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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this ship for its itinerary as we wanted to visit the Netherlands to see the tulips, in particular Keukenhof Gardens. This was our first river cruise so we splurged on an upper cabin, Cabin 314. Great room with a very comfortable ... Read More
We chose this ship for its itinerary as we wanted to visit the Netherlands to see the tulips, in particular Keukenhof Gardens. This was our first river cruise so we splurged on an upper cabin, Cabin 314. Great room with a very comfortable bed that faced huge windows overlooking the passing scenery. Plenty of storage but could have had a few more drawers. Ports were good but traffic traveling to and from the Keukenhof, Brussels and Bruges became an issue. They may have been better served to find closer ports, if possible. Ship has a large lounge where they hold light lunches and dinner, entertainment in the evening, yoga and other exercise classes during the day and a very nice bar. There is a smaller lounge at the rear of the ship that had games, books, drinks and cookies & muffins. They could have changed their snacks more frequently as they served the same type daily. Evening entertainment was usually a piano player and select nights they invited a trio who played 50s and 60s and another who played classical music. Evening entertainment was not a draw for us or in general the type of passengers on the ship. They did have a happy hour usually from 5:45 to 6:45 where drinks are half price and then the cruise director gave a brief overview of the next day’s port of call. The ship was immaculate at all times. The main dining room served all three meals as it was too chilly for the upper deck to be open. Breakfast was a buffet with an egg station where you can order omelets or eggs any way. They usually had items that could be ordered directly from the kitchen, such as waffles, pancakes, etc. Lunch was a buffet and was very tasty with a nice selection every day and usually a carving station. Dinner was not as consistent. Portions were unusually small. I ordered a shrimp cocktail which had one shrimp and a few teeny tiny ones. I had a puff pastry ragout but got no puff pastry. The cream soups were very good. Entrees were a total mixed bag. I ordered fish and it was over cooked, another time is was undercooked, the rack of lamb was over seasoned and some days the pasta dish was delicious and another it was watery. Such a shame. Wine and beer were free flowing during dinner which is a nice change from regular cruises. Service was inconsistent as well. It is open seating and dinner is served from 7 to 9. If you sat closer to the kitchen, service was generally quicker and more attentive than sitting towards the entrance. They could use a few more service staff. Dining was very casual and you could wear the same clothes you wore during the day. No one dressed for dinner. I wish I knew in advance and I would have not packed some of my clothes. Staff was great. The captain was very visible and frequently was at the gangway when we were leaving or coming back from excursions. The cruise director, Bram, was all over and did a wonderful job keeping us informed and dealing with questions and resolving issue. The wait staff, housekeeping, front desk could not have been nicer. The fitness center is extremely small - one treadmill, one bike and one weight table. They did have exercise classes early in the morning and throughout the day but we were mostly out on excursions. The weather was chilly so you need to dress in layers and good walking shoes. we frequently did over 10 miles per day but we like to wander. At embarkation, they greeted you and you stayed comfortably in the lounge with piano music, light lunch and an available bar until the rooms were ready. At disembarkation, we were staying an extra day. You requested the day before for a taxi and while you had to be out of your room by 9 AM, you waited comfortably in the lounge until it arrived. All very civilized and you did not have to leave your luggage out the day before, just 1/2 hour before you had to leave or by 9AM. I would recommend this tulip cruise but be aware of dining issues. I would definitely go on another Avalon cruise if they were going to areas of interest. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
I have always wanted to see the tulip fields of Holland in bloom so for our 40th anniversary we chose this cruise. It was even better that we had hoped. We loved the cabin and waking up each morning watching the sites go by even before ... Read More
I have always wanted to see the tulip fields of Holland in bloom so for our 40th anniversary we chose this cruise. It was even better that we had hoped. We loved the cabin and waking up each morning watching the sites go by even before we got out of bed! It was also nice having a choice if included excursions at each port. Everything was so well organized and the port talks during cocktail hour each evening were very helpful to get us prepared for our adventures the next day. We were amazed at how quickly and efficiently the meals were served to so many in the dining room. The service in every area of the ship was phenomenal as well because it was clear that each member of the staff really enjoyed their job and bent over backwards to make our journey exceptional. We will be back for more Avalon cruises in the future I am sure. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
First I should say that I did not want to go on this trip and was dragged to the trip. Now let me say it was the best vacation ever and I can’t wait to go back. Everything was perfect, weather not perfect but it was fine as we dressed ... Read More
