31 Budapest Avalon Waterways Avalon Vista Cruise Reviews

My husband and I traveled with another couple for our first European River Cruise. I’d been wanting to do one of these cruises for years, so when the opportunity came up to go with our friends we jumped on it. It was less than three ... Read More
My husband and I traveled with another couple for our first European River Cruise. I’d been wanting to do one of these cruises for years, so when the opportunity came up to go with our friends we jumped on it. It was less than three weeks from the time we made the decision, to the time we were flying to Budapest! We decided to do five days in Budapest before boarding the cruise ship and four days in Paris after disembarking in Amsterdam. We are so glad we added the extra nights on both ends. Budapest is a fantastic city and Paris is more than I could have ever imagined! We were contacted by Avalon the day before we left the U.S. regarding the water levels on the Danube. Apparently, they were having issues and we were not going to be getting on the ship in Budapest, rather we would be transported by bus to Bratislava, Slovakia for our day tour there, and then driven to Austria to board a ship there, where the water levels were higher. They offered us the option to cancel the entire cruise if we wanted, for a refund, but we were already in Los Angeles (we live in Arizona) and the four of us decided to go anyway. We flew out of Los Angeles and on our flight out and on our return, we had a 24-hour layover in Istanbul, Turkey. Both times, we took an overnight bag on the plane (because our luggage was checked through) for one night in a hotel and stayed downtown at the DoublTree by Hilton, Old Town. It’s just a few blocks from the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. It was literally a five-minute walk from the hotel! The location was great – close to shops, restaurants, and sights. On our flight to Europe, we arrived at night so we walked into the city for dinner, visited some shops (everything was open) and got to see the exteriors of the beautiful Hagia Sofia mosque, and The Sultan Ahmed Mosque (the Blue Mosque). They weren’t open to see the interior, but walking around the area was beautiful and peaceful and there were a lot of people out enjoying the evening. On our return flight to Los Angeles, we had another 24 hours in Istanbul, and because our flight left in the late morning so we visited the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market before we departed. It was a real treat to be able to include this short visit on our trip. When we arrived in Budapest, we checked into the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus for the five days before our cruise. The hotel was GORGEOUS! Located on the Pest side of the Danube, it was convenient to public transportation, shops, restaurants, etc. We did a lot of walking throughout the city, visited many sites on our own, and were thrilled to find so many fantastic restaurants! The tour of the Hungarian Parliament Building was outstanding, I’d definitely recommend adding it to your list of things to see! The ceilings are gold! We walked over the Széchenyi Chain Bridge to the Buda side and took the Buda Hill Funicular to the top of Castle Hill. You get a great view of the city from there! Once on the Buda side we visited Matthias Church, walked around the town and took lots of pictures. On some of our other days we went to the Gellért Thermal Bath (great experience!), walked part of Andrássy út (a boulevard dating back to 1872), shopped and had lunch in the Central Market Hall, my husband and my friend’s husband visited the House of Terror museum and found it extremely interesting and eye-opening!, we saw the Shoes on the Danube memorial, the husbands went to a Ruin Pub (Google it), we took the Budapest Metro (the oldest electrified underground railway system on the European continent!), we had lunch at the famous Gerbeaud Café (we should have skipped the lunch as it was so-so and just should have eaten dessert!). It’s really a great city and we’ll definitely go back. Through EatWith.com we booked a walking tour of a real Hungarian market - Bosnyák téri Vásárcsarnok - a place frequented by the locals, not tourists, and also spent the evening at the home of a local resident who cooked the four of us a meal using recipes passed down through his family. What a fantastic experience! Here are the restaurants we visited while in Budapest: ÉS Bisztró - at our hotel (Kempinski Hotel Corvinus), for dinner Fekete - for breakfast Madal Café - for coffee Börze – for lunch. Wonderful! Antré – for breakfast. Beautiful little place. Urban Betyár – for dinner. Fantastic!!! The night before our bus departure (which would have been the day we were getting on the boat but couldn’t due to the water levels), we changed hotels from the one we were already in (the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus) to the one provided by Avalon Waterways (the Sofitel Budapest Chain Bridge). The breakfast was fantastic, the staff was wonderful, and the lobby was nice, but the room was not so great. It was conveniently located near the Chain Bridge, and we were only there for one night, so it worked out just fine, but I would have been disappointed if we had to stay at the Sofitel longer than one night. The next morning, we lined up and got on the buses headed to Bratislava and Vienna. I actually enjoyed the bus trip because I love to see areas outside of the city centers. The buses were modern and comfortable, with experienced drivers. The guides provided narration as we traveled and pointed out sites we might be interested in. Bratislava was great. I would love to go back and explore more of the city. The old walls, the little shops, the cobbled streets. It was great for pictures and we enjoyed hearing the guide give us the history of the city. Make sure to buy some of the honey wine they’re famous for! We arrived in Vienna late afternoon that same day and boarded the ship. The Vista and its staff made a great first impression. The ship was gorgeous, well appointed, with beautiful lounge and dining areas, comfortable rooms, and plenty of places to relax and enjoy the