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122 Avalon Waterways Cruise Reviews

Had a lot of friends who love the river cruise experience and thought we would give it a try. Service was very good. The staff works extremely hard to make the guests have a wonderful experience. If you like structure and and a clean ... Read More
Had a lot of friends who love the river cruise experience and thought we would give it a try. Service was very good. The staff works extremely hard to make the guests have a wonderful experience. If you like structure and and a clean well run experience this is it. Very little hassle with transportation, travel, transfers etc. The cabin was very nice. Excellent bed, bath and staff. Good Storage and everything you need. You would not need a cabin upgrade to have a great trip. There are great viewing spots from lounges, decks , dining room and other spaces. Ship is small and it easy to find a spot to enjoy the views other that from the room. The included shore excursions were OK but not a highlight. Some of the guides were good and made the trip interesting but we had several that were boring and not worth the time. The cruise director and cruise line did not do a very good job of explaining other options that are in port. Very little information on shopping areas, and other attractions. Do your homework before you go so that you won't miss what you want to see. The tours had a great emphasis on history and rulers. There was a lot of repeated information from one tour to the next. Easy way to see Europe. Yes the ship docks within walking distance of most towns. Easy. There is a lot of walking to really enjoy the towns and cities we visited. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our first river cruise. AVALON was one of three recommended by our travel agent that had openings. We came into this with an open mind. Have done many (10) ocean cruises. We loved the intimacy of a smaller group of fellow ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. AVALON was one of three recommended by our travel agent that had openings. We came into this with an open mind. Have done many (10) ocean cruises. We loved the intimacy of a smaller group of fellow passengers. Missed entertainment at night. They did have some local singers, and a little musical ensemble come in twice. It was adequate. One suggestion would be to start dinner service at 6pm, instead of 7pm. By the time we were finished, it was 9pm and we were tired from the days activities. I loved the little lounge at the back of the ship that had the great coffee machine, juices, and pastries/cookies for the early risers. Also the tables sat 4; easy to talk, play cards, etc. The staff was great. Our cruise director was awesome. All shore excursions were super also. Price was a little high. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We recently returned from our Avalon river cruise from Amsterdam to Basel on the Expression. All four of us are seniors ranging in age from 65-74. Our group wanted to try a short river cruise in order to determine if we would try ... Read More
We recently returned from our Avalon river cruise from Amsterdam to Basel on the Expression. All four of us are seniors ranging in age from 65-74. Our group wanted to try a short river cruise in order to determine if we would try another, perhaps longer, river cruise. Here are our pros and cons: Pros The cabin (up on the topmost level) was large enough and the bed was very comfortable. The bathroom was fine with a roomy shower and enough counter space around the sink to handle our ‘stuff’. The large, sliding, panoramic doors were great. We wouldn’t have used a veranda and enjoyed the extra bit of cabin space the exclusion of a veranda gave us. The ship was clean. We enjoyed the fact there was a happy hour with 1/2 price drinks and Robert, our bartender, was a pro. He was funny, prompt, and had a great personality. Staff was, on the whole, pleasant. The reception desk was accommodating and the two male staff members were friendly and helpful. The exception was the female who was a bit short with the passengers and sometimes acted as if it was an intrusion of her space/time to be bothered. The cruise director was very good. When we were out and about on excursions, I found it a plus that he’d show up out of the blue (frequently on his bicycle) to wave or help with directions. He was friendly, efficient, and thorough and had a good sense of humor when addressing the passengers. Our evening entertainment was limited. However one evening we were entertained by a trio of two violinists and a guitarist who were phenomenal-really enjoyed that!! The restaurant waitstaff was good. The morning tours/excursions were okay-a few times the tour guides were a bit too in-depth with the history of wherever we were and most info was lost in the translation. I guess there were just too many details to process and absorb. Cons The room steward was sweet and young but unlike our ocean cruises, never once called us by name. The food was good but we doubted all food was fresh produce from each of our ports especially when we spied a pallet with large cans of fruit and vegetables ready to be taken into the ship. Wine choices at meals were mediocre. All breakfast and lunches were buffet-style with only dinner served by the waitstaff. Unlike Viking, Avalon did not have a welcoming ‘tent’ at the pier. Actually, Viking had two..one on each side. It was no big deal...just another detail that adds to the experience. When we were dropped off at the pier we had to search a little to find Expression (at the end). Mornings found us having breakfast followed by an excursion which lasted until around lunchtime; then we’d have lunch and downtime until supper. I found that routine to be a bit of a drag as I’m enjoy walking the many decks of