Having tired of Ocean cruising we turned to River cruising and enviously viewed the large luxury ships on the river, after more than a dozen most enjoyable trips, we decided for a change that a luxury river cruise was a way to stifle our ... Read More
Having tired of Ocean cruising we turned to River cruising and enviously viewed the large luxury ships on the river, after more than a dozen most enjoyable trips, we decided for a change that a luxury river cruise was a way to stifle our envy. Flight arrangements were excellent. Airport arrival and pick up very efficient. Our Hotel in Vienna for two nights was a dream. All the tours were lovely and we had adequate time to do our own thing as well. Day three we set off by comfortable coach for Bratislava and our embarkation The arrival walk through the old town of Bratislava was very interesting but lugging a heavy bag for an hour in the rain was not a lot of fun. After a welcome drink and slick move to our exquisite cabin, and explanation of on board life and destinations, our first evening dinner was rather strange. The ship was barely half full with the result that it was difficult to find more than a small handful of passengers in any of the public areas. Total passenger list was 76 and we unfortunately lost two of those. There was none of the usual camaraderie we have encountered on other river cruises. Indeed every evening apart from two stalwart Australians we were the only people to attend the entertainment in the Lounge. Nikko tried hard but four people in a beautiful lounge built and equipped to accommodate 130 or so passengers, did not help the situation. The passengers mostly 60 plus were a mix of American, Australian, New Zealanders, a few Asiatic citizens, and a sprinkling of British.
The Cruise Director did nothing to encourage guests to mingle and though efficient and correct to a point of strict school headmistress, she remained in her foyer seat and took no part in promoting on board activities. So no one used them.
All the crew were extremely friendly and nothing, however small, was too much trouble. The air of politeness and welcome was apparent throughout the ship and the comfort and cleanliness first class. Every meal was a pleasure, all the excursions well chosen, informative and a delight. But we were so disappointed there was no atmosphere of a holiday at all. More a Marie Celeste situation prevailed. So it's back to the happy little ships for us in future I am afraid.
I have waited a month before writing this review to allow a fair appraisal of the Cruise. If luxury, comfort, quiet relaxation are your thing the Avalon Vista is your ship, otherwise look to smaller ships with excellent entertainment, no overnight noisy travelling and port visits to rival the big boys. Read Less