view. The staff was friendly and attentive. Our room was directly across from our friend’s room, located at the very back of the ship. We loved being the last room in the corridor, as we had quick access to the rear lounge, most of the time having it all to ourselves! The 24/7 coffee machine was a big hit with us - lattes at any hour of the day! The tours of each town we stopped at started early, most of them beginning between 8:30 and 10:30 AM. This doesn’t sound early for a tour, but when you have to get up, shower and get ready and have breakfast before taking off, it winds up being a very early start to the day. The tours in all the cities we visited were informative, educational, and worth going on. Even with the walking tours, there was plenty of time to explore on our own once they were over. We did a classical music concert in Vienna, rode bikes (provided by Avalon!) in Dürnstein, Austria, visited the magnificent Benedictine Abbey in Melk (it’s a must see), opted to take the excursion to Český Krumlov in the Czech Republic (another fantastic little city), went shopping in Regensburg, Germany, toured the Würzburger Residenz in Würzburg, Germany – a breathtaking 18th century palace boasting one stunning room after another, you will walk through the place with your mouth gaping open – a tour I would highly recommend, a walking tour of Miltenberg (the half-timbered houses are so Bavarian!, visited Siegfried's Mechanical Museum (a showcase of approximately 350 self-playing, mechanical music instruments spanning 3 centuries) in Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany, marveled at the cathedral in Cologne, and then headed to Amsterdam for the final leg of our tour where we took a canal boat cruise, walked through the red light district, visited a diamond factory, saw wooden shoes being made, and toured windmills. After Amsterdam, we spent four nights in Paris and came back to do one last night in Amsterdam before flying back home. What a trip! The only negative thing I can think of regarding the cruise was the fact that most of the sailing was done at night. I understand not wasting cruise days for travel when they can travel at night when everyone’s sleeping and wake up in the next city on your tour the next morning, but the commercials and brochures and videos show couples watching the beautiful European villages go by while sipping wine on their balconies, and that’s just not the case. I would have liked to have more daytime travel. I also want to make a quick comment about the internet on the ship. I'm hopelessly addicted to the internet. I'm a blogger (www.salenalettera.com), I am active on Instagram, I'm a frequent emailer, and I like to read news and Google to my heart's content, no matter where I am in the world. And I have to say, the internet was great. I was able to do everything I needed to, there was only one service interruption, which was promptly fixed, and the front desk even loaned me a laptop computer because the tablet I brought with me was more difficult to blog from than I had anticipated. It was much easier to use the actual keyboard on a laptop. Several people have asked me about the weather this time of year. For me, it was perfect. I hate the heat so the cool temperatures suited me just fine. Some villages were quite cold, 38-40 degrees Fahrenheit, some days it was overcast, and a few days we had drizzly rain, but it didn't affect our experience negatively. My husband brought a fleece vest, several long sleeved shirts, and one of those super-thin but warm puffer jackets and all of that worked well for him. I just had a couple of thin sweaters, a few pashminas, and a long, duster-style sweater "coat" - not really a coat, just a heavier sweater material. I layered when it was cooler and was able to take things off as it warmed up. My only other advice....wear comfortable shoes. There is a TON of walking!!! I am overweight and out of shape, but I still walked an average of 5 miles per day. One day we did 6.7 miles!! The pace of the groups was easy to keep up with and if you're really challenged with walking, or use a cane, or just find it hard to keep up, they do have a "gentle walker" group you can join. It's the same tour, to the same places, just a little slower paced. The upside to all the walking? Even with all the eating I did, the desserts I had, and the lattes I consumed, when I got home, I was 13 pounds lighter! This was a fantastic river cruise and I'd recommend it to anyone. It was a great first-time river cruise experience. Can't wait to do another one! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This cruise went along the waterways that my wife and I really wanted to travel on. From the time we checked in, the staff was friendly, professional, and provided attention to detail. All of our needs were met and the staff made it a ... Read More
This cruise went along the waterways that my wife and I really wanted to travel on. From the time we checked in, the staff was friendly, professional, and provided attention to detail. All of our needs were met and the staff made it a point to remember what our choices were so they could better anticipate what would make us happy. The excursions were great and we learned quite a bit about the different towns along the way. I met people on my trip, that I'll never forget and made new friends. The cabin was nice, clean, and quiet. The entire ship was clean and easy to maneuver through. The food throughout the day was delicious and plentiful. The service was excellent. There was live entertainment that kept the fun alive into the night. Overall, the entire cruise was amazing and I'd highly recommend Avalon Waterways to anyone who is considering river cruising. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We booked aboard the Avalon Vista from Budapest to Nuremberg. We really had a wonderful trip. Due to low water levels our cruise had to be altered multiple times. Avalon handled these changes nearly seamlessly and bent over backward ... Read More