an ocean ship; participating (or not) in a great variety of activities; and enjoying the panoramic views of a huge sea. All four of us concluded early on in our river cruise that the ship (no fault of theirs as they are restricted to length and width) was just too small with minimal to do. We sometimes felt like caged animals! For the amount of money we spent on this 7-day river cruise, we could have sailed on an ocean cruise for a couple of weeks. Regardless of all the differences of river versus ocean cruising, going on any vacation with our friends is quite delightful We did spend five days in Amsterdam pre-cruise and three days in Lucerne/one day in Zurich (post-cruise and all our own planning) which we enjoyed immensely! Would we try river cruising again? No. I’d rather try a land tour of cities like Prague or Budapest (like Perillo Tours). We satisfied our curiosity and have plans for a Mediterranean cruise next summer and a cruise to the Netherlands in 2021. To each his own, I say!! Happy sailing!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The active cruise interested us as we are both avid walkers and enjoy biking and hiking. We were disappointed in the Avalon service compared to our experience on a Uniworld River Cruise on the Danube River. We enjoyed the option of the ... Read More
The active cruise interested us as we are both avid walkers and enjoy biking and hiking. We were disappointed in the Avalon service compared to our experience on a Uniworld River Cruise on the Danube River. We enjoyed the option of the flexible dining that Avalon Cruise provided, but found the food being removed an hour earlier than advertised e.g. 8:00 PM instead of 9 PM. Then when we tried to go to the main dining room because the lounge/bistro dining had been removed an hour early, we were scolded for arriving late and discouraged by the head waiter from getting the full menu in order to catch up with the rest of the dining room. We loved the panoramic room and the cabin steward was friendly and did a great job. The cruise director and the main receptionist were not as friendly as we would have expected. The cruise director was knowledgeable but seemed a little aloof and disconnected. The concert with the band that come on the ship and castle tour were great and would have liked more of that type of entertainment. The onboard entertainment would have been better with more variety such as DJ, second musician, etc. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
rec by travel agent....bad weather missed connection at amsterdam no one there to pick us up luckily a avalon guy was there for someone else and after one hour he got permission to take us to the boat....all services on the boat were ... Read More
rec by travel agent....bad weather missed connection at amsterdam no one there to pick us up luckily a avalon guy was there for someone else and after one hour he got permission to take us to the boat....all services on the boat were excellent.....ony thing was the service up in the lounge area were you can eat away from the crowd ....very noise in main dining room....the waiters in the lounge only set up for one hour or less and were ready to move the food out.....Dont understand that should be two hours.....they rushed you out......main dining room not so two hours straight and the service was great....the tours were ok depending on the operator and when given free time it was 30 minutes or less.....the worst thing about the trip was rafting up the boats at some cities....you literally had no view except for the other boats rooms....they were exactly two feet away......all in all a good experience but very pricey Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Traveled with a teen and since it was summer there were other teens on board. There are no programs or plans for children/teens though so not recommended if you are looking for someone to entertain them. Ship crew is very friendly and hard ... Read More
Traveled with a teen and since it was summer there were other teens on board. There are no programs or plans for children/teens though so not recommended if you are looking for someone to entertain them. Ship crew is very friendly and hard working, overall great. Included tours are perfect for an intro to the area although not so great if you want to sleep as most are in the morning. They use local guides that are quite knowledgeable and some are also very entertaining. Schedules are dependent on water levels so some changes to ports and shore excursions may affect your cruise. Be sure you are not too set on seeing a particular site from the cruise as it could be changed. Highly recommend flying in at least one day prior to relax, rest and see the starting destination (you may be bused to a new starting destination and not see that destination at all). Dining was open seating ala carte for dinner, buffet for breakfast and lunch. There was also dining options in the lounge which is recommended to try for a more casual, relaxed meal at your own pace (same menu as the dining room but smaller portions and a buffet). Overall the ship is extremely clean. Beverage service was a little slow. Disembarkation was wonderful, smooth, efficient and quick. There was a variety of ages on the ship with several teens traveling with family up to retired adults. This cruise attracts more active travelers rather than passive although everyone is welcome. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose a river cruise as it would be a first for us and I had gotten seasick on the one and only time we went on an ocean cruise. We chose the Rhine river cruise due to the start/end cities and length of cruise. I looked at several ... Read More
