7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We sailed from the black sea (Romania) to Bratislava (Slovakia) and travelled from there by bus to Vienna and had the most superb experience.The ship is brand new, in beautiful shape and is very nicely appointed. There is plenty of ... Read More
We sailed from the black sea (Romania) to Bratislava (Slovakia) and travelled from there by bus to Vienna and had the most superb experience.The ship is brand new, in beautiful shape and is very nicely appointed. There is plenty of opportunities for relaxation and/or conversation in the boat's many public areas. The ship's intimate atmosphere, with only 150 passengers, is one of its best selling points. The crew was knowledgable, well trained and very helpful. They clearly enjoyed their jobs as they were always friendly and professional. As for the onboard programs/activities, there was a variety to inform and amuse anyone. The food was delicious, the state room was very clean and well equiped.The shore excursions were well planned and timed, local guides were well informed and very friendly. The whole trip was so wonderful and so easy to travel through so many countries in a few days, I would highly recommend it to everyone! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Avalon did a good job on this cruise. The only real letdown was the food. I would have expected better food particularly at breakfast. I fully understand that the chef could not prepare a wide range of breakfasts for 99 people like one ... Read More
Avalon did a good job on this cruise. The only real letdown was the food. I would have expected better food particularly at breakfast. I fully understand that the chef could not prepare a wide range of breakfasts for 99 people like one would see on a Carnival cruise with 3000 people. The cabin was fine. Avalon makes a point of saying they do not have balconies. They are not useful on a river cruise. We were docked beside an Ama ship in Budapest and we had a chance to see another cruiser's room and she saw ours. We both agreed that balconies on river cruises just reduce the space in the room. The best "balcony" is on the sky deck so you can see both sides of the river. The entertainment varied at each port and was fine. There was crew show that was pretty good. Again, do not expect a fancy theatrical show on a river cruise. The Cruise Director was helpful. The only real problem was Customs. We had to enter Schegen in Hungary and the entire morning was taken up with the border patrol. The Captain took us up and down the river at Budapest to compensate us for the time wasted with the border crossing. We would go on another cruise with Avalon. It was billed as a cultural and history tour. I also wanted to see birds in the Black Sea. I went from Bucharest to Vienna. Bucharest was not that interested. I went on a separate tour to Dracula's Castle and a communist tour. Both were very interesting. The next stop was Bulgaria. The church I visited rivalled the Cistene Chapel for art and charm. I was surprised that Bulgarians and Romanians have no interest in visiting each other's countries. The stop at Cetate to see the artist's colony was not that interesting. The bread was the best part. Iron Gates was wonderful. Belgrade was disappointing. The city has not recovered from the 1995 bombing and no-one wanted to talk about the war. This was the case for both Serbia and Croatia. Budapest was the highlight of the cruise. We cruised into the cities on a sunny day and passed under all the bridges. River cruising is the only way to see this city. Bratislava was uninteresting. Vienna was worthwhile. You need to allow time at the end of the cruise to see some of the city's 220 museums. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
This was our third river cruise with Avalon Waterways. We wanted to see the lower part of the Danube and explore countries that we had not visited before. Thankfully we were not disappointed with our choice of company or destinations. ... Read More
This was our third river cruise with Avalon Waterways. We wanted to see the lower part of the Danube and explore countries that we had not visited before. Thankfully we were not disappointed with our choice of company or destinations. We arrived in Bucharest 2 days before the cruise and had booked a private guide for an all day tour the day before the cruise began. Our choice of hotel was the Royal Europa Hotel in the Old Town which allowed for us to do some exploring on our own and to be near wonderful restaurants. On the first day of the cruise we were bused about 1 hour to a very small docking area on the Danube and boarded the Passion, which was a brand new ship. It was beautiful, tastefully decorated, cabin was spacious and bathroom very comfortable. We had no problem storing all of our belongings. Throught the cruise the staff was very efficient,pleasant and helpful. We enjoyed the food and wine and especially liked the fact we did not have to dress up for dinner. Our shipmates were mostly over 60 and seemed very well traveled. As for entertainment, there was of course the nightly piano music and staff variety show. During one shore stop we had a very interesting presentation about the Orthodox Church given by a priest who came on board. In that we toured several such churches this was a very nice added touch to help us understand what we were seeing. This cruise was on the lower Danube and the highlight was going through the Iron Gate Locks. Very interesting and the scenery was beautiful. We visted areas of Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary that not many tourists see. At most towns or sites we were the only tour buses there. English was widely spoken and the people were very friendly. Avalon offered lots of options for shore excusions in that you could opt to stay on the ship and cruise to the point where the sight seeing buses would end their tour. You could chose to do half day or whole day sight seeing on one particular day. Many of the sites were churches, but there was also a stop at a winery and of course beautiful scenery. One aspect of this cruise was to learn about communism in Eastern Europe and how those countries are transitioning to democracy and capitalism. We have been on the Rhine and the upper Danube, but this may very well be our favorite cruise. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We are a senior couple and this was our first ever river cruise and we were not disappointed. The ship was beautiful with excellent facilities. Our stateroom was well appointed with a very comfortable king bed and a large bathroom. We were ... Read More
