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38 Avalon Waterways Avalon Creativity Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
Sail Date August 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
Sail Date July 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
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
Sail Date May 2017
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
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
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
Sail Date October 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
Sail Date September 2016
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
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
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
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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