We chose a river cruise as it would be a first for us and I had gotten seasick on the one and only time we went on an ocean cruise. We chose the Rhine river cruise due to the start/end cities and length of cruise. I looked at several cruise lines until it came down to two- Avalon and AmaWaterways. Chose Avalon due to schedule/direction. With the intimacy of small boats and smooth sailing on rivers, I'll never go on an ocean cruise again. Fellow passengers were very nice, no one was disruptive onboard. Staff was for the most part excellent. I'd give our cruise 8 out of 10 stars. I subtracted points for lack of varied night time entertainment, communication issue with a cook, staff not being overly attentive in refilling wine and coffee during meals, and one optional excursion that we took that was unsatisfactory. Due to my rating the next time I go on a river cruise I'll look at other cruise lines. If I had rated it 9 or 10 stars I would definitely repeat with Avalon. Kudos to the excellent breakfasts, lunches, and dinners onboard, cabin/service, and the tours that were included with no charge. It would have been great if they had a karaoke night or maybe hire a dance instructor for one night. As a fitness buff I would've liked the fitness center to have dumbells weighing more than 10kg, but I liked that I was mostly to myself whenever I went (5 out of 7 days). Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The cabin on the ship was very good.Lots of room.Great bathroom.Loved the sliding door to view the outside.The food was good and the service was very good.Not much entertainment.Unless you were in a port there was nothing going on as far ... Read More
The cabin on the ship was very good.Lots of room.Great bathroom.Loved the sliding door to view the outside.The food was good and the service was very good.Not much entertainment.Unless you were in a port there was nothing going on as far as activities,We did enjoy having bikes to ride .The tours and port stops were a lot shorter than we thought they would be.The guides were very good.We were disappointed in the tour of the Nazi parade grounds.very run down,weeds everywhere and not much to see.Not the fault of Avalon.Unlike the large cruise ships you do meet more people on a river cruise.We made some new friends..Glad we went,can check it off our bucket list.We probably would not do again because of the cost...Overall I think that the crew and everyone onboard does a great job.The Captain was very nice and would talk to you like a friend.If we were to go on another river cruise it would be with Avalon... Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The duration and locations, especially starting on the Black Sea. Very happy we went from east to west as it consistently got better all the way to Prague. Budapest and Prague were great large cities and the smaller towns like Durnstein ... Read More
The duration and locations, especially starting on the Black Sea. Very happy we went from east to west as it consistently got better all the way to Prague. Budapest and Prague were great large cities and the smaller towns like Durnstein and Pecs were great surprises. The Passion was very nice with a small spa, but the exercise room was way too small. I couldn't lift the weights up as they hit the ceiling and the max weight was 10k. Matre'd was very accommodating to my wife's pepper allergies and there were some vegetables at the breakfast buffet for me. The tours of the towns and cities were well done, although most of the guides have their speech idocincracies. The presence of the Habsburg family made it a special themed cruise and more personal (only the portion from Budapest to Regensburg). By the end, we had heard the stories repeated so many times about Sissy, that we didn't want to hear anymore. Would have liked to have been involved with more sustainable activities and performances, like our Avalon cruise on the Mekong. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Bucket list trip to see Budapest & Prague for my wife & I, we have taken 4 ocean liner cruises but this was our first river cruise. We arrived in Budapest the day before the cruise started & we arranged for Avalon to transfer ... Read More
Bucket list trip to see Budapest & Prague for my wife & I, we have taken 4 ocean liner cruises but this was our first river cruise. We arrived in Budapest the day before the cruise started & we arranged for Avalon to transfer us from the airport to the hotel. The morning of our trip departure Avalon had a bus shuttle us & many other passengers from the hotel to the Visionary ship. Check in went smooth and we were very pleased with the cleanliness of the ship & our cabin. The daily Happy Hour (HR) was great with drinks 1/2 off, & the service during HR was excellent & since there's only (1) bar we were able to meet new people & make friends. Overall the dining was pretty good & the service was outstanding, the entire staff went out of their way to accommodate you. I loved the sauerkraut soup but that was the only soup I liked, if I had to give a bad grade out it would be for the soups, they all tasted like potato water, & the couple of nights we had seafood it was nothing special & the desserts could have been better. We tried different wines every night and most of them were very good. Shore Excursions were very good, of course some of the guides were better than others. It was a very busy day doing the included shore excursions in the morning & then going out on (3) of the optional afternoon excursions. It was so nice that Avalon had a "gentle walkers" excursion group for those that moved slower. It seemed like we stayed very busy getting up early for the morning excursions, attending the nightly next day info meetings during HR, then dinner was 7-9, so every day we felt like we were on a schedule. I would have liked more down time cruising on the river taking in the sites and I didn't like it that we couldn't sleep with the patio door