We booked aboard the Avalon Vista from Budapest to Nuremberg. We really had a wonderful trip. Due to low water levels our cruise had to be altered multiple times. Avalon handled these changes nearly seamlessly and bent over backward to ensure that we were happy. They went above and beyond. I don't remember hearing hardly any complaints. Our cruise director Istvan Pinter was wonderful. Calm, cool, collected, helpful, understanding and more. It can't have been easy to handle the logistics of all the changes. We may have had to take a bus in a couple unexpected places but the trade off was hardly a cloud in the sky! Beautiful, warmer than expected weather every day!! Not one rain drop. The Avalon Vista is a great ship. Clean, well appointed. The staff was very friendly and accommodating. Some of my favorite places on this trip were an unplanned outing to Bratislava, Slovakia; our excursion to the Bohemian town of Český Krumlov; and Durnstein. The food was generally amazing! There was only one day at lunch when I had a hard time finding something I liked. I am sure if I had asked they would have made me something as well. They were very good about that. All in all this was a great trip. Avalon is great and the Vista was great. I know there are other companies that cost a lot more, and I don't know why anyone would chose them over Avalon!! Our time in port and our excursions were wonderful! The only things I had any complaints about were I wish there had been a better beer selection on board (the WINE however was amazing) and I wish someone had suggested that some of us might like to ride a bike along the river instead of being on board for the shortest distance between ports (15 - 20 miles). Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
What we wanted - cruising down the river with views from our balcony. What we got - bus trips and views of other ships docked cheek by jowl. The Danube has been in low water state for MONTHS apparently and so each cruise line has ... Read More
What we wanted - cruising down the river with views from our balcony. What we got - bus trips and views of other ships docked cheek by jowl. The Danube has been in low water state for MONTHS apparently and so each cruise line has restricted the number of ports of call and anchored for days in some, essentially just providing an hotel for the night and bus tours for the days. We were supposed to sail from Budapest to Nuremberg but ended up with less than half of that ( and mostly tied up at dock at that!) The ship, accommodation and staff were very good indeed, but we should have been advised months before we sailed that the brochure was a fiction! Not a happy cruiser! Apparently Viking passengers have been offered a 25% refund, no such offer from Avalon. To say we are disappointed is clearly an understatement Buyer beware, as this may continue in 2019 unless there are floods this winter. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
What a marvelous start, all of the crew treated us as long term good friends, right from the Captain to the room staff. Our Cruise Director Ms. Barbara Bocz proved to be the number one person to handle all requests , solve any problems ... Read More
What a marvelous start, all of the crew treated us as long term good friends, right from the Captain to the room staff. Our Cruise Director Ms. Barbara Bocz proved to be the number one person to handle all requests , solve any problems and in doing so, made us all happy to be onboard! The accommodations, meals, staff services in all areas far exceeded any preconceived expectations. It’s impossible to mention all the staff by name but we do wish to make special comments on the extra efforts made by Lucas, head of dining and two fantastic young ladies Beden and Mimi who were wonderfully enthusiastic and full of fun in making our meals a every enjoyable experience. Charlotte our room (233) daily basis attendant looked after our accommodations expertly and in very friendly manner . News of the required transfer to the second ship came because of river water levels , Barbara stepped up here, professionally handling all customers concerns whether staying with the cruise or going on by bus. Those that took the remainder of the trip by bus were totally refunded the days they missed on the ship and were provided hotels, transportation and food on behalf of Avalon!! We decided to stay with the cruise and received a cash compensation for our trouble. Our Cruise Director Barbara stayed on the Visionary which was fantastic!! We did have a fantastic time on the cruise and look forward to doing it again! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I selected this cruise because I wanted to experience a river cruise. I had never been on the Danube, and the towns and the cities on this voyage seemed that they were going to be historic and beautiful. We were not disappointed. ... Read More
I selected this cruise because I wanted to experience a river cruise. I had never been on the Danube, and the towns and the cities on this voyage seemed that they were going to be historic and beautiful. We were not disappointed. Hungary was amazing, (If you have the opportunity to be there and explore at least four days before embarking, I would recommend it highly.) The small towns along the way were completely enchanting and the guides gave us great insight into their past. Although I don't like bus excursions while on a cruise, I have to say that there is an excursion to Cesky Krumlov that must be taken! It's an experience like no other. The ship was pristine and the staff went over and above in order to make us comfortable and meet all of our needs. The food was delicious. There is an attempt to meet the dietary requirements of all (such as those with allergies or those who are vegan). I would suggest that more options be available to vegans, for example: having vegan options in the coffee/snack area. (I must say that the coffee/tea station at the back of the ship was a very nice touch.) There was a lovely piano player on board most afternoon and evenings. I would love to go on another river cruise with Avalon. I was very impressed by the condition of their ship, their menu, their polite and capable staff, and the itinerary offered. I would recommend going in June (or before June) when the river is still at a high level so all ports can be reached. We went in July and the river had lowered considerably. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We heard this Danube river cruise is the best in East Europe because it courses through agrarian countrysides, includes tours of interesting towns and has a special East-Euro feel due to the crew also coming from Eastern Europe. It did ... Read More
