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57 Avalon Waterways Avalon Creativity Cruise Reviews

We went on the 8-day Paris to Paris Seine river cruise. We selected Avalon based on reviews and discussions with our Travel Agent. Avalon exceeded our expectations. The service was great. The Food was exceptional and the side ... Read More
We went on the 8-day Paris to Paris Seine river cruise. We selected Avalon based on reviews and discussions with our Travel Agent. Avalon exceeded our expectations. The service was great. The Food was exceptional and the side excursions were just right for what we were looking for. We did not encounter any problems or issues. The staff on board went out of their way to make the trip as enjoyable as possible. The dining room was never over crowded. You had the choice of sitting by yourself of with a group of people. The servers in the dining room were always willing to meet your needs. The tour director was very knowledgeable about the local areas and was always available to answer questions. The guides on the excursions were also very knowledgeable. Sometimes you got more history than you wanted but that was a minor issue. All in all a great experience. We are already researching our next cruise on Avalon. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
What a great trip Paris to Normandy. The staff were wonderful, the food was excellent - I can't say enough about how happy we were with this trip. The ship was clean, the cabin with a French balcony was roomy enough with great views. ... Read More
What a great trip Paris to Normandy. The staff were wonderful, the food was excellent - I can't say enough about how happy we were with this trip. The ship was clean, the cabin with a French balcony was roomy enough with great views. Dining options: there was always something new to try along with old standbys, we never went hungry. The wine at dinner was plentiful. Evening entertainment (DJ most nights), and staff variety show was fun. The local history experts talk on Normandy Beach History was very informative and gave us a good refresher course before or Normandy Beach Landing Excursion. (A nice and thoughtful touch were the roses we were given to place on a grave in the cemetery.) The excursions, both included and optional were on time, and well run with excellent tour guides. Any questions or concerns were answered/addressed in a timely manner. This was our first river cruise and I would go on another with Avalon in a heartbeat! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We chose the Avalon Paris to Normandy cruise primarily because we wanted to see and learn more about Normandy. It didn't hurt to have Paris included though ! My husband and I felt this was an outstanding experience. The staff on ... Read More
We chose the Avalon Paris to Normandy cruise primarily because we wanted to see and learn more about Normandy. It didn't hurt to have Paris included though ! My husband and I felt this was an outstanding experience. The staff on board were not only very professional but also made us feel very comfortable, were knowledgeable, patient, attended to every detail and had a great sense of humor (that made big points for us!). The tour guides for both the included excursions and the optional excursions were outstanding. The cabins were very comfortable, well supplied and beautifully taken care of, there was a great variety of food and choices (all delicious) and the ports of call were wonderful. Except for Normandy and Paris we didn't know anything about the others ports and really enjoyed seeing them and experiencing the towns, people and history. All of us were amazed at the Captain and crew's ability to navigate the 6 locks that we went through too! What skill!!! I need to mention that one of our group had difficulty walking yet there were options for him (and his wife) that made it possible for both of them to have the time of their lives. Additionally, I have a fish allergy. The staff made a big point of coming to me at all meals to make sure that I was aware of anything that had anything remotely resembling fish. I really appreciated that! Neither my husband or myself had any experience with any type of cruise and went in to this wondering how the week would go. It was wonderful and we would and have recommended Avalon to many of our friends already. Thank you! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was our first river cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly, though the dock area was a bit funky and dirty. The excursions were very well done with local guides. That said, there were a couple of excursions that had too ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly, though the dock area was a bit funky and dirty. The excursions were very well done with local guides. That said, there were a couple of excursions that had too many people. The boat and accommodations were nice, and the room was quiet. The pricing for drinks at the bar was a bit high. There is a happy hour, though we bought drinks one evening about three minutes before happy hour and were charged full price. With regards to dining, the service was good, though the food was just average. It seemed a bit silly to have a big celebration for the kitchen staff at the end of the cruise. I would be willing to pay more for better food and all inclusive drinks. We enjoyed the lectures and would recommend more of these educational opportunities. We went with friends and had a lot of fun. I don't think we would have enjoyed it as much without our companions. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
The River Seine Paris to Normandy cruise was wonderfully well organized. The several times that we tied up along side other river cruise ships gave us a chance to see them also. Candidly, a couple of them did look a little more ... Read More
The River Seine Paris to Normandy cruise was wonderfully well organized. The several times that we tied up along side other river cruise ships gave us a chance to see them also. Candidly, a couple of them did look a little more updated and luxurious than our ship. Do sign up for the 12 course Bistro Dinner. Well done. Skip the "Basic" wine and cheese lecture. It is not. TIP: Lunches are buffet style, but, be sure to take time to read the menu also. TIP: An optional tour to Honfluer is offered. Honfluer is way over crowded with tourists. I would not do this one again. TIP: Try for a mid ship cabin. The lower numbered units, up near the main lobby etc should be very noisy. It was unseasonably hot when we were there and the air conditioning, both in the main areas and our cabin was marginal, if that. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
The cruise destinations and the wonderful group rate we got for the party of 8 influenced us to choose Avalon. Our ship Creativity was perfect for us. We had excellent service and our cruise directer Nancy was exceptional, she went above ... Read More
The cruise destinations and the wonderful group rate we got for the party of 8 influenced us to choose Avalon. Our ship Creativity was perfect for us. We had excellent service and our cruise directer Nancy was exceptional, she went above and beyond to make it a special week for us. . Loved Oana and Ivan in the dining area. Svetna did a great job of having our cabin ready and welcoming whenever we came back. We had some memorable excursions and they were all handled professionally. It was a very easy and relaxing embarkment and disembarkment. The food was also exceptional, and all the staff were helpful and accommodating!! We were happy we included our transfers from the airport to ship and ship to train station. Avalon staff helped us through the process. Monogram's extra excursion to London was also first class. Would definitely recommend and will cruise on Avalon again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Had always wanted to go to the Normandy Beaches and seeing Paris at night was a big plus. The crew on board the ship was a lot of fun to be around. All of the tours were good. Never felt rushed to do anything. Would do another one anytime. ... Read More
Had always wanted to go to the Normandy Beaches and seeing Paris at night was a big plus. The crew on board the ship was a lot of fun to be around. All of the tours were good. Never felt rushed to do anything. Would do another one anytime. It was my wife's birthday while on the cruise and the crew made sure she enjoyed her day. From the sign on the cabin door to the surprise cake at dinner that night. The cabins were good, enough room to move around when needed. The meals were outstanding and the assortments were many at each meal. The ship was very impressive, as a boat owner, I enjoyed our visit to the wheelhouse and everything the captain has to keep the boat on course and safe. The crew was a riot as far as keeping us entertained and happy. Loved the skit night . Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was a chartered lesbian cruise by Olivia.com and we found all the facilities on the ship, the crew and the schedule was top notch. Our embarkation and disembarkation were seamless, the ship itself was an interesting part of the ... Read More
