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17 Avalon Waterways Cruise Reviews

The service staff were the best part of the cruise. The food and wine etc were very good. However, I found the sheer numbers of people -148 or thereabouts - quite overwhelming. The ship didn't get past Passau and we were berthed there ... Read More
The service staff were the best part of the cruise. The food and wine etc were very good. However, I found the sheer numbers of people -148 or thereabouts - quite overwhelming. The ship didn't get past Passau and we were berthed there for 3 days with our 'view' being a stone wall. That's not what I paid for. Why was there no contingency plan? Our river cruise turned into hours of being herded about on coach tours. I believe it was known from the outset that we wouldn't get past Passau. There were too many early rises and way too much walking. The tours, although good, were often too long and the guides too longwinded. i wear hearing aids and found the audio devices totally unsuitable for these. I got a flippant reply when I mentioned this to the TD. The wires and box are cumbersome and annoying when you're managing camera, walking stick, umbrella etc. I had a fall while on an earlier tour before joining the ship, and the after effects eventually precluded me from doing the Prague food and culture walk. When I approached the TD regarding a refund, he refused on the grounds that I'd pre-paid the trip from home. Penalised for being organised and saving him some paperwork. The overall atmosphere was impersonal and regimented. I definitely would not recommend Avalon based on my experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Wanted to go on a relaxing and upscale Riverboat Cruise and this was Not my first one. I was really disappointed in the service and the staff. The food presentation was very nice but the food was not great. The Service from the ... Read More
Wanted to go on a relaxing and upscale Riverboat Cruise and this was Not my first one. I was really disappointed in the service and the staff. The food presentation was very nice but the food was not great. The Service from the dining room was really below par. Not at all what I expected. They were taking our dishes before we were even finished with our food. G-d help you if you were a few minutes later than others at a table. They rushed you out and even told you the others were almost done. What does that have to do with your dining? A majority of the staff, including the Hotel Manager and Dining room manager were wearing so much cologne that the trail followed them all the time. I have an allergy to perfumes and they were asked not wear it and after the request was made, they wore more. They were totally inconsiderate!!!! Made my trip a living hell.! I do not understand why people working in close quarters with the public have to wear fragrances and so much of it. It really is a pollutant. The ship was a new one and was pretty and well laid out. A shame the Customer Relations was So Poor. Also, I thought the included tours were really minimal. I guess thats how they get you to spend more for additional excursions. Avalon , I was told was upscale. I think Not. Last time I went on AMA and thought they did a much better job. The added entertainment on board was pretty bad also. They used the lounge for yoga, so you really could not relax during the classes. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I chose it because of the single supplement was a good price! My cabin was very comfortable! It had a lovely view, but because the wTer level on the Danube was so low that often the view was another ship! I know the water level is an act ... Read More
I chose it because of the single supplement was a good price! My cabin was very comfortable! It had a lovely view, but because the wTer level on the Danube was so low that often the view was another ship! I know the water level is an act of God, but I feel we should have been informed before sailing and given the opportunity to cancel because several of the locations we were supposed to visit had to be cancelled because of the water level! The main Restuarant was very hot making it extremely difficult to enjoy a meal! There should have been some fans to circulate the air so that it would have been more comfortable to enjoy a meal! The meals that were served in the main room were so much better because the room was cooler! I don’t think I would go again because I was not sufficiently told about the water levels ahead of time! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Having arrived in Budapest from NZ, over 32 hrs in transit, we were informed that due to low water levels Avalon Panorama could not sail from Budapest to Vienna. However we saw Viking, Uniworld, Tauck and many European River Cruise lines ... Read More
