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12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
General Info My wife and I sailed on the Avalon Tranquility II April 18 through April 25, 2015. It was a North bound sailing on the Rhine from Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The Tranquility II was launched on ... Read More
General Info My wife and I sailed on the Avalon Tranquility II April 18 through April 25, 2015. It was a North bound sailing on the Rhine from Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The Tranquility II was launched on April 2, 2015; this is was only the third sailing of the ship. This was our first river cruise. Overall, the cruise and the ship were fabulous. The crew and the service were fantastic…especially the cruise director, Karolien. We flew into Zurich a day early and stayed at the Avalon pre-cruise hotel – the Moevenpick Airport Zurich. (See my review on TripAdvisor dated April 28, 2015 entitled "Good Hotel; the Restaurant Service Needs Improving. Directions using S-7 to Zurich". The bus from the hotel left at 3:30 PM; we were at the by around 4:30 PM. We were escorted to our cabin be the staff. Our bags were delivered about 10 minutes later. The Ship The ship was beautiful. It was elegant, contemporary and comfortable. (In Amsterdam, we docked next to a Uniworld ship. I’ve always heard that Uniworld was top-notch. Looking through the windows of the public areas we could see crystal chandlers and ornate furniture. It looked like my grandmothers living room – no thanks). The layout of the ship is kind of a “split-level”. The main deck with reception and the main lounge is a half a deck down from deck 3 and half a deck up from deck 2 The dining room is a half a deck down from deck 2 and a half a deck up from deck 1. There are six steps between each of these decks. The only problem that I saw with the ship design is the height or rise of the steps. I believe that a normal step has about seven inches. My estimate of the steps on the ship was about a nine inch rise. Most of the passengers on the ship were older. (My guess is that the average age was about 72). You could tell many had hip and knee problems and had trouble walking on the excursions. People struggled to climbs the short stair cases. Yes, there is a small elevator; but, I never saw a passenger use it. Hygiene was encouraged on the ship. There is an alcohol-based sanitizer dispenser at the door that passengers are asked to clean their hands with upon returning from shore. There are two sanitizer dispensers one each side of the entrance to the main dining room which passenger are reminded to use before each meal. After a few days, passengers were complaining about dry skin. The cabin The cabin was beautiful, tasteful and very functional. There was a lot of hanging storage in the closet. There were also some shelves on the side of the closet where the safe was located. (I found the safe a little tricky. The first couple of times that I opened and closed it, it didn’t catch. I would come back the cabin and find the safe opened. Then I realized that I had to hold the safe closed with one hand and punch in the code with the other; and, then you have to wait to see the word “success” on the display. Otherwise, there was a good chance that the door didn’t catch properly). Drawer space was limited to three drawers in the desk and a very small drawer in each nightstand. Lighting in the room was great. The beds were high enough to store suitcases. There is a mini-bar on the left side of the desk. It is well stocked. There is enough room in the fridge for two or three small water bottles. Housekeeping checks the inventory each day. Be careful about removing items from the fridge to make room for your own things. You will be charged for missing items on a daily basis. Avalon provides two (one liter) bottles of water in cabin and replaces the bottles throughout the cruise…a nice touch. There are at least two ice machines – one by the entrance to the main dining room and one in the rear lounge on deck three. We requested that the bed be put together. There was a placard on the bed when we first arrived that, if you didn’t want the duvet cover, you could request a traditional sheet and blanket set up. I found the duvet too warm for me. So, I requested the sheet and blanket setup. The only problem is that they don’t have queen/king size blankets. There are two blankets in the cabin on the shelf above the safe in the closet. They are twin size blankets. Housekeeping laid the twin-sized blankets perpendicularly across the bed. There was no spread on top. It worked; but, it wasn’t pretty. Speaking of bedding, I read somewhere that Avalon uses TempurPedic mattresses. The mattress was the most comfortable bed that I had ever slept on. We both awoke with no backaches or pain. The pillows were great also. (Unlike the pillows in the Moevenpick). The HVAC system was very good. You just had to interpolate the Celsius marking for Fahrenheit. The room was always comfortable. The bathroom was large and beautiful. There is a storage area with shelves on each side of the sink. The wastebasket pulls of the center of the counter. There is a narrow glass shelf on the mirror. We really enjoyed the use of the provided bathrobes and slippers. The shower was very good. But, my wife wished that there was a seat or a step to aid in shaving her legs. One hint on the shower…when you first turn the shower on there is a button or detente that stops the knob. The shower at that point is a gentle spray. If you press the button down and continue to turn the knob more, you get a stronger spray. (It took us a half a week to figure that out). One nice touch in the bathroom was that there were lights at the top of the mirror and another set of lights under to overhang of the counter for floor lighting. They made for a good night light. The only real problem we encountered was the toilet stopped working just after lunch on Monday. The problem was fixed by the time we returned from our afternoon excursion. The toilets work on a vacuum system and there was a problem (a loose fitting or something) with the system. Some passengers reported sporadic issues with the toilets prior to that. A word on cabin position…we were in room 210 on the port side of the ship. We felt that it was perfect. It was far enough away from the main lobby and not too far back that it was a hike to get to your cabin. I don’t really think that port or starboard cabin locations make much difference. There was scenery on both sides. Some nights we moored facing the river and some nights we tied up facing the town. (The only time that was really an issue was the night in Rudesheim. There are train tracks along the river. There were trains every four to five minutes all night long. My wife didn’t hear them; but, they kept waking me up. I’m not sure if we were on the starboard side it would have been any better. I really didn’t think that we would open the wall-to-wall sliding glass doors much. But, we had them open every day. It was a nice treat. Sail Away Shortly before 5:00 PM on Saturday, the cruise director came over the speaker system and announced that we were waiting for three passengers. I learned latter that the significance of that was the captain was anxious to get underway. There are 14 locks between Basel and Amsterdam. Nine of those locks are between Basel and the first port of Strasbourg. The time that it takes to get to Strasbourg depends on other river traffic using the locks. We made Strasbourg on time; but, we learned the next day that it took over five hours to get through one lock. There are some very low bridges leaving Basel and the crew had to drop the railings, and all the structures (including the captain’s bridge) to pass under the roadways. So, we were not permitted on the Sky Deck during the sail away. The safety exercise and ‘welcome aboard’ reception took place in the main lounge. Food The food at dinner was generally very good. There was a choice of two appetizers, two soups and two entrees each night. Plus there were three or four entrees that were always available. The soups were excellent. The only entrees that I had that were a little off were a veal roast that I thought was over cooked and a cod entrée that I thought was tasteless. Deserts were good. On the last night, neither of the main entrees appealed to me. So, I ordered the tenderloin from the items that are always available. It was surprisingly good. The first morning I was up early, so I tried the “Early Riser” (6:00 AM – 7:00AM) breakfast in the main lounge. It was juice, coffee/tea and pastries mainly. There may have been a cereal. I can’t remember. The full breakfast buffet usually runs from (7:00 AM until 9:00 AM) in the restaurant. My hint for both the breakfast and lunch buffets is to sit at one of the tables first and read the menu. There are always daily specials like eggs benedict, blue berry pancakes, etc. that you have to order from the wait staff. At lunch there is a sandwich special on the menu. The breakfast buffet had a little bit of everything. The only thing that I believe was missing was American cold cereals. There was Muslin and oatmeal; but, that was all I