open at night due to the bright lights from going thru the river locks & waking up docked to another ship right outside our window blocking any potential view. Unfortunately several people (12 that I know of) caught the chest respiratory bug that was going around, including myself and several people we met including my wife had to seek medical treatment & were bed ridden for a few days. Maybe adding another hand sanitizer station after you walked into the dining would have helped, but this is always a concern when you have 120 people plus staff contained on a boat. We stayed in Prague an extra day & also arranged for Avalon to transfer us from our hotel to the airport & again the driver was friendly & prompt. In summary it was a nice vacation and I would do another river cruise with Avalon now that I know what they’re about, they are very accommodating & much more personable than the ocean liner cruises. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We thoroughly enjoyed all of the excursions. The tour guides were extremely well-versed, kind and courteous. We saw and experienced sites that we probably never would have if we had gone on our own. The time spent simply cruising down the ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed all of the excursions. The tour guides were extremely well-versed, kind and courteous. We saw and experienced sites that we probably never would have if we had gone on our own. The time spent simply cruising down the Mosel and Rhine rivers, just watching the world float by, was also incredibly relaxing and breathtaking. It was nice talking to, and getting to know others on the cruise. We met some wonderful people! We really enjoyed the breakfasts, but the lunches were outstanding. Lots of fun foods to try. We loved the buffet style of the breakfasts and lunch. We felt the dinners were lacking in interest and variety. Would rate them a 5 out of 10. Just expected more from Avalon. Have had much better dinners on the ocean cruises we’ve taken! Lastly, we had a terrible experience with our luggage being taken to the airport before our transfer left. It was mistakenly taken with another group prior to our leaving for the airport. The cruise director didn’t think it was anything to worry about, and seemed to take it rather lightly. He said the luggage would be waiting for us, we would just have to pick it up. We, however, were very frustrated, worried and upset. And rightfully so! When we finally got to the airport it took us an hour and a half to finally locate the luggage. It was quite a struggle, and definitely not easy, even with the young man from Avalon who was helping us. We barely made it to our flight, with only 30 minutes to spare! We understand that mistakes can happen, but we felt there was no excuse for this mistake especially since there were only about 105 people on our ship. Just seemed like carelessness. It definitely left us with negative feelings about our Avalon experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This wasn't our first river cruise. We did the Rhine last year. Both vacations were amazing, but the Rhine wasn't as popular/crowded (fewer ships). The Danube was high due to recent rainfall and bridge clearance was an ... Read More
This wasn't our first river cruise. We did the Rhine last year. Both vacations were amazing, but the Rhine wasn't as popular/crowded (fewer ships). The Danube was high due to recent rainfall and bridge clearance was an issue. Avalon did a great job of working around difficult conditions. The quality of the shore excursions depend, in large part, on the local guides. Many of the guides were entertaining and knowledgeable but not all of them. 1. The food selection and preparation was excellent, but the dining room is noisy, particularly at dinner time. It's much easier to hear conversations from the center (bench) side of the tables. 2. We really enjoyed having time to explore Prague on our own. I think we over scheduled our time with guided tours throughout the trip. Some time to explore on your own ought to be welcomed. I think bus tours (e.g. Vienna) are worthless. A video on the TV would give you the same information and sense of the place. 3. Our guides for Prague were wonderful. Anna (classic) and Christian(Secrets of Prague) were outstanding. 4. The excursion to Terezin was outstanding. Don't miss it! 5. Our guide to Nuremberg was not wonderful (I'm being very kind). I regret wasting the time on the old city and missing the rally ground. On our last excursion of the cruise, I found evaluation/feedback forms for the guides. Be advised they exist and use them! 6. Regensburg is a delight. It wasn't bombed during WWII and it's old and beautiful... dating back to Roman times. Our guide was excellent and the city is beautiful. Enjoy! 7. We mostly missed Passau because of the high water (delays for bridge clearance issues). We had only an hour or so at Passau before we had to sail on. Most of the day was spent in Salzburg which was strikingly beautiful as was all of Austria. 8. The Melk Abbey and gardens are beautiful. Be forewarned that no photographs are allowed in the abbey. The Wachau Valley is spectacular. Bring a serious zoom (400mm) lens to photograph the vineyards, castles and churches. 9. Vienna is beautiful. The Royal Waltz Concert is not to be missed. It was amazing. However, the guided city tour is pretty weak. Too much of the tour is bussed. We did the food tour which was fun. 10. Budapest. Almost all of the city tour is bussed- covering both Buda and Pest. Only a few minutes are free for walking. It's the worst of the lot. (Traffic is heavy and the journey was slow.) The view from the castle is the best part of the city tour. We took the "Bites of Budapest" food tour in the afternoon. It was a significantly better exposure to the city. We traveled with friends and between the four of us we experienced eleven faulty receivers which meant we missed much of several tours. The guides ran out of spare receivers for walkers a few times. This was an ongoing and persistent problem with many passengers. All in all, it was a great (if not perfect) tour! I would do it again, but the rain and high water created a high density of tourists in the cities. I had the feeling the +90% of the pedestrians were riverboat tourists.... Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was our first river cruise, though we've been on a number of ocean cruises, including the Star Clipper and Aranui. Our cruise director was very good, the ship was very good, and our stateroom was very good, though the view of ... Read More