First I should say that I did not want to go on this trip and was dragged to the trip. Now let me say it was the best vacation ever and I can’t wait to go back. Everything was perfect, weather not perfect but it was fine as we dressed for it and had planned for it. We went early spring to insure the water levels as the last thing we wanted on our cruise was to be bussed. Liked - food was very good, and my wine glass was never empty even at the two hour dinners. Cruise director was excellent, this person is likely the most important part of a cruise. Ours was clear, direct, and made no excuses...”walking will be hard today”, “food at xx is excellent”, he was really good. Our room was made up twice a day and I don’t think we ever went back after breakfast when it wasn’t done. The excursions were very good as were the guides. No kids and that’s a great thing. It’s so hard to have an adult trip these days, it was very appreciated that they were not here, truth be told imho kids would hate river cruising. No goofy, no slides to the pool, no .........before jumping on my case, I raised two so I know what I speak of. I know your kids act perfectly, mine did ,but honestly they would not like river cruising. Aside from the excursions around the towns, two and three hour 5 course dinners are the evenings entertainment. Dislike- internet is slow, not much on tv. Funny we watched Casablanca every night falling asleep, picking back up where we left the prior evening. we were so tired every night we never did finish the show! My wife did not care for the exercise room, said too small, why bother? We’re walking miles every day. This is not like ocean cruising, no entertainment, except locals came on board a few nights and they were good. But honestly after walking all day, drinking wine and enjoying everyone’s company at dinner, who cares..time for bed! It was a great trip, everything was fine including the first class air tickets, nice way to travel. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Being first timers overseas we missed a few bases. Paris arrival should have been a few days before our departure on the Tapestry II, but that's our fault.. Leaving the states late in the day, our flights and arrival were uneventful ... Read More
Being first timers overseas we missed a few bases. Paris arrival should have been a few days before our departure on the Tapestry II, but that's our fault.. Leaving the states late in the day, our flights and arrival were uneventful and Avalon rep was waiting with a huge smile upon landing in Paris. (Note: for those with walking difficulty, extremely important for you to make arrangements for transportation to main terminal from your gate - very long walk.) When transported from hotel to Tapestry II, our guide was no where to be found until approximately 10 minutes before the bus pulled up. We did not see her at the Avalon table in the hotel at all. Also noted, a tour group with 30 people were loaded prior to the others and there was no exceptions made for a gentleman who was disabled . He was not offered early loading. Cabin was perfect size, plenty of room under the bed for suitcases. Wardrobe huge with plenty of shelves, hangers, extra blankets . Bed was great size, a little firm, but we simply followed the instructions on the pre-printed "note" left on bed to have steward adjust by next night's retirement. Great Pillows! Loved the NO balcony layout, easy opening on the doors to outside, even though a little cold while sailing we enjoyed this new effect, enabling us to sit at our table or sofa to see the sights. Bathroom, shower, vanity all in great taste and roomy! Lighted makeup mirror a plus ! Plenty of storage space there and throughout the entire cabin! Optional linen and towel change always appreciated !. Only had a problem with 'not having washcloths'. Maid seemed to forget them twice ... Nightly turn down service is definitely a favorite of mine ! Dining and food choices were superb. Loved Local recipes suggested. Selection of wines were very good, but Volume / Size of drinks purchased from menu during cocktail and happy hour should be adjusted. Service was good to excellent, easy to stick with same waiter, same table if you dine at same hour each nite. Breakfast was always a treat - such a variety of local foods and fruits. The convenience of the Aft Lounge was appreciated for quiet time, reading, games, with self service for juices, latte's and cappuccino. Due to weather, we did not experience time on the Sky Deck. Our Cruise Director was just wonderful.. Very knowledgeable, accommodating ! Great sense of humor ! We had engine problems in 1st day of sailing and he worked overtime to adjust everyone's itinerary if needed. He helped us change an excursion with 'another' travel team in London prior to our disembarking in Paris. The only disappointment we had was regarding our excursions. The length of walking is NOT emphasized enough in the brochure. The walk from the parking lot to the cemetery and Omaha Beach were almost to much for a few. No scooters or carts were available or offered to anyone who may have wanted them. No Museum stops were scheduled. The bathrooms on the buses are terribly small and inconvenient. We had to buy something at the restaurant we stopped at to use the restroom. Maybe more time should be allotted on some of the excursions to allow tourists to shop or explore more with the guide. We did take a 'slower paced' tour into one small town but then had to climb 2 flights of stairs to get to the main road.. All in All, after having cruised 8 times on major ships, we have found we prefer the smaller more intimate setting for some future traveling. All of the Staff on Tapestry II were very sweet, knowledgeable and accommodating. We will definitely be sailing with Avalon again! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Friends highly recommended Avalon Waterways. We arrived in Paris and were brought directly to our ship. After checking in we were able to walk to the Eiffel Tower for a few photos. The ship was very nice. Our cabin was spacious ... Read More