saw. There is bacon cooked two ways…soft cooked and crispy. And, there is always a chaffing dish of scrambled eggs. They had an amazing cook doing eggs to order. He had about five pans going preparing omelets, fried eggs, etc. Plus there were soft cooked eggs. My favorite breakfast item was the Belgium waffles. Again, you had to order them from the menu; they are not on the buffet. By the way…there is one menu per couple. So, you have to share. The lunch buffet usually had a meat dish plus a carving station, about four or five vegetables. There is a pasta station on the starboard side of the buffet line (looking forward) only. Don’t expect, Southern Italian, red-sauced pasta. It’s not there. It was mostly spaghetti or Linguine lightly dressed with something like a pesto, al Olio (olive oil and garlic), or something similar. Twice the menu listed gnocchi; I never found it. My wife and I are not fans for a full-hot meal for lunch. So, we usually opted for the sandwich. A “light lunch” was usually served in the lounge at lunch time. It was usually, soup or pasta and a sandwich. On a couple of occasions, they offered a “grill lunch” up on the Sky Deck (weather permitting). It consisted of grilled chicken, minute steaks, corn on the cob, salads, sausages, and burgers. They can only handle 20 passengers at a time (the number of tables) and you have to sign up for it. But, if they offer it, it is a nice change of pace. The ship also experimented with a dinner alternative that they called a “Bistro Dinner”. It was a tapas-style (small plates) meal held in the lounge. We never did it. So, I can’t comment on it. Service The entire staff was great. They always greeted you wherever they saw you. They were all pleasant and friendly. The people at the reception desk could not do enough for you. Service for the first and second nights at dinner was unbelievable. Your wine glass was never empty. (My only gripe was that the wait staff asked you if you wanted red or white wine before you had a chance to look at the menu and decide what you were having that night). Courses flowed like clockwork. On the third night, the dinner service was much slower. We talked about it with our table mates and one gentleman pointed out that it was the first night that they tried the “Bistro Dinner”. That meant that they had to pull wait staff (and split the kitchen) to serve up in the lounge. I don’t know if it meant anything, but that night I spotted Peter, the restaurant manager, at the reception desk and I mentioned to him that I thought that the service was much slower at dinner. He thanked me. They offered “Bistro Dinner” several more times. I never noticed slow service after that. Our favorite place on the ship was the bar. (Okay, I’m half Irish). There were a couple of stand-out crew members that handled the bar. First was the bartender – Aneta. She was fast and efficient; and, she knew what she was doing. Every day at happy hour they would have a drink special. One day it was Mojitos. I never saw anyone crank out drinks that fast. Plus she was sweet, personable and fun. After the first night, she had our room number memorized. The “class clown” of the cruise was a waiter named Iro (like hero without the “h”). He was also a lot of fun. I’ve read a review that knocked Avalon’s level of service because most of the crew is mainly East European. (In total, the crew represented 11 nations). I don’t believe that is true. I would rate the level of service an A+. Guidelines for tipping are included in your cruise documents. I found out while on the cruise that you can either pre-pay the tips or charge them to a credit card. If I knew that, I wouldn’t have gone to the bank to get extra Euros. We were talking to hotel manager (Mr. D) one day. He explained that, aside from the cruise director), all the rest of the crew splits the tips equally – from the officers down to the dish washers. Entertainment I wasn’t expecting much in the way of entertainment; so, I was pleasantly surprised. The on-board entertainer was a gentleman name Rumen. He played piano and accordion; plus, he did a little signing. One group of passengers from Australia really liked his Tom Jones songs and begged him to play them each night. We had a scheduled appearance of Armand and Margaux – a French Accordion team. (It may sound corny, but they were pretty good). One night, the cruise director arranged an unscheduled appearance of a violin trio. They were excellent. The crew show was funny and entertaining. There was a Happy Hour almost every day before the Port Talk and diner. Drinks were half price. It was pretty well attended. But, this wasn’t really a party crowd. Unless there was special entertainment, the lounge was pretty dead after dinner. There was a group of Australians, my wife and I and one or two other people. There is a flat screen TV in the room. I wasn’t planning on watching much TV; but, I would have liked to have caught up on world news. There were about eight English language news channels – all from Great Britain. Most seems to be focus on European business. The world could have been at war and we would not have known it. On the last day sailing from Cologne to Amsterdam, we had a lot of time to kill. I thought that I would watch a movie. But, the TV didn’t work. (It was fixed by that evening). I latter found out that many people problems with their TVs. They just didn’t work. In Cologne, the crew was seen bring about 10 new TVs on-board. The rumor was that some of the TVs that were installed during construction were incompatible with ship’s system. The only real use that the TV got was that housekeeping would turn the TV to one of the ten “fireplace” channel each night as the turned down the beds. The music selection on the TV was horrible. One category was called “Bar Selections 1 through 4”. On the other hand, the internet Wi-Fi service on-board was very good. You need to get a password from reception. I signed on once and remained connected throughout the cruise. The only thing that didn’t work was when I attempted to stream a movie. I don’t think that there was enough band-width. Excursions – Included When you arrive at your cabin, you are provided with and ear piece and lanyard. They are for wireless audio system used by the guides during the tours. Each excursion will have between three and five color-coded tours to break the passengers into more manageable groups. The system worked well; I was impressed by the quality and range of the devices. The “yellow” group seemed to have a high frequency of dead receivers. But, the guides usually have a spare receiver or two. The ear pieces, on the other hand, are painful. After about 20 minutes you are tempted to rip the thing off your ear. I thought that it was interesting that Avalon wanted the ear pieces and lanyards back at the end of the cruise. In general, the included tours were all very good and interesting. There is an “easy walking” group for each excursion. In Koblenz, we got drafted into an easy walking tour because there were too many in the “red” group and no one in the “white” or easy walker group. The tour leader was interesting. He was a college professor, a lawyer, an author and a poet. But, we only covered about a four square block area in Koblenz and he beat each location to death with way to much detail and his personal poems. In some cases, I’m not sure what the “easy walker” group bought you. At the Heidelberg castle for instance, all the groups had to climb a rather steep, cobblestone path up to the main castle level. My suggestion to anyone planning on any of these cruises is to start walking at least a mile a day a month before the cruise. You do a lot of walking. And, most of it is on cobblestone walkway. Walking on cobblestones is very strenuous. Personally, my favorite day was Speyer. We had the morning to ourselves to walk into town and explore. That gave me plenty of time to compose and properly frame photos. I didn’t feel rushed and I felt that we got a flavor for the town. We started walking around 9:00 AM. The shops didn’t open until 10:00. We were back on board by 11:30. The one tour that I could have done without was the visit to Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum in Rudesheim. It was corny and some of the music was way too loud – BRING EAR PLUGS. This was the only tour where I remember that they walked you through the souvenir shop to exit the building. After that, there was a short walk to the Rudesheim Schloss for Rudesheim coffee. (Coffee with Asbach brandy, whipped cream and chocolate). The sail through the Rhine Gorge was magnificent. Unfortunately, it was the coldest and windiest day we had on the cruise. A lot of people on the Sky Deck took blankets from their cabin to stay warm. Karolien narrated the trip, explaining each castle and point of interest, for over two hours. Excursions – Optional We did the Zurich City tour on our first day. I was mainly a way to kill time waiting for the bus to Basel and the ship. It was worth it. The Excursion to the Alsace Countryside was fun. We stopped at a small winery and tasted four (all white – this is mostly a white wine growing area) wines. Then we stopped and walked around the medieval town of Obernai. The