We are a senior couple and this was our first ever river cruise and we were not disappointed. The ship was beautiful with excellent facilities. Our stateroom was well appointed with a very comfortable king bed and a large bathroom. We were in cabin 216, well placed on the Sapphire deck and in the centre of the ship. The crew were all first class and made our holiday a wonderfully relaxing time. Cruise Director Tony was a wealth of knowledge on just about everything and happily shared his knowledge. The wait staff were very friendly as were the bar staff and It wasn't long before we knew their names without looking at their name badges. The food served was exceptional and a credit to the chef and his assistants. Entertainment was great, we especially enjoyed the beer tasting and the crew putting on their show. Great to see a different side of them. It was also great that we could take advantage of the slow walkers group on the shore excursions, at no time were we made to feel a nuisance. All in all we had a wonderful trip and will certainly travel with Avalon again should the opportunity arise. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
This was our Fourth River Cruise with Avalon. This ship is new, well designed and comfortable. Our room was on the top floor, Rm 322, beautifully sized for a river ship and nicely appointed. The Bathroom is unusually large for a river ship ... Read More
This was our Fourth River Cruise with Avalon. This ship is new, well designed and comfortable. Our room was on the top floor, Rm 322, beautifully sized for a river ship and nicely appointed. The Bathroom is unusually large for a river ship with a shower and marble vanity. The Cruise Director, Tony, is one of the best around, fluent in five languages, hardworking, knowledgeable and ready and capable of confronting issues as they arise and successful in their resolution. Captain Werner did an amazing job as well. The food is quite good with enough of a variety to satisfy just about everyone, a tribute to the Chef. Although the following issues are noted, they were an annoyance but did not seriously affect our overall positive experience. 1. There was some annoying noises in our room during the night but not all the time. They were attributed to the ship's negotiation through the many Locks in this Cruise, some 67 of them. 2. Due to the many Locks, the TV reception was often adversely affected as was the free WIFI on board. 3. Due to the Locks and the continually expanding river traffic, both commercial and the river cruise ships, we were delayed at one point over 6 hours that we eventually made up. However, due to the delays and, I presume, the scheduled length of the Cruise itself (from Amsterdam to Vienna), we generally had less time in ports than one normally has on River Cruises (time in port is one of the aspects that we like on River Cruises). The Danube also has a potential issue with high water which can interfere with the ability of these ships to negotiate under some of the lower bridges. In our instance, we were not impacted but came very close. A bridge near Passau (as I recall) is so low that we had to make an unscheduled stop just before it and board buses to get to our next port. The ship did pass under that bridge with a clearance of 1 1/2 ", we were told. But, as noted above, the Captain and the Cruise Director were aware of such potential problems and excercised notable concern and flexibility (with the approval of Avalon, no doubt) to do what they had to in the interest of the passengers. Due, I presume, to the length of the Cruise and the limited duration in a number of the Ports, we had several nights where local entertainment came on board. - very enjoyable - more than we've experienced on other River Cruises. The German countryside is a Post Card almost everywhere one looks and something to experience. Amsterdam is a delightful city. The Dutch are wonderful people. Vienna is a beautiful city with incredible buildings almost everywhere you turn. We attended a Concert one evening in Vienna that proved a highlight of the Cruise. Bottom line: as long as the 67 Locks (two were 84 feet high) are not a problem for you in terms of the times that they require to negotiate and, therefor, limit the time in the ports visited, this is an attractive itinerary. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
To learn about the Balkan discovery and country's of the area very good river cruises from the first day we arrive all was perfect and the beautiful smile from every body ,to the housekeeping was perfect and so good every day and ... Read More
To learn about the Balkan discovery and country's of the area very good river cruises from the first day we arrive all was perfect and the beautiful smile from every body ,to the housekeeping was perfect and so good every day and looking 3times a day , the dining area from breakfast , lunch and all beautiful dinners was more the 5stars all the food with Michael chef commando , and all the team working so hard was good to remember and the customer service so happy to found every solution to us , all the tours we take was good , but the only thing they need to review is the job of Sara tour manager , we need more professional point in this job , more communication and better preparicion many peoples was taking about her , but for us was okey this was my second river cruises and already planned the next one thanks Avalon to make my days so beautiful for my and my wife mr Martinez sciutto , Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We've done river cruising before and wanted to experience the Balkans by Danube. Our travel company recommended Avalon, new for us. Everything about the cruise was excellent: ship (new ship Passion), cabin, staff, service, dining, ... Read More