Having arrived in Budapest from NZ, over 32 hrs in transit, we were informed that due to low water levels Avalon Panorama could not sail from Budapest to Vienna. However we saw Viking, Uniworld, Tauck and many European River Cruise lines sailing to Vienna. We were rather disconcerted by this! We had our first night Tuesday in hotel( lovely Hilton) then bus to Vienna. Ordinary bus not coach! We were paying Suite rates of over $1350.00 NZD per day for 2. Boarded our ship in Vienna. Second day bus back to Bratislava from Vienna.Did not sail until Early Saturday morning! On board and sailing was fantastic! Panorama Suite lovely! Food fabulous and service. Then boat change after another bus trip from Passau to Regensburg.Same standard of room and food. So far we forgave the disruptions! Nature cannot be controlled! Then again told we could not finish last 3 days from Rudesheim to Amsterdam. No Rhine Cruise at all. Put on bus and then cheap public boat cruise with dreadful lunch literally tossed at us! Taken from our boat and bused 10 hours, through Cologne to Amsterdam. Hotel was just 3.5star and we were all put in entry level rooms (even though most of us were paying Suite prices) which were dingy, smelly, hole in sheets and toilet bowl black! Buffet meal with cheap wine both nights! No more coffee, fresh baking, happy hour drinks! No more service. We were literally “dumped” by Avalon and our Director. We were ALL devastated at shocking treatment as this is NOT a cheap mode of travel! Cruised just 8 of 15 days promised. Avalon did compensate 50% hotel accommodation and 200USD for ship change for which we are grateful, but nothing for so many days bus travel, poor food and wine, no social area to meet others from ship, no coffee, tea, snacks, no service( for which we had prepaid tips! Don’t prepay tips) We will NEVER travel with Avalon again! Nor recommend. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We have cruised on 15 plus ocean liner cruises, all over the world and loved every one of them, but had been encouraged by other cruisers to try a river cruise. So we did and really regret doing so! The cost of a river cruise with Avalon ... Read More
We have cruised on 15 plus ocean liner cruises, all over the world and loved every one of them, but had been encouraged by other cruisers to try a river cruise. So we did and really regret doing so! The cost of a river cruise with Avalon was more than twice as much as any liner cruise we have ever taken(of same duration). The service was very poor, as it seemed the boat was understaffed. The food waiters were run off their feet and just could not serve the amount of tables they were responsible for.Complimentary drinks at meal time sounds like a plus but when there are no servers available to give such drinks,it is deplorable. My husband drinks beer and when he did finally get served a beer it was often warm. I drink wine and often was without because the servers were attending to food and drinks for up to four or five other large tables.It was not the fault of the workers. Also there was no bar service on deck. On the day we had commentary there was not even a waiter on deck. You had to walk down a long set of stairs to the only bar in the lounge to get a drink. We could not believe this. We are in our early 60's but most of the cruisers were much older and this would be a difficult feat for them. The food was our biggest disappointment.The menu was very limited and the quality was terrible. I could go on and on ,but here're a few examples: The romaine was so wilted in my caesar salad that you couldn't see it in the bowl.I ordered it twice and it was soggy both times,so I did not order it again. I ordered pancakes one day and they were so hard I could not cut them with a knife. I sent them back and waited 15 minutes before I met the waiter with new ones as I was leaving the table,in disgust.My husband had finished his breakfast long before this.Steak was actually a thin slice of roast beef. The dinner portions were so small, four of the six of us that sat together started ordering two main courses. I did so to find something that was suitable to eat. The state rooms were nice and the ports were lovely, but I suggest you visit on your own or with a tour company as the food and service on Avalon did not come close to meeting our expectations, especially for the money we paid. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
In General we liked this cruise and crew. Very through and professional. Not Quite up to Viking but much less expensive. Our only complaint was the location of our cabin, which was quite nice. It was, however, the last cabin on our ... Read More
In General we liked this cruise and crew. Very through and professional. Not Quite up to Viking but much less expensive. Our only complaint was the location of our cabin, which was quite nice. It was, however, the last cabin on our level nearest to the stern of the boat. It was very close to the engine room and the steering mechanism. There was hardly a night that we weren't awoken once or twice by engine or rudder noise. The shore and on board personnel were very good. We enjoyed the open seating. For the most part the shore activities/excursions were very good. Food was very good. It was planned to match our location on the Danube as was the wine selections at dinner. We enjoyed the fact that Americans were in the minority and were able to meet people from as far away as Australia. New Zealand and Singapore. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Went on Avalon cruise, Amsterdam to Budapest in 2015 . Excellent trip all round. Booked trip from Bucharest to Budapest not of same standard. Comfort, Food , service all excellent, up to Avalon standard, but content of trip very poor and ... Read More
