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  5. Avalon Creativity Cruise Reviews
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this cruise because we wanted small vessel, low to the water, and slow-moving. No big ships anymore! The service was outstanding and the crew somehow seemed to know everyone by first name after the first couple of days. We will ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted small vessel, low to the water, and slow-moving. No big ships anymore! The service was outstanding and the crew somehow seemed to know everyone by first name after the first couple of days. We will definitely go on Avalon again soon! The food was outstanding at each meal and we really appreciated the included beer and wine with meals. The bar prices were very, very affordable too. The only downside for us is this was a romantic 25th anniversary cruise and we still had to sit with other guests. I know it's fun to meet fellow travelers but sometimes we just wanted to be alone. There were tables for two in the dining room, but they were 2" from the table for 6 so it wasn't really providing us a table for two. The classical trio brought onboard were outstanding. So much so, that we bought one of their CDs. We would also have liked tours that provided more time after the tour to walk alone. By the time our walking tour was over, many times we had only 30 minutes or so to explore on our own. We ended up skipping one entire tour just so we could meander the streets by ourselves. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
We wanted to see France and the Sienne River and experience it on a small boat. Didn’t like big cruise boats. Too crowded and too regimented. On a river cruise you can have dinner with other guests or by yourselves. It was nice having ... Read More
We wanted to see France and the Sienne River and experience it on a small boat. Didn’t like big cruise boats. Too crowded and too regimented. On a river cruise you can have dinner with other guests or by yourselves. It was nice having that choice. We got to seat with different people at each meal from all over the world. We enjoyed that very much and got to meet wonderful people. The included excursions were excellent and so were the tour guides. They were all very informative and spoke English very well. It was great being able to book the excursions ahead of time. Every evening, before dinner, we had a discussion with the cruise director and some of the crew about the next day’s excursions. They also gave us the option of changing what we booked the next day if we wanted. This way of cruising is the way to go. We had a great time. Would definitely do a River cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
Honestly, checked Viking first because I was familiar with it through mailings and commercials. When dates and accommodations didn't work out, Googled further and found Avalon. It was our first river cruise and we wanted a great one. ... Read More
Honestly, checked Viking first because I was familiar with it through mailings and commercials. When dates and accommodations didn't work out, Googled further and found Avalon. It was our first river cruise and we wanted a great one. I'm not comfortable with ocean cruises: too much water, too many people. The ship looked beautiful and modern, and the cabins were spacious. My traveling companion and I found a great cruise that encompassed both cultural, entertaining, and historical destinations as well as the option to visit Paris and London. Perfect! After checking the prices, which were quite reasonable, and dates etc., we booked. We called a 'human' because we preferred to connect more personally and get answers to questions. Our first days in Paris were fabulous, including the hotel which was a stone's throw from the Eiffel Tower! Service was phenomenal. We ended up with a view of the Tower from our balcony. The room was fabulous, which made up for an awful dinner. We went out after that. After three days, we boarded the ship. Everything went smoothly. Staff is extremely well-organized and attentive, not to mention friendly and personable. All meals served on-board were delicious and presented beautifully. The chef catered to our special needs (roomie is gluten-free and lactose intolerant.) Yep, they took great care. Wines flowed generously at every dinner and were excellent. We met so many fabulous people on the ship and made easy friends. (We're staying in touch with a couple even now.) The excursions were varied and interesting and fun. Leaving the ship, we were offered bottled water and a map and historical tidbits about our destination; upon return, we were greeted by the captain and security detail and offered a cool drink and hot face towels to refresh. Wow. We even had some entertainment on the ship in the form of a history lecturer on Normandy, a three-piece group playing classical music, and nighttime musicians. There were Captain's dinners, both at the beginning and at the end and even a world cafe night with unusual and 'rich' food. There were some intro meetings, including safety information at the beginning and when we were leaving to our various points of travel after the cruise. I know we have no control over weather, but amazingly enough, we had the best ever, even in Normandy, which apparently has rain and clouds almost exclusively. Talk about lucky! Our final stop was London. Our hotel was in the middle of everything...Westminster Bridge...and beautiful. Staff was wonderfully helpful and friendly. One disappointment was the room. Though modern and lovely, the lighting was terrible; the outlets were oddly placed; and our water temperature and pressure were terrible. But the convenience of location made up for it all. My biggest complaint, and it's a serious one, comes with the personal arrangements with the company. Because I was traveling with a friend, sharing a room, but not a spouse or romantic partner, everything in paper and emails went to my friend. I was virtually ignored as the second name on the reservations. I even called to ask that they send me my own correspondence. She had to send me emails. I was told that it was impossible to alter as this is how the company operates. ***IT NEEDS TO CHANGE***. Even our final packets of information with flight information, seat assignments, and hotel and room confirmations went to my friend's house! I have no access to her mail or house. What if something happened to her and I couldn't even access my own personal paperwork? This is disgraceful. I could almost understand if they are dealing with a couple who reside together, but never for two separate individuals who are paying their own way. I will tell others all the great stuff, but I must also share this problem. I have numerous single friends who travel together. I must say that this much-needed vacation on Avalon's river cruise was a great experience. I definitely will do a river cruise again. Thank you! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
