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974 Avalon Waterways Cruise Reviews

Our family decided that this was a very different way for us to spend the Christmas Holiday and we had never been on a river cruise before. We have been to Europe with Globus tours and were very happy with their services then and they ... Read More
Our family decided that this was a very different way for us to spend the Christmas Holiday and we had never been on a river cruise before. We have been to Europe with Globus tours and were very happy with their services then and they lived up to our expectations again. The crew was absolutely wonderful. We have a family member with a gluten issue and the dining staff was at her side each night to advise her of choices on the menu. We loved the choices on the menu at any meal. The cruise director was very informative about every stop we made on the cruise. Our room steward always met us with a warm welcoming smile and kept the room well stocked and clean. Embarking and disembarking were well organized and it was so nice to have a nice hot drink waiting for us when we returned from our tours which were so informative. The only thing that I would have liked to do was actually walk into the Black Forest rather than view it from afar. The ship was very comfortable and easy to navigate around. We especially liked the room at the rear of the ship that had coffee, tea, and always a variety of cookies and chocolates and doughnuts. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
From the moment we were met at the Prague airport by an Avalon representative who brought us to the hotel to meet our amazing cruise director, then from the moment we boarded our ship, to when the time came to disembark for our return home ... Read More
From the moment we were met at the Prague airport by an Avalon representative who brought us to the hotel to meet our amazing cruise director, then from the moment we boarded our ship, to when the time came to disembark for our return home (again with representatives escorting us to our departure area), we experienced nothing but First Class Service - all the way - by all of the Avalon employees, tour guides and others. On the ship, the attention to the smallest of details was amazing. The crew members on board were kind and friendly, always smiling, going the extra mile to help you – whether it was answering your questions or accommodating a special request for dinner. The buffet breakfasts and lunches, and dinners from menu choices, were some of the best dining out we've ever had-- worthy of the finest restaurants anywhere-- such choices and diversity, and perfect portion sizes. Our staterooms were very comfortable, we especially found the ‘fire in the fireplace’ feature to be fun and cozy. The lounges were warm and inviting, especially after returning from walking about on some damp, chilly days. It was nice to have a choice of larger lounge with bar (and excellent cocktails including specialty ones) and entertainment, as well as a smaller quiet lounge at the end of the ship for reading or just relaxing too (with snacks and coffee 24/7). There was even a small but nicely equipped fitness room with the basics which, with the tours and all else, we didn't even need. On our tours, our guides knew their stuff and enlightened us with their many insights on their country, culture and custom-- one of the trip highlights for us. What a fantastic trip we had for our first time ever cruise! It was the most relaxing and stress-free vacation we have ever experienced, and we loved the size of the ship--big enough but quite a nice size for such a cruise. We’d choose Avalon and the Imagery II again in a flash. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Had always wanted to see Christmas Markets and seeing them via a cruise sounded idyllic - it was. From the time we boarded to disembarking we were looked after superbly. The Cruise Director (Valentin) was very efficient with a great ... Read More
Had always wanted to see Christmas Markets and seeing them via a cruise sounded idyllic - it was. From the time we boarded to disembarking we were looked after superbly. The Cruise Director (Valentin) was very efficient with a great sense of humor which made everything run very smoothly. All the staff were very friendly and determined to make our trip as enjoyable as possible. The excursions were well planned and the guides spoke excellent English and were most informative. We were fortunate to go on the Wilhering Abbey excursion which was most interesting. The girls who conducted the tour have the makings of great tour guides. The Abbey was spectacular - one of the best we have seen. The markets were interesting, the best being the one in Vienna. The most memorable event was when the guide sang 'Silent Night' in German in Passau when it was snowing. Would we do another Avalon Cruise? In a heartbeat! Would we recommend Avalon Cruises? Without hesitation! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
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
I had previously been on another river cruise with a different company and wanted to try Avalon Waterways to compare. Avalon far exceeded my expectations and I would highly recommend using them. We enjoyed the ship, our cabin, the food, ... Read More