Friends highly recommended Avalon Waterways. We arrived in Paris and were brought directly to our ship. After checking in we were able to walk to the Eiffel Tower for a few photos. The ship was very nice. Our cabin was spacious and clean. I thought the food was good. We ate the majority of our lunches and dinners on the panoramic deck. Fellow travelers were pleasant and welcoming. Entertainment was enjoyable. I enjoyed almost all of the land excursions. I would have liked less bus travel. The guides were informative and accommodating. The London leg of the trip was disappointing. The city tour was rushed. Our hotel room was small, dark and the bathroom smelled like cigarettes. The only window in the room overlooked the dining room. The room lighting was very poor. Opening the drapes exposed us to the diners below and the rooms across the "courtyard." The only chair in the room was falling apart. Our fellow travelers had suites. Why the accommodations were not equitable for all of us is a mystery to me. Avalon needs to think twice about using Monogram as part of their cruise packages. VERY DISAPPOINTED! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was a wonderful trip. Rather than repeating everything I'll just say I agree with everything the main cruise critic review said. Terrific food. Comfortable cabin. Really interesting trips off the boat with very knowledgeable ... Read More
This was a wonderful trip. Rather than repeating everything I'll just say I agree with everything the main cruise critic review said. Terrific food. Comfortable cabin. Really interesting trips off the boat with very knowledgeable guides. The only reason I didn't give it the extra star is because of how hard it was to get any information from the cruise line. When you call their number you talk to someone who sounds like they are just reading the same information from the website that you are. We booked the cruise only. I asked where and when we would meet the boat. They told us to be at a hotel at 9:30am. We got there at 9:30 and sat around in the lobby for 2 hours waiting to leave. I called to see if they could arrange a flight to our next stop in Siem Reap. They said sure and sent me information about a package with hotel and tour. I asked again about just the flight and they said "No we don't arrange flights" Fine we'll get to Siem Reap on our own. Can you tell us where and when we dock in Phnom Penh? "No clue" They made a point about Visas. They said that although you could easily get a Cambodian visa when you got to Cambodia the one place you couldn't get an instant visa was at the river crossing from Vietnam to Cambodia. So we spent $250 on a visa agency since we had no Cambodian embassy here. Sure enough, every other person on the boat gave the cruise director $40 and got one. Once again, My only problems were communication with Avalon. Once we were aboard we couldn't have been happier. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We wanted a quick short get away and cruise on a river that we've never been on. The Avalon Vista has a capacity of 164 passengers & is 7 years young. It appeared well kept, was very clean & comfortable. The buffet ... Read More
We wanted a quick short get away and cruise on a river that we've never been on. The Avalon Vista has a capacity of 164 passengers & is 7 years young. It appeared well kept, was very clean & comfortable. The buffet breakfast & lunch, along with the sit down dinner was varied & very good. As this was Avalons first sailing of the season, we were able to check into our rooms upon embarkation. The disembarkation was timely & orderly. The pick up & transportation to/from airport/ship went smoothly. Although it did take us a few minutes to find the Avalon meeting location upon arrival at the airport. The staff & crew on board were friendly & helpful. The wait staff in the restaurant were 2nd to none. Entertainment was a little lacking & not to our liking, but may have been suffice for others. One night was classical music & the other was a couple of local singers which we did not attend, and of course the nightly piano player. We also had an afternoon of cheese tasting. We always enjoyed exploring Amsterdam, especially the canals, but this time we wanted to visit the Keukenhof Gardens (tulip garden), the worlds' largest flower garden, also known as the Garden of Europe. Keukenhof Gardens is in Lisse, South Holland near Rotterdam, where our ship docked & offered an excursion to. Although it was early in the season, it was still an amazing sight to see. While in Rotterdam, we also visited the town of Gouda with its well kept interesting architectual buildings from yesteryears. We then went onto Antwerp, Belgium where the weather was quite windy, but we still manage to enjoy the area. The Belgium city hall & train station are a few places to visit if you like to take pictures of the well kept buildings. Unfortunately the city hall was under renovation with a "picture" meshed cover of what the city hall would have looked like. We also stopped along the way to visit the beautiful architecture & canals in Ghent & Middleburg, along with the historic town of Willemstad, before sailing back to Amsterdam. In summary, we had an enjoyable trip. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
The cabins are clean and spacious for a river boat. We had a problem with dinner and the service of one crew member in particular, but the Cruise Director and dining manager went way above and beyond to make it right. The breakfast ... Read More
The cabins are clean and spacious for a river boat. We had a problem with dinner and the service of one crew member in particular, but the Cruise Director and dining manager went way above and beyond to make it right. The breakfast and lunch were great, but we’re not much into the hour and a half dinner every night, though the food was mostly good. We were happy with the value of the excursions, both paid and included. There was an informative port talk the evening before we docked in each port, which was very helpful. There was a cheese tasting on board in the Netherlands, which was interesting. Embarkation and disembarkation was easy and stress free. We got back to the airport at a good time- not too early to have to wait around for hours Overall it was an excellent trip and I’ll definitely travel with Avalon again and recommend to others. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Globus Friends & Family opportunity. Spring was a perfect time for our 1st river cruise. The Avalon Vista was very, very nice. The itinerary was wonderful starting & ending in Amsterdam so we stayed a few extra days both before ... Read More