I chose this cruise because I wanted to go to Normandy. All the stops were great and our guides were all so interesting. I learned so much about the area. We were so lucky to also have a beautiful weather week. Everyone on the ship was so ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted to go to Normandy. All the stops were great and our guides were all so interesting. I learned so much about the area. We were so lucky to also have a beautiful weather week. Everyone on the ship was so helpful and friendly. This was my first trip alone and it more than met all my expectations. We were very lucky in Normandy because not only was the weather terrific, but it was not crowded. We were able to see the German bunkers, the bomb craters, the American cemetery and were able to walk on Omaha Beach. Everything was so powerful especially for me, since my dad came ashore there in 1944. Another stop and tour was at the home and gardens of Monet. His gardens were magnificent, and you felt like you were part of one of his paintings. Yes, this was a wonderful cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this cruise because the itinerary offered options which were interesting for both of us. We also liked having the option to stay over in Paris on our own after disembarking the Creativity. This was our first foray into the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the itinerary offered options which were interesting for both of us. We also liked having the option to stay over in Paris on our own after disembarking the Creativity. This was our first foray into the river cruise vacation and I have to say that it exceeded our expectations. Our room (212) was adequate and offered plenty of storage space. The bathroom was typical for a boat, but the shower seemed just a bit larger than our large ship cruise experiences. While the room did not have a balcony per se, there was a sliding glass door which could be slid open easily to enjoy the breeze and the scenery while cruising. The room is small but every inch of space is well used. We were not uncomfortable and spent very little time in the room anyway! One negative is the size of the television screen. I only mention this because the FABULOUS cruise director would set up DVD showings about relevant subjects that would show on the televisions but the screen was so small, it was difficult to really watch it from the bed. No big deal. Embarkation was a breeze and the desk staff and housekeeping staff were phenomenal. In fact, everyone was phenomenal. Avalon should give these people a raise because they will keep the people coming back! The tours offered through the cruise were just perfect, with it being made very clear that some were "gentle" walking tours and some were not. We took 11 tours while on the cruise and it seemed that each one was better than the last. The guides were EXCEPTIONAL. Their knowledge of the places we toured and the historical significance of each location was just the icing on the proverbial cake. I would have to say that our experience at Omaha Beach and the American WWII Cemetery was unparalleled. We were not prepared to find the French people to be so grateful. They go to great lengths to make sure our heroes are remembered in their towns and villages. Maybe not in Paris, but in Normandy, near the D-Day beaches, our boys are remembered as the Greatest Generation. We were given a rose by a Frenchman to lay at a grave of our choice which was unexpected and appreciated beyond measure. The food was delicious and abundant without being overwhelming like food tends to be on an ocean cruise. They don't skimp on the wine, in fact, I had to ask them to stop pouring almost every night! Tony's nightly "Port Talk" set the stage for each new day while keeping us entertained for a bit before dinner. Overall, an 11 out of 10 for this Normandy River Cruise and we are already planning another with Avalon next year. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
Avalon Waterways was recommendated by my travel agent and I highly recommend this cruise line. This was my first river cruise and our room with the French balcony more than met my expectations. I really enjoyed the evenings with the ... Read More
Avalon Waterways was recommendated by my travel agent and I highly recommend this cruise line. This was my first river cruise and our room with the French balcony more than met my expectations. I really enjoyed the evenings with the sliding door opened while cruising to the next town. We were impressed with the quality of food and it’s presentation. The waiters really contributed to the fun we had during meal times. They were friendly, funny, and accommodating. In fact, they were one of the highlights of our trip. The cruise director was knowledgeable, friendly, and accommodating to our needs. My friends and I enjoyed the pace of this trip. Excursions were well organized with excellent guides. We only wished we had more free time to wander in each quaint town. The trips were so well organized that we never missed getting back on board for meals. We will be looking forward to our next river cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