I had previously been on another river cruise with a different company and wanted to try Avalon Waterways to compare. Avalon far exceeded my expectations and I would highly recommend using them. We enjoyed the ship, our cabin, the food, amazing friendly staff (cruise director Valentin was the best, with his extensive knowledge and wicked humor, as was Melinda our cabin person who went above and beyond to make us feel welcome and at home) and the ports and shore excursions. We especially enjoyed all the Christmas markets, but Vienna was my favorite. The charm of the city was right up my alley and the symphony excursion was one to remember forever. We also thoroughly enjoyed the school excursion which, I was told, was a trial for future cruises. I would say YES to keeping this as part of your itinerary! This was my last overseas vacation and definitely one of the best experiences. Thank you, Avalon Waterways! 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 wonderful time with Ama Waterways for my wife's 50th. birthday going from Budapest to Nuremberg, so thought we would try a river cruise again, this time with Avalon Waterways for her 60th. from Amsterdam to Basel. The best ... Read More
We had a wonderful time with Ama Waterways for my wife's 50th. birthday going from Budapest to Nuremberg, so thought we would try a river cruise again, this time with Avalon Waterways for her 60th. from Amsterdam to Basel. The best thing about this cruise was the food - when we travelled with AMA previously, the food was somewhat bland, but, other than the last night when presumably the chef was off and the option was mainly pasta which came missing some of the ingredients and barely warm, the food on the Avalon Panorama was excellent. Having said that, there was an advert on the Avalon web-site for a tapas/tasting menu option which we had planned to take for the 60th. birthday evening - when we checked in however, we were told that this was no longer being offered - the only option being a reduced menu buffet in the lounge. TIP: On the welcome evening drinks, trays of hors d'oeuvres were offered, but we only managed to get one each, as the waiters seemed to be encouraging the larger groups to take as many as they wanted so that they could clear the trays and get down to the dining room, so if you want more than one, we suggest that you take a handful! Now on to the difference between AMA for Christmas Markets cruises and Avalon - when we travelled with AMA, the Christmas theme was everywhere, from the decorations, to an evening decorating the tree, meeting Santa, chocolates being left in your shoes if you left them outside your cabin door at night and mulled wine being available when you returned form each trip - with AMA it really felt like Christmas. With Avalon however, there was a half-hearted attempt at decoration, instead of mulled wine we had tepid herbal tea awaiting us on our return, and whereas the Cruise Director with AMA was always there helping out and offering suggestions, the Cruise Director on Avalon Panorama was rarely available - preferring instead to spend most of his time sitting looking at his lap-top and, even if you asked a question, he would answer it and then go straight back to his lap-top - we wondered if his linguistic limitations (he is French and clearly struggled with English) were the issue, although he announced later in the cruise that he was leaving for another job. The difference between the two cruise lines was made even more evident, as frequently we were moored alongside the Ama Magna which really was lit up like a Christmas Tree, whereas on some nights when coming back to the Avalon Panorama, we had difficulty seeing the way on slippery decks and stairs. Now on to other issues with the Avalon Panorama:- Check-in: For some reason the cabin which we had booked in the Summer through Avalon's U.K. company was not allocated to us and we were asked to switch to another cabin - we refused, and after some delay were advised that the cabin was now ours and without warning a bottle of Sekt awaited us in our cabin after Dinner. Excursions - all of the Dutch and German guides were excellent, providing well-informed tours which involved just the right mix of fact and humour and with plenty of time to "do our own thing" - unfortunately the same cannot be said of the French guides (Heidelberg and Colmar) - my apologies if we seem to be anti-French, but it is just the way the guides were (we have lived and worked in Paris, so there is no anti-French feeling - France is a place that we truly love and visit each Summer) - anyway, back to the French guides - the first, older, woman seemed slightly scatty, flitting from one idea to the next, so we rarely actually learnt anything. The younger woman (Colmar) seemed to think that she was handling a group of school-kids - taking us to the toilets just after we got off the bus and pushing us to use them and then insisting that we lined up two by two to make it easier for her to count us - we almost expected to get detention if we said the wrong thing - maybe she should apply for a job as a school-mistress/stewardess on British Airways! N.B.: We didn't go on the Black Forest trip, preferring the shorter trip to Colmar, but those that did go, came back complaining that not all of the promised stops were possible due to some of the guests being too slow - maybe there is a need to separate the group between those who are more mobile and those who are not and adapt the stops accordingly? As for the excursions, the best was to Rudesheim, particularly the mechanical organ museum - not normally our thing, but the guide was outstanding (a member of the family that owns the museum) and a talented singer. Entertainment - the resident musician was excellent on all of the instruments that he played, however after listening to him on the first night, on the next night it became clear