We heard this Danube river cruise is the best in East Europe because it courses through agrarian countrysides, includes tours of interesting towns and has a special East-Euro feel due to the crew also coming from Eastern Europe. It did not disappoint. Robert Zieminski, the Cruise Director is a calm, humorous, knowledgeable, professional with extensive experience in the region. A great example of first rate service is Florin, our waiter/adviser/friend. He not only humorously catered to our every need, but also offered advice on local foods, customs, and activities. Thank you, Florin. Dining was a wonderful experience. Chef prepared meals and specialties even at breakfast! The food was first class, wines from the region offered previews of shore days in the Wachau valley. We were delighted with every meal. Avalon made even the unexpected seem routine... 3 days before disembarking, a barge grounded up-river. We had to stop at Vilshofen. While there, Avalon provided coach travel to our planned destinations with seamless service. Almost every shore excursion went as planned; an excursion to Melk Abbey was even added to the provided tour list. The hotels were 5 star. Can't say enough about the services both on-board and on-shore! Thanks for a marvelous experience, Avalon! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was our first river cruise, but it won't be our last. We were busy every day and the tour guides at each port were fabulous. Our Cruise director, Maria, was amazing. She made everyone feel welcome and handled each of our ... Read More
This was our first river cruise, but it won't be our last. We were busy every day and the tour guides at each port were fabulous. Our Cruise director, Maria, was amazing. She made everyone feel welcome and handled each of our different needs and wants like magic. The extra programs on board enriched the excursions and the river experience. The food was delicious, plentiful and varied. I only gained 3 pounds because of walking everyday. Without the boots on the ground tours I would have waddled off the ship. We enjoyed each day, but didn't feel rushed at each port. It was also great to have something to do each day that we didn't have to organize ourselves or find transportation for. My husband was more relaxed since all that planning was done by Maria. All of the hotel staff and crew were friendly, helpful and considerate of our needs. We will definitely travel with Avalon again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Second sailing with Avalon and it lived up to the first. I LOVE Avalon and the way they take care of you. Great food, plenty of wine, wonderful cabin and bathroom, and the best cruise directors ever! We sailed from Budapest to Prague ... Read More
Second sailing with Avalon and it lived up to the first. I LOVE Avalon and the way they take care of you. Great food, plenty of wine, wonderful cabin and bathroom, and the best cruise directors ever! We sailed from Budapest to Prague and the sights were incredible...want to go back to Vienna, Nuremburg and was so surprised how much I enjoyed Prague at the end when we stayed over there. Nancy the cruise director was so personable, helpful and honest and made every problem a solution. You see I had caused my own problem by booking a private guide who was wonderful in Nuremburg but I had the ship docking times all wrong....went to Nancy and she called Kevin direct and got my problem all fixed even though it was not her problem. She is the BEST! And the excursion guides with the ship were all great! Took care of us perfectly and had time for all of our questions. We learned so much! Ours was a wine cruise so we learned a lot about wines, foods that go with, and more than that we explored the cities, the villages, the sights along the beautiful river. I wish it was longer to enjoy more of the cabin and relaxing as we took all the free tours, paid for some of the spectacular ones well worth the extra, and even booked some of our own, while exploring on our own too! Whew, it was a busy trip! Would definitely choose Avalon again! Our first was the Rhine and now the Danube...will have to see where to next! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
My brother took care of the booking. He did much research on the Tour line as to cost, time of year and experiences offered and the decision to go with Avalon was made. As far as my wife and I are concerned it was truly a great decision! ... Read More
My brother took care of the booking. He did much research on the Tour line as to cost, time of year and experiences offered and the decision to go with Avalon was made. As far as my wife and I are concerned it was truly a great decision! We had options as to the Fall Wine Tour or the Christmas Market Cruise. The Danube Wine Cruise was selected. It was the first cruise for my wife and me. We both had an extraordinary time. From Budapest to Prague and all the other ports of call it was a great time. The activities were numerous, you could do as much or as little as you wanted. Great accommodations land side were excellent. The Intercontinental in Budapest was much more than we expected. The city itself so vibrant and packed with history. Probably could've spent a week there. Leaving Budapest we boarded the Avalon Vista with approximately 160 other passengers to begin the Danube Adventure. The accommodations, the meals, the planned activities were extremely enjoyable. But let's face it. the cruise would only be as good as the crew on the ship. From the wait staff, Gabor, Tonya and all the others, to house keeping, they did a great job in making our experiences memorable ones. The places visited Vienna, Regensburg, Nuremburg and the other optional tours ie. Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic were truly fascinating. The final destination being Prague, truly a jewel, we were able to experience the local culture, the history of the city and Czech cuisine,wonderful. I would certainly be remiss in not mentioning our Cruise Guide, Nancy, extremely personable, accommodating and knowledgeable. She took care of every detail of the trip from when we arrived until our departure from Prague. We would love to take another Avalon cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Just heard Viking is restricting all cruises to NO KIDS. Wow! That really saddens me, because our 2017 multi-generational family vacation aboard the Avalon Vista from Budapest to Nuremburg was amazing. Our Group included 10 family ... Read More