This was our first river cruise and we put alot of thought into where we wanted to travel. We spent an extra night in Paris and stayed at the Pullman Paris Eiffel Tower. The hotel was fine - room was small but clean and functional with a ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and we put alot of thought into where we wanted to travel. We spent an extra night in Paris and stayed at the Pullman Paris Eiffel Tower. The hotel was fine - room was small but clean and functional with a partial view of the Eiffel Tower from the balcony. Front desk staff spoke English and were very pleasant. Elevators were sketchy at best. I should note that we arranged for ground transportation to and from the airport. When we arrived at the airport there was no one to greet us after retrieving our luggage (which took nearly an hour.) After wandering around for another 30 minutes the driver came walking in - I noticed his Avalon sign so figured he was there to pick us up (he was.) No explanation as to why he was so late and no apology. Representatives for Avalon were available in the hotel the morning of the cruise. I was under the impression they would be able to help us select some sightseeing options for that day (until we left for the boat at 3:45) - that was not the case. They merely gave us our bus pass and stored our luggage. We were able to walk around the Trocadero and the Eiffel Tower - but the security lines for the Eiffel Tower were too long to wait in to go up in it. In addition, the weather was very hot (90+) that day. We left for the boat promptly at 3:45 and our luggage was already in our stateroom when we arrived. We had time to unpack and walk around a bit prior to a going to the lounge and getting information on the cruise and all the activities prior to dinner. Everything was well organized and informative. Avalon does a great job making sure shore excursions are on time and well thought out. We scheduled every shore excursion possible. Nearly all of them were well worth the time, and in some cases, extra money. The only exception was the Paris at Night driving tour. A huge waste of money and time and we weren't the only ones who felt that way. Another note - on the first full day of the cruise we went to Giverny in the morning and then cruised into Les Andelys in the afternoon. We went on the gentle walking tour of the town. We entered a beautiful old church - the tour guide provided commentary on how France was no longer a Catholic country, but was now a Muslim country - it was an awkward, and unnecessary moment. Besides that- all tour guides were knowledgeable, friendly and accommodating. The staff on the Creativity were friendly and efficient - the tour director or captain was always there to greet people coming back from excursions. Security was also present at all times to note who was getting on and off the boat. Service was top notch. We met many interesting people from all over the world. Most were very well traveled and over the age of 55. We thought the food was okay - not great - but okay. The meals were rarely warm which is important to us. Wine was served with lunch and dinner - and your glass was never close to empty. The dining room was very noisy and sometimes hard to converse with others sitting close by. There were times we wished we could have enjoyed a more intimate meal - so if this important to you - this cruise may not be for you. Dinner was usually served beginning at 7:15 or 7:30. There is only one seating. Dress for dinner was very casual (though we didn't see any blue jeans or shorts.) There was one dressier night (farewell dinner) - but even then most folks dressed fairly casual. We did plan ahead and dressed up more that evening. We had someone on board to provide a lecture the night before we traveled to the D-Day landing beaches (highly recommend - very moving.) He was okay - albeit a bit long. On another evening the tour director gave a lecture on a young man who died in WWII in France that he had done some research on. He obviously had done alot of research. One afternoon a string trio - LaStrada - was onboard to provide entertainment. They were excellent!! We brought their CD to bring home to enjoy. Very talented young people. When it was time to leave, Avalon made sure everything was very well organized. Our transport to the airport was a little later so we had to vacate our room and wait in the lounge. It would have been nice if they had some coffee, etc., available in there for there - though I realize at this point they are flipping the boat for the next guests arriving in the afternoon.. Overall, we really enjoyed the cruise. We would recommend Avalon to others. The trip was exhausting for us, but in a good way. We feel we took advantage of every opportunity to see as much as we could - and Avalon made that possible. The staff on these boats work very hard - and always with a smile. Would we do another river cruise - I'm not sure - we might. It is definitely a good way to see a lot in a short amount of time. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2017
We had an incredible week-long tour to celebrate a friend's birthday. We chose this cruise based on the itinerary and time spent in Paris. This was my second river cruise, although I've cruised on ocean cruise lines numerous ... Read More
We had an incredible week-long tour to celebrate a friend's birthday. We chose this cruise based on the itinerary and time spent in Paris. This was my second river cruise, although I've cruised on ocean cruise lines numerous times. I like the size of a river cruise boat, the ability to see something new every day and the ability to meet/see a number of the other passengers. The staff was great, especially our wait staff in the dining room. There were 8 of us and we sat at the same table most nights. Our waitress was very attentive and ensured we had a nice experience. The excursions were memorable; my favorites were Monet's garden and Normandy - both places I've wanted to see. The food was superb; much better than I've had on other cruises. My only negative was the piano player. His music was so-so, and when we made requests, he wasn't willing to accommodate them. The other entertainment was good. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2017
Loved our ship, Creativity. Our cabin was large - 172 sq ft as opposed to other river cruises where there was only 126 sq ft. Also, the bathroom was roomy and there was enough storage space for two people. And this was the lowest priced ... Read More