Went on Avalon cruise, Amsterdam to Budapest in 2015 . Excellent trip all round. Booked trip from Bucharest to Budapest not of same standard. Comfort, Food , service all excellent, up to Avalon standard, but content of trip very poor and badly planned. Started in Bucharest. quite good tour of city. First day on boat. only interesting day, tour of delta in small boats very good. After that not much of interest. Problem was. most places on included tours involved long bus trips to not very interesting destinations(exception church in Velico Tournavo). Some were very badly planned e g Belgrade Tour included not very interesting park 15 minutes in a street full of cafes, and 30 mins in a traffic jam. Surely there are more interesting things to see.Daily news sheet said old town cntre and Cathedral, St Sava , not allowed for Tour of Budapest very poor and rushed, Three hour tour included 10 mins at Hero Square and a rushed 25 mins at the Fishermans Bastion,guide seemed more interested in getting us back to hotel, even though we had to wait two hours to check in, very poor. It was not made clear until the final itinerary was received, that the days in Bucharest and Budapest were on a breakfast only basis, the tour was sold on an all inclusive basis, everybody leaving the boat at Budapest felt unhappy and abandoned. The Avalon staff in the hotel were not very helpful. Other complaints were the exorbitant costs of the optional tours, most people who went on them considered that they were very poor value.also the ridiculous price of almost £10.00 for an after dinner cocktail! I certainly would advise avoiding this trip Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
The Blue Danube Discovery 13 Day Tour from Budapest to Prague October 22 – November 4, 2016 The Real World Review of An Actual River Cruise Our trip started with 3 days in Budapest at the InterContinental Hotel, then 7 days ... Read More
The Blue Danube Discovery 13 Day Tour from Budapest to Prague October 22 – November 4, 2016 The Real World Review of An Actual River Cruise Our trip started with 3 days in Budapest at the InterContinental Hotel, then 7 days on the Danube river cruise on the Avalon Expression and then 3 days in Prague at the InterContinental Hotel. During our river cruise we were able to travel from Budapest to Regenburg however due to low water level we had to stay docked in Regenburg for two days and visit the last stop, Nuremberg by bus. After our cruise we traveled 4 hours by bus to Prague for the last 3 days of our vacation. This was our first riverboat cruise but decided to try it since we got a great package for the air and cruise. Having sailed over 25 ocean cruises, we really did not what to really expect from a river boat cruise with only 152 guests and 46 crew – a lot smaller. River cruising gets you up much closer to things you normally cannot get to. The riverboats do get you where the large ships can’t so you get to see and do the things normally not able to. You can interact with the locals as you stroll through their streets and visit all their sites, restaurants and shops. Our room was very nice with a bit more storage space, ceramic tiles bathroom floor and large shower with real glass door and granite counter top. The bed orientated so when laying on the bed one could see the river and sights pass by. The river view wall is a all-glass window with 2 panels sliding open to give you an almost open-air experience. The only negative thing was the safety railing did obstruct the view somewhat and glass panels would have been better idea. All crew were very nice and tried to accommodate all our needs. It was hard to adjust to the small size of the ship and the limited or lack of amenities that we were always used to on the larger ships. There is really only one dining option/location and the breakfast buffet, lunch buffet and dinner a la cart (small portions and service is slow taking 2 hours or so for dinner) all served in the same one and only restaurant. The restaurant on deck one is small and heat/cooling system is not very good – (at most dinners it was too hot!). The selection of food options is very limited so little chance of gaining any weight on this type of cruise. There is no room service. And food outside the normal eating times is limited to none! So eat hearty at your meals! And maybe bring your own snacks for along the way. I asked for some ice for the room and I was told to get my own ice on either the 3rd or 1st floor ice machines. Really?! The included tours were okay and the optional tours were okay. I would recommend wherever possible to book your own tours that you select in advance to the trip so you get to see and do exactly what you what! However most ship’s docking locations don’t let you just walk off the ship and immediately put you in the center of town. Also I found it impossible to get any advanced detailed information on the tours e.g. length, time of day (morning or afternoon) and how the included tours interact time wise with the optional tours. On this trip if a couple booked all the optional tours that would cost about 1200 euros. When ships dock, they do so side by side not end to end. So to get off the ship you may need to go through other ship main floor or up and over the sky deck then down again – very difficult for anyone with walking issues. Also when docked side by side, the shipside’s touching blocked each other’s view and you have to keep your curtains closed so they don’t see you and you see