Globus Friends & Family opportunity. Spring was a perfect time for our 1st river cruise. The Avalon Vista was very, very nice. The itinerary was wonderful starting & ending in Amsterdam so we stayed a few extra days both before & after the cruise. The private organ recital in Willemstad was exceptional. Being behind the Delta Pan Barrage with a local quide was so educational. Every guide was excellent & truly loved their city & history. A wonderful time, great staff, too much (not complaining) really good food. Comfortable accommodations both our cabin & all the public spaces. The staff were very well trained, very helpful, knowledgeable, courteous. The cruise directory, Tibor, made all the varied arrangements look so easy, ie; added guides, added slow walker group. The coach drivers were amazing drivers on the narrow roads, small parking spaces. Always felt very safe. Again the guides answered varied questions, knew the history, had perfect English & loved what they did. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
I chose this cruise because it was my first cruise ever and was offered on a singles 50+ website. It was a small river ship, and as I was born in Germany (U.S. Army), it as well as Switzerland was at the top of my bucket list. It felt ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it was my first cruise ever and was offered on a singles 50+ website. It was a small river ship, and as I was born in Germany (U.S. Army), it as well as Switzerland was at the top of my bucket list. It felt manageable to me, traveling solo as a deaf person. The ship’s crew were wonderful and unforgettable! Madalin in the dining room was my favorite waiter, always taking care of me and making sure I ordered the best meal on the menu. He also never forgot that I hate red wine and always poured the white without me asking. My cabin steward was wonderful, and so were ALL of the crew members! They were all in a line to greet us as we arrived, and there were many hugs upon departure. The food was fantastic, but for some reason, other passengers didn’t agree; they were used to getting tons of food at the buffets any time they wanted on the big ships. With constant port stops, there was no time to be bored. My only regret is that it was winter, so we couldn’t open our sliding glass door and turn out cabin into a balcony. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Embarkation was easy, and our room was lovely. The shore excursions were more scripted than I usually care for, but for travelers who want to spend less time figuring it out on their own it would be perfect. The service onboard was ... Read More
Embarkation was easy, and our room was lovely. The shore excursions were more scripted than I usually care for, but for travelers who want to spend less time figuring it out on their own it would be perfect. The service onboard was great. The crew were hilarious, and made you feel like you were with friends even though they were new. They were friendly and helpful. The food onboard was amazing. I tried everything from snails to oxtail, and each was amazing. And if you're not into trying unusual foods, there were still plenty of wonderful things to choose from. We (late 30s) were some of the youngest on the cruise, but by no means the most energetic. We made many friends, and really enjoyed the trip. Don't let the assumption that river cruises are only for old people keep you back. It's not true and you'll have a great time with the other passengers. Loved the cruise and look forward to many more in the future. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We wanted to experience the Christmas Markets in various cities. Except for the tragedy in Strasbourg, we got our wish. The bus tour to the Black Forest was interesting , but rather long. That was modified from the original due to the ... Read More
We wanted to experience the Christmas Markets in various cities. Except for the tragedy in Strasbourg, we got our wish. The bus tour to the Black Forest was interesting , but rather long. That was modified from the original due to the changes needed not visit Strasbourg. Meals were excellent with very attentive service. The room was quite nice - we enjoyed the bed facing the river, and the bathroom was good-size with a very nice tiled shower. We just wish it had been warmer so we could have gone up on the top deck, but we will do that on our next trip. Room storage was adequate, but we would like more drawers. The entertainment was good, especially La Strada. We had more than ample time to experience the Christmas markets, and enjoyed the walking tour of Basel very much, despite the cold. Overall we would do another Avalon cruise in a heartbeat! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise and cruise line because they were less expensive than others, and had good reviews. I also wanted to see Europe at Christmas time. I was not disappointed. Had a wonderful time. This cruise was so well done, every ... Read More
We chose this cruise and cruise line because they were less expensive than others, and had good reviews. I also wanted to see Europe at Christmas time. I was not disappointed. Had a wonderful time. This cruise was so well done, every excursion, guided tour, and everything in between was exceptional. The staff on the ship were so nice, kind, and very helpful! The food was amazing, so many choices on the menus, but not overwhelming where it was super hard to decide. I loved that the cruise was rather small in size a very intimate atmosphere. The ship was easy to get around, and felt quite cozy no matter where you were. Our cruise director Bart was just a super great guy! So personable, and knowledgeable. Anything we needed he was right there to take care of it. I loved this cruise so much we are already planning our next one. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We traveled with another couple and chose December to experience Christmas Markets. Our vacation started with 3 days in Prague. The local tour guides were excellent. We joined the city tour, Terezin, and the Avalon-sponsored Czech dinner ... Read More