Loved our ship, Creativity. Our cabin was large - 172 sq ft as opposed to other river cruises where there was only 126 sq ft. Also, the bathroom was roomy and there was enough storage space for two people. And this was the lowest priced cabin! The food was delicious, and service was attentive. At every stop we had a choice of two included bus tours. My favorites were Giverny - I like Monet even better now and Normandy, very moving. The timing of the trip was good. Usually the shore excursion was in the morning, we were back to the ship for lunch and then all afternoon and evening we had time to explore the city. On our morning bus trip, we learned about the city we were visiting, so we were more knowledgeable when we were on our own. The other passengers were pleasant to talk to. Everyone spoke English. We met Australians, Israelites, New Zealanders and other Americans. My daughter and I are already planning our trip for next year and we are definitely including Avalon. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2017
This was our first river cruise after completing over 20 ocean cruises in the past few years and we would do another in a heart beat. We were concerned that the smaller vessel would be too confined after the space and entertainment ... Read More
This was our first river cruise after completing over 20 ocean cruises in the past few years and we would do another in a heart beat. We were concerned that the smaller vessel would be too confined after the space and entertainment facilities on the larger cruise ships but we were not disappointed. The cabins were very well appointed with facilities beyond our expectations and the the public rooms were large enough to hold all the ships guests at one sitting. The food on board was excellent and it was very pleasing to see the Chef and his assistants returning daily from the local markets with fresh produce and supplies for our enjoyment. The shore excursions were very professionally handled...departing and arriving back at the ship on time which meant everyone had time to relax before the next activity started. As expected due to space limitations the entertainment was scaled down compared to the large cruise ships however there was music recitals, dancing and lectures to keep everyone entertained. No complaints means a satisfying relaxing holiday and that's what we got from Analon. Thoroughly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2017
This was my first trip to Europe. If I were to travel again it would most definitely be with Avalon. The staff was fantastic, tour options were wonderful and I felts as though I was able to see so much in such a short time. The food was ... Read More
This was my first trip to Europe. If I were to travel again it would most definitely be with Avalon. The staff was fantastic, tour options were wonderful and I felts as though I was able to see so much in such a short time. The food was very well done, a lot of choices for dinner that spoke to my culinary pallet. Tony, our director was always there to help if we had any questions. The tour guides were extremely knowledgeable and in particular Natalie was a delight. We also had the pleasure of meeting a WWII survivor and hear her story of how her father was taken by the Nazis: it was a powerful one that I will not soon forget. The only down side to the cruise was the music selection was a bit old for my taste ( I am in my late 20's) but other than that everything was just amazing. I would say to anyone looking to go on a vacation to check into Avalon (and I have already recommended to quite a few people at this time!). Read Less
Sail Date: July 2017
We chose this cruise because it had a historical aspect to it. Also, because it was a much more relaxed cruise line. We didn't have to dress up every night for dinner. (no jacket and tie required) All of the tours were very ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it had a historical aspect to it. Also, because it was a much more relaxed cruise line. We didn't have to dress up every night for dinner. (no jacket and tie required) All of the tours were very informative, with guides that were also very entertaining. The food was delicious and unending. Plus, the wine was constantly flowing. Loved sitting on top of the boat and just enjoying the beautiful scenery. The staff were always available and provided us with whatever we needed. We chose to stay 2 extra nights in Paris and the accommodations were fine and conveniently located near the Metra. Besides issues with meeting up with our transport at the airport everything else went smoothly. When we finally did find our transport, we still had plenty of time to make the orientation and board the ship. We would definitely sail with Avalon again. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2017
We were very pleased with our cruise, cruise director and our special history lecturer. We actually picked this cruise because of the history theme and we were not disappointed. The staff met our every need including arrangement of a ... Read More
We were very pleased with our cruise, cruise director and our special history lecturer. We actually picked this cruise because of the history theme and we were not disappointed. The staff met our every need including arrangement of a taxi for us to visit the Eiffel Tower. The guest lecturer, Nigel Stewart, was involved and excellent. All indications he appeared to be very knowledgeable of the subject. The transfers from plane to ship to train to hotel to place went without a hitch. There was always someone there to assist if required. We used the staff at the hotel in London to guide us on how to get to and from our tour locations. Tony, our cruise director was always available for questions. We participated in the special dining options and were not disappointed in the regional meals. We have no hesitations in using Avalon again or recommending them to others. If we could make one change in our whole trip, it would be to pick a ship with larger rooms. This was our second cruise with Avalon and while we had essentially similar room as before, the rooms on the Creativity were noticeably smaller. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