We've done river cruising before and wanted to experience the Balkans by Danube. Our travel company recommended Avalon, new for us. Everything about the cruise was excellent: ship (new ship Passion), cabin, staff, service, dining, excursions -: a first class experience all around. The dedication and expertise of the captain and crew was evidenced in what occurred during one of the excursions. On a trip to an archeological excavation in Serbia, I fell down a flight of stairs leading back to the bus. I was injured all over my body; miraculously, no broken bones. After receiving first aid in the town close to the site of my fall, I was driven by ambulance, through the hills, to a hospital in a larger town an hour and a half away. There I was treated: abrasions and cuts bandaged, and stitches in my leg and head. I also had two x-rays, a CAT scan, an ultra sound, an EKG and blood work. Excellent, professional care. Then our Avalon guide, who had stayed with us the entire time, drove us another two hours to meet the Passion at an unscheduled stop on the Danube. After conducting us back to the ship, we were given dinner in our stateroom - and the laundry personnel even washed my bloody clothing for me! The captain had monitored my progress the entire day, talking with our Avalon guide, and making it possible for us to meet the ship and continue for the rest of the Balkan cruise; we didn't miss anything! An extraordinary effort to help us as well as to ensure that the rest of the Avalon passengers were able to enjoy their trip through the Iron Gates, and that everything went on as scheduled. I'm not sure this same level of service would have happened with any other cruise company. Kudos and thanks to the entire crew and staff for their caring manner and for an unforgettable, wonderful cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Hi All, Excellent vacation. We flew into Bucharest from ATL. All went like an advert for Delta/KLM. Stayed a few nights at http://scalaboutiquehotel.ro/ Highly recommended - excellent service, royal breakfast, good ... Read More
Hi All, Excellent vacation. We flew into Bucharest from ATL. All went like an advert for Delta/KLM. Stayed a few nights at http://scalaboutiquehotel.ro/ Highly recommended - excellent service, royal breakfast, good location. Enjoyed the sights and sounds of Bucharest. Cabs are verrrry cheap. Arrived at the meeting place at noon, as ordered. Hung around until 2:30. Transfer by bus to the boat went very well. Our stay on the Avalon Passion was very, very nice. Room 217 on Sapphire deck. Little noise. Little vibration. Crew was superb. Entertainment was as expected. Food ranged from "very good" to "excellent". Our CD - Ms Adrienne - did a great job. Included excursions ranged from "OK" to "Quite Good". I think that this is a matter of taste. Some people like to tour ruined castles perched high on a hill, others don't. At one point, there was a medical emergency. It was handled most efficiently and professionally. The captain expressed sympathy and concern for the family and friends in a short ceremony. A counselor was sent by Avalon for those who might need the help. We did not go on to Vienna, but left the ship in Bratislava. Stayed at the Radisson Blu Carleton. - Quite a nice stay. Interesting city. Well worth a visit. Took https://www.blacklane.com/en/limousine-service-bratislava to VIE, and flew home via AMS. Did not go as well as expected. Plane to AMS was late. Distance between disembark and reembark was long. KLM agents were about as helpful as AirFrance. Anyway, we got home. River cruising is an excellent alternative to ocean cruising, and Can be much better than a motor trip. Ira Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Our experience with this Cruise and Avalon in particular was top notch. The Passion was simple elegance, and her Captain Peter and his Crew were outstanding. From the moment we were welcomed aboard, we felt special. Our Panorama View ... Read More
Our experience with this Cruise and Avalon in particular was top notch. The Passion was simple elegance, and her Captain Peter and his Crew were outstanding. From the moment we were welcomed aboard, we felt special. Our Panorama View Room was immaculate and very well supplied, from linens and toiletries to a more than adequate number of hangers in the closet, and I wanted to bring the bed home with me, it was so comfortable. They thought of everything on this ship. If you wanted for anything, you had only to ask, and it magically appeared in your room. Ahmed, our Room Attendant, was very efficient in keeping two slightly messy passengers organized and neat on a daily basis. He was always smiling and helpful. The Chef, Michael, and his Staff created and served us some of the finest and most creative meals I have ever had. We enjoyed the professional and friendly wait staff ~ in particular, Tudor, who made our mealtime experiences fun with very special attention and good humor. The Captain, Peter, welcomed us to the Bridge and delighted in our questions and interest in the Ship and sharing the history and interesting points of our destinations. He is a brilliant man, and a superb Captain, who saw us through some difficulties with the level of the rivers and made our travels as close to perfect as possible. The Cruise Director, Vlad, worked closely with the Captain to make certain that every day was a positive experience regardless of alterations to the cruising schedule. In fact, if changes were made, the resulting tours were equivalent or mostly exceeded my expectations. The two men worked together flawlessly to overcome any complications and keep the passengers happy. On a side note, we are pleased that we booked two extra days in B & B's in Amsterdam and Vienna at the beginning and end of the cruise. It's nice if you have the time to be able to relax after a long flight before the beginning of the cruise and not have to rush off of the ship directly to the airport. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We had serious limitations as to the dates and the amount of time for traveling this year; we have always been intrigued by some of the former communist countries with a great past and their way back to democracy. While we were told that ... Read More