We traveled with another couple and chose December to experience Christmas Markets. Our vacation started with 3 days in Prague. The local tour guides were excellent. We joined the city tour, Terezin, and the Avalon-sponsored Czech dinner at a local hall. We toured on our own the last full day. We weren't able to embark at Nuremberg as planned because of low water. Instead we traveled to Nuremberg by coach, checked out the Christmas market for a couple hours, and then were bussed to Straubing for embarkation. The following day, the Illumination cruised back to Regensburg. That, and the additional stop at Linz, Austria were the only 2 changes on the entire cruise. We were relieved that low water didn't impact our trip significantly. We enjoyed wonderful local city tours at every port. Every guide was top-notch. The ship was beautiful, clean, and all staff were so friendly and accommodating. Sabine, the cruise director, was amazing! We can't say enough about how well we were treated. We met lots of fellow cruisers and enjoyed social time with them. We will definitely cruise with Avalon again! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Our cruise down the Danube in December was truly a trip of a lifetime. The entire staff aboard the Avalon Illumination were amazing. We received first class treatment in a very relaxed, friendly and professional environment. The ... Read More
Our cruise down the Danube in December was truly a trip of a lifetime. The entire staff aboard the Avalon Illumination were amazing. We received first class treatment in a very relaxed, friendly and professional environment. The Christmas Markets and all the sites along the way were beautiful. The Illumination was the prettiest boat on the river and was "decked out" for the holidays. The food and wine selections at all meals were wonderful and the lounge/bar was perfect place to unwind and get together with fellow guests after dinner and various times throughout the day. Sabine, our Cruise Director, was very helpful with suggestions and detailed information about how to navigate each stop along the way when we wanted to go out and explore on our own. Avalon is a top notch company and we have recommended this cruise line to all of our friends back home. Thank you, Avalon, for making the beginning of our holiday season so merry and bright! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I chose this cruise as I have always loved Christmas markets and have German heritage. My sister and I did this cruise together for a milestone birthday. We spent a few days exploring the glorious city of Vienna, Austria before boarding ... Read More
I chose this cruise as I have always loved Christmas markets and have German heritage. My sister and I did this cruise together for a milestone birthday. We spent a few days exploring the glorious city of Vienna, Austria before boarding our cruise ship there. Avalon took over from there. The Avalon Vista was a beautiful ship. Meals were superb, crew was exceptional and excursions and tours were informative and fun. Our cabin was spacious and generously appointed. Service was great - crew (and especially our cruise director Gusta) were accommodating, friendly and extremely organized. We cruised along the Danube River and enjoyed several ports and port excursions. Ending in the city of Prague, this was a trip of a lifetime and I would highly recommend Avalon river cruises. I have been on several cruises on large cruise ships and this experience was by far superior. Thanks again Avalon for this adventure! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
This cruise was the best I have ever taken. The staff called you by name and was there for all your needs, The food and wine were gourmet and the waiters were awesome. Our room was big and the bathrooms were big. The woman who took care of ... Read More
This cruise was the best I have ever taken. The staff called you by name and was there for all your needs, The food and wine were gourmet and the waiters were awesome. Our room was big and the bathrooms were big. The woman who took care of our stateroom was great. The entertainment was small and cozy but the artists were very professional. We had a French singer with a guitar player one night and another night were 2 concert violinist with pianio. On the other nights we had a piano player and we would request songs. In the lounge you could go and get a cappuccino and pastry. We were late for our first excursion to the Black Forrest but they brought us back Black Forest cake from it, The excursions with the tour guides were small with electronic ear pieces so we did not miss any thing they said. We traveled in December and hit all of the Christmas markets. I would do another cruise with Avalon again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We choose this cruise because of the Christmas markets and the cities we would visit. We did the pre-package in Prague. The cruise itinerary was changed due to the low river and we lost cruising on half the river, but only one port, ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of the Christmas markets and the cities we would visit. We did the pre-package in Prague. The cruise itinerary was changed due to the low river and we lost cruising on half the river, but only one port, Nuremberg. The ship was also changed, but it was sister ship, so it was not a big issue. They did not change the app when you logged in to show the change in itinerary. This was our first river cruise after doing about 5 of the big ocean cruises. What we loved: - The staff on the ship was excellent. Very helpful, very knowledgeable and happy to be there! - Salzburg was an amazing day trip. I would love to more time there. -The guides on the tours were great! Very knowledgeable. - The food was great (but see note below for more information) -The buffets for dinner and lunch that were offered (see not below) - You get to know many of the people cruising with you because of the small boat. What we didn't love - Since it is a small boat you eat dinner all together for the most part. Some of the nights they offered a buffet upstairs from the main dining room. We loved that option when it was offered. -When everyone dined at the same time it was very loud in the dining room. -There is not room service for dinner, only breakfast. - Many times there was only one tour offered so you will split into groups, but then basically walk over each other during the tour. What we would do different -Pack really warm clothes- long underwear, hand and feet warmers. A couple days were very cold -Go out on your own if you are the type who doesn't want to move with 200+ of your closest friends- we did that in Vienna and had a wonderful time - Make reservations on the pre or post trip for dinner. - I would do the post trip over the pre trip if I had to choose. Simply due to time change and jet lag. If you can do both, then for sure do both! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We wanted to kick the Christmas season off right since our travel agent indicated to us that Prague would be highly decorated for Christmas, we would see a lot of Christmas markets and Europe does Christmas does much better than the USA. ... Read More