This is my third cruise with Avalon and I'm still on the creativity. My first was amazing, second the passion I put up with quite a few no's and can't help you. Like Missing out on food, they pack up 10 minutes early. Staff ... Read More
This is my third cruise with Avalon and I'm still on the creativity. My first was amazing, second the passion I put up with quite a few no's and can't help you. Like Missing out on food, they pack up 10 minutes early. Staff taking plates away before you finished. Getting only a half glass of wine in 2 hours, constantly asking for a drink or top up. This cruise takes the cake. No no and more no's. Food is not ok. Frozen stale donuts in coffee lounge. Over cooked bacon and powdered eggs. Staff not looking at anyone just head down clearing plates. Hovering over you at afternoon tea serving food but only one peice each. I'm sure the drinks are watered down and only ever half full. I've bar trended before and not once have I had a decent drink! More ice than drink. Cocktail parties more food going down stairs than being offered to guests and that's on the last 2 cruises I have only had one peice of food at 3 cocktail parties. Tried to even buy a bottle to drink asked 4 people and got a NO. Would I book Avalon again NO Would I recommend Avalon NO. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
This was our first river cruise and doing quite a few ocean cruises we were not disappointed. Saying that it didn't start off well, the VIP chauffeur service didn't arrive at the time arranged, after a few phone calls a car came ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and doing quite a few ocean cruises we were not disappointed. Saying that it didn't start off well, the VIP chauffeur service didn't arrive at the time arranged, after a few phone calls a car came to pick us up, this was from the local taxi company, anything but VIP executive car, the same thing occurred on our return journey. Anyway after arriving at CDG airport we were met in terminal E by a representative and he walked us through to terminal F, here he asked us to wait as he had to go and meet someone in another terminal and would return. Some 30 - 40 minutes later he returned, we boarded the bus and completed our journey to the ship. Where you embark is not the greatest scenic area of Paris. We were met by the captain and his crew and offered a welcome drink. Check in was quick and efficient and within 20-30 minutes our luggage was delivered to our cabin. We were situated near the back and close to the small lounge which was great for 24 hour tea/coffee, biscuits and muffins. Each evening, in the main lounge, the cruise director gave a short run down on the excursions the next day which was good. At this time the bar would have a happy hour, which guests would take advantage of as drinks are quite expensive. Seating for breakfast, lunch and dinner is wherever and with whoever you want. Waiters are friendly and helpful and the food is very good, although the chef who makes the omelettes, fried eggs at breakfast is rather slow. Wine is served with lunch and dinner and this is not skimped on, it flows quite freely. Excursions start around 8.15-8.30 each morning and cruise director and captain are there each time to see you off and return. This may be early, but we went on an excursion to Monet Garden and were the first in, it was fabulous. Excursions return around 11.30-11.45 ready for lunch at 12 noon. This is where I can get hectic, as if you are doing an excursion in the afternoon the coaches leave around 1.15-1.30pm, returning around 4.30pm for dinner at 7pm. The guides on the excursions speak very good English and are very informative. The one tour we paid for was 'Paris by Night', this was the worst tour we did. We set off at 9.30pm, taken to the Eiffel Tower and allowed off coach for photographs. We then had a quick drive around the Arc de Triumph and then spent the next 20 minutes or so in traffic driving down the Champs Elysees. We went to the Louvre, parking a short distance away. Once off the coach, it was hard to keep up with the guide and the return back to the coach. We arrived back at the ship around 11pm. The next day was an inclusive tour around Paris, much much better and saw more. The places visited along the Sienne were great, especially Rouen, where it would have been nice to have had an overnight stop here, instead of an overnight in Paris where it wasn't that easy to go into Paris. The ship do a Bistro menu which is only for 20 guests at a time. This is taken in the main lounge at the front of the ship. It is small sample dishes of the local cuisine with wine, even though small dishes there is ample food. Would certainly recommend this but do it on an evening when the ship is sailing as you pass the scenery on the river. Disembarkation was co-ordinated by the cruise director and worked very efficiently. Luggage to be outside cabin by 9am, with everyone off the ship by 10am. You identify your luggage prior to getting on the coach. As our flight wasn't until mid afternoon we were taken to a hotel for approximately 1 hour, some guests went sightseeing, we chose to have a coffee in the very nice hotel. On arrival at CDG airport we were dropped off at terminal F as apparently the coach driver can't park at terminal E. We then retraced our steps as when we arrived, what we hadn't been told is that you have to go to level 2 for departures. It is a self automated machines for check in where it prints out your luggage labels, then stand in queue to go to self automated check in for luggage. Staff very unhelpful at all sections of this airport. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We chose this cruise because we hadn't ever been to Europe and we had a strong desire to see France and especially Omaha Beach. I chose Avalon because of a recommendation of a travel agent and we booked in January while they were ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we hadn't ever been to Europe and we had a strong desire to see France and especially Omaha Beach. I chose Avalon because of a recommendation of a travel agent and we booked in January while they were offering free airfare. Purchasing the cruise by phone was easy and we were allowed to choose cabin and pay a deposit and the balance could even be paid on multiple credit cards. Once the cruise line booked with Delta I was able to go into Delta.com and pay to upgrade our seating which was a big plus for us! Embarkation day was good because I researched other passenger reviews and found out they were not happy with the fact that Avalon picks you up at the airport but they take you directly to the Pullman Montparnasse and you will not be transported to the ship until 3:45. Since our plane landed at 6:00am we knew we didn't want to sit in the hotel all day so we did Internet research and figured out how to use the Metro. We were nervous because this was our first trip on a subway train but because we were prepared it all went smoothly and we were able to travel over and tour to Musee D Orsay with plenty of time left to get back by 3:30. When we arrived at the ship we had safety instructions then prepared for dinner. The ship is exactly like it appears on the website and there were only 91 passengers on our cruise which was nice. Our room and bathroom were small but there was plenty of storage and we took a lot of clothes! In fact we took too much clothing and my husband never wore the suit he took and I never wore the semi-formal dress I took. Clothing was always casual for excursions and nice casual for dinner. We could have worn our best but they do the one "dress smartly" evening on Sunday and we did not get back from excursion to put proper time in to dress up. We did not use the entertainment area because we don't drink and honestly we were to tired after excursions but they did have a singer/keyboard player all week. I did not hear of any complaints about him and they also brought in other entertainment but we didn't go we were just too tired!The excursions were great every stop we made the tour guides were fantastic some a little long winded on the bus but that was a mild nuisance. The excursions were professionally done and we knew in advance what level of exercise would be included. Obviously there is a lot of walking. We did not use the exercise room or the beauty shop no time for that but both were very small.The meals were always great a lot of choices and the wait staff always professional and very sweet and our room was expertly cleaned. We felt close to each staff member we had spent much time with they were all very friendly. We would choose this cruise all over again and the only thing I would change is I would go to Paris at least 3 days earlier and see and experience all the wonderful sights because on this cruise you will mainly just be given the "highlights tours" and not in depth tours of Paris and it needs much more time to see. We loved our first river cruise and plan to do more! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We wanted to see the Normandy Beaches. That was a high point but all the stops along the Seine had their own appeal. Actually, travelling along the Seine during the day was a relaxing experience. I did some exercises on the top deck as ... Read More
We wanted to see the Normandy Beaches. That was a high point but all the stops along the Seine had their own appeal. Actually, travelling along the Seine during the day was a relaxing experience. I did some exercises on the top deck as the boat moved along. We enjoyed climbing to Richard's fortress in little LesAndelys. Rouen was fabulous. We had an entire day there. Honfleur was delightful. One Sunday we decided not to go on an excursion and walked the little town of Conflans, which was having its local market. I find that doing something very ordinary, like visiting a street market or goong to a "pharmacie" and interacting, makes me feel much closer to a place and immediately illustrates the differences in such a positive way. All the local guides were excellent, especially Clarice, who took us through Versailles and thr Ile de la Cite. We had been there before but without such entertaining narrative. The crew was excellent. The bar crew was friendly. I found that the crew remembered you day to day in a way I had not experienced on precious cruises. They would make conversation and joke around but never in a way that was too casual. The seminars that were held when the boat sailed during the day were quite good. One seminar highlighted pastry making with a local chef. I finally learned how to use a pastry bag corrctly. The D-Day scholar was exceptional. He was a well-known British scholar. My husband attended a wine seminar. He is quite knowledgeable but said he learned a few things. One nice touch that I don't remeber from previous cruises was the free afternoon tea and cakes. It's a nice way to wind down before dinner and before th happy hour. The food was fabulous. The logistics of embarkation and disembarkation, as well as the day-to-day excursion travel were smooth. Our cruise diector was responsible for this. She held a daily meeting and was very clear about when and where. I think that was key. One other improvement from previous cruises was the new hotel. It seems every tour of any kind used that same huge hotel near the Arc de Triomphe. This time we were in the Montparnasse Pullman. We almost got off to a bad start because another perrson on a different tour at a different hotel took my husband's bag by mistake at the airport. Fortunately, his cell phone number was on the outside. It was the Pullman concierge who got the bag back to us that day. As it happenned, even the passengers were just the right mix and friendly. As always the Canadians were their wonderful selves. That is one thing I like about Avalon cruises. There is a mix of English-speaking travelers that gives you a nice international flavor but everyone speaks English. We would go again in a heartbeat. I am hoping to see a Portugal trip and a Garonne River trip, which were hinted at in one of the Avalon surveys. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We were on the Avalon Creativity October/16 Paris to Normandy Landing cruise. The ship was built in 2009 & has a maximum capacity of 138 passengers. It has 3 decks of staterooms, with a sky deck on 4. The lounge/bar, reception, ... Read More