We had serious limitations as to the dates and the amount of time for traveling this year; we have always been intrigued by some of the former communist countries with a great past and their way back to democracy. While we were told that this trip went to places that were not that interesting, we found that, on the contrary, they were very different from other places and enjoyable in their own way. The cruise might not be at par with some of our previous cruises that went to Praga, Budapest, Amsterdam, etc., but the ship made for it. Brand new, the cabins were bigger and more comfortable that all the others in Avalon and Viking. There were 2 dinners that were spectacular with 5 course meals; all the others were very good. Tours were interesting and the price unbeatable. Highly recommended. The only negative was the lack of entertainment at night. Even the hiring of local artist in the different ports or a good DJ would had made a difference Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
One of my friends and I have been talking about taking a river cruise for years. Let's face it - those Viking commercials are very inviting. Now that my three kids are grown, in the spring of 2016 we decided now was the time to start ... Read More
One of my friends and I have been talking about taking a river cruise for years. Let's face it - those Viking commercials are very inviting. Now that my three kids are grown, in the spring of 2016 we decided now was the time to start planning. I first sent for brochures from several river cruise companies to compare intineraries etc. My friend and I have both travelled to Europe previously and wanted to go someplace new so we chose to take a Danube river cruise. I then met with a local travel agent who specificalizes in river cruises. She steered me away from Viking and helped me narrow our choices to AMA or Avalon. When she quoted out the price it was much higher than we had anticipated so we chose to watch and wait. By the fall of 2016 Avalon came out with a great sale - $1000 off per person + free air. That seemed too good to be true. I called the travel agent and we were booked within a few days! We ended up choosing this itinerary since it was short and we did not know if we would like river cruising. About a week after we booked my 27 year old daughter decided she wanted to go with us. She was able to get the single supplement waived and she booked as well. She could not get the single supplement waiver and free air but she was able to book on the same flights we were on so we could fly together. We all absolutely loved this cruise!! Everything about it was wonderful. It was a nice mix of small towns and big cities. We added a few days to the end of cruise and took the train to Budapest. We wished we had chosen a longer intinerary that included Budapest so we could stay on the ship. The ship: Our ship was the Avalon Passion. This was a new ship in 2016 and it was beautiful. Everything was sparkling clean and very tastefully decorated. The ship was actually much longer than I had anticipated. The rooms were spacious and that wall of windows was in the room was just awesome. We loved waking up in the morning and looking out at the river going by. The lounges, sky deck and dining room were equally beautiful. The age of passengers: Our sailing had a mix of American, Canadian, British, Australians, New Zealanders, one mom/daughter from India and two young ladies from Korea. I had expected mostly retirement age passangers but that was not the case at all. There was a real mix of 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s on up. I am in my early 50s and I felt like one of the older people on the cruise. There were quite a few mother/daughter pairs and several groups of younger women traveling together. We had a wonderful time chatting with everyone and hearing about everyone's travel experiences. Crew: I cannot say enough about how attentive and friendly the crew was. They went above and beyond on a daily basis. Our cruise director was Andrej (sp?). He was awesome. He was a kind person with a quirky sense of humor. His nightly port talks were always informative and entertaining at the same time. We added three days at the end of cruise and travelled on our own to Budapest. He gave us a Budapest map and recommended some sights and restaturants for us to see during our time there. So nice of him! Our server at dinner was Liza from the Phillipines. We sat in her section most meals since she was so nice and friendly. She got to know what we liked and we looked forward to seeing her at every meal. Valentin was the person who cleaned our room daily. He always had a smile on his face and left us a wonderful towel animal on our last day. Food: My friend and my daughter are both vegetarians and I am a "meat and potatoes" kind of person so it is not easy to find meals we all like. Avalon started their Avalon Fresh menu offerings in 2017 offereing enhanced menu options for vegetarians which sounded like a good fit for our group. Each one of us ended up loving the food!! It was so nice to have a floating restaurant with awesome food each day instead of searching around for a restaurant in each city. Breakfast and lunch were buffet with loads of choices. We loved the Belgian waffles and made to order omelets at breakfast. We loved all the desserts too. Dinner had several choices and none of us had any problem finding something we liked. We tried different wines each night and Liza just kept filling our glasses. In addition to the meals every day about 4pm was cake time with several different cakes to try. And...on the third floor was a lounge with cookies and cakes all day long. I have to admit - we visited the "cookie room" on more than one night about 11pm. Entertainment: We came on this cruise to sightsee at the various cities and were not expecing much in the way of entertainment. We did end up taking part in some of the nightly entertainment and it was really nice. Every night there was a piano player playing which was nice if you wanted to grab a drink or dance a little. One night there was a wine tasting demonstration which was perfect since we were sailing through the Wachau Valley past numerous vineyards. One night we had a singer/guitar player who played a mix of country and oldies. He was quite good and the dance floor was full for most of the night. The Australians were a bit rowdier than the rest of us and frankly made it so much more fun. I cannot think of anything I would change from this cruise. I can't wait to take another Avalon cruise. I am hooked! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