This was a chartered lesbian cruise by Olivia.com and we found all the facilities on the ship, the crew and the schedule was top notch. Our embarkation and disembarkation were seamless, the ship itself was an interesting part of the journey with tours of the wheel house and the galley. Our cabin was very suitable for all of our needs and had complimentary Ocetane luxury French toiletries (nice touch). Bed super-comfortable, we slept well throughout. The sailing was at an easy pace passing plenty of French countryside and villages and at one point rounding a bend in the Seine to see a castle appear before us. There were I think 120 of us on the ship yet it always felt spacious with lots of opportunity for seclusion and romantic moments as well as areas where people congregated and shared in the wider company of fellow travellers. The dining experience was advertised as 5 star and there was some discussion as to what 5 star actually means. Certainly the range and quality of food was extraordinary (and irresistible), the dining experience with paired wines was interesting and the service warm and friendly. Our only disappointment was that the vast range of French cuisine was not really represented in the main menu, this being a European menu rather than French, nevertheless, we were amply compensated by what was available. I'd have to lump together the entertainment, activities and excursions together and say these were predominantly provided by our charter company Olivia as this was a specialised trip. However the on-board tour guide was excellent and as we were looking for more intellectually stimulating trip, this was very satisfying. Our service was excellent throughout and we would not hesitate to use Oliva and Avalon again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We chose this cruise because the price was right and it coincided with a trip some friends were taking to Paris. We met up with them after the cruise. We are VERY glad we chose Avalon and would definitely do it again! The staff was very ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the price was right and it coincided with a trip some friends were taking to Paris. We met up with them after the cruise. We are VERY glad we chose Avalon and would definitely do it again! The staff was very friendly and the wait staff knew our names without us even telling them! We met some great people and made some possibly lifelong friendships. The food was outstanding and the scenery along the Seine was beautiful. The only criticism I can think of is a couple of the tour guides had such strong accents that it was hard to understand them sometimes. Other than that, everything was great. The best tour was probably to Honfluers and the eaches of Normandy. The least favorite was Versailles, only because it was really hot that day and the place was jammed with people (as it usually is I'm sure), and because we paid extra to go on that tour. The boat itself was nicely laid out and the best part was we got a room upgrade without asking for it! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
It was disappointing that there was nothing at all to eat at the Hotel Pullman Montparnasse, where we were taken for the day. There was a hospitality room with coffee that no self-respecting Frenchman would have drunk and lukewarm water ... Read More
It was disappointing that there was nothing at all to eat at the Hotel Pullman Montparnasse, where we were taken for the day. There was a hospitality room with coffee that no self-respecting Frenchman would have drunk and lukewarm water with tea bags, but that’s all. We had been travelling since 3am and only had a nasty airline croissant, arriving at the hotel at around 10. Some others had been travelling for much longer. We were given no advance information about the hotel or what facilities would be provided. Our day at the Pullman on the way home was even worse, with no hospitality room or refreshments at all. It was simply somewhere to drop us in the morning and then collect us later to go to the airport. As with embarkation day, we were given no advance information regarding what to expect at the hotel. Other than that, the cruise was mainly excellent. The cabin was as good as any standard cabin we’ve had on a river cruise. The shower room was one of the best – very smartly finished and cleverly fitted, with plenty of storage, and a spacious (it’s all relative) shower cubicle with glass door and powerful shower. Service was friendly and efficient, food excellent, well prepared with plenty of variety. We’d have liked to see more meat and especially fish (smoked salmon, prawns…) to go with salad ingredients at lunch time, but that’s about our only criticism. Hand sanitisers were provided at the restaurant entrance but passengers weren’t really encouraged, let alone made, to use them. We found that very surprising and disappointing. There weren’t as many on-board activities as we’ve found on other European river cruises – fun things such as glass-blowing and “oompah” bands (although the Crew Show was entertaining). The Normandy Beaches talk included plenty of good material but was a bit disjointed and the speaker’s diction was often poor, making him hard to understand. Our cruise director, Yvette, gave a presentation on wine and cheese, with wine tasting. All credit to her for making the effort, off her own bat, and there was some good content, but it was one of the poorer PowerPoint presentations I’ve seen (and I’ve seen many!), with far too much material for the time allowed, slides in random sequence with much scrolling backwards and forwards, and so on. We hated disembarkation information being posted on day 5 of an 8-day cruise, with constant reminders and repetition, making us feel the cruise was over soon after it began. The persistent exhortations regarding tipping were particularly irritating – had our tips not been included in the cruise price, we would have been inclined to leave nothing, in revenge. We enjoyed the cruise, overall, and in most respects it compared well with Scenic and Viking river cruises we’ve taken. We would book with Avalon again…but only if confident we wouldn’t have to go through the Pullman experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
A friend did this cruise two years ago and raved about it so I along with 7 friends booked the same cruise for this June 14th cruise from Paris to the Beaches of Normandie. Everything was fabulous on the boat, the cruise director, the ... Read More
A friend did this cruise two years ago and raved about it so I along with 7 friends booked the same cruise for this June 14th cruise from Paris to the Beaches of Normandie. Everything was fabulous on the boat, the cruise director, the entire staff, the food, etc. The only issue was out of Avalon's control. Due to recent rains in and around Paris the Seine was very high and the boat could not get under some of the bridges so our cruise started further up the Seine than scheduled and we missed the last two nights on the boat and were put up in a hotel where we were spread out over a number of floors and the dinners were mediocre at best. No complaints at all about the boat or any of the time spent on it. The crew and food were exceptional. I did not use the fitness area, but heard it was good Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was my fourth river cruise on Avalon Waterways. The cruise was excellent as was the food, cruise director, personnel on boar; however, as far as the ship rooms go, they were quite small and the bathroom was particularly small. It was ... Read More
This was my fourth river cruise on Avalon Waterways. The cruise was excellent as was the food, cruise director, personnel on boar; however, as far as the ship rooms go, they were quite small and the bathroom was particularly small. It was similar to the first ship I was on for my first cruise in 2009. Other than that, it was a very enjoyable trip. River cruises are the way to go in my book. There was a small number of guests which made it more easy to meet new friends. I was with a large group of friends and we were accomodated on more than one occasion so that we could all be together on an excursion. We appreciated that. Were were all non-drinkers of alcohol. On one occasion when there was a toast, we weren't offered a non-alcoholic beverage to join in, but it worked out OK. Some of my friends were disappointed in the taste of the soft drinks, though. We loved the small lounge room with the delicious cookies, muffins and donuts. On a previous cruise, fruit was included in that room but I didn't ever see any this time. That would have been a nice snack choice. Also, because it was a season when the weather was cold, it would have been nice for this room to have had enough hot chocolate on hand. Every time I went, there wasn't any or maybe only one serving. The food at each meal was great with multiple choices. The local breads were very good, too. All personnel were friendly and accommodating. The transfers were seemless; however, at the airport on arrival, we wanted to get some Euros and the guide who picked us up said we could do it at the hotel which was not a true