them. On our trip, 4 of the 7 docked days we had a ship docked by our side and we lost our view not happy about that! So we had no land or river view at all on these days. The Internet on the ship is very good. There are no non-news channels on the TV. The movie selection is limited. Recommend as we did load up your computer with some movies and TV shows. There is very limited evening entertainment and the ship is quiet after 10pm. The second last night in Regenburg we had to stay over due to low water levels. The cabin got warm and it seemed that the air conditioning was not working so I called the front desk. They told me something about the electricity and there was nothing that they could do so we either had to live with it or open the cabin window. Well really! Also we have another ship docked aside us so do we want them to see us in bed? Anyways the problem was corrected by the time we went to bed at 11pm. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Because of low water levels on the Danube, our trip was not up to our expectations. Avalon handled the situation very poorly. We called them before we left for the cruise and we were told that sailings were going as scheduled. They ... Read More
Because of low water levels on the Danube, our trip was not up to our expectations. Avalon handled the situation very poorly. We called them before we left for the cruise and we were told that sailings were going as scheduled. They actually knew at that time that other trips had been interrupted. Not only did we have to switch our boat once, but we had to pack up and move twice. From other reviews we were told that the Avalon crew was exceptional. We did not find that was the case. As a matter of fact, our cruise director had no personality at all. The crew was lacking smiles and I feel it may be because of the additional work that they had to do that week. We embarked in Budapest and attempted to sail to Vienna. After an hour and a half we were told by the river authorities that we had to turn around. We spent an additional 2 days on the boat in Budapest sailing nowhere. Avalon made another poor decision to sail the vessel into Hungry when they could've bussed us an hour and a half West. They did offer $500 refund and a free concert p/p. We feel that was totally inadequate. We were also unable to do some of the other extra excursions that we had paid for in advance and were hoping to do. Also, we never made it to Nuremberg. That was partially our choice because we did not want to spend a day bussing around for approximately nine hours! I would definitely think twice about doing another river cruise and certainly not with Avalon! I do have to mention that the boat was beautiful and the design of the rooms was lovely. Sorry we couldn't have spent more time sailing on the boat. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Our 11 day Avalon cruise started with three days on land in Prague. Very nice accomodations, great city tour. We met on first night with cruise director, at that time concerned travellers questioned the river levels, as we heard they were ... Read More
Our 11 day Avalon cruise started with three days on land in Prague. Very nice accomodations, great city tour. We met on first night with cruise director, at that time concerned travellers questioned the river levels, as we heard they were low. We were told that by the day we were to sail, that the water levels were probably going to be okay. We were lead to believe that somehow the water levels could be manipulated by man power, dam? Departure date came and we were given a choice to see Nuremberg by bus, as we couldn't sail, due to low water, or take a bus to A small village up river where boat was docked. To see Revensburg, we also had to bus, ship couldn't get there either. Did not dock in Passau, had to be bussed there from village. Avalon advertises their cabins with the great view. Anytime we were docked, there would be another ship parked directly beside us, never even got to open curtains. Our sailing was done in early evening or night, so never got to see the wonderful sights advertised. We did dock in Linz and Budapest, so we were able to go ashore to explore on our own. Daily tours were really early. Biggest disappointment was that we never got to enjoy the views from our cabin, which was explained to our group the last night: reason being that River cruising is so popular that there is not enough port space for the ships. The staff on the Avalon Vista was great, cruise director not so much. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We just completed a 10 day Danube River cruise on the Avalon Expression (7 nights on board) and were very disappointed with having to travel by bus for a good part of the trip. We arrived in Prague for a scheduled three night stay there ... Read More