Just heard Viking is restricting all cruises to NO KIDS. Wow! That really saddens me, because our 2017 multi-generational family vacation aboard the Avalon Vista from Budapest to Nuremburg was amazing. Our Group included 10 family members- ages 12 to 85 years. We travelled with two (2) children who would not be welcomed aboard Viking Cruise lines. The senior members of our group and junior members also loved the chess board on the deck! At any rate - Avalon was simply amazing!!! Rooms were fantastic and the itinerary literally had something for everyone. On one particular day my son and his cousin (12 and 13) road bikes with their aunt through Regensburg, while Grandpa and Great Aunt Barbara enjoyed an afternoon of folk music and a beer at the Monk's Abbey. Grandpa loved the opportunity to take his 13 year-old grandson to a classical concert in Vienna. Every single person in our group loved this vacation and would do it again in a heartbeat. If you are thinking about booking a multi-generational family vacation, don't hesitate! Grandpa says it was his best birthday gift of his life! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
My husband and I choose this river cruise because it is more intimate than an ocean cruise! Ship and crew were absolutely amazing, friendly, fun and helpful. Cruise director Nancy ran an extremely well organized cruise she had so much ... Read More
My husband and I choose this river cruise because it is more intimate than an ocean cruise! Ship and crew were absolutely amazing, friendly, fun and helpful. Cruise director Nancy ran an extremely well organized cruise she had so much information and suggestions to share, she was always available for questions. Our cabin with the panoramic view was spotless, plenty of room to move around for 2 people and loads of storage. I cant even begin to comment on the meals they were all superb so many choices. Nightly entertainment gave passengers a time to socialize with wine tastings,dancing and having fun with the crew. Service was excellent housekeeping, waitstaff and front desk always there to give you assistance with a smile. Ports and shore excursions were varied you had several optional choices but most were included. we extended our trip 2 days in Budapest pre cruise and 2 days prague post those hotels were 5 star! My husband and I were able to visit so many historical sites, everything was relaxing plus we meet some wonderful friends! Highly recommend Avalon we have already convinced a couple of our friends they leave in june! As for us we are looking into Cruising the Rhine!!!! It was an excellent way to celebrate our 40th anniversary! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We had a wonderful experience. The hotel in Budapest was very nice. The food was great. The ship was great. The staff was very pleasant. The food on the ship was great. The shore excursions were informative and the tour guides ... Read More
We had a wonderful experience. The hotel in Budapest was very nice. The food was great. The ship was great. The staff was very pleasant. The food on the ship was great. The shore excursions were informative and the tour guides were very knowledgeable and had down home humor and incite to the specifics of the town we were in. We would go on another cruse through Avalon again. The on board wine tasting/beer tasting/information on how the locks work were very nice additions to the river experience. The daily briefing for the next days events were timely and informative. The only negative was the hotel in Prague. It was NOT the hotel stated in the brochure when we signed up. The food was below par. we had to use public transportation to get to the river area where the original hotel is located. Over all we were very pleased with our experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Our Parents have done this cruise and recommended it. Adrienne the cruise director was delightful and well educated.The ship was clean and staff was nice.All of the excursions were nice, and were as described.Easy to book excursions, and ... Read More
Our Parents have done this cruise and recommended it. Adrienne the cruise director was delightful and well educated.The ship was clean and staff was nice.All of the excursions were nice, and were as described.Easy to book excursions, and the buses used to transport us were very clean and on time, and made the trips very pleasant. Guides were very informative, and qualified. We appreciated the system used to disembark, with earbuds to hear the guides. Our blinds were closed more often than not while docked , do to other boats being docked next to us, and tied to our boat.This was not a surprise as we were told this may happen. Our only frustration, and it was a BIG one was Dining. My wife and I have a Gluten allergy, and we made that clear to our travel agent, as well as Avalon. Although certain attempts were made on the menu to provide options, they were not always accurate, and the servers as well as their superior were not very helpful, or properly educated on this topic. We have been on other cruises where this was clearly a priority,and we had no food issues whatsoever. We sent an Email directly to Avalon Operations, on the last day of our cruise, due to our frustration and as of today,(26 days later), we have not heard a thing. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We have wanted to cruise the Danube for years. We liked that we would have extended in both Budapest and Prague. We wanted to do the Sound of Music tour. We didn't do much studying of our trip until close to when we left. The ... Read More