statement. Since I have been on 4 cruises, I have seen the ship's crew skit night several times. I must admit that I find the skit the crew does where three young men wear bath robes and have a gong that they bang...very offensive. I think it would be better if that was cut out altogether. Some people who are drinkers and enjoying themselves laughed heartily. I just have thought both times I saw it that it was inappropriate and offensive. Also I think in a company of mostly senior citizens, the presentation of poems, etc referring to sex, etc is also inappropriate and offensive. I may be the only one to comment on this but that is the way I feel. I enjoyed the excursions very much that I chose except for the Paris bus ride at night. For the price paid, it was not very good. The guide was great, just seemed the ride and places we drove to were not very good. Also, the visit to the Louvre WAS WAY TOO SHORT. There is so much to see and we literally raced through the place (as best we could with hoards of people there) to see only 5 of the most important pieces. the guide again was very knowledgeable and made it very enjoyable. Just wish there had been more time to see more. Also, there were so many excursions, both included and extra that overlapped each other. Many of us wanted to go on some that occurred at the same times. We especially appreciated Avalon setting up an added excursion to Versailles for our large group. It was perfect and well worth the $64. The guide was great, too. I have recommended Avalon to many friends. I won't travel on any other cruise line. Thank you so much for a wonderful time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This is a brief summary of the first leg of a 2 part cruise from Normandy to Cote d' Zur, France, from Avalon. We started 1 day early with a non-stop flight in Economy+ to CDG. Good flight through Avalon. We had a private shuttle (8 ... Read More
This is a brief summary of the first leg of a 2 part cruise from Normandy to Cote d' Zur, France, from Avalon. We started 1 day early with a non-stop flight in Economy+ to CDG. Good flight through Avalon. We had a private shuttle (8 passengers in a van) We were picked up immediately (driver found a shortcut to avoid the airport strikers that blocked the roads) Arrived at Pullman Montparnasse (This is the hotel Avalon uses and all passengers depart from here on embarkation day) We booked this through our TA independently, as it was about 1/2 price, even with the cost of shuttle extra. Impressed with the hotel.Rooms are not available 'til 3pm, but we registered, so we wouldn't have to wait in line later. We left our luggage and carry-ons with the porter station, and walked the area: to ND, Eiffel Tower, etc. (we walked about 4 miles round trip) Our room was available when we returned about 2pm. The next day our Cruise Director, Katy, (who is the best we have had in 50 years of traveling!) was in the hotel, and had a room for all passengers to stay until departure. We left for the ship at 3:30. Boarded when we got there (20 minutes later) The dock is in Paris, but on the edge of downtown. We were disappointed that we did not have enough time before departure to explore the pier area. We DID walk around a few blocks tho. Onboard Creativity: SHIP: Beautiful, clean, and updated ship. We had 323,with a "French" balcony (it was not what I would call it, as it was 4 inches deep), but it was great to be able to open up 1/2 a wall, floor to ceiling and take pictures, bring in the views from the bed, etc. Main lounge, back lounge (coffee/tea/juices, pastries, cookies are 24/7) fitness room,outside decks. We found the back outside deck was a perfect place to sit quietly and watch the river sights go by with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Weather was colder than expected, and this area was out of wind and warm from engine. FOOD was gourmet in many instances; certainly exceptional to the average cruise fare. Captain, Maitre'd, Head Chef were all personable, friendly and good sense of humor. Husband has Celiac (needs GlutenFreefoods) and they were very accommodating! Never a problem, nor did they make him feel it was a bother! They searched him out at meals, and seemed excited when they could provide him with something special, even though normal for others:-) Entertainment: great pianist. Also had local entertainment some evenings. Comedian, Caberet singer, historical lectures. Some concerts were provided on excursions. Very worthwhile. Excursions: Normandy beaches were the most emotional of course; but other excursions were very good too. Honfluer, Pont du Gard, Joesephine Bonaparts mansion, quaint Norman villages of medieval times. I see this isn't brief afterall, so I'll stop here. If you're wondering if you should take this cruise, go for it! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
As an ocean cruiser with a couple hundred days of cruise travel, (most on HAL), I embarked on the Normandy River Cruise adventure to see if it would be a mode of travel my husband and I would enjoy. The answer is yes- and maybe! To succeed ... Read More
As an ocean cruiser with a couple hundred days of cruise travel, (most on HAL), I embarked on the Normandy River Cruise adventure to see if it would be a mode of travel my husband and I would enjoy. The answer is yes- and maybe! To succeed as a river cruiser, I learned one must above all embrace promptness as a way of life for 7 days, and, one must be sociable every day, all day, with fellow passengers and crew, because all meals and activities are shared with this same small group. Also, one must plan to be active. Most shore trips are walking events- and there are no blissful sea days spent reading on a balcony or having a massage in the spa! River cruising, although more expensive per person than a European ocean cruise, is probably less than a comparable stay at an American style hotel in a European capital, enjoying upscale dining and touring. The ambience on board is low key. Touring, up to 3 tours a day, is one focus and group dining is another. There was a Normandy lecture, as well as a couple of chef demos on board, a bridge and galley tour.....evening entertainment featured the on board pianist as well as a crew show. Happy hour, with discounted drink prices, was offered almost daily. Passengers were probably 70% American; rest were adventuresome Australians and Canadians. Staff and Crew were international, but English speaking. Dress is generally casual, although ladies were very dressy on 2 special nights (2nd night and next to last night). Most important items to pack are walking shoes! I wore my dark urban clothes everywhere! Laundry service offered on ship for less than hotel prices! My cabin was very nice, spotless too. Bed was queen-sized, with a variety of pillows, and a duvet. ( you could opt for sheets, too.) Plenty of closet, shelf and cabinet space- for me alone (probably crowded for 2). A room safe was in closet. 3- piece Bathroom tiny, but nicely appointed with handheld shower and Occitane toiletries, in generous sizes. I liked the 2 sets of towels, one tan, one white- great idea when 2 share cabin. TV - and I always tuned into daily menus. Refrig. Free water all trip long, in cabin and for shore excursions. Cabin steward was very discrete, and room was always done 2x daily, am and pm turndown service. Port excursions were well planned and operated efficiently. I feel we saw the best of each port. Local Guides were outstanding. Our excellent cruise director offered tipping guidelines for guides and drivers, which was great. Before trips, we would be asked to come to lobby to pick up our recorders, which hung on cords around our necks, and were used with our earpieces to follow guide while touring. We had quite a few bussed events on this itinerary; not too many step off and walk into town stops, like Rouen. Optional, paid, shore excursions are offered in addition to all the no additional charge choices. For example, I paid nominal tour fees to tour the Eiffel Tower on embarkation day, to walk thru Montmartre, to visit Versailles, etc. Trips can be selected online ahead of time and paid for- or, selected on board, and paid for at that date. Also, I figured out by Day 2 that a 1 pm departure meant your bus is pulling out of the parking lot at 1 pm, so get to the lobby, pick up your stuff, and be on board! Dining room offerings were varied and good and creatively plated. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style. Light lunch and continental breakfast were served in lounge. Dinner is at 7; be there! Coffee, tea and cookies (donuts too) were available on top deck lounge. An ocean cruise has a tremendous variety of dining venues and choices and times; River cruise is very limited in comparison. Also, the portions were smaller (fine) and no one over-ordered. Avalon arranged for my CDG pickup by private car service, when I arrived before dawn day ahead of embarkation. And, Avalon got all of us to our departure points on final day. Contrary to advice on phone, boat was cleared by 10am. Excellent embarkation and disembarkation! Avalon pre cruise hotel, Pullman Montparnasse, was very good, well located, large tour hotel. Our cruise director, Nynke, was the best. She spoke in a soft, calm voice. All was phrased positively; no orders! She personally came onboard each tour before we left to wish us well. A wonderful personality, very competent at calmly handling all that arose on our tour- there were some medical emergencies- and making all welcome! Kudos, Nynke and Avalon! A wonderful and helpful staff and crew! To answer, yes, we will go again. River cruising is the best way for us to see the interior of a country. I really saw what I was interested in, the Creativity was a very fine, well- organized experience, in every aspect, and the group was full of interesting people I would enjoy knowing better. I also thought the Avalon product was a good match for my interests. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We really did enjoy this trip! A couple of things that were not so great.. The day we arrived 9am after 3 hrs at the airport at home an 8 hour flight and a 6 hr time difference.. We we greeted at the airport and headed to our bus, good so ... Read More