This was our first river cruise although we have taken many ocean and a Mediterranean cruise. We choose this one because of work schedules we needed a shorter one and we had never visited Eastern Europe. This cruise included 2 land ... Read More
This was our first river cruise although we have taken many ocean and a Mediterranean cruise. We choose this one because of work schedules we needed a shorter one and we had never visited Eastern Europe. This cruise included 2 land nights on both ends and only 3 nights actually on the boat, Vienna, then Budapest. The cruise line rep met us at Vienna airport and provided transportation to the Vienna Intercontinental Hotel (great breakfast buffet included daily), Avalon provided a bus/walking tour of Vienna which was good but we bought the Vienna Pass online before we got there. We saw many sights and the hop on bus was included, Schonberg Palace, Albertina Museum, House of Music, Mozarts home, St Stephen Cathedral, to name a few. We went to Mass at a church near the palace where the music was a full orchestra playing Strauss. It seemed like there was Classical music everywhere. Sacher torte at Sacher Hotel (a line to get in but you can get it elsewhere too). Logistics were easy to follow to get on the transport to the boat. Cruise part was great. Food and wine, wonderful. Great service. We wished we had more time onboard. Enjoyed the stops. Used the bikes( reserve Early). Budapest was interesting too and we enjoyed the Hungarian foods. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Went on Avalon cruise, Amsterdam to Budapest in 2015 . Excellent trip all round. Booked trip from Bucharest to Budapest not of same standard. Comfort, Food , service all excellent, up to Avalon standard, but content of trip very poor and ... Read More
Went on Avalon cruise, Amsterdam to Budapest in 2015 . Excellent trip all round. Booked trip from Bucharest to Budapest not of same standard. Comfort, Food , service all excellent, up to Avalon standard, but content of trip very poor and badly planned. Started in Bucharest. quite good tour of city. First day on boat. only interesting day, tour of delta in small boats very good. After that not much of interest. Problem was. most places on included tours involved long bus trips to not very interesting destinations(exception church in Velico Tournavo). Some were very badly planned e g Belgrade Tour included not very interesting park 15 minutes in a street full of cafes, and 30 mins in a traffic jam. Surely there are more interesting things to see.Daily news sheet said old town cntre and Cathedral, St Sava , not allowed for Tour of Budapest very poor and rushed, Three hour tour included 10 mins at Hero Square and a rushed 25 mins at the Fishermans Bastion,guide seemed more interested in getting us back to hotel, even though we had to wait two hours to check in, very poor. It was not made clear until the final itinerary was received, that the days in Bucharest and Budapest were on a breakfast only basis, the tour was sold on an all inclusive basis, everybody leaving the boat at Budapest felt unhappy and abandoned. The Avalon staff in the hotel were not very helpful. Other complaints were the exorbitant costs of the optional tours, most people who went on them considered that they were very poor value.also the ridiculous price of almost £10.00 for an after dinner cocktail! I certainly would advise avoiding this trip Read Less
Sail Date: July 2017
We were heading over to Spain for a wedding and wanted to see a bit of Europe while we were there. We started looking at river cruises because they seemed to offer the best variety of tours and excursions. We travelled from Budapest to ... Read More
We were heading over to Spain for a wedding and wanted to see a bit of Europe while we were there. We started looking at river cruises because they seemed to offer the best variety of tours and excursions. We travelled from Budapest to Amsterdam. Embarking and disembarking was seamless. We didn't have any great expectations but were blown away with the professionalism of the crew and staff on board as well as the guides provided for the various tours who were really passionate about their jobs and keen to share their knowledge. Our room was on the top deck beside the salon which was great as it meant we had ready access to the lounge bar and deck at the back of the boat. The room was spacious and immaculate; the bed and pillows were luxurious and really comfortable. We loved the fact that we could open our doors and lay on the bed and watch the world float by as we cruised along although only managed to do this a couple of times. The staff couldn't do enough for us, they were exceptionally polite and helpful nothing was too much trouble. Each day our room was made up, including at night time (when the log fire was put on the TV) and the bed turned down. Laundry was washed, dried, pressed and returned promptly on the same day. The food was delicious especially the soups which were to die for. The waiting staff were always pleasant and went out of their way to ensure we had a good time. The ship was immaculate the only complaint we had was a terrible smell that lingered around the back of the boat we think it had something to do with the toilets. We absolutely loved the trip and will definitely look at doing another one soon. Well done Avalon! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
First, we are delighted we visited Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania! Each country had such a rich, interesting,and often troubling history. I appreciate the opportunity to learn and see a part of the world I haven't gotten to ... Read More
