved all the wine choices with meals. Lots of choices for all kinds of eaters. Staff attentive and good at what they do. I think those servers have some of the hardest jobs anywhere. Our cabin steward noticed that I had a CPAP machine and offered to deliver some distilled water, which is needed for the best functioning of the machine. That was impressive. Cruise director was amazing...so knowledgeable, and gave clear, honest advice about various excursions. There were a few children on the cruise, and they seemed to have a good time. We also noticed several teens traveling with families and they appeared bored. (But is that what teens do?? :) ) There is NOTHING on the ship for children, but if they are enjoying the company of family and have some activities they bring with them, it could be an option. I'm not suggesting that Avalon provide this; you just have know this is what it is, if you're considering bringing children. There is NO DOUBT we will do this again. Hopefully sooner than later. We have nothing but glowing words for Avalon. Now if you could only control the weather... LOL P.S. I tried adding photos from my computer and it would not work. I clicked "add photos from your computer" and nothing happened. P.P.S. I have no idea what kind of room we had. It was the Avalon Panorama, cabin 233. It was definitely a panorama suite, but A? B? P? Who knows. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Wonderful cruise. Food was excellent, wine and beer with lunch and dinner was a nice touch. The boat was big enough to not feel confined and small enough to be able to get to use it all. The excursions that came along with the tour were ... Read More
Wonderful cruise. Food was excellent, wine and beer with lunch and dinner was a nice touch. The boat was big enough to not feel confined and small enough to be able to get to use it all. The excursions that came along with the tour were interesting and run by locals. The cruise director worked hard go give us unique experiences. The only bad point - our room repeatedly smelled like cigarettes. Not sure how or why this happened but the room service crew were reluctant to address it. Our sons had their own room on a lower floor. Both were nicely decorated and kept clean throughout the day. Getting on and off the boat was easy. A simple swipe of your room key. Only one day we were the second boat in the harbor and had to walk over and through a different boat to get to shore. The only suggestion, many of the excursions were rushed. It would have been nicer to spend more time at each site. One tip - no need to bring fancy clothes for dinner. As long as you are clean and dressed, things are good. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I had experienced three other Avalon Cruises and thoroughly enjoyed every one. I'm hooked! The ship, room, service, food, entertainment, excursions, and crew were all exceptional! Cruise Director, Maria Pascual, made it the best ... Read More
I had experienced three other Avalon Cruises and thoroughly enjoyed every one. I'm hooked! The ship, room, service, food, entertainment, excursions, and crew were all exceptional! Cruise Director, Maria Pascual, made it the best cruise yet! She accommodated the needs and wishes of everyone with her beautiful smile and "will do" attitude! Every excursion was outstanding! Ayu and Monika were so precious with their smiles and great service in the Panorama Lounge. Our waiter/bartender, Radu aimed to please with this wonderful laugh, sense of humor and special service. He remembered my drink choice and made it perfectly. We looked forward to dinner with him every evening! His protege, Alex, worked hard to make the dinner perfect. Loved his smile and genuine desire to please. He's a keeper! The Chef and his crew were incredible! AND they prepared all that exceptionally delicious food in such a short time and small space. The floral arrangements throughout the ship were gorgeous! The entertainment was so much fun! The pianist was so talented and accommodating. I also truly enjoyed the local musicians. Our Captain was a pleasant surprise! He could keep us on course and play music so well. What a treat! The Avalon Artistry II Captain, Crew and Crew Director provided the perfect river cruise. Thank you to all! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This cruise along the Rhine and Moselle Rivers was spectacular! The food was phenomenal. So much to choose from. Buffet style for breakfast and lunch. A menu for dinner. Excursion choices were great. Port of calls were great. So many new ... Read More
This cruise along the Rhine and Moselle Rivers was spectacular! The food was phenomenal. So much to choose from. Buffet style for breakfast and lunch. A menu for dinner. Excursion choices were great. Port of calls were great. So many new places to explore. We went north, starting in Switzerland and ending in Amsterdam. Maria was our social director. Very knowledgeable! She helped my husband out when he had a fall on the treadmill. He banged up both knees pretty good from his fall. She basically helped nurse him by keeping him bandaged up. Our suite room was very nice. It was nice to be able to open our glass doors and let that fresh air in. The size was very accommodating.Every body was very professional. We were celebrating our 50th Wedding Anniversary. So this trip was very special for us. Would definitely recommend this trip on Avalon to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We did a lot of homework before choosing Avalon Waterways. We read reviews of a number of different companies offering river cruises in Europe, and Avalon came out the clear winner. As first time river cruise folks we had no idea what to ... Read More