This was our first river cruise, though we've been on a number of ocean cruises, including the Star Clipper and Aranui. Our cruise director was very good, the ship was very good, and our stateroom was very good, though the view of the river from the bed was 50% blocked by a wall (we opted for state room 312, the Royal Suite, and found this aspect of it very disappointing). My criticisms or suggestions would be the following: 1. While the food selection and preparation was excellent, the dining room was very noisy, particularly at dinner time, and seemed understaffed (the staff including 2 trainees . . . .). Avalon should consider 2 seatings and better staffing. 2. The daily bulletin should include the weather forecast for the day ahead. 3. On the "Tastes of Hungary Dinner & Wine Pairing" the gypsy music was overwhelming loud despite our request that it be softer and the music definitely wasn't gypsy (as the gypsys didn't compose My Fair Lady or The Phantom of the Opera . . . .). However, the gentlemen doing the wine pairing did a very good job, it was nice that our group had a room to ourselves, and the food was excellent. 4. Rather than leaving the arrival afternoon in Prague "free time", the city tour ought to have been done then, so that on the final day a full-day tour to the former concentration camp would be available. 5. The Nuremberg tour to the Hitler sites ought to have allowed far more time at the Documentation Museum. 6. The Sconbrunn Palace tour in Vienna ought to have allowed much more time at the site. 7. The City tour of Prague was nothing more than an hour at the Palace and being taken to the Market Square and given free time. Rather than do that, if we did the trip over again, we'd just buy a hop on/hop off bus ticket - see the same places and many more, for much less. 8. The last event we did, which was the Czech Dinner & Folklore Show in Prague, was excellent. The meal, drinks and setting were nice, and the performers 10+. Their music was authentic music from different areas of the country as it has evolved over the years, and they had an excellent ability to get the group excited and have us participate in the fun. While this is a review of the cruise portion of the trip, we also had the pre-cruise and post-cruise experiences in Budapest and Prague. The New York Palace hotel in Budapest was excellent, while the Prague Hilton was so-so. The included and optional excursions in Budapest were good. I've already criticized the included City tour in Prague, but the optional excursion to the concentration camp site was very moving (and far too short). All in all, no serious complaints. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We wanted to visit Amsterdam and try a river cruise. The room on the ship were spacious,' comfortable and clean. The crew and staff were very helpful and friendly. The highlights were Keuknhof Gardens and spending a day in Bruges. The ... Read More
We wanted to visit Amsterdam and try a river cruise. The room on the ship were spacious,' comfortable and clean. The crew and staff were very helpful and friendly. The highlights were Keuknhof Gardens and spending a day in Bruges. The entertainment on the ship was good and the local guides for the excursions off the ship were excellent. The only negative was the food, sometimes it was cold and 2 hours for dinner every night is just takes up too much time. I would also recommend arriving into Amsterdam 1 or 2 days earlier to explore the city more. As this cruise does not give you enough time to visit the city's museums and other points of interest like the Anne Frank Museum and their fine restaurants. I would recommend this particular cruise to someone who wanted to visit the Netherlands and Belgium and also recommend Avalon for a cruise company. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Our friends that are wine connoisseurs wanted to tour region. We wanted to see Monaco but this trip did not end up there as the brochure stated when we booked. We enjoyed all the stops and seeing so many wonderful places., especially ... Read More
Our friends that are wine connoisseurs wanted to tour region. We wanted to see Monaco but this trip did not end up there as the brochure stated when we booked. We enjoyed all the stops and seeing so many wonderful places., especially the small, quaint little towns and unusual things like "Garden of Eden," organ concert in cathedral, wine tasting in a chateau, etc..... We also liked the French Balcony with views of the towns and countryside, however, it seemed that half the time we were double and triple docked with NO view. Did not like that part 'Wish river portion was longer. The ship was nice, we had talks every evening, outlining activities, etc, - those could have been shorter. It would be nice if tips were just part of the price. It is such an hassle/ordeal to worry about that at end of trip. Some companies include tips in price - much better. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We wanted to try Avalon after experiencing other river cruise operators. Overall, it was a relaxing cruise experience. Beautiful scenary and well organized. Great ship board cuisine. The variety and quality of food at all three ... Read More