that he could only play a limited range of music, as he only had backing tracks for one evening of music - we suggest that these be extended to provide a degree of variety - I'm sad to say that, whereas we would have been more than happy to spend each evening in the lounge/bar, after a couple of evenings we moved to the coffee-lounge - AMA Waterways had a disco which, in hindsight, was better, as the music changed each night (with a few regular favourites of course) and made for a more relaxing atmosphere. Check-out: When we left the AMA waterways vessel, there was a line of people helping guests with their luggage (the Captain took ours! - by the way the Captain on the Avalon Panorama was rarely seen and no Captain's Table). By contrast, there was only one person handling a coach-load of guests disembarking, so we had to carry our own bags off the boat to the waiting taxi. Summary: It was good to try a different cruise-line and the dining was truly memorable (other than that last night when standards plummeted), but if we go on a Christmas Markets cruise, we want to feel Christmassy, so next time we travel (probably the reverse of our original cruise with AMA Waterways), we will definitely use AMA waterways. Read Less
Sail Date November 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
Overall good cruise with somewhat interesting itinerary on a relatively comfortable ship and a good crew. We saw what we came to see - how real people of the 2 countries live, many historic sites. Clearly Seam Riep and Angkor Wat are the ... Read More
Overall good cruise with somewhat interesting itinerary on a relatively comfortable ship and a good crew. We saw what we came to see - how real people of the 2 countries live, many historic sites. Clearly Seam Riep and Angkor Wat are the highlights of the tour. Rooms are well designed and a bathroom is good size and well functioned. Great hotels selection. However, I want to concentrate my review on improvement areas: 1. Avalon customer Service - the worst. Never had worse experience. Not a single question could be answered by phone. Provide incorrect information regarding visa's to Cambodia, which costs money to its guests, know it, but refuse to take any accountability or correct it. Whole itinerary, with the exception of hotels, is driven by a single goal - not to spend an extra dollar 2.Tips - if it is mandatory, don't call it tips and just include it as part of the overall price. Even if you pre-pay, cruise director and tour guides are still expecting you to pay extra. I didn't understand why cruise director had to publicly announce who pre-paid ( we pre-paid it well in advance) and who did not... and even if you pre-paid, you had to worry that 'crew is aware of it' and submit a voucher . Why should it be my problem that crew is aware? Clearly, employees are not paid by Avalon and 'tips' is their pay, so make it straightforward and leave 'tips' to reward extra service. 3. Entertainment - non existent. On other similar size ships guests are entertained by the crew. This crew does not have extra talents and this is OK. There are many other options. Both countries are known for excellent musical schools, so why not to invite some string quartet to entertain people with good music? Instead, one night we were entertained by the orphanage kids. Great kids and we were more then willing to donate to the orphanage, but as it lasted 15 min, you could still have professional musicians to play for another 45-60 min. Another night we had to listen to a multi talented cruise director sing, but again it could be done by the professional musicians. I guess, the difference is - in both options it was free for Avalon or, otherwise, Avalon would have to pay.Last night dinner - the worst food and entertainment reminding 3rd rate high school or worse. Complete waste of time in otherwise beautiful city, but probably very inexpensive option for Avalon 4.Tours - overall good program. However, why did you bring us to the 'silversmith workshop', which was clearly not a workshop, but rather a way to sell an overpriced silver staff that could be bought for half the price at Siem Reap? That day we didn't have anything else to do, so feels like a way to artificially extend tour by a day.... Or visit to a scarf making workshop, which also has nothing to do with the workshop, but a way to sell scarfs. Also, while it is interesting to see how 'real people' live, it was repetitive and a little too much. Show us how countries developed, show us how middle class lives, take us to the theater... 5. Environment - a little too much of the 'family' staff. Sometimes felt like a cult, when everybody has to be thankful to our 'dear leader' - cruise director (great guy) and tour guides and pay extra for it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We were intrigued by the Christmas Markets and seeing multiple countries. This cruise did not dissapoint. Everything was top notch. The excursions were interesting, the lounges were cozy and provided games to onboard entertainment, food ... Read More
We were intrigued by the Christmas Markets and seeing multiple countries. This cruise did not dissapoint. Everything was top notch. The excursions were interesting, the lounges were cozy and provided games to onboard entertainment, food was good- lots of choices. We were kept informed of all activities on a daily basis. The staff was over the top friendly. The rooms were tidied twice a day. Everything went off without a hitch. We did miss the Christmas market in Nuremberg as it was actually opening the next day, but to make up for it, we were refunded our fee to Salzburg. Our cruise was a mix of ages, from older teens to seniors, and the ship was very accommodating. We would definitely like to do another cruise with Avalon at some point. We had a nice overview of all the cities we stopped in, and will definitely go back to some of the cities to spend more time. 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