We just completed a 10 day Danube River cruise on the Avalon Expression (7 nights on board) and were very disappointed with having to travel by bus for a good part of the trip. We arrived in Prague for a scheduled three night stay there and were told the first night that the river cruise would begin in Passau instead of Nuremberg due to the Danube water levels. Our cruise director deceptively indicated at that time that the change was quite minor and that we were not missing much in terms of interest on the river. In fact, we travelled by bus to three of the eight ports and missed about one third of the cruise. What we could see of the river from the bus looked quite beautiful and the Avalon brochure invites us to "Bask in the vibrant atmosphere and take in the remarkable views along the river" when it refers to this part of the trip. What made the experience much more negative was the response to my question concerning the possibility of seeing a part of the river we missed since we arrived three days early in Passau on a seven day cruise, the heavy rain in the three days since his first advice had brought the water levels up to a much higher level and there were large river boats travelling the river by that time. He advised me in a loud and angry voice, almost shouting, in front of dozens of passengers that he was the boss, he would be telling us where the ship was going and not the other way around and that he would not discuss it further. This from a person who was to be the ship's passenger representative! In fairness, I should add that another officer of the ship was prepared to have a civil conversation about the navigational challenges resulting from differing water levels and that the balance of the crew was professional and courteous for the entire trip. All in all, a disappointing cruise with a bizarre reaction. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Our trip began with an email while we were in transit to Romania. The email informed us that the two days to the Black Sea (the highlight if the cruise) had been cancelled due to low water. At 11:00pm, we received a note under our door ... Read More
Our trip began with an email while we were in transit to Romania. The email informed us that the two days to the Black Sea (the highlight if the cruise) had been cancelled due to low water. At 11:00pm, we received a note under our door advising us that we would be leaving the hotel (Palace Hilton) we had two nights at we had paid for to relocate to a cheaper hotel (the Pullman). We had an extra day before the cruise began and had scheduled a private tour to Dracula's Castle. Our cruise director advised us that we could not leave our luggage, because he would not accept responsibility for it. We almost had to cancel our private tour, because of their "decision" to move us from a room we had paid for for two nights. Fortunately our private tour guide (not affiliated with Avalon) allowed us to take all of our luggage with us. We were given a choice to cancel the tour with a full refund, but would still have to pay for the airfare to and from Bucharest as well as having to make our own air travel arrangements. I would suggest you take the extra day in Bucharest and travel to Brasau and Bran Castle which is so etching not covered (even as an option by Avalon). We spent an extra day in Bucharest due to the low water and the city tour was OK. The next days drive was 8 hours on a bus to a port in Romania on the Danube that was substandard. We got into our stateroom (Category B) and it was OK. The brochure led us to believe we had a balcony with our room that could seat up to 6 people...NOT TRUE! The "balcony" was a rail outside of sliding glass door and we were advised "not to open the sliding glass door" after doing it once which led to the air conditioning not working and a open door would fill up the cabin with bugs. I will credit the engineer with a fast response to repairing the AC. The Danube where we boarded was not pleasant, since we observed a lot of raw sewage in the river. The first two ports on our cruise were poor (they replaced the ones we couldn't go to because of low water). Parts of the cruising were OK. We liked going through the "Iron Gates" and we had one good local tour guide (in Belgrade) that made the city interesting. The cities of Belgrade, Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna were nice visits. We would have liked to explore Bratislava more and the guide we had talked too much, while it would have been better if she told us where to meet after a brief tour and allowed us to go off on our own. The entertainment on the boat was subpar. It reminded me of a Holiday Inn on a business trip at 11:00 on a weeknight. The food was OK, but not up to the quality you would expect. One night our entire table ordered optional items (the steak) since the suggested entrees were not appealing. Some nights we ordered to double the entree since the portions were not that sizable. One night when we did this, the wait staff walked away grumbling. The BBQ up top during lunch was nothing special and a majority of the food was not prepared on deck. They served bratwurst and sausage, but no hot-dog buns? The also had a tasting menu for a dinner option, but other guests said it wasn't a lot of food and not worth it. The midnight snack was poor and there isn't any midnight buffet. The farewell dinner was nothing special..we got a 1/2 of a small lobster tail and a very small slice of baked Alaska. We ate off the boat twice for dinner and those meals were reasonable and wonderful! I recommend you take the dinner excursion in Belgrade, it is a nice evening. Make sure you visit the food markets in Budapest, they have all sorts of wonderful aromas, food and reasonable souvenirs. The extra day at the end of the cruise in Vienna is also a good idea, but beware, the Intercontinental Hotel in Charges 5 Euros per hour per