We did a lot of homework before choosing Avalon Waterways. We read reviews of a number of different companies offering river cruises in Europe, and Avalon came out the clear winner. As first time river cruise folks we had no idea what to expect. Our first day on the boat set the tone for the next twelve days. Were were greeted, pampered, fed, and treated like royalty in every respect throughout our cruise. We met fascinating couples on the ship, made lasting friendships, and had an unforgettable experience. It is almost impossible to summarize a cruise like ours and be brief, but we hit it out of the park by choosing Avalon. The crew was amazing! Hardworking and professional every step of the way. They say that cleanliness is next to godliness, and to put it mildly, our ship was spotless! We had a cabin that was large, airy, and a pleasure to relax and sleep in. The food on our cruise on the Avalon Artistry II was gourmet ALL the way. Our Cruise Director ( Maria) was the consummate professional, and she saw to it that our every need was seen to expertly. Our captain was beyond expert at his job, and he made complex river navigation seem easy. Being a former Merchant Mariner, I know that when it seems easy, that that is the culmination or a highly trained and experienced crew making our cruise effortlessly smooth. I was, and always will be impressed by the caliber of Avalon employees. Perhaps I can explain my total satisfaction with Avalon by saying that I will cruise with them again. Putting one's money where the mouth is tells a story. We'll be back. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
As strange as it sounds, this cruise was actually a late addition to our European trip. We had booked an ocean cruise that started and ended in Amsterdam last year and, since the cost of the flight from Canada was significant, we allowed ... Read More
As strange as it sounds, this cruise was actually a late addition to our European trip. We had booked an ocean cruise that started and ended in Amsterdam last year and, since the cost of the flight from Canada was significant, we allowed ourselves some extra time (two weeks plus) in Europe beforehand to see and do other things. We had previously considered a river cruise and the Rhine itinerary was one of the ones that most appealed to us. When the idea of adding a second cruise to our trip was proposed, we initially balked at the cost but then, reasoning that we would have to pay for hotel and transportation to these sites regardless -- plus this way we got food, tours and entertainment -- we decided it made some sense. We were able to find a sailing with space on dates that not only worked for us but also delivered us back to Amsterdam a day before our other cruise. We enjoyed the cruise very much. The shore excursions were great and we appreciated that they made use of earbuds and transmitters so we didn't have any problem hearing our tour guides. Our room was comfortable, the food onboard was good and the staff was great. We only had limited time the day before embarkation to explore our departure city (Basel, Switzerland) and were glad we took the optional tour of the city. Basel is a lovely city and it would have been a shame not to have seen some of its highlights. Embarkation went smoothly although that was, in part, because I had sent an email inquiry to the ship a day or two ahead and sorted out some confusion around when and where the tour would begin, what to do with our luggage, etc. (The information on the website indicated, in error, that hotel pick-up was part of the tour. Once this misinformation was identified, the Cruise Director agreed to reimburse us for the cost of a cab to the ship where the tour actually began.) Disembarkation was pretty seamless too -- and we were lucky that our trip allowed for some extra time in Amsterdam beyond that included with the cruise. While onboard, we stayed on the first deck, meaning we did not have the huge windows that Avalon prides itself on. We knew that and were fine with it. Although we may have been a tad envious of those on the other two decks who enjoyed that feature, we didn't really miss it and, given how much of the time we were not even in our cabin, I'm not sure the extra expense would have been worth it. In cabin, our TV service included a choice of free movies, which was nice. Free internet was also included with the cruise but the network was quite slow at times. As far as the ship itself goes, we have no complaints. The Vista is not a super fancy ship but it is pleasant and comfortable. The hot tub on the Skydeck was quite small but, as it was a bit on the cool side, I only know of a couple of people that ever used it. A bit later in the season more people might be tempted to use it and I really think it could only accommodate about 4 people comfortably and 6 if on very friendly