We wanted to try Avalon after experiencing other river cruise operators. Overall, it was a relaxing cruise experience. Beautiful scenary and well organized. Great ship board cuisine. The variety and quality of food at all three meals were consistently outstanding. Overall service was very good, but after dinner coffee service was a bit inconsistent. Very smooth sailing, even though little day time cruising. Day tours were just adequate. Should improve embarkation experience - lenthy wait for room availability. Definitely need to improve communication on disembarkation transportation. We booked air travel directly through Globus, which resulted in an extended and inconventient air travel to the city starting the cruise and there was a lack of clarity and inconsistent written communication on disembarkation transportation to departure airport. Globus travel agent support prior to trip was below expectations for the costs for this 'luxury' cruise. We would have booked our own travel and transportation. This should not have been an issue and dampened our enthusiasm to return cruise with Avalon or to recommend them given the highly competitive landscape. Read Less
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
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
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
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
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
Sail Date December 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
Sail Date November 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
Sail Date October 2018
Overall it was a wonderful start to our extended trip in SE Asia. I selected this boat based on the positive reviews but also the fact that it is the only boat small enough to generally sail the entire route HCM city to Siem Reap without ... Read More
Overall it was a wonderful start to our extended trip in SE Asia. I selected this boat based on the positive reviews but also the fact that it is the only boat small enough to generally sail the entire route HCM city to Siem Reap without the extended bus ride other river boats take. This is a huge benefit thought be aware that really this is only the case from August-October, maybe November if you are lucky-- depends on water levels but this year we sailed the end of October and were the last boat of the year to do the entire route-- and seeing the Tonal Sap is really pretty. If water levels are too high they will fly you to Phenom Penn which still beats the six hour bus ride other lines take-- that is just too much for a seven night cruise. On this review I will focus on the questions/concerns I had before I booked. Pros --36 passenger boat no issue, it was actually really fun you got to sit with and really know everyone on board. Most people 55-75, leaning toward the older part of the range, but literally everyone active and well traveled. We all got along so well, it really did feel like a group of friends traveling together by the end. --Absolutely amazing top quality hotel choices for those doing 13 nights with hotels in Ho Chi Minh and Siem Reap-- almost everyone does this land/cruise package and I would highly recommend this. We travel in top quality usually boutique hotels and for larger hotels could not have asked for more-- amazing, huge rooms with a local feel and superb breakfasts. The Reverie in HCM is the top rated and most expensive hotel in the city and everyone (mostly all first class travelers) said it was the nicest hotel they have ever been in-- over the top posh and comfortable, great views, friendly service, nice location. The Park Hyatt is nicer than any US Hyatt with fresh dim sum along with so many other things for breakfast-- food and room very lux and so far beyond a US Hyatt. --Rooms on boat large for a ship and lovely (be careful when comparing sizes many ships include balcony is square footage which is misleading). Bed was a bit hard for me but they immediately put on a topper that made it perfect. --Service on boat fantastic, couldn't ask for more. --Great, low priced massages onboard-- book early for best times. --Great mix of cities and villages on itinerary. Even if a particular day does not sound appealing you will be surprised. I was not super excited about going to the killing fields and the genocide museum but it was not what I expected and one of the most memorable days of any trip I've taken. The killing fields are heartbreaking with a tower full of skulls dug up and stories that will change your life. There is more to see than I expected, and the history will hit home far more than any movie or book. Bring a colorful hairband or ribbon/beaded bracelet to leave on the posts at the pits where bodies were dug up as a tribute to the dead. Our guide on Avalon named Hiek told us how the conflict affected his family and village, words and stories I will never forget. The genocide museum is not a dusty old museum but the actual buildings where people were tortured and detained; it is difficult and overwhelming but you will feel the history here, especially with a guide who knows how to bring it alive with reverence as does Hiek. --Overall atmosphere was social, fun and comfortable. Days were well organized, both guides were very different but excellent. --Cruising the Mekong really worth doing but keep in mind it is a working river and the beauty is in the people and the backroads and really immersing yourself in the local experience-- if you are looking for a pristine, pretty experience this is not the trip for you. However, cruising is one of the most efficient ways to see real village life and fishing villages as well as the highlights of Cambodia. The