We really did enjoy this trip! A couple of things that were not so great.. The day we arrived 9am after 3 hrs at the airport at home an 8 hour flight and a 6 hr time difference.. We we greeted at the airport and headed to our bus, good so far, then to the Pullman Hotel in Montparnasse to sit for like 5 hours more.. Arghhhh we were tired! They had juice and coffee in a room but really no lunch, unless you wanted to go to the restaurant and pay.. My feeling this is the first day of my holiday costing me $1000 and I would only get dinner on board. At least they could provide some food or a voucher.. Anyway after getting to the ship later in the day, we were greeted (with juice not Champagne!) and whisked to our room. Later that evening dinner (set time -open seating). dinner was good but not gourmet (German style more than French!). I will say the wine (incl w dinner) Flowed quite freely! the tours were well handled by our Cruise Director Tony, who did a great job organizing the tours. Tours were all on time, a fair amount of free time if you wanted to wander in a few towns, well organized and tour guides were very knowledgable and fun! There was a decent variety of included tours and some adult tours that you had to pay for. Staff was great, especially Risa, Sunshine, Daniel! Pedro and another fellow who's name escapes me but they all had a smile each day and from day one called us by name.. Happy hour was quite strict and seemed like they didn't want anyone getting too many drinks at the reasonable prices! Some night the wine flowed better than others.. Not sure if the wait staff was told to slow down on the luring or not... All in all a great trip! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Yesterday we returned from our wonderful vacation along the river Seine on the Avalon Creativity. From the day we entered until our departure, the entire organization.... the food, the staff, the cruise director, the tours, the music and ... Read More
Yesterday we returned from our wonderful vacation along the river Seine on the Avalon Creativity. From the day we entered until our departure, the entire organization.... the food, the staff, the cruise director, the tours, the music and the itinerary were all first class and lent itself to a memorable vacation. We had been on 18 ocean cruises and we still love them, but we were getting tired of the Caribbean, Mexico, some ports in Europe, etc. so we listened to many friends who suggested river cruising. I did a lot of research before booking and while all companies looked good, we decided on Avalon because the positive reviews were so plentiful. Those reviews were not wrong. It was mostly an American crowd, with a few Canadians and Australians making up the passengers. The ship had 94 guests on this sailing so we really got to speak with and make friends with so many interesting people. We danced together, we sang together, and we took tours together. We exchanged many emails and FACEBOOK photos and left with hopes of seeing some again. If you are looking for a quiet cruise...no kids, no Bingo, no Broadway shows, no trivia contests, no crazy legs contest, etc. then this is for you. I would not recommend this for anyone under 60 however as the average age for river cruises is from 65-78. The included tours are good but the outstanding ones were Monet's gardens (they look the same as when he painted them, water lilies and all!) and the beaches of Normandy. The trip to the village where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake was charming, the nicest city we visited. It was definitely worth that trip and it was included. We did not do any additional excursions as we had already been to Paris and didn't need to see these places again. We had perfect weather, exceptional!!! Our cruise director Sylvia, is not like any cruise director from an ocean liner. She is professional, laid back, friendly, accomodating but low key. She doesn't jump up and down trying to get you involved, etc. but she is so informative. We liked her a lot and so did everyone on the cruise. The ship is spotless and easy to navigate. Staterooms are fine with a nice bathroom. The food is delicious (thank you Chef Thomas) and you will never go hungry. There is a happy hour each day with 1/2 price drinks but wine and beer and soft drinks are included. The pouring of the wine never stops!!!! Truthfully, there was not one mishapy or complain from anyone the entire cruise. Everyone was thrilled that this ship and this company was their choice. Are we thinking of going on another? Yes, perhaps on the Danube River next time. And who are we going to go with? Two great couples that we met on day one and who spent each day and evening with us. I'll stop writing now...I hope this helps give you a clearer picture of the Creativity and it might help you make up your mind when choosing your next vacation. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
The cruise was brilliant. Avalon's organisation was superb. We had a French balcony room that was very comfortable. The shower was very efficient and didn't steam up the mirrors. The bed had foam toppers on which made it very ... Read More
The cruise was brilliant. Avalon's organisation was superb. We had a French balcony room that was very comfortable. The shower was very efficient and didn't steam up the mirrors. The bed had foam toppers on which made it very cosy. The food was varied with a good choice of wines in the evenings. The boat was kept in pristine condition by a very hard working crew. The tours were great and Avalon groups were usually the first to arrive which meant no crowds of people. Added to this was wonderful weather and to walk around Monet's garden first thing in the morning with a deep blue sky was extra special. Only one minus - the end of the cruise. We had a late flight and from the minute we left the ship we felt abandoned. Although we were taken to the Pullman Hotel, we were not allowed in the room that new guests were in. No drinks were provided and we were left to our own devices. We thought this was a shame and a bad experience for the end of a delightful cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
When you market your cruise as Paris to Normandy Beach Landings, you better be prepared to perform at the highest level of expectations on your feature land tour. In that respect Avalon Waterways was a huge disappointment to many on our ... Read More
When you market your cruise as Paris to Normandy Beach Landings, you better be prepared to perform at the highest level of expectations on your feature land tour. In that respect Avalon Waterways was a huge disappointment to many on our recent cruise. I feel compelled to comment on this because it was the topic of discussion at dinners and during a day of sailing when cruisers had the opportunity to exchange personal thoughts. I wish somebody would have shared this information on Cruise Critic before we booked with Avalon...it would have made all the difference in the world in my choice of cruise lines. I recently found similar comments on some other review sites. That's a shame, because overall, the Avalon staff goes out of their way to provide top quality, timely and personalized service. We couldn't have been more pleased with each and every staff member we encountered. (and that is nearly all of them because they keep a lean roster of employees). We had one of two suites on the ship and the room was clean, well appointed and comfortable. We are accommodating food wise and found nothing that wasn't to our liking so much that we could complain. Food isn't one of the features that we focus on as much as the tour experience. (we avoided all of the formal breakfast and lunches and did partake of a few light lunch buffets) We appreciated the always available coffee and snacks in the lounge. Great for early risers or midnight munchies. Complimentary wine with dinner that poured freely...can't beat that! On board entertainment was limited but enjoyable. ALWAYS felt welcomed by the staff. I specifically noted the "Avalon staff" earlier, because the tours on the cruise are coordinated and