Our group of eight senior citizens arrived in Paris on the day before the cruise started. This gave us time to see a bit of the city, enjoy a relaxing dinner near our hotel, and get a little rest before we left on the cruise. We were ... Read More
Our group of eight senior citizens arrived in Paris on the day before the cruise started. This gave us time to see a bit of the city, enjoy a relaxing dinner near our hotel, and get a little rest before we left on the cruise. We were picked up and taken to the ship, where we had lunch. Our cruise directors arranged for taxi service and we spent the afternoon at the Arc de Triomphe. When we returned to the ship just before sailing time, our luggage had been delivered to our cabins. We unpacked and watched the city float by. The cabins are compact, but well designed to accommodate everything we brought with us. We enjoyed the large windows and the little touches of luxury - Loccitane bath products and the “fire” on our room TV wheN we went to bed each night. The food was delicious and varied and the service was wonderful. We had the same servers throughout the trip and they very quickly learned our eating and drinking preferences and often anticipated our requests. We also loved the warm towels and fruit infused drinks that greeted us when we returned to the ship after excursions. Every part of the ship was spotless and felt comfortable and even homey. The ship docked at places which made the various excursions accessible without spending hours on a bus. The guides were knowledgeable and interesting. They also were very helpful. Our guide in Rouen went out of her way to find a weekend Mass that fit in with our itinerary. The cruise director was readily available and kept us informed of schedules, special activities, and where we needed to be. We focused most of our time on the various excursions, so we were not on the ship for most of the day. We did however, participate in a few activities and enjoyed them. We especially liked a lecture on WWII on the evening before we visited the D Day landing beaches. There was a piano player/singer who entertained in the lounge most evenings. We found him to be pleasant, but we actually were not in the lounge all that much. I would not say that this cruise was geared to children. There was only one child on the cruise and he did not seem happy most of the time. There were no child specific activities. After our cruise ended we spent three days in London. We were transported from the ship to the Eurostar train and the transition went very smoothly. I would definitely use the Avalon Cruise Line again. I recommend it highly. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Wanted to do a river cruise in Europe and found this one specializing in wine tasting. We had never gone on an Avalon or river cruise before. We absolutely loved it. Everything was taken care of. We felt pampered from start to finish. ... Read More
Wanted to do a river cruise in Europe and found this one specializing in wine tasting. We had never gone on an Avalon or river cruise before. We absolutely loved it. Everything was taken care of. We felt pampered from start to finish. The staff on the ship were superb. The cabin was small but adequate since we spent so little time there. The food and wine were excellent. The activities both on and off the ship were incredible. The guides and entertainers were exceptional. We learned a lot of history, wine and food knowledge, and just had a great time. We had issues with the river being too high so the cruise director had to make a lot of last minute changes. These changes did not have an impact on our experience. We still got to participate in all the excursions that we had signed up for and in fact got access to an excursion that was new (and it was incredible). Communication was exceptional and we knew exactly what was happening and when. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Chose Avalon again because of the classy way they handled the low water situation on the Rhine when we went last year and were sure their professionalism and high quality would not disappoint...and they did not! We love Avalon's ... Read More
Chose Avalon again because of the classy way they handled the low water situation on the Rhine when we went last year and were sure their professionalism and high quality would not disappoint...and they did not! We love Avalon's staterooms and their well organized shore trips as well as the quality of the staff, food...I guess everything! We traveled with my 80+ year old parents who are still very spry (my husband and I are 57 and 61) and the pace of the trip was great for all of us. We enjoyed the combination of busy shore tripping with leisurely cruising along the Seine when we could enjoy the ship and the scenery. We chose the Seine because of the opportunity to visit the beaches, Giverny, the little towns along the way and of course, Paris. The Seine trip is nice as, apart from the unavoidable long drive to the Normandy beach memorials, the shore excursions did not require much in the way of buses. Besides the WWII memorial trip, the only trip that was longer was the optional trip to Honfluers, and that was only 45 mins, I believe. We loved the