device! If you are under 50, please realize that the majority of passengers are 65+ and the lounge is dead after 9:30. We did make friends with other couples our age and probably the most enjoyable part of the cruise was exploring with them. Buy booze in Serbia, it is very inexpensive in the stores and decent quality. You would be amazed at how inexpensive scotch is! Also there is a nice room in the front of the boat that always had juices, coffee, cookies and pastry that most people never find. The boat overall is clean and presentable. The room cleaning crew does a good job. The bar staff is pleasant and attentive. The dining room staff is OK depending on who you get. I will give Avalon credit for waiving fees on two of the excursions (Romanian Parliament and Putza Horse Farm visit). We visited the Romanian Parliament and found it interesting. We had done the Horse Farm on a previous tour, so didn't take it (did not want to ride on a bus for five hours). The folk dance in Belgrade option was a good choice if you like to watch local dance. The restaurant in Belgrade is highly recommended. The night light tour of Budapest is recommended, but is does require a lot of walking. The Schonnbrun Palace in Vienna was a good optional tour. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Three key situations that contributed to an endless list of problems. 1. Avalon knew before we left Paris that the cruise would be interrupted by weather and did not communicate that to us. 2. The actual experience on the boat did not ... Read More
Three key situations that contributed to an endless list of problems. 1. Avalon knew before we left Paris that the cruise would be interrupted by weather and did not communicate that to us. 2. The actual experience on the boat did not match advertised quality. 3.The accommodations provided once the cruise was interrupted were substandard which were otherwise promised in writing. Unfortunately, the Avalon Waterways Cruise beginning in Paris on April 29, 2015 (WCL 50430 – Burgundy & Provence – Southbound) did not meet the quality experience we expected. Based on previous river cruise experiences and the highly confident recommendation of our travel agent, we were surprisingly disappointed. 1. Avalon knew before we left Paris that the cruise would be interrupted by weather and did not communicate that to us. The meeting in Paris before we began the cruise was the time and place to share that reality and provide us an opportunity to stay or make other plans. Resulting problems included: a. The relentless never ending emergency meetings, written updates under the cabin door and overhead announcements about possible/not-possible changes resulted in confusion and unease. Relaxation of any kind was impossible. If you missed the last communication (and who might know which was the last) you were out of luck. The staff, as well as fellow passengers, was in various states of confusion. b. We looked forward to our stateroom on the new boat with a view to the river. Our morning view was a cement wall pressed against our window. c. Key destinations of the cruise were abandoned. d. We spent untold hours on a bus. The cruise became a “coach” tour. 2. The actual experience on the boat was not one of leisure. A few examples: Meals were rushed or non-existent; At dinner we were “discouraged” to order dessert after completing our main course; At lunch and dinner the crew began cleaning up before many were finished with our meal. Plates were often moved from the table without asking if we were finished. a. We never had breakfast on the boat. One would think that a cruise would serve breakfast for late risers. We were told there was a back up breakfast. It was not to be found. A small tray of stale cookies (and once donuts) was available next to a coffee machine in a lounge area. This is not breakfast by any culture’s tradition. b. Afternoon tea was announced on some days. We’d go to the location at the time announced. No tea service. b. Happy hour timing was irregular (and when available often for only 15 minutes). It was not possible to get food or bar service as anyone would expect. c. Upper deck was closed for 90% of the time we were on the boat – there was no place to relax in that passengers were crowded in either one of the two indoor lounges. Mostly, we sat on bar stools if we were not in our cabin or in the dining room. 3. The accommodations provided in place of the cruise were substandard. a. A substitute lunch supplied in Avignon was in a dark cavern of a place. The food was not good. b. We were told that the unplanned three-night hotel stay in Avignon would be a 4 Star experience. This hotel did not rate anywhere close to a 4-star hotel. c. The Grand Hotel in Avignon – “Is NOT a four star hotel.” Dirty carpeting in the room, paint was chipping off the walls, and towels were similar in quality to a Motel 6. Food served for breakfast and dinner was not edible. d. We chose to leave the “cruise” early given the dismal situation. The thought of staying one more night in this hotel after a multiple-hour bus ride to Ares and back was too much to seriously consider. Obviously, we were out-of-pocket for additional lodging and meals. I would say that Avalon met no more than 30% of what they sold us. In addition to the mind-numbing boat experience described above the extra expenses were not planned and negatively impacted our budget for the balance of our European trip. It was Avalon’s obligation to be transparent from the beginning and then live up to promises of equal-quality substitutions if bad weather occurred. The constant announcements, the wait-and-see changes, etc. from the hard-working on-the-ground personnel not only indicated that corporate was penny pinching but never allowed us to enjoy a relaxing vacation. We were constantly in a state of uncertainty. Avalon has refused to communicate with us about this trip. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This is the first time we ventured on a river cruise with a total of 18 friends in our group. Our group has travelled extensively both on land and ocean and live in 3 different continents: North America, Australia and Asia. The food ... Read More
This is the first time we ventured on a river cruise with a total of 18 friends in our group. Our group has travelled extensively both on land and ocean and live in 3 different continents: North America, Australia and Asia. The food quality was by far the biggest disappointment. There was very limited selection during breakfast and dinner. Breakfast options were the exact same 7 days straight. You could tell they recycled the leftover food from the morning and serve it at night. Also, they misrepresented the size of prawns and type of fish on their menu. The wine selection for the dining room was mediocre at best. At the bistro dinner, there was no wine pairing as was indicated and food portions were rather small and as a result we were still hungry afterwards. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Just returned from a river cruise on the Avalon Expression. Fabulous chauffer service from home to airport and vice versa. Lovely cars and lovely chauffeurs. Arrived at Amsterdam (large airport) but was disappointed in the meet and greet ... Read More
Just returned from a river cruise on the Avalon Expression. Fabulous chauffer service from home to airport and vice versa. Lovely cars and lovely chauffeurs. Arrived at Amsterdam (large airport) but was disappointed in the meet and greet and struggled to find our guide who was slumped in his seat with his sign undetected against his chest! Finally on board coach to be told that we were going to be taken to a holding hotel for 30mins before we could be taken to the ship. Finally on board found staff very nice, room very nice(and we were on 2nd floor with a so called panoramic view which was lovely etc. However as the cruise got flowing down the river most ports of call meant we had a lock view and many times we were tied up to other river boats so our room became more like the black hole with no light and we had to keep curtains almost permanently closed while in dock. However, we made the best of things and just had to go up on deck! Only once did we enjoy panoramic view with window back whilst flowing down the river! On our trip it seemed that the cabins on the other side of the ship had the better views. We were told this was just luck and could change all the time. So all in all disappointed as I dreamed that we would have lovely views while sailing but not the case generally and mainly industrial sights. Hey hoy but met lots of lovely passengers and the ship was half full. ps there were only 4 Brits on the ship and the rest were from Canada, USA and Taiwan. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
First, let me say that the crew of the Avalon Visionary were wonderful. They did everything in their power to make the trip a pleasure, but couldn't overcome the shortcomings of stateroom 202. The continuous sound of running, ... Read More
First, let me say that the crew of the Avalon Visionary were wonderful. They did everything in their power to make the trip a pleasure, but couldn't overcome the shortcomings of stateroom 202. The continuous sound of running, splashing, gurgling water beneath our cabin floor caused us endless sleepless nights. We would emerge in the morning for breakfast looking like zombies. When exhaustion did bring on sleep, we were frequently awakened green and gasping as diesel exhaust fumes wafted through our cabin courtesy of the air conditioning system. There was no fear of motion sickness on board, but carbon monoxide poisoning was a real possibility. The on-board entertainment system was nice, but only worked sporadically. Then there was the day when our room inexplicably locked us out. This was surely an omen. Only a crew member with a master key could let us in that day until the entire lock system was replaced. On the final evening of the trip we had a silent tour of Budapest at night when our local guide was given a dead audio transmitter. Note to beer lovers: The complimentary on-board beer served with dinner is awful. It looks and tastes like....well....you know. After the first night nobody touched the beer. We all switched to wine, which was quite good. Small (0.3L) bottles of German beer were available at the bar but cost 3.5 Euros (about $5). Slake your beer thirst in Prague, where delicious Czech beer cost less than $2 for a half liter. Wish we had brought a case on board. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Just back from a Danube River Cruise on the new Avalon Vista, we are disappointed by the poor overall experience that Avalon Waterways delivers. Budapest-Nuremberg. August 2012: We boarded the ship in Budapest and were very impressed ... Read More