provided by independent contractors, that includes the Cruise Director. Many of the tours were exactly what we anticipated. Some even exceeded our expectations based on the knowledge and delivery style of the contracted guide du jour. There is so much history to Paris and the Normandy region, it is difficult to focus on any one era. In that respect, individuals have different interests and I think the bulk of the included and optional tours provided a general overview for many levels of knowledge and preferences. However, the "feature tour" of the cruise,(based on Avalon's marketing) which for most of the men and some of the women, was the single most important reason for selecting this itinerary, came across like a poorly orchestrated afterthought,which left a taste bad enough to make us think twice before booking with Avalon again. Our guide that day was basically knowledgeable, but extremely condescending to many who had limited knowledge of the event. He actually laughed out loud at them when they made inquiries. To those who had an extensive military history background, the guide didn't measure up, particularly on facts that he plucked out of war movies instead of historical records. We spent at least two hours in the village of Arromanches-les-Bains, our first stop of the day. Although the town has a very small D-Day museum and it was the perfect spot to view the remaining artificial harbor, it was clear to everybody that we were killing time to accommodate a scheduled lunch in a local restaurant that truly was unnecessary. A voucher, a boxed lunch to eat in transit, or simply a notice that you were on your own food wise could have preserved precious time to view other historic D-Day sites. The museum was crowded, and there was really not much else worth visiting in the town except for some cheesy gift shops, particularly when you had precious little time to spare in one day. Best feature was a movie produced by the Royal Imperial Navy..(the Brits always do historic propaganda films right!) At the D-Day sites of greatest interest to the group made up of 99.9% Americans that day, time was controlled and very limited. Consider that we were given only 10 MINUTES to snap pictures at Omaha Beach, the primary goal of the trip for all of us. Ten minutes for nearly ten thousand dollars..c'mon! We came to pay our respects not just take pictures. Unlike other reviews posted about this experience, we were also denied access to the Omaha Beach museums (the guide said why go in? there is nothing but military equipment in that museum...hello, that's the point! along with the archival photos, etc.) Forget about the airborne museum too. The ceremony at the American cemetery was moving but it too consumed a lot of time that prevented us from freely moving about the grounds. (hint...schedule it immediately at the beginning or the end instead of the middle of the stop to give people greater options) At Pointe du Hoc the guide barely let the group explore the prominent features because he stopped short of the viewing area to do his presentation. This could have been done while in motion to facilitate time and expand the groups view of the site. At this point we went off on our own and left him behind talking to the group. Look, I know that if you want a detailed tour, you could hire a guide and do this on your own. (compared to the cost of the cruise one heck of a good tour!) My complaint is that the time we did have that day was squandered by poor planning and what came across as a genuine lack of concern for the interests of the individuals on the tour that day, We are glad that we visited the landing beaches, as we are history buffs and respectful of the men who lost their lives, but Avalon's mismanagement of the day deserved comment and forewarning to others planning this trip. Listen up Avalon, don't blow a good thing for you and your loyal employees with services not fully under your control!!! Many of us go on vacations in Europe to experience the sites...a bad experience could cost you customers in the long run. This is worth noting. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was our first ever cruise experience and overall we loved it. If you've never tried river cruising you really should. The ship sails along at a leisurely pace and you'd barely know you were moving. There are 3 full meals a ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise experience and overall we loved it. If you've never tried river cruising you really should. The ship sails along at a leisurely pace and you'd barely know you were moving. There are 3 full meals a day in the spacious dining room, and opportunities for snacking and tea in the late afternoons and evenings, all at no extra charge. Drinks at the on-board bar are extra. There are many opportunities for excursions at each port, and optional extra excursions are available at an additional charge. These may be purchased about a month before your cruise date on-line, or may be added as an on-board extra, provided there is space available. The ship is a few years old (2009), but is still in beautiful shape and is very nicely appointed. Plenty of opportunities for relaxation and/or conversation in the ship's many public areas, so you don't ever have an excuse for sitting cooped up in that tiny cabin. And the food is EXCELLENT, especially at dinnertime, where you can enjoy a 5-course meal with complimentary wine, beer or soft drinks. The ship's intimate atmosphere is one of its best selling points. With only 70 cabins (140 passengers) and 39 crew members, there are plenty of opportunities to make and cultivate new friendships. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Let me start out in the order of events during my families amazing time in Paris and northern France. I chose this vacation in celebration of my Mothers 80th birthday and to also show my appreciation to my Stepfather as well. I have been ... Read More
Let me start out in the order of events during my families amazing time in Paris and northern France. I chose this vacation in celebration of my Mothers 80th birthday and to also show my appreciation to my Stepfather as well. I have been on many Ocean cruises in the past and was always interested in what it would be like to take a river cruise. Let me tell you, i don't think i would ever go back, Avalon River cruises are amazing and top notch . We arrived in Paris four days before the cruise to get over our jet lag and take some time to explore the beautiful city. I chose a apartment in the Latin Quarter which was very nice and close to everything. On the day of the cruise we arrived at the Pullman hotel which was the pre-criuse meeting location around 10:30am. We checked our luggage with the porter there and didnt see our thing until we arrived in our staterooms later on that afternoon. Avalon offers a optional excursion to the Effel Tower which leaves from the hotel at 1pm, so we decided to go on that since i have never been up the tower and it would give us something to do since you can not board the ship until 4-5pm . The tour was a lot of fun and we got to meet some new fellow passengers. After the tour, the bus takes you directly to the ship. Arrival to the ship was so nice, you just walk on , no security scanners , or long lines , it was simple. Everyone including the cruise director(Tony Willamson), who was amazing , greated you and offered you a drink and then eventually escorted you to your state room. The entire ship was so clean and beautiful , like it was brand new and The Creativity is one of Avalons older ships , you would never know its kept up so well. The staterooms were very nice and lots of places to store your things. The bathrooms were so clean and modern, i have never seen anything like that on other cruises. The dinning room was elegant and the wait staff were friendly and very accommodating . The food was different every day for dinner and was fresh and bought in the local markets in the region. The Wine at dinner was wonderful, and your glass was never empty . Every night we would sit with different people which was fun, you actually get to know almost everyone on the ship since there is only around 130 people tops. The portions of the food were small but plenty , i was always satisfied every night . Breakfast and Lunch were great as well, more of a buffet style . Excursions: Vernon, was our first stop. you have a choice of two included guided tours , one was the Bizy Castle or Giverny, we chose Monet's gardens since i love his works and my Mother is into gardening. It was one of the high points of our trip, it was truly amazing. Rouen, was our next port. We took the morning guided tour , the cathedral was breathtaking as well as the town. We had lunch back at the ship and then took a optional tour of the town of Honfleur, it was a beautiful town located on a harbor , great place to sit at a cafe and take in the surroundings , loved it. Normandy beach Landings , was a all day tour on our second day in Rouen. It was around a hour drive to the war museum and beach area. It was so such a moving experience , i have always wanted to see this area of France. I felt so overwhelmed with emotion and proud of