We have wanted to cruise the Danube for years. We liked that we would have extended in both Budapest and Prague. We wanted to do the Sound of Music tour. We didn't do much studying of our trip until close to when we left. The lectures enriched our experience. The wine tasting evening was so much fun. We had several GREAT tour guides. The highlight tour was in Vennia when we went to the concert. When I left something on the bus, everything was done to get it back and they were successful. The social director was super. The food was great. The size of servings were small enough that we could have desserts. We ate upstairs for breakfast and dinner because it was quieter. It is always nice to eat in the towns. The hotel in Budapest was in a great location, but the hotel in Prague was not, but the shuttles were convienent. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We had never been on a river cruise and are so glad we chose this ship. The ship was beautiful, immaculate and so well laid out. Meals were truly outstanding. Restaurant quality for sure! Wonderful wines and beer were offered with ... Read More
We had never been on a river cruise and are so glad we chose this ship. The ship was beautiful, immaculate and so well laid out. Meals were truly outstanding. Restaurant quality for sure! Wonderful wines and beer were offered with lunch and dinner. The tours were so well done, led by guides who clearly knew their locations and were enthusiastic to share their cities with us. Evening entertainment was always well done and appropriate to the port. The crew were outstanding: Robert, Djoko and Boris our waiters....all went over the top with service. Our cruise director, Eric, was most professional. In addition to paying the suggested gratuity, we tipped many others additionally because the service was so excellent. We cannot wait for our next Avalon River cruise. Having done several ocean cruises, there is just no comparison. We chose an "E" deck room and it was perfect. Clever storage everywhere. Although we packed way too much, we found ample storage for everything. This was a port intensive trip and we never missed not having the panoramic windows. We heard no engine noise and slept like babies in the comfy bed. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
A friend that is a travel agent alerted my husband and me to a deal. Boy are we glad we took it! This was our first time cruising and because of the ship size and helpful staff it was really easy to find everything and get questions ... Read More
A friend that is a travel agent alerted my husband and me to a deal. Boy are we glad we took it! This was our first time cruising and because of the ship size and helpful staff it was really easy to find everything and get questions answered. The food was mouth watering! There was always choice at every meal and quality ingredients were used. It enhanced the travel experience by incorporating the wine, beers, breads and other food items from the local places we were visiting. Your glass was never empty, as the servers were very attentive. The live entertainment that was brought on board was very good. However, I must say the DJ that was in the lounge during happy hour, did not play a variety of music and many songs were repeated night after night. The quality of his sound system was great though. The wine and beer tastings were educational and fun. A wine master did tastings and a wine pairing meal that was to die for. The beer brewers did a presentation in lederhosen! How fun was that! I cannot even put into words, the beauty of the cities/towns we visited. A Very romantic backdrop! The chosen stops gave us the flavor of the countries. We never felt rushed, just the perfect pace. The guides really gave us in depth information and land transport went smoothly. We definitely would cruise with Avalon again to another destination. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This was our first river cruise, and it was outstanding. Above all, everything was exceptionally well organized, we were mightily impressed. Our cabin was very comfortable and well appointed. The tours were all very good. With one ... Read More
This was our first river cruise, and it was outstanding. Above all, everything was exceptionally well organized, we were mightily impressed. Our cabin was very comfortable and well appointed. The tours were all very good. With one exception, the tour guides were excellent. We thought the amount of tour time vs. free time was very well balanced. The food on board the boat was excellent. Our tour included hotel stays at each end, and the hotels were very very good. Our only comment would be that it would great to have better wifi, but that is getting down to nitpicking. A walking tour was included in each city we visited and we found those very helpful. We did go on one additional cruise, to the medievil town of Cesky Kromluv and it was very worthwhile. Wines with dinner were included in our cruise price. There was also a Happy Hour with half price drinks, and that worked well for us as far as a cocktail before dinner. The coffee machine with lattes and other coffee drinks in the lounge at the back of the ship was a very nice amenity! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
My trip on Avalon Vista was a dream come true. I have sailed on dozens of ocean cruises, but this was my first river cruise. I was amazed at how many things were complimentary. Free excursions in every port - with excellent guides and ... Read More
My trip on Avalon Vista was a dream come true. I have sailed on dozens of ocean cruises, but this was my first river cruise. I was amazed at how many things were complimentary. Free excursions in every port - with excellent guides and sights. Free soft drinks, beer, or wine with meals, free wi-fi, free wine tasting, free beer tasting. Complimentary coffee, tea, cappuccino, hot chocolate and cookies or pastries 24/7. I am lalso loved the size of the vessel (160 passengers). The food was excellent, with a focus on regional specialties. The crew were friendly and attentive. The Cruise Director was very well-organized. This cruise included hotel stays at beginning (2 nights in Budapest) and the end (3 nights in Prague). The transitions were handled very smoothly, and the Cruise Director remained with us throughout the 13 days. It was wonderful to have more time in these special cities. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was a very good value vacation with hotel nights in Budapest and Prague included , full breakfasts and tours in those cities. The ship was lovely as was our cabin. The meals were delicious and beautifully presented. The staff were ... Read More