ability to explore the towns and leisurely walk back to the ship ourselves. The local guides were very good. We especially liked the ones who grew up in the towns we visited and told us cute stories of their experiences. We really enjoyed the onboard crepe lunch and pastry demonstration, both very fun and resulting in delicious treats to eat while enjoying the cruise. Cruise Director Gail was exceptional as well. She was warm, funny, organized and just all around a wonderful director. Because of her shopping guidance in Rouen, I came home with significantly heavier luggage and fewer euros! My parents, when arriving on the Tapestry II, both commented how it was like being at your favorite vacation home! We stayed a couple of extra days in Paris post-cruise, and we stayed at a lovely 4+ star hotel, yet my mom commented, "if this is a 4+ star hotel, then the Avalon is a 7 star!" I think that sums up the service and quality. And one last thing...my parents fell in love with Edourd in the dining room and insisted on getting to dinner asap so that we could sit in his section. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We always wanted to try a river cruise in Europe. This was our first river cruise after experiencing numerous ocean cruises. This trip exceeded all of our exceptions, from the food, to service and itinerary. The room was extremely well ... Read More
We always wanted to try a river cruise in Europe. This was our first river cruise after experiencing numerous ocean cruises. This trip exceeded all of our exceptions, from the food, to service and itinerary. The room was extremely well laid out. The bed was so comfortable. The ship was great as well as the staff. Dining was always an experience and the wait staff was very generous with the wine/beer etc. The ports of call were beautiful and the tour guides very knowledgeable and informative on the excursions. The scenery and ports of call were so beautiful. The whole trip was very magical, and almost fairy tale with the cites being so picturesque. The entertainment was about the only thing which was a little weak. Not that it wasn't good, but just not very much. Do not book this cruise if you are going for the entertainment. However, with not much to do after a full day of sight seeing, it was nice just to go back to your room after dinner and relax. Still, we were 100% satisfied with this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Our fourth trip with Avalon River Cruises. We love this part of Europe. We chose this cruise because we have not been on the Moselle river. Wonderful included excursions. The cruise director's explanation of the castles on the ... Read More
Our fourth trip with Avalon River Cruises. We love this part of Europe. We chose this cruise because we have not been on the Moselle river. Wonderful included excursions. The cruise director's explanation of the castles on the rivers was wonderful, very informative. We only stay in a cabin with the French balcony, watching the landscape while falling asleep is the only way to go. The staff go out of their way to be friendly, helpful and provide you with a wonderful experience. The food is exceptional. The choices at breakfast and lunch are wonderful and dinner choices are amazing. The soups are better than you can find anywhere in the USA. The included extras are amazing, lunch at the oldest sausage kitchen in Germany, Rudesheim coffee and more. We stayed extra days in Budapest, but didn't have transportation to the airport, the Cruise Director found transportation for seven along with all our luggage for a extremely reasonable price. There really aren't enough words to say how happy we have been traveling with Avalon. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our second cruise on Avalon, the first was on the Rhine in September, 2017. I want to emphasize that the part of the cruise that could be controlled by Avalon was exceptional, Avalon will continue to be our first choice for river ... Read More
This was our second cruise on Avalon, the first was on the Rhine in September, 2017. I want to emphasize that the part of the cruise that could be controlled by Avalon was exceptional, Avalon will continue to be our first choice for river cruises. Cabin, dining and service were all exemplary! The hotels in Prague and Budapest were superb! Valentin, the cruise director, was personable, helpful and hilarious. The disappointing part of this experience was caused by the water level on the Danube. The itinerary had us transferring by bus from Prague to Nuremberg with an included excursion in Old Town Nuremberg. Due to the low water level we boarded at a different port and missed Nuremberg. Thus began a three day effort to get back on schedule. We spent a lot of time being bused to different excursions, so much so that it very much felt like a coach tour of Eastern Europe instead of a Danube cruise. We did visit some extraordinary towns, Passau, Salzburg, Vienna, Melk and others. Finally, the river was closed again in Budapest and we had to be bused from Slovakia. Avalon did their best to ameliorate the inconvenience of "busing": - All passengers were treated to a concert in Vienna. This was supposed to have been an optional excursion. Passengers who had paid in advance for this concert received a refund. - When we were bused to an included excursion we were provided cash for lunch since we would not be able to eat on the ship. - When we were bused to Budapest, the last stop on the cruise, we were given the option of returning to the ship after the excursion or checking into the hotel a night early at Avalon's expense. - Finally, Avalon provided a substantial partial refund of fare to compensate for the inconvenience. I was very satisfied with the cruise and Avalon's efforts to satisfy us. All that being said, I would book another cruise on the Danube but not that late in the season. The cities visited were amazing. And, of course, the Avalon experience was ourstanding. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This is my first river cruise so I don’t have a comparison with any other cruise line. I started with an optional 3 days in Prague where I had an excellent guide. In fact, on all the excursions I went on the local guides they use ... Read More