tour guide (Terry) was very good. In Rudesheim we did the German dinner. It is held in the open courtyard of the same restaurant were we had the Rudesheim coffee early. It was like a wedding. There had to be 250 people there, including passengers from two Viking ships that were in port. The band played all types of music besides German. The lead singer did some Neil Diamond and Elvis songs. They encourage audience participation with a drinking game where five people lined up and drank Schnapps from cups mounted to a long board. And, there was a parade around the restaurant with audience members play instruments. The food was a fixed menu. It was salad, and a plate of four sausages with sauerkraut and potatoes, plus desert. There was white and red wine on the table. You probably could have asked for beer; but, no one in our group did. Would I recommend it…probably not? The town is an easy walk from the ship. (You do have cross train tracks). And, there are many restaurants in Rudesheim. We signed up for the Keukenhof Flower Exhibition. The timing was good; the flowers were in bloom and even the flower mosaic of Van Gogh was in full bloom. My issues with the tour were first, the crowds…attempting to enter the garden was like being in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. And second, the traffic getting out of the garden and back to the ship was frustrating. (We almost missed Happy Hour!) Fellow Passengers As I mentioned, this was mainly an older crowd. Most people were retired or semi-retired. There was only one couple from Brazil in their 30’s. They looked like they were bored out of their minds most of the time. I don’t know who recommend this cruise to them; but, they got some bad information. On the night we docked in Cologne (about 11:30 PM) they were waiting by the lobby door ready to go ashore. There were bars and clubs, within a couple of blocks of the docks. I guess they couldn’t wait for some real nightlife. Everyone was very friendly and everyone got along well. The hotel manager said that the passengers represented five nationalities. I estimate that they were British, Australian, Canadian, American and the couple from Brazil. Conclusion My wife and I loved this trip. We loved the ship, the crew and the fellow passengers. We especially loved the cruise director Karolien who made each day so special. One of her key phrases was “No panic, no stress” and that’s what this cruise was. I highly recommend Avalon, the Tranquility II and this cruise. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We had high water river flooding so Avalon had to scurry and make our trip the best it could be under the circumstances. We were very impressed with their actions. They notified us via email that there was high water and things were ... Read More
We had high water river flooding so Avalon had to scurry and make our trip the best it could be under the circumstances. We were very impressed with their actions. They notified us via email that there was high water and things were going to have to change. We had planned on the newest ship in the fleet and smooth sailing but that was not to be the case for us. However, we did not get put into a hotel or taken just by bus as I had heard horror stories in the past. They got a different ship there in Amsterdam for us so we were in good shape. They explained that Sat, Sun, Mon, and Tues we would be enjoying our cruise on that ship with their staff. They could not have been any nicer. Then on Weds we did have to pack up and be taken by bus to our excursion and from there they would take us to the new ship! For that inconvenience they even offered us a monetary reimbursement which I thought was outstanding as they were not obligated to do that. So then we were finally on our ship....it was fantastic and our super cruise director Isabel went with us so we still felt like home. That could have been an awful experience and they worked doubly hard to make sure that it was not! The beginning of the trip we stayed in Amsterdam for three days on a houseboat which was pretty awesome too. Then went to the Movenpick Hotel for free soft drinks and meeting other travelers and then whisked off by bus to the Keukenhoff Gardens tour. It was unbelievable--the reds, oranges, pinks, yellows in the fields and then the best garden we have ever toured and we have been to Versaille, etc. It is only open 8 weeks out of the year so if you are lucky enough to be there then I heartily recommend going. We were not besieged by crowds as we had a plan of which places we wanted to see and we walked directly to them. The orchid place was one of our first to visit and it was phenomenal. After that tour then we were taken back to the ship. The ship was easy to get around on unless you cannot do about six steps up or down. There is an elevator if you cannot. We were on the top cabin level in 323 towards the back of the ship. Perfect location for us as it was near the club lounge where there was always cookies, teas, coffees, juices, donuts, turnovers etc out day and night. Many people read there or did computers there. Wifi is great on this ship! And the views from the back of the boat were good too. You could also go right up on the top deck from there too. So we liked the location of our cabin and especially being on the third floor we had great views. We actually laid in bed and watched some castles go by! The cabin itself was great with the panoramic wall of glass doors that open. And it was roomy with a couch, desk, fridge, the most comfortable bed and pillows that I have experienced. The bathroom is way bigger and nicer than what you get on the ocean cruises. Nice size shower and marble everywhere. A nice night light system too. And they have different color towels so you know which one is yours and which one is your roomies. Nice idea! Came from a cruisers recommendation on an evaluation they said. There were different ages represented from many different countries. Average probably in the sixties. Australia, New Zealand, Canada, England and U.S. had the most people onboard. So interesting to meet them and get to know them. I made us of the hand sanitizers at the reception area when you came and went and also at the restaurant entrance and I carried my own as I did not want to get a cold etc. I loved that they had provided free water for us and they kept that going all through the trip. Nice touch. Also, loved the free wine and beer that came with dinner. They actually kept filling up my glass and I am a lightweight so they were not stingy at all! After we left Amsterdam the most exciting thing was going through the first lock! We went up on top and watched the process as I had never experienced that before. Food: I did not ever go to breakfast as I don't eat that usually but did go to the club lounge and had a turnover or something with my juice and pills. The lunches were great. You need to remember at the dining room to look at the menu since you can order things too besides what is on the buffet. I loved the buffet and way overate. Salads to start and many entrees, breads, veggies, and desserts. Ice cream was always offered too. Then for dinner we had six courses some nights! The best was the one with lobster of course....but always good soups, salads, entrees like salmon, steak, fish, potatoes, rice, and yummy desserts. My favorite was the lobster and the tenderloin of beef. And the best night was the night we tried the bistro dinner in the lounge. You have to sign up for it and we were so happy we did...no charge extra! And it was the best meal of little plates and we were stuffed and we had great dinner companions from Canada. Had a great night. In your regular dinners, we sometimes ate at a table for two and sometimes ate at a group table. Depends upon what time you get there what choice you have. And for lunch you also have the choice of a light lunch in the lounge. We did that a couple days when we were pressed for time with two excursions in a day. And there was soup, salad, two entrees and dessert. We were sad that on the day we were to have a grilled lunch up on top we had rain so we missed that. Service: we cannot say enough about the service....both ships had staff that always spoke to you and wished you a good excursion or dinner or day. And the cruise director was so good--Isabel kept things running smoothly, explained everything, and even offered to have us borrow her ipad charger when mine broke mid cruise. And the hotel director Mr. D offered his laptop computer to me one night to print boarding passes....just ask. We also needed another adaptor/convertor and both ships had them to borrow free of charge since we had U.S. Ipads, and Kindles, and phones to charge up. The room was kept immaculate and clean and loved the turn down service while at dinner and came back to chocolates on the bed and a fireplace on the tv. The tv was a flat screen and was much better on the Tranquility II than on the older ship. Newer of course. One night it was not working and reception just reset it from down there and it was back up and running. My hubby's only criticism was not much for U.S. news on it...mostly British. But you are on vacation and you have your Ipad and your Kindle