This was a very good value vacation with hotel nights in Budapest and Prague included , full breakfasts and tours in those cities. The ship was lovely as was our cabin. The meals were delicious and beautifully presented. The staff were friendly and accommodating. The mood was relaxed and straightforward. Maps of each destination and daily agendas in each cabin along with a daily cruise talk from our cruise director enhanced our experience also. Every tour was well organized and on time without a hitch. Very professional, extremely memorable. Learning about Austrian wines and German beer and sausages was fun. The concert in Vienna was excellent,not to be missed. The Hungarian evening tour was fun as was the Czeck folklore dinner . On the last night the concert in Prague was also very enjoyable. There was lots of free time allotted if you chose to do your own thing in the stops along the way. Fall is a beautiful time along the Danube. The leaves were bright red yellow and orange which added exceptional beauty to the scenery. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Avalon was highly recommended by friends, so we gave it a try...we were NOT disappointed! Our friends gave us some wonderful tips before our travel. We spent two extra days in Budapest and would have liked one more. The hop on hop off ... Read More
Avalon was highly recommended by friends, so we gave it a try...we were NOT disappointed! Our friends gave us some wonderful tips before our travel. We spent two extra days in Budapest and would have liked one more. The hop on hop off bus was a great way to see all we wanted to see. Embarkation was great. We met at the hotel and were bussed to our ship where our bags were waiting for us. Our cabin was very nice and the bathroom was fabulous....quite large for being on a ship! Everything was clean, modern, and wonderful. We wanted 'casual' and that's exactly what we got! We could have dressed up for dinner each night, but it wasn't required. The meals onboard were quite good and the entire staff was amazing! Sylvia, our tour director was the best. She arranged some VERY interesting and fun entertainment onboard as well as the wonderful shore excursions. We will DEFINITELY be back to Avalon!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
I did not take this cruise to london and went west from budapest to amsterdam. it all started in budapest. i arrived one day early, just in case the luggage didn't appear on my british air flight from miami arriving on september ... Read More
I did not take this cruise to london and went west from budapest to amsterdam. it all started in budapest. i arrived one day early, just in case the luggage didn't appear on my british air flight from miami arriving on september 25. It gave me time to meet a friend who took me on a walking tour and we had the greatest sweet and coffee on this little side street. I stayed at the marriott hotel and had a view of a lifetime...facing the bridge and every famous building in budapest! the next day the meeting locale was at the intercontinental hotel, also on the river that separates buda from pest. i believe that the only negative of the entire trip, looking back at this point.. Was on the first day with avalon and took place at the get-together meeting at the intercontinental. the luggage was checked in and when i asked the agent in charge a question about the embarkation she said: "i can't answer your question...i am just here to check you in." she provided no happy "hello and welcome to avalon". This was quite disappointing as was the room where we met. there weren't enough tables and seats and no one met us from avalon. oh well...everything can't be great....maybe they will change this in the future. What made up for this poor beginning was the ship, the cabin, the dining experience, the entertainment, all of the superb service and we had a wonderful cruise director, sylvia, who lived just outside of amsterdam in the netherlands. The designer of the staterooms needs to be congratulated as well...all of the beds faced the sliding glass doors...you could see the sights by opening the curtains and then by opening the door. they provided all of us with a clear view of the countryside from your comfortable bed.. even the soaps and shampoo were superb...occitane... In the restaurant i always sat with the same waiter: pugi...what a super representative for avalon. Not that the other servers weren't great...but, pugi was the best. Have i praised this cruise too much? this is just the beginning. and i should mention that the shore excursions were great because they were geared for everyone. if a traveller had trouble walking, they could take the green gentle walk and even use walking sticks, or maybe the fast walkers would take the red guide for some great exercise as well as seeing the sites. i also was impressed with each guide on the excursions as headphones were supplied to everyone daily. Bottom line: i was never so impressed with a riverboat tour which travelled west from budapest to amsterdam. the avalon vista was spotless. what an experience. But i do have a second suggestion (in addition to the meet and greet at the beginning of the trip)...the gymnasium needs one more piece of machinery now that everyone is so into health and body. the best elliptical machine on the market is manufactured by lifefitness and it would complete the gym since they have all lifefitness machines already. viking does not even offer any exercise equipment or even a small room for exercise. i was told on the phone, when i inquired about an exercise facility: "our clients are older and don't want a fitness center!" i took total offense and hung up the phone. kudos to avalon again. they have the beginnings of a proper facility...now all that is needed is to enhance the exercise equipment experience by adding the elliptical which more and more people are now using. But,i should add that late at night while reading in the reading and lounge area...i had my cup of coffee and two cookies( the greatest fresh cookies). what's two cookies when i used the treadmill for one hour and did all of the walking on the tours. And finally, disembarkation was so perfectly planned, it was just like one of the large ocean liners. Bottom line #2: do i recommend avalon vista?...a definite yes. It's a great value for the money. The excitement you will experience will be happiness and decision you make as you plan your next avalon adventure somewhere else in the world. I am sold on avalon. and i thought that some of the other lines were okay. This is beyond okay...try it...you'll like it! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
My friends picked this cruise and invited me to go along. I had always wanted to do a river cruise so I signed up. They chose this one because the single traveler fee was less than other cruise lines and because it had an extensive list ... Read More
My friends picked this cruise and invited me to go along. I had always wanted to do a river cruise so I signed up. They chose this one because the single traveler fee was less than other cruise lines and because it had an extensive list of included excursions. We did only the river part of the cruise and did things on our own in Budapest and in Nuremberg and Prague. The cabins are very nice but small. Every square inch is utilized. The bathroom is pretty big, considering. As long as you follow the suitcase guides and can fit it under the bed, the cabin is very comfortable. I enjoyed everything. I have two issues. I don't walk well and I'm allergic to wheat. The tours were great. All of the included tours had a "gentle " Walker option for slow pokes and the dining room was well equipped to have gluten free options. Christian, the maitre'd was super! He made sure everyone was happy. For me, he was outstanding. We quickly identified Gary as an outstanding waiter and sat with him most meals. He was super attentive. The rooms were very clean. All bedding was changed mid week. Towels were luxurious and they were changed twice a day if needed. The your director was outstanding. She was very well organized. Tours went without hitch. Her daily on board talks were excellent. I understand she moves from cruise to cruise and doesn't stay with the Vista. Her name was Sabine. The cruise ship was great. We loved the lounge on the back of the boat. Pastries and drinks are always available. I loved it all. Great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Because of low water levels on the Danube, our trip was not up to our expectations. Avalon handled the situation very poorly. We called them before we left for the cruise and we were told that sailings were going as scheduled. They ... Read More
Because of low water levels on the Danube, our trip was not up to our expectations. Avalon handled the situation very poorly. We called them before we left for the cruise and we were told that sailings were going as scheduled. They actually knew at that time that other trips had been interrupted. Not only did we have to switch our boat once, but we had to pack up and move twice. From other reviews we were told that the Avalon crew was exceptional. We did not find that was the case. As a matter of fact, our cruise director had no personality at all. The crew was lacking smiles and I feel it may be because of the additional work that they had to do that week. We embarked in Budapest and attempted to sail to Vienna. After an hour and a half we were told by the river authorities that we had to turn around. We spent an additional 2 days on the boat in Budapest sailing nowhere. Avalon made another poor decision to sail the vessel into Hungry when they could've bussed us an hour and a half West. They did offer $500 refund and a free concert p/p. We feel that was totally inadequate. We were also unable to do some of the other extra excursions that we had paid for in advance and were hoping to do. Also, we never made it to Nuremberg. That was partially our choice because we did not want to spend a day bussing around for approximately nine hours! I would definitely think twice about doing another river cruise and certainly not with Avalon! I do have to mention that the boat was beautiful and the design of the rooms was lovely. Sorry we couldn't have spent more time sailing on the boat. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
I recently completed a 12 day vacation with Avalon, consisting of two nights in Budapest at the Intercontinental Hotel, one week on the Avalon Vista cruising up the Danube and the Main-Danube Canal, and three nights in Prague. Quite ... Read More
I recently completed a 12 day vacation with Avalon, consisting of two nights in Budapest at the Intercontinental Hotel, one week on the Avalon Vista cruising up the Danube and the Main-Danube Canal, and three nights in Prague. Quite simply, it was wonderful. The service on the ship was second to none and the entire trip was under the careful supervision of a wonderful Cruise Director, Hans Beckert. The included tours were all excellent, as were the optional tours. On board entertainment included superb classical musicians from the Bratislava symphony orchestra, a fascinating presentation about locks, wine and beer tasting demonstrations, and a hilarious Crew Night. Staterooms on Decks 2 and 3 have wall to wall windows that open all the way, a glorious way to watch the river go by (Deck 1 has small windows). The hotels in Budapest and Prague were excellent and the extra time allowed for an appreciation of all that they had to offer. In contrast, a day and a half in Vienna felt rushed. But river cruising is a great way to explore the smaller centres such as Durnstein, Melk and Regensburg. This is an adults only cruise and I highly recommend it for culture vultures. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Avalon Vista Ratings
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