all those young service men and women who sacraficed there lives to protect our freedoms. Les Andelys was next. We decided to take it easy that morning and opt out of going on the guided tour of the town, instead we decided to go into town by oursellves on our own time. It was a charming little town, some really nice shops , bought a few things there. After strolling around the town i decided to run up the hill to see the castle built by Richard the lion heart , it had some wonderful views from up there. Conflans was our last stop before going into Paris, we went on the Auvers-Sur-oise , the tour was very informative about the final years of Vincent Van Gogh, the tour took us to his apartment where he lived and through the town and then to his final resting place . After we got back to the boat we were off to Paris. It was a lazy afternoon , which was nice after all the excursions we were on all week, i even relaxed in the whirl pool , very nice. That night was the Captains Farewell dinner, it was a festive night with a crew performance and five coarse dinner and baked alaskan," dellish" ;-) later we took the optional evening tour of Paris at night, it was so beautiful to see at night , especially the Eiffel tower when it strobes at 11pm. On the final day we took the optional tour of the Louvre, it was a lot to take in but we were thrilled to see most of the popular works , such as the Venus De Milo, Winged victory , and of coarse the Rock star, Mona Lisa. All in all, Avalons Creativity and staff and crew made this a vacation we will never forget. They went far and beyond to make us and everyone feel special and cared for. I rarely write reviews, but i felt i needed to for this particular event. i want people to know that this cruise was well worth the money , it was very well organized , i never had to worry about anything. We are definitely choosing Avalon again on our next adventure . Bon Voyage!!!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
After forty-something ocean cruises, and a continuing disappointment of the direction our favorite lines were taking, we decided to try a river cruise with Avalon Waterways. In a word, the trip was perfection, a term not used lightly but ... Read More
After forty-something ocean cruises, and a continuing disappointment of the direction our favorite lines were taking, we decided to try a river cruise with Avalon Waterways. In a word, the trip was perfection, a term not used lightly but quite appropriate in this case. We chose the Paris to Normandy itinerary as it gave us the chance to visit Paris for a few days prior to the start of the cruise. We did our own arrangements and stayed at the Hotel 7 Eiffel for three nights (separate review on Trip Advisor). On our departure day, we taxied to the meeting place and were whisked away to the ship. Not really knowing what to expect, we were immediately enchanted with the Creativity. Gone were the hoards of people shoving to get to the first buffet, the hawking of drink packages and yards of gold chains. Instead we gathered in the comfortable main lounge, given a drink, and politely shown to our cabin. Cabins on these ships are quiet nice with plenty of storage space, a comfy bed, great bathroom, etc. No balcony of course, but the windows open allowing fresh air to circulate. Our cruise director, Tony Williamson, gathered the group to give a briefing on how things would work. Throw away your past experience with ocean cruise directors who you may see once or twice and only hear on the public address system. On a river cruise the cruise director is an integral part of the trip who guides you through your experience. Tony was not only extremely knowledgeable, his cordial personality and ability to relate to everyone was such a huge bonus. Our first dinner onboard spoiled us for life. We were a bit concerned about the open seating concept but it works like a charm. You may sit where ever you like and there is no "saving seats." Folks did gravitate towards certain waiters (as did we) but there really is no bad option. One of our major disappointments with ocean cruises is the push towards specialty restaurants with extra charges. If you go to the main dining room, we found the quality of food way down even on higher end lines (Holland America). On Avalon be prepared for 5-star food with something for everyone. It is served with a smile, it is hot (or cold if it should be), and delicious. Good wine was poured generously with each dinner. Every meal was a standout including the afternoon cake and coffee hour! The ports we visited were charming and, in each, shore excursions were included with optional extra excursions available. Or, you were able to do your own thing and Tony was more than happy to provide maps and suggestions (unlike our last European cruise on HAL). Highlights for us were Vernon (Giverny), Les Andelys, and Auvers-Sur-Oise. The only visit we did not enjoy was the Palace of Versailles due to the huge crowds pushing and shoving you through the experience. We were warned by Tony beforehand, and he was absolutely correct. We also enjoyed a few hours of just cruising the river, and sat in the hot tub on deck watching the scenery go by. Passengers were mostly American but a good showing of Brits and Aussies whose company we loved. Disembarkation was painless but getting on a plane out of CDG left us already missing the Parisian lifestyle and perfection of Avalon Waterways. We will still take ocean cruises as we do love lazy days at sea, but this trip opened our eyes to a whole new way of travel. If you're thinking about it, go before the word gets too far out. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We just got back from our Paris to Normandy cruise with Avalon and have nothing but positive to say. Embarkation: We arrived a few days early on our own and were able to get directions from the cruise director to give to our taxi driver. ... Read More
We just got back from our Paris to Normandy cruise with Avalon and have nothing but positive to say. Embarkation: We arrived a few days early on our own and were able to get directions from the cruise director to give to our taxi driver. We were told to be there between 4 and 5, but due to being a little neurotic arrived at 3:30. As we walked up to the ship to just hang out until 4, the crew saw us and allowed us to board. They grabbed our bags and took us to the reception desk. Within minutes we had our key and were settled in our room. The Room: We were in suite 306. This was on the Royal Deck. The room had a floor to ceiling sliding door that went just about the whole way across the wall. We had a beautiful view of La Seine. The bed was roomy and comfortable (queen size with a thick foam top). There was a fluffy, white comforter on top. The room was subtly decorated with a burgundy geometric carpeting, a large mirror over the desk across from the bed and simple picture over the bed. There was ample storage under the desk and in the entrance way for all of our clothing. On either side of the bed were nightstands with reading lights and plugs for charging your phone, ipad, kindle, etc. In addition to the storage under the desk was a stocked mini fridge. The pricing were actually quite reasonable. Under the bed was ample room for storing our suitcases out of the way. Finally, a small flat screen TV was over the corner of the desk. Our only complaint on the cruise would be the lack of US channels. We understand we were cruising, but just one or two channels of something other than news or finance would have been great. They did offer on demand shows and movies, which did provide a nice alternative. Considering we were on a tour that covered WWII history, there was a nice selection of movies related to that topic. The bathroom had tons of storage along the sink and was stocked with amenities from L'Occitane. A hairdryer was included in the cabinet. The shower was roomy with excellent water pressure. The hot water was very hot. There was ample lighting and towels were replaced daily. The food The main breakfast was a buffet with many selections. There were always fruits, breads, cereals and cheeses. The chef had a specialty each day. The bagettes were delicious and addictive! The staff kept your coffee or tea filled and removed used plates quickly. There were several juice choices including champagne for mimosas. Along with the buffet items were some standing items you could get from the kitchen. You just needed to ask the waitstaff. In addition to the main breakfast (usually from 7-9), there were early riser and late riser options that were mainly breads and cereals. Lunch was also a buffet with new chef selections each day at the carving station, using including a pasta. As always, lots of breads and cheeses. There was always a salad bar and two soup choices. Beer and soda were included with the meal, if requested. There were standing items that could be ordered off the menu. If you were in the mood for something a little lighter, a smaller lunch was offered in the lounge. It was a nice alternative as it wasn't as crowded and the pianist would play. Dinner was at a standing time each evening. It usually consisted of 4 courses - salad, soup, entree and dessert. On a few nights, we had an amuse bouche to start us off and on the second to last evening was a gala - more on that in a bit. The table had bread and a choice of butter or oil/spices for you to get started. there was usually a different salad each evening in addition to the standing Caesar (which was delicious). The soups followed, which were amazing. You always had a choice of two. For the entree, the chef would prepare a choice of two or three dishes and if you weren't inclinded to those, there were standing items - Caesar salad, steak, chicken or salmon. Finally, there were several dessert choices. For the gala, we had a 7 course meal with wine pairing. The baked alaska dessert was brought out by the kitchen with the lights out and sparklers lit - a nice touch. The seating was always open so you could sit with the same folks or move around and meet new ones. We chose the latter and met so many wonderful people from all over. The nice thing about the smaller ships is you really do get to know people. You'll see them again when you're out in town or walking around the ship. It's an intimate experience. A selection of local wines and beers were included with dinner, in additon to soda. You can see how hard the waitstaff work. They're trying to keep the meals coming while refilling the glasses and clearing the plates. A big kudos to these folks. On several days, there was cake and coffee/tea served in the lounge in the afternoon. And, at any time you could get coffee/capuccino/water/juice and a snack from the aft lounge. This was quite a popular area for people to gather. There were also daily news postings and games for people to use. The ship We found the size to be perfect. Not too big, not too small. There was always seating to be found no matter where you were on board. The dining room was on the second deck and had walls of windows on either side. It was roomy and you never felt like you were right on top of anyone else. The lounge was on the 3rd deck front area of the boat and was surrounded by windows. There were comfy seating groups including couches and club chairs, with table to put your drinks and snacks. The bar was also in here and the piano player. You could reach a small outside seating area from the lounge. The snack area was on the 3rd deck in the aft area. Plenty of seating and windows with doors leading to another outside seating area and steps to the upper deck. The upper deck was immense! Tons of lounge chairs, table with chairs, covers from the sun and a hot tub. My husband and I made good use of the hot tub. Given that we were among the youngest on the ship (we're 44/50), we usually had it to ourselves for as long as we wanted. The only issue we had was that it closed at 8. After a long day of walking, it would have been nice to hop in it to relax the muscles, but dinner didn't end until around 9 each night. The itinerary After the standard safety drill, we set sail from Paris in the evening the first day. While dining, we swung by a great view of the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty. Great way to take off! We sailed all evening and awoke to the small town of Vernon. We chose to go on the tour of Monet's home. We were fortunate to have wonderful weather the entire time and spring had sprung early in France so the flowers were in bloom. It was a lovely location. We did not do the afternoon bus tour but chose to walk around Vernon on our own and did some hot tub time. We arrived in Rouen the next day. We awoke to being right in the city. There was a train that woke us up and we worried about spending two nights there, but it was only an issue when we first arrived. We did our own walking tour of the city in the morning - a really great place. Along the river it looks modern, but a few blocks in and your in the old world, with a beautiful town square containing a memorial to Joan of Arc making where she was burned at the stake. There were also many, many churches to explore. Rouen is know as the spire capitol and you can see why. The afternoon trip was to Honfleur, an artsy little port town with really cool buildings and loads of side streets filled with shops and galleries. It was one of my favorite places on the trip. Our next day had us up bright and early to head to Omaha Beach. It took about an hour and a half to get to the first stop - the WWII museum where the artificial harbor was built - fascinating. Next stop was at the cliff overlooking Omaha beach. This was an amazing spot with lots of German bunkers still remaining and a gorgeous view - well worth the stop. We hit Omaha Beach next and just spent a few minutes there. I'm sure there was alot to see, but we were cramming alot into the day. Our final stop was the cemetery and there just aren't words that express what it was like there. I will say that I'm proud of how they've taken such care to give our boys such a beautiful resting place. A little after we arrived, they had a short ceremony which included the playing of the national anthem. I don't think there was a dry eye to be found. Just a beautiful, meaningful experience that I will never forget. Our itinerary had us waking up in a new location in a tiny town with one small street and Richard the Lionhearted's castle on top of a hill. When we first started out, it was foggy and you couldn't even tell there was a castle up there. But, we did the hike up the hill (about 20-25 min) and after waiting about half an hour were rewarded with the fog lifting and the most amazing view ever. We explored the castle, made our way into town and walked around a bit, then headed back to the ship. This was the only tour that day as we headed out at lunchtime onto our next stop. It was fantastic because we were exhausted from the first few days of going non stop. The weather was gorgeous so we headed to the hot tub - of course!! With the sun shining and the boat crusing along, we spent a glorious afternoon recouperating. It was perfect timing. We pulled into Conflans that late that evening and docked for the night. The next morning, we chose to do a self walking tour of the town. There was a great market going on that we went to then just explored. A really interesting place to check out. We chose not to go to Van Gogh's or Napoleon's summer home. We just preferred to take it easy. The next day we sailed back to Paris. It was another great day of sailing with beautiful weather. In the afternoon a group headed off to Versailles that we would pick up along the river closer into the city. That night was our gala followed by a bus tour of the city at night. It was a great evening and nice to get out and see Paris lit up. Our last full day was in Paris with loads of options for excursions. We chose to take the metro to Montmartre. After all that walking, guess where we spent our afternoon? Yes! The hot tub. I know we spent more time in there than anyone else, but hey, it was our vacation and with returning to work the day after we got back home, we needed some relaxation in addition to the exploration. Just sitting up on that top deck in the hot tub with the Eiffel Tower in the back ground was a surreal experience. I highly recommend it if you go on the cruise. Disembarkation The night before a poster was put up telling everyone what time they would be leaving. In addition, they gave colored ribbons to be attached to your suitcases. We were told when to have our suitcases outside our stateroom and when we would be getting on the bus. Jean Loup was checking all the flights and making sure if there were delays, he worked with the folks impacted. The morning of departure we had time to get breakfast and relax a few minutes before heading into Paris traffic and the nightmare that is CDG airport. A few things of note Our cruise director, Jean Loup, was simply fantastic. He answered every question, kept people informed and managed to get everyone where they needed to be. He would leave a sheet on our bed each evening while we were at dinner with the next day's itinerary, a map of the area and a weather report. He was a large part of this cruise being so good. My husband and I are low key so we didn't spend a lot of time in the lounge, be we did go to the staff show that was really entertaining and Jean Loup arranged for a string trio to play one evening while we were sailing. It was so lovely to listen to them and watch the scenery go by. The boat was smooth. You could hardly tell you were moving unless you looked out the window. The captain was very good, squeezing us into several locks and was always smiling. When we would set sail, he would play the music from 'Columbus' - very cool. One final note - I should disclose that we won this cruise through an Avalon Facebook contest. I do feel that if we had paid for this we would have gotten our money's worth. Avalon did not require/ask that we give this review. We are not receiving any compensation for writing this review.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Avalon Creativity is a wonderful boat to be on. The room was comfortable and use of space is great. We managed to unpack all four pieces of luggage and store them under the bed. The staff were wonderful, professional and hardworking. The ... Read More