We wanted to kick the Christmas season off right since our travel agent indicated to us that Prague would be highly decorated for Christmas, we would see a lot of Christmas markets and Europe does Christmas does much better than the USA. However, Prague was not decorated much for Christmas and most of the Christmas markets had not opened yet. That was a disappointment. Some of the side excursions seemed to be a little rushed and we were only given 15 minutes to tour the large Christmas market in Vienna before the buses went back to the boat. I do not think that we go to do the full food tasting that day as well. Service on the boat was excellent. Some side excursions were excellent but out of the three river cruises with Avalon we have done, this one could have been better. Prague was a little bit of a disappointment as far as being decorated for Christmas but we enjoyed touring the city. The personnel on the boat treated us very well. Overall, we enjoyed the trip but felt a little shorted on some things as far as side excursions. The trip to the church where they sang Silent Night was way too short and you could not get into the museum that day nor the chapel. So, I am not sure why we were even taken. Food was great and my wife's wheat allergy was taken care of. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
The Danube river was low therefore, we were bused to many of the destination we were originally supposed to cruise to and from. We were bused to Arnsdorf, Salzburg and to Regensburg, then again to Budapest, actually losing the last day on ... Read More
The Danube river was low therefore, we were bused to many of the destination we were originally supposed to cruise to and from. We were bused to Arnsdorf, Salzburg and to Regensburg, then again to Budapest, actually losing the last day on the boat and missing out again on river cruising. We were originally supposed to begin our cruise in Nuremberg, we which we did not get to see at all. Then to top it all off, while docked in Passau, another ship pulled in next to ours completely blocking the view of the land FOR THREE DAYS! This was unacceptable. Did not get the river cruise experience we were expecting. We have cruised Avalon before along the Rhine River and it was a most wonderful experience. The Danube is not a River Cruise I would recommend. It is always nice to travel and countryside was quite beautiful but again, we did not get to experience the beauty of cruising along the riverside. Too many hours on the bus to get to where we were touring. Our cruise director was most wonderful! She tried to make this Danube cruise experience better than it really was. We were afforded lunch coupons on the days we were bused to the different areas because they were so far from where we were docked. We lost our last day on the boat again due to the low water level and had to be bused 3 1/2 hours from Melk to Budapest. Did not get to enjoy that city all because we were rushed through our brief tour and whisked away to the hotel. As far as the ship and staff, we cannot say enough about them! The ship was exquisite and the staff extremely upbeat and accommodating. I would have to say that our experience was disappointing and we would have to really think about whether or not another Avalon cruise is in our future plans. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Our cruise was a themed cruise, Beer Enthusiast, and started in Budapest ending in Prague. Our flights, to / from, were arranged through Avalon on Lufthansa. The connections worked out great without a lot of layover time. The transfer to ... Read More
Our cruise was a themed cruise, Beer Enthusiast, and started in Budapest ending in Prague. Our flights, to / from, were arranged through Avalon on Lufthansa. The connections worked out great without a lot of layover time. The transfer to the ship from the airport was very easy. The registration kiosk at the airport provided us with essential information and could not have been any nicer. Upon arriving at our ship, Expression, the staff ensured we were registered and situated into our room. The ship, only a few years old, was very well maintained and clean. The cabin we were given had a wonderful view. Traveling at night you could see the small towns as you passed through them. Yes the landscape is beautiful even at night. You pass through some locks on your excursion on the Danube. Waking up in the middle of the night to see the lock wall and rising in the lock was amazing. The food, Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night snacks, was excellent. They had a great selection to satisfy any pallet. The lunch and dinner menus included specialty dishes from the country we were currently in. There was a snack station in the back of the boat offering coffee, tea, hot chocolate and juices, this was always well stocked and selection of cookies, pastries and muffins was excellent. The service at all meals was impeccable. A good selection of excursions were offered. The cities and towns we visited were deep in history and architecture. Many going back to the 11th and 12th century. The tour guides provided great information and were very personable. We started in Budapest, then went onto Bratislava, Vienna, Durnstein, Melk, Linz, Passau, Regensburg and then onto Prague via coach. Now onto the Beer Enthusiast portion of the cruise. The Austrian "Beer Pope" Conrad Seidel was our guide. Conrad conducted an introductory tasting on board, two brewery tours (Vienna & Passau) and a dinner paring. When we were in various towns Conrad conducted pub tours. These were not scheduled excursions through Avalon so the travel (mostly walking) and pub cost were on you. This was a hidden gem in the cruise. Conrad provided additional insight to the various towns not just with his knowledge of the pubs but the local history and architecture. I ended up with a personal tour in Vienna and the added sites he showed me were only that a local could provide. Conrad offered a personal touch to his tours and offered great insight to the local history as well. There were two excursions by Avalon one in Vienna and one in Linz. Both conducted with Conrad. This was a great adventure as well taking us to various parts of Linz and Vienna we would not have seen otherwise. The group taking the tours all enjoyed themselves as well. A great time was had by all. The service, accommodations and experiences exceeded our expectations. We would not hesitate to go on another cruise with Avalon. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Despite the challenges of low water on the Rhine, the Avalon team did a wonderful job in making sure we had a great time. We still went to all cities on the itinerary. We had a couple of long bus rides which were tolerable and the Avalon ... Read More
Despite the challenges of low water on the Rhine, the Avalon team did a wonderful job in making sure we had a great time. We still went to all cities on the itinerary. We had a couple of long bus rides which were tolerable and the Avalon folks were great about making sure there were rest stop breaks. The 2 hotel nights were fine though of course we would have rather been on the ship! There were a couple of minor issues with the off-ship logistics mostly around room assignment and luggage procurement, but handled very well by the Avalon staff. I must say that because we had the opportunity to "ship swap" to the Tranquility, we found the food on the Imagery to be lacking in comparison. It was fine; the lunches and breakfasts were ample and fresh, but the food on the Tranquility was definitely a cut above the Imagery. However, the Imagery food was just fine. The shore excursions were very good, though I think one or 2 with long bus rides (e.g. Black Forest) were a bit too much bus (probably because we had been on buses for such a long time already). Guides were all very knowledgeable and mostly engaging. We enjoyed the coffee machine at all hours and all in all thought the experience was both luxurious AND home-y. We are already planning our next trip! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This was our first-ever river cruise. MUCH prefer the small ship experience to the big cruise ships. The Avalon Paris-Normandy trip itinerary was appealing, especially since my husband is a WWII buff. I really loved the visits to the Monet ... Read More
This was our first-ever river cruise. MUCH prefer the small ship experience to the big cruise ships. The Avalon Paris-Normandy trip itinerary was appealing, especially since my husband is a WWII buff. I really loved the visits to the Monet and Van Gogh home sites. Each stop was fascinating, however. Thoroughly enjoyed every single day! Avalon's service is superb. Cannot say enough good things about the dining and bar wait staff - excellent. Our dining room waiter Andre was charming and super attentive. Marie in the bar knew what we drank and was always a sweetheart. The cruise director Tony was also top notch. No request was too much. He went out of his way to ensure the ship's passengers were happy. The tour guides each day were also extremely impressive; very knowledgeable, organized, and accommodating. And I forgot the food. Very good!! Fresh, creative, and very tasty. One night my husband noted that his portion of lamb seemed small and was quickly offered a double portion, no problem. One criticism: The day trip to Normandy beaches was very rushed. Understandably difficult, since getting there takes 1.5 hours each way. But perhaps instead of a formal lunch, which ate into the day, I would recommend a quick box lunch. Realistically, it would be much better to extend Normandy into a two-day experience. There is so much to see - the one-day tour is but a little taste of what that area offers. But overall, we had an absolutely AMAZING trip. I highly recommend Avalon Waterways, without reservation. They are excellent in pretty much every area. Hard to beat! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We loved this cruise and it’s excursions but the pace was so grueling. If we’ve never been to an area we want to do the excursions but it was exhausting. It would be nice to have a couple of days built in where we don’t feel like we ... Read More
We loved this cruise and it’s excursions but the pace was so grueling. If we’ve never been to an area we want to do the excursions but it was exhausting. It would be nice to have a couple of days built in where we don’t feel like we have to go go go. Just cruise and relax. With that in mind you’d need to add something to do that makes staying on board worth while. The food was excellent, Our excursions were great and the guides were very friendly and knowledgeable. The entertainment was just so so on board and there was nothing to do on board if you were not on an excursion. Absolutely nothing. Our room staff, Waite staff and all other staff were excellent. The gym left a lot to be desired and there was no spa on board. So yes I recommend but not without words to let folks know that you will be expected to go at a grueling pace and there is not much extra on board. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We booked this trip over a year ago and then suddenly it was time to go. We were notified that the water on the Danube was low and it could adversley effect our itinerary but we decided to go ahead either way. We had added an extra night ... Read More