villages are amazing with moms running out to show off their babies, kids excited to see you (we saw no begging or asking of money anywhere), and overall a way of life I had no idea still existed today-- whole extended families living in rough shacks, getting to the village on single poles they walk over water, etc. I thought the afternoon visiting a local school and helping the kids with their reading would be hokey but it was lovely. --Tip: if you are like us and enjoy the backroads more than palaces, use your free time on this voyage wisely. For example, in Phenom Penn we saw highlights like the palace with the ship in the morning. In the afternoon we asked a Tuc Tuc driver to show us where the locals lived and frankly it was a shock at first with garbage strewn streets and rusting shacks. However it became fascinating with tiny winding streets and places where we were the only non locals. The driver was so delighted with our request that he took us to his home for a beer to meet his wife, cousins, aunt, uncle, etc. all living in two rooms and very proud of it because they could only own this home due to the uncles business. It was an amazing afternoon and we got to see how an average family lives, see how family oriented they are as a culture, ask so many questions about why all the trash, etc. it was a highlight of the trip. In HCM the day we arrived and there were no activities with the ship we made a point to walk to a local massage place very highly rated rather than the hotel spa and got a two hour massage for $28. Just walking on our own and getting an authentic Vietnamese massage (best massage of my husbands life) in a clean local place (Temple Leaf Spa only 10 minute walk from hotel) with lovely tea served before and after was a joy-- its such a big part of the culture and walking on our own a different way of seeing the real city. We recommended it to the only young person (33) on the boat with him mom and he also just loved getting local vs. structured tours. That night we had booked ahead a street food tour on vespas, selecting a vendor that goes to five different districts and to where the locals go. This is something you must do in SE Asia to really understand the culture-- ride on the back of a motorbike and try street food with the locals. The traffic will not scare you at all once you understand it-- half the bikes have kids and whole families on them, the speed is slow and while it seems a maze, there is no aggression or road rage, it is a communal flow with the right of way readily given. It is beautiful, peaceful, and eye opening to be on the back of the motor bikes-- we did it three times. The same with crossing the street, not scary as people claim, simply walk slowly and the drivers will move around you. Our trip would not have been the same without street food either and we are super hygienic. Beside the fact that the food is delicious and unique it is a critical part of a culture where most folks are in homes with minimal ability to cook and eat two meals a day out. We sat with the locals at tiny tables, listened and learned. Yes we used hand sanitizer, took supplements to keep our immune system healthy, and if you are squeamish I would bring my own chopsticks, but the trick as the tours know is to go to places where you are eating food immediately after it is cooked. And oh my god the crab claws with friend chilly peppers-- astounding. On our first night of the trip we literally broke all food rules for street food-- had fresh veggies, dairy, ice, etc. Never got the tiniest tummy ache on a 25 day trip. On this first day in HCM before the cruise agenda kicked in we had a ball with so many surprises like the "lady boy" impromptu show in the streets as we ate street food with the locals. Seriously it is these side trips that a cruise could never do that made our trip. In Siem Reap I have to recommend the tour we did the last full day (we flew out on our own to Hanoi that night). After seeing the major temples for two days with Avalon which were amazing but super crowded, we did a vespa tour called beyond Angor-- it took us to back roads and temple not yet reconstructed where we were literally the only ones there-- best pictures we took, great local experience to balance our more formal days with Avalon-- saw a magical side to Siem Reap we would have completely missed if we didn't supplement the ship itinerary. Also in Siem Reap if you are a serious foodie- on your night off go to Embassy restaurant-- $36 for an 8 course exquisite meal in a one of a kind restaurant started by two women who against all odds made it to the top of the culinary institute-- one of the best meals of our lives and just super special experience in so many ways, each course a work of art. Make reservations ahead of time! -I would go northbound because Siem Reap is truly the highlight Cons (all minor in the scheme of things but be aware to set expectations) -Food was fresh and simple but below our expectations. It felt like they were cutting corners on protein. For example every day at lunch they usually had a noodle or soup they were preparing on the spot as a main course but it was almost weird the way they handled protein. For the soup, which again is the main course, they would literally deliberately count out three (very tiny) pieces of chicken (like 1" x 1") in the water to cook whereas even the most simple local restaurant would be full of chicken. For a noodle dish one day it had shrimp but small shrimp cut into smaller pieces-- for a whole serving you would literally get maybe two shrimp cut in pieces. There were other side dishes but often only one had meat and we noticed they only put a small amount out at once and didn't replenish much. One day the only meat besides the soup was chicken pieces. Lunch period was an hour and a half. We got there with an hour