Avalon Creativity is a wonderful boat to be on. The room was comfortable and use of space is great. We managed to unpack all four pieces of luggage and store them under the bed. The staff were wonderful, professional and hardworking. The meals were delicious and there was quite a variety on offer. The coffee was devine; we loved it from the first sip. I was puzzled that at the Captain's Dinner the captain wasn't present although the numerous dishes were very delicious and plentiful. This was our first river cruise. While the cruise itself was good and we had wonderful weather we were certainly disappointed in the following: 1. Flights. Avalon changed our direct flight at the last minute to a milk-run flight. The Air Canada flight from Montreal was crowded. Dinner was ok but the crew woke us at 5:30 am and gave us banana bread for breakfast. While we were sitting on the tarmac at Pearson in Toronto I saw an Air France plane and wished we'd been put on a direct flight. Avalon really messed up on this and took the cheap way out. Shame on you! 2. Pick up from CDG airport to Pullman hotel: the girl took us outside to a parking lot and informed us the shuttle had just departed without us so we had to wait 45 minutes for the next bus. Not impressed. It was cold outside. 3. Pullman hotel: Avalon's tour director informs us on the ride to the hotel that beverages would be provided but as far as food is concerned, we are on our own; they are not responsible. Not acceptable to those of us who've never been to Paris and have no idea where to go or how to compare the best food for value. We were stuck in a lounge all day long. Many passengers had been on numerous milk-run connecting flights and had not eaten in more than 12 hours so to be provided with beverages until boarding the boat at 4pm was just beyond reasoning. To add insult to injury, she then invites us to go on an Eiffel Tower tour. Not too many folks took up the offer since we hadn't had the opportunity to clean up and brush our teeth. Most of us just wanted a decent meal. Avalon needs to do better when they're forcing their paying customers to fly for needless countless hours on end. Ironically there was a group of travel agents onboard so I'm sure they'll have something to say about milk-run flights and not being provided a meal at the end of those flights. 3. Connecting flight home to Canada. Avalon really messed up on this. We got stuck at the Montreal airport for 5 hours because they had only allowed 15 minutes from one flight, collecting our bags, going through customs and finding the gate for our connecting flight. The conveyor belt didn't begin running until just a few minutes before we should have been boarding our flight home. Needless to say we were put on standby but couldn't actually board a flight until 9pm. 4. Rushed itinerary. They really pushed passengers to sign up for tours that cost a fortune. We were really disappointed in the Claude Monet tour. We were told by the tour director that it was a private tour but there were 10 other tour buses so it was overcrowded and one couldn't get a good picture if they tried. The gardens are not kept up and there was a German woman working inside the house who was quite nasty. She was rude.Every town we stopped in the shops were shuttered so we had no opportunity to shop for gifts. When the boat did dock in Paris we were told by the tour director to walk down Convention Street but everything was closed. When we returned to the boat only then did we learn we should have walked the 20 minutes to the Eiffel Tower where there is a mall.After reading the other reviews I will not be so quick to use Avalon in the future for river cruising. We did experience being docked next to other river boats and having to cross their decks to disembark.Being on the lower floor was fine, although I did experience the terrible disgusting smell of feces every morning when we went for breakfast. The hallway wreaked of feces.Our evening entertainment was provided by Gino who played the piano and horn. He was quite good and several of us danced. They also had a trio come on board called La Strada. They were absolutely wonderful. The music was outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
The cruise itself was awesome. I was the second-youngest onboard at 52 but I fit right in. Loved the staff, the food. The itinerary was jam-packed. The downside of this trip is as follows: Avalon seemed to book all 120 passengers from ... Read More
The cruise itself was awesome. I was the second-youngest onboard at 52 but I fit right in. Loved the staff, the food. The itinerary was jam-packed. The downside of this trip is as follows: Avalon seemed to book all 120 passengers from all over the globe on milk-run flights with stopovers and connecting flights to Paris taking as long as 10 hours. They changed our flight in Canada at the last minute from direct to a connecting flight in Montreal. As we sat on the tarmac at Pearson Int'l, I saw an Air France plane and wondered why we hadn't been booked on a direct flight. While on the flight from Montreal to CDG airport we were given dinner and then awoken at 5:30 am and given a slice of banana bread. That was the last meal for more than 10 hours. Quite disappointing and extremely unacceptable. Once at CDG in Paris, we found the Avalon rep easily enough but there was confusion over the shuttle. It had already departed without waiting for us. We were kept waiting more than 45 minutes for the next shuttle. We arrived at Pullman hotel roughly around 10:30 am, exhausted wanting only to rest, freshen up, brush our teeth but they put us into a lounge that the company rents. We were supplied only beverages while waiting to be taken by shuttle bus to the boat at 4:00 pm so in essence most of the passengers stuck at Pullman hotel had gone without a meal for more than 10 hours. This is completely unacceptable. We were informed by the numerous reps coming in and out of the lounge that we were on our own to find a meal. Most of us had never been in Paris so it's not so convenient to pop out for a meal. And where to go and how to choose a good place to eat? It took us by surprise that they offered an excursion to the Eiffel Tower. Not likely. I hadn't been able to freshen up or brush my teeth. I was not fit for being in public. I would have preferred that they provided us with a meal while we waited more than 7 hours to board the boat. Avalon, or Globus if you prefer, totally screwed up our return flight to Pearson Int'l. They did not allow sufficient time for us to reach Montreal, collect our baggage, go through customs and find the gate for the flight. In fact the baggage belt didn't start filling up until 15 minutes prior to our scheduled departure. Air Canada then put us on standby for possible flights every hour however those flights were already crowded so we waited for the last flight out at 9pm and wouldn't you know, only 30 passengers where on the flight. Very poorly organized. I would have expected better from a company that is supposed to be superior. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Given the fact that this was on the lower price end of the other cruise ships for a similar itinerary, it was TOP NOTCH. 5 star * * * * * The onboard experience reminds me of how "it used to be" in the USA. And for a reasonable ... Read More
Given the fact that this was on the lower price end of the other cruise ships for a similar itinerary, it was TOP NOTCH. 5 star * * * * * The onboard experience reminds me of how "it used to be" in the USA. And for a reasonable price. The boat was amazingly well maintained and CLEAN. The crew was always at work cleaning, painting, or fixing something. We were in steerage due to late booking but liked it because of less foot traffic outside our cabin and being close to the dining room. There was one sitting for all meals (lite breakfast and lunch in the lounge). Nice selection and excellent quality of foods. Very well prepared and tasty. Staff was superb---efficient, kind, and funny. Guests with special dietary needs were looked after as well as anyone with limited mobility. Yvette our cruise director was awesome----she had a down-to-earth sophistication, was on top of everything, had infinite patience with the "difficult" passengers, and had a good sense of humor. The included tours were excellent---the guides knew their stuff and were SO funny and clever. My husband and I are fit 61 year olds and were on the young side of the 130 passengers. There was one 52 year old who was the "baby." We figure the age range was from late 60's to mid 80's. Mostly American and a lively, fun group. Fly in at least a day early to get acclimated-----we are SO glad we did. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Avalon Creativity Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.7
Dining 5.0 4.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.7
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.5
Family 1.0 3.5
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.6
Enrichment 5.0 4.4
Service 4.0 4.9
Value For Money 5.0 4.6
Rates 4.0 4.5

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