so we were not without news. Plus they have a bulletin paper for all the countries in the club lounge so you could read up there. Excursions: We did them all! We did all the free ones and did all the paid ones we could fit in so we were busy! In Amsterdam, we did the Canal Boat tour and walking tour and Keukenhoff Gardens. We would have done Anne Frank House but had already done it and the same with the Zaanse Schwans Windmills. In Strasbourg, we had the best tour guide ever, Rafaella sp? but had her for two excursions and she was so proud of her city and excellent. Loved the Alsace Loraigne wine trip too. The local family winery there was very hospitable and the wines all white were excellent and got to see the process. And even had some cake. I personally loved the Siegfrieds Mechanical Musical Museum as I knew what to expect; old instruments very unique and very loud and the house it is in is very interesting too. Then we did not have the Rudesheim coffee after as they offered us the wine tasting there instead with cheeses. Notice a wine theme going on here...it was great! I much preferred that to a coffee thing. The best thing though with the most pictures was the sailing through the gorge and a castle every five minutes. We had 87 degree weather for that day which was weird since it had been 50's and 60's so up on the top deck with our cruise director giving us a paper with the castle history and a narration as they floated by. It was fantastic with waiter service for drinks as we sailed along. Towards the end, I went down to the cabin to lay in bed and watch them gently go by. My hubby fell asleep but I saw them all! Magical! Heidelburg printing press and Heidelburg castle was a great excursion too with free time for shopping so I got my chocolates. Also got macaroons in Strasbourg. The only thing different I might have done the whole trip was maybe take a morning off to relax but I just did not want to miss anything....Wear comfortable shoes as there are lots of cobblestone streets and stairs. We only travel with backpacks for Europe so for packing I can tell you that you can do layers for colder, warmer etc and be very comfortable. Don't overpack! I thoroughly enjoyed this trip on my first river cruise and would do another! And would definitely recommend Avalon! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
I did not know that Avalon is a part of Cosmos tours and ultimately Globus, an American Company. There were only 4 English People on the boat, the majority being American with a few Canadians and Australians. This does not matter of course ... Read More
I did not know that Avalon is a part of Cosmos tours and ultimately Globus, an American Company. There were only 4 English People on the boat, the majority being American with a few Canadians and Australians. This does not matter of course but lends a certain perspective. For example, the dress code is VERY casual.This boat is new with large staterooms and high quality fitments and toiletries etc. The tours are very well organised and the cruise director, Nancy Paredes is the best that I have come across. The food and wine is good apart from the vegetables which were mush. However our brochure mentioned a library and a shop which are non existent. The library is one shelf of books, half of which are travel guides and the shop is reception where you can buy a toothbrush. There was one nights entertainment, a trio of violins and guitar which were excellent. Other than that nothing! The lounge emptied at 10.30! This is an expensive trip and I had 2 big problems. The booking was made last September and 2 weeks before travelling, Avalon emailed us and changed the flights trying to blame KLM airline. This was untrue and it all descended into disorganised chaos. Also the brochure notified me for the first time that all gratuities are included in the cost of the trip. It does not say how much, nor can you opt out. I rang the Company who could not or would not tell me how much had been added to the cost of the holiday. Someone was supposed to ring back but never did. At the end of the cruise there were guidelines for gratuities for people who had not prepaid. These amounted to $200. Have I paid this? I don't know. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
My wife and I have always wanted to go to Europe and thought that a Rhine River cruise would get us a good sampling of the main countries of northern Europe. We sailed out of Amsterdam and ended up the cruise in Basel, Switzerland with a ... Read More
My wife and I have always wanted to go to Europe and thought that a Rhine River cruise would get us a good sampling of the main countries of northern Europe. We sailed out of Amsterdam and ended up the cruise in Basel, Switzerland with a bus ride to Zurich for our flight home. The ship was beautiful, clean, and very comfortable. The food was outstanding and the service excellent. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style with a great selection. Supper was a served meal by congenial and courteous staff. The choices for the supper meal were numerous and included a nice variety. Wine and beer was available with the supper meal at no charge. This experience was much better than our large ocean going cruise a few years ago where all meals were prepared ahead of time and we felt like we were being herded to feed. Of course, the number of passengers on this cruise were a lot, lot less. Our cabin was lovely with doors that opened up for a panoramic view of the shore line. The cruise activities and shore excursions were fantastic. Shore excursions included canal tours, walking tours, and some bus tours that were included. Other excursions cost additional money, such as a visit to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, or visits to Heidelberg, Germany and Colmar, France, or the Black Forest in Germany. Erik, our cruise director did and outstanding job, keeping us all on time and organized. Evening entertainment was very good with a variety of types from piano solos to wood carving demonstrations. Overall, the trip was fantastic, very well organized with a good selection of tours and options for all customers. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Our first river cruise and it was a wonderful experience! The weather was not ideal and there was some flooding but I would still not change my rating. The ship was beautiful and the cabins with the beds facing the river were all you ... Read More
Our first river cruise and it was a wonderful experience! The weather was not ideal and there was some flooding but I would still not change my rating. The ship was beautiful and the cabins with the beds facing the river were all you could ask for. The crew did not disappoint and the cruise director, Kathy, was a treasure. She made the cruise! Food was very good. We did the romantic Rhine starting in Switzerland and ending in Amsterdam. Historic and picturesque. My only regret is that we were too late for the tulips in Amsterdam! Switzerland was fabulous and the trip up Mt. Pilates is a must see! From Black Forest cakes in Germany to the croquettes in Amsterdam, experiencing local fare was a great adventure! I would highly recommend this cruise line and this cruise! We cruised with siblings and that made the trip even more fun! Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We sailed on the Avalon Tranquility II from Amsterdam on Saturday June 4, 2016. By we, I mean my wife and two sons, ages 27 and 25. We wondered about the weather as it had been raining like crazy in Europe as we arrived. Paris and ... Read More
We sailed on the Avalon Tranquility II from Amsterdam on Saturday June 4, 2016. By we, I mean my wife and two sons, ages 27 and 25. We wondered about the weather as it had been raining like crazy in Europe as we arrived. Paris and Bavaria were flooding. The Louvre was closed! But for us, as we boarded, it was warm and sunny. In fact, it would be that way pretty much the entire time. It seemed we had avoided any high water problems—but more on that later. We had arrived in Amsterdam two days earlier, and had stayed at the Ibis, which was located right next to the Central Station. Our first Avalon activity was a tour of Zaanse Schans, a traditional windmill village (optional tour). This took place before boarding, and we were to be at the Movenpick hotel by 1 pm. To get there, we had to walk along the river with our wheelie bags in tow. As we walked along, we realized that we were walking right by the boat. Would they let us on (it was hours early) to drop off our bags (and change into shorts as it was suddenly hot)? Yes! Our first interaction was one of relaxed flexibility—and this is how it was the whole time. Zaanse Schanse was interesting—windmills, wooden shoe making, cheese making. I mean, windmills and Holland go together, right? The bus took us back to the ship and we moved into our rooms. Our rooms were in the lower level (submarine class), and were quite nice. Little tidbits are that the towels come in two colors (for us—white for her, brown for me), and there were robes and slippers, perfect for heading up to the (seldom used by others) hot tub. There were always two big bottles of water in the room for our use at no additional cost. The TV had a few channels of regular TV and like ten different fireplace channels! The bed was comfortable. The next day was still an Amsterdam day, beginning with the included tour of a canal cruise followed by a guided walk back to the boat (or, you could choose a bus back, or a tour of a diamond facility with a bus back). That afternoon we explored Amsterdam on our own some more and set sail around 5 pm. The next day (Monday) we sailed until around 3 pm. It was a nice little “sea day.” We docked in Cologne where we had a choice of included tours: a regular walking tour, or a walking tour of Jewish Cologne. Pro tip: The tour of Jewish Cologne includes everything the regular tour includes, and is just 30 minutes longer. While the tour of the town was interesting, the fact is that most of it was destroyed in WWII, so much of what is described are things that are no longer there. Except, of course, the main reason to go to Cologne—the magnificent cathedral. The tours all end there, leaving us free to explore it, and for us, to climb the tower (cost is extra)! 