left. The chicken crock on the buffet table contained about four small pieces of chicken-- three wing tips which are usually thrown out because there is literally no meat on them and a weird piece of cartilage with a bit of meat. In the time we were there it was never replenished. Sure we could have asked for more meat to be put into the soup when they prepared our serving or asked for more chicken to be brought out but you shouldn't have to do that every time! If you are a dessert person it is also an issue. At lunch each day it was the same thing-- tiny squares (like petit four size) of cake and a simple pudding or mousse. Dinner desserts were again usually a very simple plain pudding no variety. Only on the last night did we get a nice dessert. Dinners were better but kind of repetitive with a lot of simple curries. We learned to order whatever was marked as "chef recommends." If you are a foodie you won't hate the food, it is fresh, but absolutely nothing memorable and breads are all lousy. Every single night at dinner you get a choice of one very basic (like hamburger bun) soft white roll or a soft white roll with something sprinkled on it. Food ranged from fair to good with only one very good dinner which was the last meal onboard. --Most of the tours and included tour food are great ,but there was a couple of tacky overly touristy things that we try to avoid. The included group dinner in HCM is excellent but the included group dinner and dance performance in Siem Reap is so bad I would honestly skip it even though if you are going northbound it is your last meal with the group. The dance show was like the worst local dinner theater you can imagine-- a total tourist place where the performers were calling it in and not very talented. The food was also the worst kind of tourist trap food and the wine undrinkable-- we barely ate and felt it was very inconsistent with the standards of the rest of the trip. The other day that is like a tourist trap and does not become Avalon is that day at the silver making village. First of all it is one of those fake workshops where the work being done is for show. There is no real silver here, just silver plating and everything they sell (don't buy here!) is the exact same stuff the local kids are selling on the street for half the price-- literally the same packaging on the identical earrings etc.-- clearly all bought from the same supplier probably in China and you can get in every tourist shop. Avalon really loses some credibility here encouraging you to buy only at this place, clearly getting a kick back and misleading their customers. They try to say it is better quality and and the only place in the village they can guarantee quality but when I pointed out it was not made locally and the packaging clearly plastic and exactly the same as the kids, they couldn't contradict me and looked uncomfortable. If you really want to buy something note that the locals with trays of silver who follow you around that day will follow you right to the ship and the price will be 1/3 by the time they get to the ship. Same again with the place they take you for snake wine and to watch rice cakes being made. It is fun to watch the rice cakes and candy being made but do not buy anything but the rice cakes and candy there and ask for the price first-- all other items are the same as the local markets at three times the price plus when you check out they will overcharge you by double the prices marked. Tip: best place to buy souvenirs and designer knock offs is the night market in Phenom Penn, half the price of the same stuff in Vietnam. Also when negotiating in the markets in Vietnam (no need to in cambodia, everything is so cheap) don't listen to the ship when they tell you how to negotiate I think they told us to offer half then come in the middle but you wouldn't believe the Vietnam markets and how they try to upcharge tourists-- I wanted a knock off bag for my daughter that started at $185 and got it for $20. The best quality things we saw were in the old town section of Hanoi but not inexpensive at all. And nothing in the markets or where the ship takes you is handmade, there is just a lot of fake workshops around to give you that impression. Overall, a few annoying things and they could definitely upgrade the food. Bottom line though is that we loved this trip and would do the whole thing on Avalon again because the pros far outweigh the cons and there is no packaged trip that will ever be as non touristy as we would like. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Avalon delivered a top notch vacation and attended to every detail to give us a most memorable and stress free vacation. The hotels in Budapest and Prague were superior. The cruise director, Sabine, worked tirelessly to ensure ... Read More
Avalon delivered a top notch vacation and attended to every detail to give us a most memorable and stress free vacation. The hotels in Budapest and Prague were superior. The cruise director, Sabine, worked tirelessly to ensure everyone's concerns were properly addressed. Despite historically low water levels on the Danube, Avalon did everything they could to make our vacation pleasurable. Everything was well thought out to provide the best possible experience for all passengers. From the hotels, to the guided tours, to the ship staff, to the food and entertainment, to the cabins, all met our highest expectations. Our only disappointment would be at port as we were usually double docked along side another ship. We never got to enjoy the views of the port cities and had to keep our curtains closed most of the time. We have traveled on other cruise lines in the past and would definitely recommend Avalon to anyone considering a river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
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