This is my first river cruise so I don’t have a comparison with any other cruise line. I started with an optional 3 days in Prague where I had an excellent guide. In fact, on all the excursions I went on the local guides they use were excellent. I met the ship in Linz and embarkation went without a hitch. My cabin was comfortable and very clean. I was traveling by myself so can’t answer for the space available for two people. The ship was well kept and the overall cleanliness seemed high. Staff always seemed to be available to help or answer questions. Coming home was a real letdown as I couldn’t just walk down the hall and be served breakfast, lunch or dinner. Everything I had was excellent and they provided enough variety to satisfy almost any appetite. Several evenings we were provided with onboard entertainment from the local area. These were very enjoyable and gave a nice respite after a day of excursions. I chose this cruise because of the variety of activities they offered. There was a range of active, discovery or classic. I ended up taking quite a few walking tours along with several of the optional tours. I did a concert in Vienna and a Hungarian dinner and wine pairing. Again, both were well done. The only glitch, and this was no ones fault, is that we had to be bussed into Budapest rather than sail in. This was due to the river being too low for the boat to navigate past Slovakia. The captain was quite apologetic but it’s difficult to argue with nature. They handled the change very professionally and we didn’t miss out on any planned activities in Budapest. If I had it to do over again I probably would spend a little more time in Budapest. That’s just my impression. Overall, the experience was great and I certainly would use Avalon again. Probably a different route next time but I would have no hesitation signing up again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Went on a Fall Rhine River cruise that started in Amsterdam and ended in Basel. It was a fantastic experience. Stopped at many interesting ports where we saw and experienced so much. You definitely aren't bored as there are so many ... Read More
Went on a Fall Rhine River cruise that started in Amsterdam and ended in Basel. It was a fantastic experience. Stopped at many interesting ports where we saw and experienced so much. You definitely aren't bored as there are so many stops and excursions planned. Wouldn't call this a relaxing vacation, as we were exhausted afterwards, but we didn't expect that either. We knew we would be on-the-go the entire time. If you are looking to experience cities and history along the Rhine, this is the way to do it. Out of the many ports we hit, our favorites were Amsterdam, Cologne, Koblenz, Heidelberg, and Strasbourg. Great cities with so much to do and see. And each one offered a little something different. Canals, bikes and narrow streets in Amsterdam. The cathedral, love lock bridge, ferris wheel, and Kolsch beer in Cologne. The architecture, history, and spitting boy in Koblenz. Castle, quaint town, and Vetter 33 in Heidelberg. The beautiful architecture and cathedral in Strasbourg, along with the food and shops. Onboard the ship was great, as well. Received fantastic service from all staff. Snacks and coffee/tea/water were available throughout the day. Meals were very good and I liked how they prepared regional foods and wines depending on the area we were sailing through. Also, liked the smaller boat compared to the larger ocean liners in that you really got to know most of the passengers to some degree - some very closely, some just in passing. But, you pretty much knew everyone onboard with only 120 cabins. Overall, it was a great experience. If you want to get a taste of multiple cities with well planned excursions and tours, this is a great way to do it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was my fourth river cruise but first on Avalon - the itinerary and sailing dates were what we wanted. We went to Bucharest three days early to explore and are very glad that we did. There is a lot to see in Bucharest and very good ... Read More