We were on the Avalon Creativity October/16 Paris to Normandy Landing cruise. The ship was built in 2009 & has a maximum capacity of 138 passengers. It has 3 decks of staterooms, with a sky deck on 4. The lounge/bar, reception, cruise director’s desk & public computer areas are on the entrance deck, between decks 2 & 3 at the front end of the ship. The dining room is also at the front end of the ship, but between decks 1 & 2. The smaller lounge, where the coffee machine & snacks are, is a quiet area, is at the back of the ship on deck 3, next to the hair salon. The small, very small gym with cardio equipment & few light dumbbells is on deck 1, by the stairway up to the dining room, next to our room. The gym does not get used much, except for the rare ocassional use of the treadmill. The room is fairly well insulated, but you will hear a little bit of thumping if you concentrate & listen, but nothing to be alarmed about. The public areas on the ship are clean & generally very well maintained. In June/16, we had a French balcony stateroom on the Avalon Luminary, but were not in the room as much as we thought we would be, as such, we decided to try an outside cabin this time around. As outlined in the Avalon literature, all features & amenities are the same, save for the balcony vs. the windows. There was sufficient space for all our clothing & toiletries. There was also enough electrical outlets to charge your devices, albeit you'll need an adapter plug. We were in our room for about the same amount of time as aforementioned. As such, we felt we got a better bang for our buck, by booking an outside cabin vs. one with a French balcony. It also didn't hurt that we got an Avalon free air promotion, Journey Club & a recent sailing discount. The service received in the stateroom & dining room, was very good as was the quality of food & its presentation. Yvette, our cruise director was knowledgeable & well organised. The officers, wait staff, room stewards & crew were friendly & courteous. The Captain & Hotel Manager were always present seeing us off & on the ship when going & returning from excursions. I was impressed with the Captain when he pitched with the crew in removing railings & moving things around when the ship was approaching a low bridge. The ports of call, included & optional excursions are subjective, but in our opinion, were very good. We especially enjoyed visiting Rouen & the small quaint town such as Beuvvron En Auge. The same goes for the on board entertainment. We had 2 after dinner shows, a singer who was very good & of course a show put on by the crew which was funny. We also had local crepe chef & a very good D-Day speaker. We would sail with Avalon again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2016
Taking a river cruise in Europe was on my bucket list and the time was finally right. We weren't sure which cruise to choose, but we were so glad we ended up on Avalon Paris to the beaches of Normandy. We arrived in Paris the day ... Read More
Taking a river cruise in Europe was on my bucket list and the time was finally right. We weren't sure which cruise to choose, but we were so glad we ended up on Avalon Paris to the beaches of Normandy. We arrived in Paris the day before but were so tired we really didn't explore as much as we hoped. We did find a great little pizza shop with good cold beer. We were told the ship was one of the older in Avalon's fleet. We had told our friends this was the company where the beds faced the window, which wasn't the case, but that was minor. Probably the only issue with our cabin was that if Mike was sitting in the chair at the desk I couldn't get from the bathroom to the window. So, again, a minor thing, but I'm sure someone could figure out how to fix that little problem. Dining was delightful! Sometimes we ended up sitting by ourselves, but that was fine. I can't say we ever sat with anyone we didn't like. The "piano man" was great. We got a kick out of the fact that he never actually played the piano, but we loved his choice of music. The service was excellent and the entire staff were incredibly friendly and personable. We had to laugh that the person with the worst English was the captain. We loved our tours, although like anything else, you never know if the one you didn't choose would have been better. We were glad that no one on our ship had children, and we all spoke English, and we were all pretty much the same age group. Did you plan that? Mike told me not to expect this amazing vacation every year, but I happen to know he is already pursuing our next cruise in Europe. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
My husband and I went on this cruise with another couple. We spent 2 days in Paris before embarking. We were worried that the boat would seem too small, that we would feel "trapped" and that we wouldn't want to be going on ... Read More
My husband and I went on this cruise with another couple. We spent 2 days in Paris before embarking. We were worried that the boat would seem too small, that we would feel "trapped" and that we wouldn't want to be going on so many tours - but none of that was a problem. The boat is a very good size, plenty of places to sit and relax. Our favorite days were when we were cruising in the afternoon and could sit outside on the upper deck and watch the countryside go by. The boat is very quiet and stable. You can barely tell that you are moving. The room wasn't big, but the bed was very comfortable and there is plenty of storage. The crew kept in very clean - checking in twice a day. The service was excellent. All levels of staff were attentive and charming. The crew director was especially delightful and hilarious. He made the mandatory port meetings fun. Breakfast and dinner buffets were plentiful with almost anything you want to eat available. Dinner every night was fantastic, three full courses with several choices. A few nights there were "special" dinners involving five courses. There was a very fun cooking demonstration onboard also. Entertainment onboard was adequate after dinner. Most people went back to their rooms. We enjoyed every tour we took. We fully expected to opt out of some, but everyday we learned so much, we decided to go again the next day! Our favorites were Rouen and the optional trip to Honfleur. I would have liked another day in Rouen - not enough time to visit any museums or do much shopping. Otherwise, we really enjoyed the schedule. I would definitely go on another cruise with Avalon. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