terms. The ship had a nice little room at the rear on the third floor where coffee, tea, hot chocolate and cookies as well as other snacks could be found. On hand were some books and games, making it a nice quiet spot to relax away from one's cabin or the lounge. Also included with the cruise was wine, beer and pop with lunch and dinner. My husband may have gotten more of our money's worth from that than I, however, for other drinks it was nice to have a true "Happy Hour" each day with half price drinks. We enjoyed every port we visited and found the shore excursions to be very good however it may be worth noting for anyone who thinks a River Cruise is necessarily super relaxing that, unless you opt not to participate in the shore excursions, there can be a LOT of walking (and on cobblestones)! We loved every excursion and would not have missed them but, overall, "restful" does not describe the trip. The only negative I would have regarding the food is that, on embarkation day, some of the offerings for lunch looked to be a bit past their best (wilted lettuce and such). Thankfully, that was not representative of the rest of the trip and the wait staff was very patient and accommodating with special requests during dinner. Standard onboard entertainment through lunch and dinner was a pianist. He was very good if maybe a bit under-appreciated. There were just a few nights (3?) when other entertainers performed but all were excellent. It would have been nice to have had someone special like that more of the nights. Although I know that a few first time River Cruisers (like us) on this trip immediately said they were converts and would only do these now instead of Ocean Cruises, we did not feel that way. Personally, I rather like having some "off" (sea) days included in the mix but the River Cruise is still an experience I enjoyed very much and would gladly repeat if another opportunity presented itself. Avalon itself was very good with all arrangements and tours being handled smoothly and professionally. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Recommendation of Travel Agent and research we did. Everything about the Avalon experience was great. No complaints ... except wanting a bit warmer weather. Food was very good. All members of the crew were very polite and fun to be ... Read More
Recommendation of Travel Agent and research we did. Everything about the Avalon experience was great. No complaints ... except wanting a bit warmer weather. Food was very good. All members of the crew were very polite and fun to be around. The cruise director, Bart, was particularly good, funny and easy to work with. Good wines and beer and plenty of it ... if you desire. Good variety of foods throughout the cruise. The cruise itself was very smooth, a lot like being on dry land. Good excursions, with knowledgeable guides. The Black Forest guide was particularly good. The room at the end of our floor was nice for that quick cup of coffee and a cookie. We did not feel crowded at all. The eating and lounge areas were plenty big enough. This is one reason we picked Avalon ... the same size boat as others with fewer passengers. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Our travel agent had been suggesting a river cruise for a while. We are not cruise ship people so hesitated to book this trip. We were happy we decided to go.The river cruise was wonderful. Nothing like what I think of when thinking of a ... Read More
Our travel agent had been suggesting a river cruise for a while. We are not cruise ship people so hesitated to book this trip. We were happy we decided to go.The river cruise was wonderful. Nothing like what I think of when thinking of a cruise. The small ship size and the attentive service was wonderful. Our biggest complaint was when we arrived at the ship. We could not find any information on what time we should arrive. We had a car service drive us to Basel. We arrived at the ship and there was no one to greet us, we didn't know where to go. A man standing on the side walk with in jeans and a sweatshirt no identification that he was with Avalon came over to take our bags. We asked where we were supposed to go and he just pointed at the ship. When we entered the ship, there was a desk where 2 people sat. Neither even looked up or greeted us. We had to ask if we were allowed on the ship. Then we had to ask how things would work as we had never been on a cruise before. Once we got to our room things went much more smoothly and for the rest of the trip there was plenty of information on how each day would work. the food is hot and abundant. The food buffet can be very congested as there really isn't a clear way to use the buffet. Some people made a line, some people just went straight to the hot food or the salad bar. But overall food was good. The excursions were well explained and informative. Our cruise director Hendrik was absolutely fantastic! Fun, Funny but at the same time so very organized. If we take another Avalon cruise we for sure would look to see what cruises on which Hendrik might be the Director Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Of course I was disappointed that we were only able to be onboard for 6 days of our 13, but Avalon and every crew member, especially our cruise director, went above and beyond to assure that our experience was a wonderful time! ... Read More