This was my fourth river cruise but first on Avalon - the itinerary and sailing dates were what we wanted. We went to Bucharest three days early to explore and are very glad that we did. There is a lot to see in Bucharest and very good food. Our accommodations on the escorted, managed part of the tour were very nice and the Cruise Director was very helpful as were the staff on the ship. The staff that made the cruise - they were efficient, competent, friendly with great senses of humor. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly - a well oiled machine. My cabin was spacious and well appointed. A few things that could have been better: Dinners took between 2 - 2.5 hours. For people like me who normally eat early that was an issue. The food came out fairly fast to begin with but by the time we got to the main course, it was usually 1.75 hours later. I rarely stayed for dessert which often was served after 9 PM - most of the offerings were not worth the calories for me. Occasionally they would have a bistro dinner in the lounge, but not all menu choices were available. Menus for both venues were clearly posted so one could decide whether to go to the dining room ahead of time. Breakfast and lunch buffets were better and they also had a bistro lunch in the lounge which we took advantage of frequently - for both portion control and to save time. I love salt, but in several cases, the food was extremely salty - several of the soups in particular. The food was presented very nicely but in some cases had little flavor. They will not give you any rare meat. They serve meat at medium or well done, but in most cases the fish mains were nicely cooked and tasty. There wasn't a lot of on board entertainment like I had seen on other river cruises where there would live entertainment from the local area almost every night. So that made going to bed early very attractive and supported the 8 AM starts. Also the sights, excursions etc, were not as interesting as other river cruises (castles, wineries etc) further up the Danube etc, but what there was, the Cruise Director pointed out and gave us some history about the area which was quite interesting and informative. Most of our local guides were good, a few meriting extra tips. Some people underestimated the strenuousness of the excursions. It took almost a week before a "gentle walking" group was formed. And then several people who might have enjoyed the "gentle walking" better than climbing 275 uneven rock steps did not join the "gentle walking group" I am not sure what can be done about this, but people who have to use the lift on the ship and who have difficulty on the gang plank might thing whether 275 uneven rock steps at a regular walking pace is a good idea. The good news is that the ship waited for us and despite the low water level was able to keep to our schedule. Kudos to the Captain. I killed a fly on my cabin mirror which stayed there smashed on the mirror for 6 days. I told the front desk staff during disembarkation in the hopes that it would be removed before the next guest occupied the room. Other than that my room was straightened every day and I got fresh towels every 5 days. I really liked the lighting in the bathroom as it also served as a great night light and the storage space in my cabin was more than adequate with plenty of hangers, shelves and drawers. We had a variety of nationalities on board so that made for interesting conversations and perspectives. I plan on keeping in touch with a few of my fellow passengers and will consider going with Avalon again on a different ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 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
Avalon never misses an acceptable value. Service is impeccable. Rooms are shining with cleanliness. Linens are superb. Unfortunately, this is not enough when you consider the price one pays per day. Cruise plan was uninspired (as ... Read More
Avalon never misses an acceptable value. Service is impeccable. Rooms are shining with cleanliness. Linens are superb. Unfortunately, this is not enough when you consider the price one pays per day. Cruise plan was uninspired (as an understatement). The stateroom was no less than claustrophobic. Taking a shower required acrobatic qualifications. Smoking areas were on the same end of the boat, thus requiring long walks in many occasions. This is highly inconsiderate and I hope Avalon doesn't attempt to re educate smokers... The food was mediocre (another understatement). The free wine matched its poor quality. On the other hand, the crew was superb. Chamber maids were devoted and meticulous. Hotel manager and dining room manager were highly professional and exceeded all expectations. Entertainment on board ranged from acceptable to very good. Bar prices were fair and didn't exhibit any greediness. To sum up: For a price tag of 500-900 USD per day, Avalon passengers deserve better. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this ship for its itinerary on the Seine. We were truly looking forward to Vernon and Monet's Garden, which was spectacular, but we fell in love with every inch of France we saw!! Avalon knows how to treat passengers like ... Read More
We chose this ship for its itinerary on the Seine. We were truly looking forward to Vernon and Monet's Garden, which was spectacular, but we fell in love with every inch of France we saw!! Avalon knows how to treat passengers like royalty. From the captain to the chamber maids this crew was exceptionally talented at their job and very eager to assist passengers in any way possible. The cruise director works for a different company, and while she was pleasant enough I felt she had no empathy, and lacked a bit in the customer service area. Unfortunately I became ill on an excursion, and was essentially abandoned. When we did get back to the ship we had to seek her out. It was hours later, and she didn't call, come by the cabin, or leave a note. This ship is clean and beautiful. Every single morsel of food was delicious! Everything was absolutely first class. We stayed in a smaller cabin on Indigo deck, and it was roomier than we'd find on an ocean cruise, and nicely appointed. The bed was roomy and very comfortable. We would most definitely recommend this cruise and would definitely sail with Avalon again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
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