What a way to visit Normandie and get a taste of Paris! This was our first cruise of any kind. We are very happy with our choice. From beginning to end all went well. The crew were welcoming, helpful, efficient and professional. ... Read More
What a way to visit Normandie and get a taste of Paris! This was our first cruise of any kind. We are very happy with our choice. From beginning to end all went well. The crew were welcoming, helpful, efficient and professional. They must be applying the 10/5 concept; eye contact at 10 feet and a hello at 5 feet. Whenever we would leave the ship for an excursion the Captain would bid us a good day and then a welcome back, something we were told rarely happens on other cruises. The stateroom was very well apportioned and always kept clean and tidy by our room steward. Dining in the morning, at noon,in the evening and at night was fantastic and plentiful and the wines were very good. The service on all fronts was excellent, albeit a bit slow at the bar at times; the entertainment also left something to be desired, except for the night the crew took to the stage. As for the shore excursions all of them were well guided, informative and always on schedule. Without taking anything away from other excursions the highlights for us were the D-Day landing beaches and the optional one to Honfleur, i.e., the location from where Champlain and company departed to settle the "new world". The sailing part of the cruise was not so much a sail per se as a glide along La Seine. Although there is always a current there is practically no wind to speak of, thus no waves. We delighted in watching the river banks and the towns and cities glide by, even at night with the lights of our room extinguished and curtains slightly opened, all until we gently fell asleep. This was truly a wonderful adventure. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We always wanted to see Normandy and the site of the D-Day Invasion. Chose Avalon because it was recommended to us. We were more than satisfied with the whole experience. The food was amazing. There were always enough choices. The ... Read More
We always wanted to see Normandy and the site of the D-Day Invasion. Chose Avalon because it was recommended to us. We were more than satisfied with the whole experience. The food was amazing. There were always enough choices. The service was impeccable. The entire crew couldn't do enough for you. The Concierge Desk was full of information. If they didn't have an answer for you at the moment, they would research it and come up with suggestions/solutions. The shore excursions were top notch. The guides were knowledgeable and fluent in English. The ship was very clean. We went on a galley tour one afternoon and were amazed at how sparkling clean the kitchen was. We are planning another Avalon River Cruise for next year. We will look forward to working with an Avalon Representative. Our last experience gives us confidence that we will again achieve the same enjoyable result. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this cruise as I wanted to see Monet's Garden and my husband was interested in the Normandy tour. All of the tour guides associated with the cruise were outstanding - easy to understand (English speaking) and enthusiastic. ... Read More
We chose this cruise as I wanted to see Monet's Garden and my husband was interested in the Normandy tour. All of the tour guides associated with the cruise were outstanding - easy to understand (English speaking) and enthusiastic. Of course, we would have preferred a little more free time in each area especially the Normandy cemetery. Our only complaint was that wine flowed freely at meals but it was hard to get ice tea or a soft drink in a timely manner. Also my husband wanted coffee with his dessert and it almost always arrived after he was finished. Our cabin was adequate - it was always clean and freshened up by Peter - he did a great job. We especially enjoyed the crew night performance after dinner and the talk prior to our Normandy excursion. The cruise director, Jerome, kept us well informed of everything and was very personable. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2016
Our travel agent recommended Avalon. We wanted to experience Paris and Normandy. The WWII beaches and cemetaries were a goal. We also wanted to experience many of the Cruise daily excursions. We really enjoyed learning (relearning) the ... Read More
Our travel agent recommended Avalon. We wanted to experience Paris and Normandy. The WWII beaches and cemetaries were a goal. We also wanted to experience many of the Cruise daily excursions. We really enjoyed learning (relearning) the history of France. Walking down streets with buildings built in the 14th Century, learning about castles, battles, and historical politics was very stimulating. The Ship was in very good condition and our cabin well kept. The crew was very attentive, nice, and fun. We felt safe and each stop was well planned. Good coordination / communication from the Cruise Director. Really liked the singer and key board player...plus the crew skits were entertaining. Would suggest replacing the DJ with someone who can play the piano and intersperse live music with more contemporary recorded music. We really appreciated the cleanliness, courtesy, and "on time" rigor of the crew and ship. We have recommended Avalon and this cruise to friends already. Read Less
Avalon Creativity Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 0.0
Dining 5.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 1.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 5.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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