First, we are delighted we visited Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania! Each country had such a rich, interesting,and often troubling history. I appreciate the opportunity to learn and see a part of the world I haven't gotten to experience before.Budapest is a must see and a delight! It's a very approachable city, with so much to see and do. The public transportation system is easy to use and the people are friendly and helpful. English is spoken by virtually everyone. Bucharest is also a wonderful city that I am so happy to have experienced. The Food Tour offered as an optional excursion in Bucharest was FUN and delightful. Second, overall the excursions were good but several things happened that did not delight us. On the included city tour in Budapest, there was no water on the bus and it was a very hot day. On the tour to Transylvania they had water on the bus BUT IT WAS FOR SALE! Further, there was a "Refreshment Stop" scheduled along the way, but it was just a pit stop to go to the restroom, there were no refreshments offered. In Brasov, during the city tour there was only a paid toilet available but no one had the necessary coins. If this were an AMA or Tauck trip they would never have allowed these things to happen. And, up until now, I didn't think Avalon would either. Third, about the ship. The Passion itself was good. It's a new ship but it wasn't as spotless as other ships on my two other Avalon river Cruises. The windows weren't clean, there were cobwebs, debris under the bed and couch, and dead bugs all along the sliding door. It also seemed like the crew was shorthanded, especially during breakfast. I believe they cut some corners and it showed. The food was delicious as always and our server at dinner was a delight. We are really glad we took the cruise but it would take a lot for us to be enticed to travel with Avalon again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We looked at a few cruises and the Avalon cruise fit our timetable the best. Also the cabins were a little larger which is nice for 2 friends traveling. It was nice to have the panoramic window. I would highly recommend that feature. ... Read More
We looked at a few cruises and the Avalon cruise fit our timetable the best. Also the cabins were a little larger which is nice for 2 friends traveling. It was nice to have the panoramic window. I would highly recommend that feature. Really made waking up in the morning pleasant. The scenery as we floated down the river was amazing. Very much appreciated the size of the ship versus the huge cruise ships. Much more intimate and we especially appreciated getting to know a lot of our fellow travelers. Good selection of ports to explore. We mostly did the walking tours included but also did a number of extra excursions. Appreciated that the cost of the extra excursions were affordable and worth the price. Good variety of places to see and explore. Was also impressed that a number of the activities included lunch. Lunch is probably not a good word. Unbelievable how much(delicious) food was included. Of course we did a lot of walking so figured that for every bite we were burning calories. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
Friends recommended Avalon, and we liked what we found on the website. Our ship, the Avalon Passion, was beautifully appointed in every way. Our room had a huge amount of closet and storage space and more hangers than we needed. We ... Read More
Friends recommended Avalon, and we liked what we found on the website. Our ship, the Avalon Passion, was beautifully appointed in every way. Our room had a huge amount of closet and storage space and more hangers than we needed. We loved coming back at the end of the evening to find the fireplace video on the TV and lovely music playing. We also really liked being able to watch the river go by from our bed. The bathroom was elegant and roomy and had L'Occitane toiletries! . The food was on a par with a 5-star restaurant. Items were rarely repeated from day to day, and the wine flowed freely. We dined at the light lunch several times, and that was very well prepared. We marvelled that the chef could produce such excellent food day after day. The service personnel were so professional, cheerful, friendly, and trained to make our trip memorable. They exceeded our expectations. We so enjoyed the excursions and the final dinner in Budapest. It was wonderful to have two days there at the end. The trip to the aviary, lunch there, and walking tour were really fun. All our tour guides on the shore excursions were knowledgeable and very personable. Yes, we would definitely book an Avalon cruise again, and we tell our friends to choose Avalon for their trips. I believe this type of cruise would not be appropriate for families with children or even people under 35 who like the giant cruise ships with casinos and pools and non-stop entertainment. The passengers with us were engaged and interesting and fun but definitely a more sophisticated group. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
Conversation with friends suggested Avalon as a possibility since I was already expressing an interest in touring Europe. This particular cruise would take me to the countries of my grandparents. Since my new wife had broken her leg just ... Read More
Conversation with friends suggested Avalon as a possibility since I was already expressing an interest in touring Europe. This particular cruise would take me to the countries of my grandparents. Since my new wife had broken her leg just two weeks prior to our departure I was concerned we'd have to cancel . I need not have worried, the crew, staff and guides were most accommodating and we never felt that we missed or were left out of any of the experiences. The serving staff were absolutely amazing and very friendly. This enhanced the gift of hospitality through this experience. We were constantly impressed by the quality of the meals and believed the chef and his staff were magicians in being able to provide everyone with such wonderful meals in such a small space, (we were given a tour of the kitchen). We very much enjoyed the "port talks,' given each evening to prepare us for the next day. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Our river cruise was really great. Hope this review does not become too much of a love fest, but we obviously enjoyed this adventure more than we even expected. The trip from Bucharest/Black Sea to Budapest was an area of the world we ... Read More