533 steps up a narrow winding staircase on a hot and humid day. My sons scampered up and I followed, a few minutes behind. Great views, nice to see the upper reaches up close, and a small sense of middle aged accomplishment. Tuesday morning we had a walking tour of Koblenz. A cute little town, but all we could do was take the tour and get back on the boat for what was for us the highlight of the cruise: sailing the Rhine Gorge and looking at all the castles. We lucked into a warm sunny day and enjoyed the sights and the narration. Later that afternoon we docked at Rudesheim, where the included tour took us to the Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum. I have to admit that the whole thing seemed hokey at first, but by the end I was completely fascinated. After dinner the four of us hit town with two others (a mother and her 29 year old daughter—so all of the under 30’s were out with us) for an evening in the local bars. Wednesday morning we had a tour of Mainz that included a tour of the Gutenberg Museum—which was very interesting and you could also see some original Gutenberg Bibles. After lunch we were off to Heidleberg and a tour of the castle and of the town, with some time in town on our own before getting on the bus back to the boat. The castle there was another highlight for us. Remaining on the schedule were stops in Strasbourg, Breisach and an end in Basel. Wednesday night we learned that all of the rain in Europe (but not on us) had finally caught up to us and that the locks upstream were no longer passable. So, the cruising part of our cruise would end in Strasbourg. We would stay on the boat each night, but no more sailing. Avalon handled this very smoothly, and all tours went off as planned except for those that had purchased the optional biking tours in Breisach. Thursday in Strasbourg included a canal cruise, a walking tour and some town time on our own, during which we climbed another cathedral tower (only about 300 steps this time—piece of cake!). Strasbourg is a very nice town. That afternoon we took the optional tour to the Maginot line, which was also a very interesting and fascinating tour. It is a tour through one of the bunkers. Friday was the included tour of the Black Forest. The bus simply picked us up in Strasbourg instead of Breisach. We chose the Cuckoo Clock option and frankly, this trip was a waste of time. The description led us to believe we would at least have a demonstration. Instead, we had a long bus ride to a cuckoo clock store where they spent an hour selling clocks, and then a ride back. Oh, and they threw in a piece of cake. The highlight was the bus ride, which provided interesting scenery. I spent the afternoon lying on the deck reading with one son, while my wife and other son walked around Strasbourg. Saturday morning Avalon provided a bus from Strasbourg to the Central Station in Basel, and we were on our own for four very nice days in Switzerland. Avalon was excellent. The ship was very nice, and the staff was terrific. It was all very relaxed, and they handled the high water problems with grace and skill. The only place for improvement is that my wife and sons are vegetarians, and the vegetarian food, while tasty and well-presented, often lacked a protein. They worked with us on this and there was improvement as the trip went along, but this is an area that needs some work. We had a great family vacation on the Avalon Tranquility II. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We have just returned from a Rhine Cruise on Tranquility II- Northbound from Zurich to Amsterdam and loved it.There was a problem with the river being closed due to too high water but Avalon could'nt help have done any more to a ... Read More
We have just returned from a Rhine Cruise on Tranquility II- Northbound from Zurich to Amsterdam and loved it.There was a problem with the river being closed due to too high water but Avalon could'nt help have done any more to a situation out of their control. We were bussed from Zurich to Strasbourg, and spent 2 nights mored there, but it was no hardship as they bussed everyone the Heildelberg Castle from Strasbourg, so nothing was missed other than the cruise from Basle to Strasbourg (we stayed onbaord and enjoyed a lovely Bebeque on the sundeck). The guests were a nice mix of English speaking nations from New Zealand, Austrailia, Canada, USA and Brits, all who got on very well (despite the conversation always revolving about the UK referendum/Brexit! LOL) the ship is well equipped very clean (only a year old) and the cabins are very nice with 3 sliding glass windows to give you a great view of the countryside and a full size bathroom with a great shower. The crew were all excellent, and could'nt be more friendlier and helpful. The food was the best we have had on the 3 river cruises we have been on, and wine/beer included with your evening meal was great and very generous . There was a resident pianist who played every evening, with local artists coming on board when mored overnight to entertain, however the Crew show stole the limelight and was brilliant. Hendrick the cruise Director was excellent and very informative and helpful. We really enjoyed cruising through the Rhine Gorge and the destinations particulally Rhudesheim which is lovely. In all a lovely ship, cruise and I wouldn't hesitate recommening Avalon to anyone Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
This cruise was a gift from my wife's parents, however i would say i would it again and already looking to when my wife and I will be going on the next trip!!! on this trip we were never in need of want, as a person with Gluten ... Read More
This cruise was a gift from my wife's parents, however i would say i would it again and already looking to when my wife and I will be going on the next trip!!! on this trip we were never in need of want, as a person with Gluten allergies and my wife with Sea food allergies we could not have some of the meals however, the Chef (Chef Thomas) heard this and made sure we had a choice every meal to make sure I had the best experience with the food he was creating! right down to the fresh home made breads. All the excursions were very will done and gave not just the history as one would think or except but also the local information. The Crew....in a word?! Wow!! it was like wanting for nothing as Ravi was there every time you needed him, this goes with all of the Crew. Everyone was very attentive to what ever your need might be. I would give the Boat, Crew, and every part of this trip 110 % score!! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
In June, my husband and I traveled with Avalon on the Romantic Rhine cruise. It was fabulous. We were on the Tranquility II where the staff was courteous, friendly, and helpful and the food was delicious. Our cabin was roomy, clean, and ... Read More
In June, my husband and I traveled with Avalon on the Romantic Rhine cruise. It was fabulous. We were on the Tranquility II where the staff was courteous, friendly, and helpful and the food was delicious. Our cabin was roomy, clean, and comfortable to the point that Avalon has spoiled us. I’m not sure any other line has the room set up the way Avalon does. The whole outside wall is all glass and opens up 2/3 of the way to make your room the balcony. So you can sit in comfort on your sofa and watch the scenery pass by. It also doesn’t take space away from the room for a balcony, as other cruise lines do. Having the bed face the outside wall also helped to make the room more spacious. There was comfortable space on either side of the bed to move around. By placing the bed facing that way, the bathroom is extended so that was roomy and we could easily turn around or bend down in the shower, something else that other cruise lines don’t allow. The daily tours were well planned and covered a lot of ground and the local guides were very knowledgeable and pleasant. We were pleased that a walking tour was included in Amsterdam, which was not listed in the itinerary. Germany had a lot of rain this spring so the rivers overflowed their banks. As a result, the ship was not able to go further than Mannheim but Avalon did a wonderful job of making sure that we got to the places that were included on the itinerary. They got us to Strasbourg by motor coach and included the optional wine tasting tour if we wanted to take it. I opted to stay in Strasbourg. We had pre-booked the optional tour to Colmar. It had to be canceled and our money was refunded. We went by motor coach through the Black Forest to Zurich and substituted two wonderful stops in place of the options listed on the itinerary. Lake Titisee and the Rhine Falls were gorgeous. Our tour director, Hendrik, worked very hard to make sure that everyone was taken care of with stays at the hotel in Zurich, transportation to the airport, and, for us, travel to Basel to the train station. Amidst all the upheaval, he remained pleasant and calm. We were so pleased with our tour and with Avalon that we look forward to cruising with them again soon. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