Just back from a Danube River Cruise on the new Avalon Vista, we are disappointed by the poor overall experience that Avalon Waterways delivers. Budapest-Nuremberg. August 2012: We boarded the ship in Budapest and were very impressed by this new ship, having cruised a lot all around the world , and on many river cruises. The ship was docked next to the famous Chain Bridge, in the heart of Budapest, a short taxi ride from our hotel. It couldn't have been a better location. The ship itself is impressive for a river ship, beautifully designed, with sleek lines and a tasteful, modern decor. The main lounge is stunning, with panoramic floor to ceiling windows all around, and even better, there is an open deck lounge forward from where you can see everything. The Club Lounge located aft is also extremely nice and cosy, with drinks available at all times, but bad cookies. Our Stateroom, #208 was just fabulous, with the famous floor to ceiling sliding windows (really great), lots of space, great closets and drawers all around; better than on many large cruise ships, good lighting and large beds. The bathroom was especially great: Large, lovely decor with marble, good lighting, great L'Occitane amenities nicely replenished all along the cruise; and an extra large shower with a glass door and good water pressure. The best showers I have had in a long time. The Welcome couldn't have been nicer, with crew and staff extending a warm welcome and committed to make you feel welcome. Everything seemed perfect, ready for a great experience, but problems were lurking: Bedding: It turned out that the bedding looked much better than it was comfortable: If the sheets are made of nice cotton as advertised by Avalon: The pillows are made on 100% cheap synthetic fiber, hard like a rock, just like in the cheapest roadside motels along some remote highway. We asked for soft, feather pillows (or pillows made of natural fiber) only to be told by both the housekeeping manager and the front desk manager that none were available, and that there was nothing they could or would do about this. That was the first big disappointment. Giving it a try that first night; we developed quickly a pain in the neck and ended up the first night sleeping on folded bath towels! On a luxury ship! Fortunately, we have friends living in Vienna, the next stop on the cruise, and we called them immediately, asking them to lend us two good soft feather pillows (filled with 100% natural fiber) for the remainder of the cruise. Believe me, this was not a luxury or an indulgence. But we had to ship the pillows back at the end of the cruise at our own expense and disturb our friends. The duvet: Again Avalon touts its duvets. Unfortunately they are also made of synthetic of the cheapest kind. We had to take out the duvets out of the sheet and replace them by the blankets provided, which were also of a cheap quality (76% synthetic) but we had to make do with that. However this was not pleasant. Overall, the bedding was just not comfortable, and only our friends' pillows saved the day. Food: Overall the food was from mediocre to just plain bad, and this all along the cruise. If a good selection of breads was always available at breakfast, including all the famous german breads, and the small good individual rolls; they were never available at lunch or dinner where only puny, mediocre little slices of plain bread were available. The cookies were a complete disgrace: some were hard like a rock. I nearly broke a tooth on one, no kidding. They were especially bad and cheap in the Club Lounge. All this while we were crossing countries famous for their cookies, breads and good food! In fact, the food and the breads were so mediocre that we ended up looking for a bakery at each stop during the cruise, always finding one easily, and buying breads, cookies and cakes for dessert. Never done that before on any cruise! We also ate lunch or dinner ashore when we could, in order to have some good meals. Never done that before in my life! Only one lunch, touted as a "German Lunch" was decent and interesting with some local specialties; otherwise the food was so plain, so mediocre, so disconnected from what was all around us that it was shocking and meals became a real bore when they could have been a great experience as the service and the design of the restaurant itself were extremely nice. The salads and buffets were especially mediocre. This is a real shame, as Avalon could easily deliver a luxury experience as: -The layout and design of the ship is innovative, impressive, luxurious and even stunning. -The staff was extremely nice and helpful, always trying to make you welcome and comfortable (with what they had). Their training was impeccable, and they were providing great service at all times. -The Cruise Director was extremely good and nice, doing a great job at all times without fail. -The excursions were well organized, with interesting guides. However, considering Avalon prices, the food and the bedding are not acceptable. Overall, Avalon fails to deliver a good experience, and we are very disappointed. It was a relief to find a good bed and good food in Munich where we stayed after the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
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