Our river cruise was really great. Hope this review does not become too much of a love fest, but we obviously enjoyed this adventure more than we even expected. The trip from Bucharest/Black Sea to Budapest was an area of the world we had not seen. Avalon was one of few that actually started in Bucharest, went to Black Sea and then up Danube to Budapest. The area of the Danube Delta ecosystem is fascinating/well worth seeing. Avalon Passion - simply put it is a first class ship. Quite new (2016) and it shows. All parts are really nicely laid out with plenty of room to move around/find your own space. Open air balconies are really nice for the categories. Crew - A+. Every crew member went out of their way to be friendly/accommodating from the captain to all support staff. Friendly, professional and very competent. Started with the Captain who was happy to have guests in the Bridge for morning coffee to Deen, our waiter who took such good care of us at Dinner. Even the Chef took the time to give us a personal tour of the kitchen to show us how they turn out such fine meals Food - Breakfast was good, Lunch was very good and Dinner was excellent. We were pleased with the freshness, quality and choices for the meals. Had a chance to eat regional dishes as well as familiar choices. Wine selections were quite acceptable. Seating was open so we were able to sit with different people and get to know a lot of our shipmates. Excursions - They varied from good to outstanding. The way they broke us into manageable (25-30 or smaller) groups was very helpful. The guides were very knowledgeable. Danube Delta excursion, Veliko Tarnova, and Belgrade tours were outstanding. Belgrade guide was amazing, could have spent another day with her. Only improvement would have been on the all day excursions w/lunch off the boat we would have preferred less time spent on lunch/more time on tours. This part of the world is quite interesting, not just for the scenery, but for the unusual history/recent history/communist control. Some of these countries are still very young and trying to develop. Also the region was interesting because you start with a definite Turkish influence and end with a Central Europe feel. Shipmates - Perhaps my biggest and best unexpected discovery. We really enjoyed the chance to really get so many people from different countries. So many interesting people really wanting to travel/get to know other people. Had a great number of long dinner conversations and some real friendships made. Dress was casual throughout with jeans on tours and casual business attire for meals. Even the gala dinners were nice shirts/dress slacks/dresses with only a few suits/more formal dresses. No one seemed to really mind, pay much attention. All in all a wonderful experience. River cruising is nothing like ocean cruising. So much more comfortable, civilized and interesting. No question that this will not be our last river cruise, only the first of many. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
Our cruise was the Danube Dream with Habsburg Royalty. The history in this region has been recorded over a thousand years and is filled with stories of people whose names are in history books. The Avalon Passion is a beautiful ship and ... Read More
Our cruise was the Danube Dream with Habsburg Royalty. The history in this region has been recorded over a thousand years and is filled with stories of people whose names are in history books. The Avalon Passion is a beautiful ship and every member of the crew did much more than just "their job". They went out of their way to assure you were offered anything you could possibly want. They were friendly and spoke English very well. The food was very good and served three meals a day plus and afternoon coffee / tea and cake in the main lounge or there is also a self-serve area in the stern with coffee / tea / juice and danish / cookies available all the time. In the evening the lounge offered live music with a great piano player and dance floor. On two evenings local performers were brought onboard to provide enjoyable entertainment. The itinerary offered so many included tours and optional tours. You can participate in as many as possible, or chose a more relaxed pace. All the tour transportation was on new motor coaches that were very comfortable and clean. You are provided a receiver and headset and tour guides have a transmitter and mic. You can hear every word as if you were standing next to the guide. This is very important on walking tours with a group. Our particular cruise had members of the Habsburg Royalty onboard who gave lectures at several times to bring out particular points in history of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This was our first river cruise,-looking forward to our next one. (on Avalon) Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
We wanted to visit Budapest where my husband's Mother was born & heard rave reviews about the European river cruises. The cruise was very relaxing and all of the food & drink was excellent. We liked that we had the choice of ... Read More
We wanted to visit Budapest where my husband's Mother was born & heard rave reviews about the European river cruises. The cruise was very relaxing and all of the food & drink was excellent. We liked that we had the choice of eating in the main dining room or the bistro for lunch & dinner. All of the walking tours as well as all of the extra tours that were included were very informative and gave us a much better understanding of the history of the regions we visited. We especially like the convenience of having the bicycles on board so we could explore on our own. We felt that all of the staff members were extremely friendly and always willing to answer any questions we had. The only thing that could be improved on was the main dining room, it was hard to hear the other guests talking to us due to the acoustics. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
Highly rated. Great price. Great itinerary. Great service. The captain was extremely gracious during my conversations with him. Our table service at lunch and dinner couldn't have been better. Our room was towards the rear of the ... Read More