My husband and I just returned from our very first river cruise on the Tranquility II. We sailed northbound on the Rhine, from Basel to Amsterdam. We stayed 4 days prior to the cruise in Switzerland, 2 nights in Zurich at the Central ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from our very first river cruise on the Tranquility II. We sailed northbound on the Rhine, from Basel to Amsterdam. We stayed 4 days prior to the cruise in Switzerland, 2 nights in Zurich at the Central Plaza Hotel and 2 nights in Lucerne at the Hotel Flora. I would highly recommend both hotels. We returned to Zurich via train, then caught the Avalon shuttle to the Hotel Movenpick to join our fellow cruisers. We then boarded buses for the hour ride to Basel to board the ship. Avalon provided a seamless transition onto the ship. Our keys were waiting for us and our luggage was delivered in less than 10 minutes. We stayed in cabin 311. It was beautiful and had plenty of storage for our clothes. The bathroom was especially nice with a good size shower. Breakfast and lunch were served buffet style. Dinner was good, but we would have liked some additional choices, Only 3 meals were available, one meat, one fish and one vegetarian. also, there were every night choices of steak and chicken. Also, there were several grill lunches served outside on the deck, in addition to several bistro style dinners a couple of nights. You had to sign up in advance for these. We thought the provided walking tours in the ports were good, plus there was plenty of time for shopping. We took 2 of the optional additional cost excursions, the Alsace wine tasting and the windmill excursion in Amsterdam. I would recommend both. There was a German dinner option in town one night but not many took advantage of it. You could go into town and to the same restaurant on your own. Avalon is known for their excellent service and we were not disappointed. All staff on the ship were friendly and eager to help. I did not feel they were overburdened as on the larger cruise ships. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Our travel agent selected it for us. She liked the company. We sailed on the most beautiful, new ship, the Tranquility II. Every detail was sparkling and clean. The ship was beautifully appointed and there was attention to every ... Read More
Our travel agent selected it for us. She liked the company. We sailed on the most beautiful, new ship, the Tranquility II. Every detail was sparkling and clean. The ship was beautifully appointed and there was attention to every detail. From candies on the front desk to refreshing face towels and juice to greet us upon our return to the ship from an excursion. The meals were course after course of appealing and country-oriented flavors. Breakfasts included made-to-order eggs and omelettes, lunches were also buffet style and offered a huge array of meats, cheeses, vegetables, and breads. Dinners were multiple courses with plenty of options. The wait staff were efficient and friendly, quick to refill our wines and sodas, and eager to get something special for us if it was our wish. We were always treated by the captain when we returned from an excursion. The organization of all 122 passengers was smooth and friendly. With a group of this size, it was easy to meet people more than once and actually refer to them as friends. Best experience EVER! Why would anyone want to go on a traveling city of thousands when there is this amazing, personable experience available? Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2016
We were talking with some friends and they invited my wife and I to join in with them on this trip. We did not know what to expect? We had a great flight in Business class on American lines, when we arrived at our location to catch the bus ... Read More
We were talking with some friends and they invited my wife and I to join in with them on this trip. We did not know what to expect? We had a great flight in Business class on American lines, when we arrived at our location to catch the bus to take us to the river boat everything was well organized and ready to go! We arrive at the boat, and where treated like royalty. I can only say that the cruse only amazed us more each day. The service was awesome, the food was great and large amounts, our group had a wonderful time both on and off the boat. I started to think about the flights back home and checked our info and found that it was business class as well to go home. We really appreciate the thoughtful people at Avalon Water ways that put the trip together. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
My wife and I just returned from our very first river cruise on the Tranquility II. We sailed northbound on the Rhine, from Basel to Amsterdam. We were by ourselves but met many interesting people from the UK, Australia, Canada, and of ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from our very first river cruise on the Tranquility II. We sailed northbound on the Rhine, from Basel to Amsterdam. We were by ourselves but met many interesting people from the UK, Australia, Canada, and of course, most were from the US. The meals were course after course of appetizing, creative and country-oriented flavors. There were four entrees that were always available. Breakfasts included made-to-order eggs and omelettes, lunches were also buffet style and offered a huge array of meats, cheeses, vegetables, and breads. Dinners were multiple courses with plenty of options. Happy hour was a great time and Stefano, our cruise director, was there to give us information about the next day. On board newsletter was great. The wait staff were efficient and friendly, quick to refill our wines, beer and sodas, and eager to get something special for us if we wanted. Avalon is known for their excellent service and we were not disappointed. All the crew on the ship were friendly and eager to help. I did not feel they were overburdened as on the larger cruise ships. They worked hard and did multiple jobs, but the ratio of staff to passengers was much better than on large cruise ships. They also got along well with each other - the crew entertainment night, which I normally do not attend, was an absolute riot! I really appreciated the attention to detail across the board, including activities and excursions and the ability to pre-pay gratuities. Stayed an extra night in Amsterdam and all the transfers and connections were seamless. My wife and I would absolutely go on another Avalon cruise. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose to book the Romantic Rhine cruise on the Avalon Tranquility II. We traveled in mid-late September and were glad we had heavy jackets, gloves, and knit hats, as we needed them on Mt. Pilatus and while on the deck when going ... Read More
We chose to book the Romantic Rhine cruise on the Avalon Tranquility II. We traveled in mid-late September and were glad we had heavy jackets, gloves, and knit hats, as we needed them on Mt. Pilatus and while on the deck when going through the Rhine gorge. We flew into Zurich a day early so we could take the optional Mt. Pilatus tour. This tour was worth the money as one gets to view the countryside from the high mountains. The tour also included a trip to Lucerne which was quite lovely. When we arrived at our ship, we were greeted by the crew and given our room keys. Our room was 207, and very nice with a sliding glass door that opens up to view the river. It is like having a room-wide balcony. The bed faces outward toward the river which seems to be very romantic. A wall mounted TV was included in each room, but we never did use ours. The bathroom was moderately sized, but did seem to be bigger than that of an ocean ships bathroom, and the shower was much larger than on an ocean cruise ship. Also include in the bathroom were under the counter, enclosed storage, bath amenities and hair dryer. Nice terry robes and house slippers were in the closet, along with other amenities. A European electric converter is highly recommended if you wish to charge many electronic devices. The meals on board did not have as large a selection as that of an ocean cruise, but one still had a nice selection of