We booked this trip over a year ago and then suddenly it was time to go. We were notified that the water on the Danube was low and it could adversley effect our itinerary but we decided to go ahead either way. We had added an extra night in Prague before the cruise so we arrived on Monday morning at the Prague Hilton. The hotel is very large and extremely efficient, although the staff is far from warm and welcoming, with the exception of Tomas at the front desk. Having Eric, our Avalon tour director arrive on Tuesday gave us a connection and he was available most all day long to offer ideas and suggestions and helpful information about Prague. We had a quick welcome meeting on Tuesday night and our optional excursions began Wednesday night. We enjoyed our time in Prague and walked about 20,000 steps a day on our own, exploring so many wonderful areas, great food, and beautiful scenery. On Friday we boarded buses to Regensberg bypassing Nuremberg due to low water there. We were told that the decision would be made by the next Monday whether we would sail through to Budapest or be bused and stay in a hotel the last night. The ride was maybe 2-3 hours on coach buses through beautiful scenery in the Black Forest so no complaints. When we arrived at the ship, the staff was lined up to welcome us on board! They led us into the lounge where we were welcomed and then directed to our cabins assisted by staff to find our way and make us feel at home. Our cabin steward was Flory. Sweet and efficient and very professional. I have previously only been on ocean cruises and it is very hard to compare one to the other. There were about 150 guests on board and maybe 40 or so staff. The lounge and the dining room are both big enough to fit every guest at the same time, so no worries finding a table or a seat. Our cabin was on the 3rd floor. We had panorama doors that were floor to ceiling and could slide open to give an unobstructed view. The cabin was not huge, but was more than comfortable for 2. The bathroom was better than most hotels, with plenty of amenities and towels. As soon as we would leave for breakfast Flory would clean and restock our room. When we went to dinner she would do it all over again, we never once returned to an "unmade room"...she was amazing. Breakfast in the dining room was open seating, a delicious buffet with menu offerings also available. Lunch was regional depending where we were, with beer and wine readily available. Each evening we would all meet in the lounge for about 15 minutes for Eric to give us updates on the entertainment for the evening, weather reports, water level reports, and then he would send us off to dinner. Dinner was enjoyable as guests could sit where ever. Friendships were beginning and people were gravitating toward the same table area each night, which meant you tended to have the same wait staff. This became very beneficial as they started to know your likes and needs. Wine and beer were refilled often so pay attention to how much you drink! There was entertainment after dinner so people would wander back to the lounge to enjoy whatever was offered each night. We had pre booked our excursions and we also took advantage of the daily included walking tours to familiarize ourselves with the area before venturing off on our own. The tour guides employed by Avalon for these walking tours were local, and knew the areas well. Due to missing the Nuremberg embarkation, we were in Regensburg a day before our schedule. Some pre booked tours had to be changed or cancelled. Avalon really showed their professionalism in this area. I can say all of the rescheduling went as smoothly as if nothing had changed. We were barely aware that anything was disrupted as Avalon went WAY out of their way to compensate us. Cancelled rebooked excursions were quickly credited back to my credit card. A concert in Vienna that we had booked was now offered for free and our money was refunded. A walking tour of Regensburg was concluded with a certificate for lunch at the oldest sausage kitchen dating back to the 1100's. Then Avalon also gave each of us 15 Euros each to spend as a compensation (although we didn't feel we needed to be further compensated). Monday night came and it was time to hear the decision about our sailing future. Eric had good news and bad news. Bad news! Our hotel reservations in Budapest were cancelled....Good News...We would sail the entire way! The water had risen just enough so we could enjoy our entire week on the ship! YAY! Without going into details about each and every port I can just say we enjoyed every stop, although they started to blend together after 4 countries in 1 week. ABC... Another Beautiful Castle was a phrase we heard from our tour guides and they were correct. Take lots of pictures and save the daily itineraries that Avalon leaves in your stateroom by putting them into those complimentary folders they give you on your first day. You will need all the help you can to put your memories into order when you get home. We booked a few extra nights in Budapest after the cruise ended. We stayed at the Hilton Budapest on the Buda side. I cannot say enough nice things about the friendly, professional, and welcoming staff at this hotel. And the view........unbelievable! My overall opinion about river cruising...the small passenger numbers were great. Staff to guest ratio was very impressive. The ship was well appointed, extremely comfortable and well maintained. It was completely comfortable in every way ( the coffee tea and cookies in the rear lounge 24/7 were a delightful treat). Fellow passengers were fun and friendly and easy to talk to. We had an age spread of about 30-75. There were approximately 10 singles on board not traveling together who appeared to get along with every one and thoroughly enjoy themselves. There were 4 or 5 "30 somethings" traveling with their parents. They all seemed to be along to assist and enjoy their parents company. There were many couples in the 50-70 age range from many walks of life. Food was good, drinks were free at dinner and lunch and extremely low priced at happy hour. Tours were professional and informative. Scenery was gorgeous and plentiful. Would I recommend it? A most definite YES! A easy way to travel to 4 countries in a week and feel pretty spoiled by a wonderful staff along the way. Hats off to the Captain and his crew for safely navigating a very low Danube river! A big THANK YOU to Eric for being so good to all of us while maintaining his smile and professionalism as he went with the flow of a constanalty changing itinerary . " I will see you when I look at you" Bon Voyage! Read Less
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