Highly rated. Great price. Great itinerary. Great service. The captain was extremely gracious during my conversations with him. Our table service at lunch and dinner couldn't have been better. Our room was towards the rear of the upper level, which meant we had exclusive access to the stern sitting room with coffee, tea and pastries. I would travel on Avalon again. The food was delightful and offered an array of selections at dinner . Wine service was consistently good, both lunch and dinner. At dinner you eventually find a table and server that works best for you. The onshore tours were well organized and just the right length. The evenings on the bow deck were enjoyable talking with other passengers. The serene setting was most enjoyable. This was a 14 day cruise and seemed long for our first, but the time passed quickly. We could have gone further if we could . Looking forward to our next d=cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We started our adventure with 3days in Budapest and boarded our ship there. The cruise representatives met us at our hotel with a champagne gathering and information about all the excursions that were included in the cruise and others we ... Read More
We started our adventure with 3days in Budapest and boarded our ship there. The cruise representatives met us at our hotel with a champagne gathering and information about all the excursions that were included in the cruise and others we could opt into. They explained everything to the last detail so we knew what we were doing from day 1.The excursions we had in Budapest were terrific and we got such a good feel of the city. Everything was extremely well organized and we felt very comfortable with plenty of time in between to rest or hop into the next excursion. When we boarded the ship, we had another general "meeting" held by the Cruise Director Tamas. He was detailed, explained everything to us, and was available for any questions any time of day. We had stops in Vienna, Durnstein, Melk, and Passau. Unfortunately we had to take a bus to Regensberg and never got to Nuremburg because of a barge that went aground. But Tamas put together other tours that were not included for all of us to join to help compensate what we lost by being "stuck" in Passau. We took a excursion to Salzberg which was absolutely beautiful. We also went to the Vienna Supreme Concert and a tour through Vienna. Schonbrunn Palace was a beautiful day trip and well worth seeing. After the decision was made that we could not go forward due to the grounded barge, we were put on a bus from Passau to our final destination of Prague. Everything was perfect. We could not have asked for more and would definitely do another river cruise. Cabins were beautiful, food was terrific, staff was friendly and accommodating and it seems always available to help us out with any questions. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We are delighted that we chose to take the 21 day trip on the Danube that included Transylvania and three days in Prague. The trip from East to West gave us a wonderful insight into the people and historical issues of that area. The ... Read More
We are delighted that we chose to take the 21 day trip on the Danube that included Transylvania and three days in Prague. The trip from East to West gave us a wonderful insight into the people and historical issues of that area. The entire crew did a wonderful job of making sure we had a great time. The food and accommodations were first rate! The low water level issue was handled calmly and professionally. We had a wonderful time and will continue to travel with Avalon. Great Cruise Director, Robert is a true professional. The wait staff was excellent, special thanks to Alexander and Andy for their service and friendship. Our breakfast egg chef did an amazing job. When you spend that long on a shop, they definitely get to know you and your preferences and provide service without even an order!! Madija kept our room clean and comfortable at all times. We love the Passion and it's cabin layout. Being able to enjoy our room and the water with the cabin doors open to the river was a delight! Avalon does an excellent job at providing fresh, local food that allows us to sample local specialties along the route. Outstanding selection and beautifully prepared and presented meals. Love the Ice Cream!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Recommended by friends who have been on prior AVALON cruises, including this summer on the same one we took but at an earlier time. We also chose it for size of boat, lack of children, number of stops and excursions. The ports were ... Read More
Recommended by friends who have been on prior AVALON cruises, including this summer on the same one we took but at an earlier time. We also chose it for size of boat, lack of children, number of stops and excursions. The ports were excellent, with variation of guides in ports from super to ok. Enough free time and also enough information provided. In fact, everything was timed perfectly - no mixups. The ship was lovely, well designed to encourage socialization and choices for meals. The staterooms were roomy for a cruise, with plenty of storage and it was great that all had outside windows (we never opened ours but there were Juliette balconies). Food was excellent and abundant. Our on-board director, NANCY, was fantastic. She made everything work with great spirit and enthusiasm and problem solving. And she gave precise and well-articulated "briefings" every day. Terrific. A real pro. 99% of our "problems" were of our own making in that we had a small fold-up wheel chair which does not work easily on the old town streets and hills - FYI for anyone traveling with a wheel chair or limited walking ability. Luckily we are used to me parking the chair for my husband somewhere interesting and galloping off on my own to see things beyond his range. As to Nancy and the crew, they made the wheel chair part no problem as much as humanly possible. I would recommend for entertainment that there be more organized after dinner things like scavenger hunts or bingo of some variety or other group games - we did a few but mainly it was passive entertainment and then people went to the bar or their rooms. The days were filled very well; no too long stretches of sailing. We did run out of Danube at the Budapest stop - hardly the fault of Avalon. We were impressed with everything. Met lovely people, all similar enough in age/life stage to fit together well. Read Less
Avalon Passion Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 0.0
Dining 5.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 0.0
Family 1.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0

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