food. Breakfasts and lunches were buffet style, and dinner was to order. At breakfast, there was a nice selection of meats, cheeses, fruits, eggs or omelets to order, and different vegetables, local breads, and pastries. We were given a tour of the galley later during the cruise, and were amazed at the food that can be prepared in such a small galley. With the number of guests at around 120, it was easy to meet a lot of different people as seating was never defined, so one sat where they wish. In the evening, there is just one seating for dinner. Dinner dress for men was slacks. Evening entertainment on board ship was sometimes local talent, or the ship’s crew. There were no children on board, and the mix of people were mostly in the 60-70 year range. All day long in the library, cookies, muffins, coffee, tea, and cappuccino were available. Smoking is allowed outside, in the back of deck three. Outside on the sky deck , were many lounge chairs and even a small hot tub. We cruised from Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam and I would recommend this routing for two reasons. (1) When going through the Rhine gorge, the sun will be behind you allowing for excellent photographs. (2) Even though you are going northward, you are going down river which allows the ship to travel faster and can even cruise when the river is at a lower level than it can when going upriver. For photographers, I took a DSLR and a 15-85mm lens, and a 70-200mm lens. The 70-200mm was too strong, even when shooting in the Rhine gorge, so it was left in the room safe. Our stops during this cruise included Strasbourg, Heidelberg, Mainz, Rudesheim, Koblenz, Cologne, and Amsterdam, with included tours at each location. Our tour guides all spoke excellent English and were very knowledgeable of their location. The tours were informative and you learned a lot about the city, its history, and local people. Each person was given a headset and the tour guide wore a transmitter, so one could hear what was being said even while in the back of a group. After each tour, time was given for shopping if it was desired. Many of the streets and alleys we walked were cobblestones, so good walking shoes are recommended. From the onset, we were given a folder with daily information sheets and maps of our next stops and information about each stop. These would be filed in the folder, making a nice remembrance of our cruise. Each evening in the lounge before dinner, our tour director would give an informational talk about the following day’s activities, where to meet buses, and information about the different tour groups. They even had a tour group for gentle walkers. Embarkation and disembarkation were easy and fast. When leaving the ship during every port stop, each person was given a card with their room number and would return it when coming back on board. This lets the crew know who is still off the ship. When returning from a port visit, we were greeted by a crew member and given a warm refreshment towel and a cold fruit drink. The service by all crew members was top notch and if one had a problem and it was reported, it was addressed immediately. The Wi-Fi on board seemed to work very well and we were able to Face time our daughter back home. I believe Avalon does an outstanding job and their cruises are a great value for the dollar. We are already looking forward to our next Avalon cruise, but have yet to decide on which one we want to choose. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Choosing an Avalon cruise was really pretty easy after speaking to other people about river cruising and the recommendation of our travel agent. We chose the Rhine River Cruise aboard the Tranquility II in late September early October. ... Read More
Choosing an Avalon cruise was really pretty easy after speaking to other people about river cruising and the recommendation of our travel agent. We chose the Rhine River Cruise aboard the Tranquility II in late September early October. The ship and the cabins were everything they were advertised to be. The food on board was excellent and we were amazed that they were able to create such wonderful meals in the small galley they have. The staff on board was great starting with Robert our Cruise Director. The rest of the crew performed various duties quietly but superbly. All shore excursions were excellent in each port we visited. The rooms on board were spacious and well laid out. We enjoyed the fact that there was no assigned seating for meals which enabled us to meet many of our shipmates from various other countries. So to summarize we will definitely be recommending Avalon Waterway River Cruises to anyone who will listen. Definitely will be traveling with them again!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
When we decided to treat ourselves to a river cruise for our anniversary, we looked at several different cruise lines as well as getting information from friends who had gone on cruises We then went to our local travel agent who highly ... Read More
When we decided to treat ourselves to a river cruise for our anniversary, we looked at several different cruise lines as well as getting information from friends who had gone on cruises We then went to our local travel agent who highly recommended Avalon. After looking over their information and prices we decided to give them a try. The larger cabin with a full river view was one of the major deciding factors and we couldn't have been more pleased with that choice. I was pleased with not only the size of our cabin, but that there was enough space to store our clothes and then stash the suitcases under the bed. The bathroom was another pleasant surprise, having storage space, and a full sized shower. The young man who took care of our cabin was helpful and friendly. In fact, all of the crew we encountered were helpful and friendly. Food throughout the the trip was excellent with good choices, whether for a full meal or a light lunch. We especially appreciated the lounge at the end of our hall that always had cookies or rolls and a wonderful coffee machine where we could get coffee, cappachino, hot milk or tea. There was always a supply of fresh fruit available as well, in the restaurant and lounge. We did each of the planned daily tours and were very well pleased with our guides. They were locals who really knew their information and were fun as well as informative. The only additional tour we did was the one to the Black Forest area and that was enjoyable with a fun cake and coffee addition. We particularly liked that most of the tours allowed some time at the end to walk around and see things on our own. Many of the people with us went looking for souvenirs while we walked and explored the areas. The free seating at meals made it nice to sit with and meet different people. We found that everyone was friendly and seemed to enjoy the cruise as much as we did. We would definitely consider traveling with Avalon again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We chose this cruise as a recommendation from a friend, who had cruised with Avalon Waterways. I went to the website filled out a form and was assigned a cruise coordinator. She was just wonderful. She was efficient and friendly and always ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a recommendation from a friend, who had cruised with Avalon Waterways. I went to the website filled out a form and was assigned a cruise coordinator. She was just wonderful. She was efficient and friendly and always took my call or answered my emails quickly. Lucky for us she was going on the exact same cruise in August, so she was able to answer all my very specific questions. The ship is beautiful, I think it is it's second year in service. All the staff, everyone was always smiling and friendly. The ship was clean, clean, clean. The cabin was just perfect. We were on the 3rd floor suites, near the rear lounge that had 24/7 coffee & snacks. The dining was great, lots of variety and the staff was great. The wine ran continually during dinner. We did quite a few shore excursions and they were very well coordinated and delivered exactly as promised. We had the best Cruise Director, Carolina. She made the whole time a great experience. When we book our next river cruise, it will be with Avalon Waterways, for sure. There were only 114 passengers on the cruise, so you really go to meet and spend time with a variety of people, it was fun, fun, fun. Our most favorite excursions were bike riding through the Amsterdam countryside, it was a 13 mile ride, but it was flat and fairly easy (we bike ride at home) with beautiful scenery. The other favorite excursion was Stonehenge. We booked extra nights on the front end in Zurich and on the back end in London. The Park Place Westminster Bridge add on hotel option was perfect, when you walked out the front door you see Big Ben. In Zurich the Movenpick was an easy hotel shuttle to the airport and then a train ride into town, which we did often. Just the best time! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2016
We chose Avalon because of the superior recommendations we received from friends. Plus, we liked the fact the the Avalon ships were smaller and carried less passengers than several of their competition. We were looking for quality not ... Read More