Of course I was disappointed that we were only able to be onboard for 6 days of our 13, but Avalon and every crew member, especially our cruise director, went above and beyond to assure that our experience was a wonderful time! Unprecedented drought in the Rhine Region this year halted river traffic and left many ships grounded. Somehow, Avalon was able to arrange alternate transportation, hotels, and meals so that we were able to enjoy almost all of the activities and excursions of the itinerary! The absolute highlight for me was the days we spent on board cruising the Mosel. The lovely scenery, quaint medieval villages, amazing castles, cathedrals, ancient architecture and beautiful vinyards made this one of the most memorable experiences of my life. The shore excursions were excellent, the food and service were top notch, and the accommodations arranged for us off ship were amazing! This was my first river cruise, but it will not be my last! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose Avalon because it sounded like a romantic, relaxing cruise with interesting excursions. They meet every high expectation. The dining food and service was excellent. There was many different choices on the menu which ... Read More
We chose Avalon because it sounded like a romantic, relaxing cruise with interesting excursions. They meet every high expectation. The dining food and service was excellent. There was many different choices on the menu which accommodated all diets. The lounge area was always comfortable with plenty of coffee, drinks, cookies and other treats! The late night entertainment was fun and energetic! All staff were friendly and helpful. Service was excellent throughout the ship. Our cabin was spacious and very accommodating. The bedding was perfect and allowed us a good night sleep every night. We had plenty of time to enjoy our excursions and we had extra time to shop and enjoy the locals. Our very favorite part of the trip was the romantic cruise up the Rhine watching all the castles from the top sun deck. With drink in hand and laid back on the lounge chair, we enjoyed the scenery. We would absolutely love to go on another Avalon cruise! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
The cruise was great as far as the cities that we stopped in. We could walk off the boat and walk right into the town or if you wanted you could join an included guided tour in the a.m. and an additional excursion in the afternoon. And ... Read More
The cruise was great as far as the cities that we stopped in. We could walk off the boat and walk right into the town or if you wanted you could join an included guided tour in the a.m. and an additional excursion in the afternoon. And if you wanted you could just grab a bike off the ship and go for a bike ride. All stops had bike paths and all cities have bike trails. The logistics and the staff are terrific. We never had a single worry, everything was thought out and arranged for us which made the cruise very relaxing and enjoyable. The cruise director was very informed and educated us on the local areas as well as the history of each stop and knew each castle and its history! Food was gourmet! I particularly liked that with the meals you had a choice of the dining room or a more informal lunch in the upstairs lounge for a quicker/lighter meal. There was always coffee/infused water/juice available. Wine, beer or soda were included for lunch and dinner and they kept your glass from being empty! When we were in a town overnight, they brought on local talent for our entertainment. One night was classical violin and classical guitars and the other night was two musicians. The venue was very intimate and the entertainment was great. There was also a small dance floor which added a little fun with the live entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
After a wonderful tour in Switzerland organized by Globus , we wanted to relax on a river cruise. As we arrived early for embarkation ,the rooms were not ready ,but the ship crew were very helpful ,we waited in the lounge with good food ... Read More
After a wonderful tour in Switzerland organized by Globus , we wanted to relax on a river cruise. As we arrived early for embarkation ,the rooms were not ready ,but the ship crew were very helpful ,we waited in the lounge with good food and music played by Nikki on the piano . The captain , cruise director (Tibor ) and all crew members were very professional and efficient, explaining and distributing pamphlets showing how the lock system works . The housekeeping staff were very friendly and courteous , always asking if we needed any thing , taking care of our room and keeping it tidy with a personal touch . The catering was superb all the way ,from breakfast to dinner ,with a big choice and variety of goodies and drinks . The wait staff were also very professional and at the same time friendly and mindful, especially (Maria and Richard ) The shore excursions were also well organized and the cruise director took care of having a " gentle walker group " to see and enjoy the local tours. It was a memorable experience and hope to have another river cruise soon Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click