We chose Avalon because of the superior recommendations we received from friends. Plus, we liked the fact the the Avalon ships were smaller and carried less passengers than several of their competition. We were looking for quality not quantity! The staff were amazing and a huge part of our enjoyment of the cruise. Excursions were great (except for the 'Butterfly experience'. Loved touring the adjacent castle and would like to have seen more of it. The Coffee house on the tour was mediocre. After we left the group there, taking the aerial tram to the awesome statue and view above the city was phenomenal. Would much have preferred to spend more time there than the coffee house. Our activities director was charming. She entertained and educated us on all we were going to see. The onboard entertainment was above average, but definitely did not play the dance music. Too bad... All in all, we are already planning our next excursion on the Danube with Avalon! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
What a wonderful experience for our first cruise. We were celebrating our wedding anniversary and retirement. Everything was simply perfect from the day we first stepped on the boat to our day of departure. The room was superb. The ... Read More
What a wonderful experience for our first cruise. We were celebrating our wedding anniversary and retirement. Everything was simply perfect from the day we first stepped on the boat to our day of departure. The room was superb. The layout allowed for rom to walk around the bed and the bed facing the full length windows was a treat. What impressed us the most was the high quality and spacious bathroom. Almost like home, well almost. The added feature of having an onboard laundry facility was simply perfect. The food was excellent three times a day and numerous after-hour lighter meals. Wine flowed easily each night. The "special chef" meals were a treat and featured fresh ingredients form the local villages. We even met our Chef in the village at his favorite bakery. It was great. We met many new friends as well. Lots of fun to be had. The excursions were well planned and the tour guides experts on their locale. We have already chosen Avalon for our next cruise in 2017 on the Danube. The last day was hard to leave but they made it easy. The luggage was carried to an awaiting taxi and loaded piece by piece. No cares no worries. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2016
Love European river cruising and had traveled with Grand Circle previously on the Danube, Everything was great -- the food, the rooms, the service and passengers. Valentin (Tranquility II, cruise director) was awesome!! He has a way to ... Read More
Love European river cruising and had traveled with Grand Circle previously on the Danube, Everything was great -- the food, the rooms, the service and passengers. Valentin (Tranquility II, cruise director) was awesome!! He has a way to make everyone feel welcome and special and a great sense of humor. Georgi and Alexandria (Tranquility II, bar service) were also awesome. Always service with a smile, friendly and extremely helpful. Wonderful people. The excursions - both the included and optional excursions were exceptional and the guides were knowledgeable and interesting. Best cruise ever!! Poetry II Great themed cruise -- loved the wine tasting excursions. Each winery/area was unique and I learned soooo much about wine. Petru (Poetry II, dining service) was GREAT!! He makes everyone's day! Would have liked more time at the Pont du Gard excursion -- seemed rushed. Also would have liked more time to discover St. Paul de Vence. Very interesting but dark by the time we arrived. Again, great cruise. Would recommend this to anyone. We look forward to another cruise with Avalon. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2016
Never did a river cruise and thought this one was best suited for a first time. Love the idea of wall length view which opens to outside for lovely breeze while cruising down the river. Excellent crew and the service was superb. Food was ... Read More
Never did a river cruise and thought this one was best suited for a first time. Love the idea of wall length view which opens to outside for lovely breeze while cruising down the river. Excellent crew and the service was superb. Food was delicious and good variety. Loved the small public space at back of boat on our level which I only think the folks on our level knew about. Great to have fresh coffee, cocoa and hot tea available 24 hrs a day not to mention great sweets like fresh donuts and muffins too! Really like the arrangement of rooms with beds facing the windows/sliding doors allowing you to lay in the bed and still see all the view. Enjoyed excursions and the guides knowledge of area and great food and pubs to stop at outside the ship/boat. Will do again, but need to save up some money first, thanks. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
This is the best way to see several different places - no packing and unpacking involved The crew work very hard, and cheerfully, to make your week special, the service was excellent and the food was restaurant quality every time. ... Read More
This is the best way to see several different places - no packing and unpacking involved The crew work very hard, and cheerfully, to make your week special, the service was excellent and the food was restaurant quality every time. The ship is spacious and the lounge, dining room and bars were all well furnished and comfortable. Going late season we found the shore excursions a pleasure as nowhere were we crowded which was a bonus The standard of service was really excellent and without exception the crew were charming. We go on holiday to be with each other but did enjoy meeting others over dinner. The tours were well run and we really felt we got a feel for each place with local guides. Our tour director was excellent, amusing, helpful and pleasant whilst at the same time letting you get on and enjoy yourself, a credit to the company (thank you Valentin) I would unhesitatingly recommend them and indeed we are already looking at going on another river cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We have never cruised before so this was a first for us. We were not keen on the idea of ocean cruising due to the size of vessel, number of passengers & possibility of sea sickness! Our cruise down the Rhine from Basel to ... Read More
We have never cruised before so this was a first for us. We were not keen on the idea of ocean cruising due to the size of vessel, number of passengers & possibility of sea sickness! Our cruise down the Rhine from Basel to Amsterdam suited us perfectly. Not too many passengers. A different port every day, sometimes two and a very gentle pace. Always something to see from the window. Ship was immaculate & very well designed. Great attention to detail. Good food, plenty of choice and wine included with dinner. We are usually independent travellers and liked that we were always moored in towns so we could choose do our own thing rather than always take an organised excursion. The excursions we did take were good but we don't like to be too 'organised'. The crew were exceptional. Always cheerful & friendly and so efficient. Nothing was too much trouble. Tour of the bridge was very interesting. The water level was very low when we travelled & we had no interruptions to our itinerary. The captain did a great job of navigating in only 3 feet of water at one point. Embarkation & disembarkation also very well organised. I particularly appreciated the chauffeur service to and from the airport. I didn't have to drive at 5am or pay for airport parking! The whole experience was excellent & we would definitely choose Avalon if we take another river cruise in future. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We wanted to tour Europe without transportation hassles, This was our first river cruise after attending several ocean cruises. The cruise director was charming and excellent at explaining all options available to us. All of the service ... Read More
We wanted to tour Europe without transportation hassles, This was our first river cruise after attending several ocean cruises. The cruise director was charming and excellent at explaining all options available to us. All of the service personnel were pleasant and professional. They remembered our names and cabin number which indicated to us how much they enjoyed their jobs. The talent night that they presented was great and very entertaining. The cabin felt more like a hotel than a cruise ship. The food and service was excellent and the small size of passengers made it easy to get to know new people during the week long vacation. We liked the variety of going to several different cities along the Rhine and the view of the castles from the deck along with the panoramic windows within the cabin was very unique and appealing. In the future we look forward to attending similar cruises in other parts of Europe. Read Less
Avalon Tranquility II Ratings
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