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14 Avalon Waterways Avalon Creativity Cruise Reviews

We wanted to see France and the Sienne River and experience it on a small boat. Didn’t like big cruise boats. Too crowded and too regimented. On a river cruise you can have dinner with other guests or by yourselves. It was nice having ... Read More
We wanted to see France and the Sienne River and experience it on a small boat. Didn’t like big cruise boats. Too crowded and too regimented. On a river cruise you can have dinner with other guests or by yourselves. It was nice having that choice. We got to seat with different people at each meal from all over the world. We enjoyed that very much and got to meet wonderful people. The included excursions were excellent and so were the tour guides. They were all very informative and spoke English very well. It was great being able to book the excursions ahead of time. Every evening, before dinner, we had a discussion with the cruise director and some of the crew about the next day’s excursions. They also gave us the option of changing what we booked the next day if we wanted. This way of cruising is the way to go. We had a great time. Would definitely do a River cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Avalon Waterways was recommendated by my travel agent and I highly recommend this cruise line. This was my first river cruise and our room with the French balcony more than met my expectations. I really enjoyed the evenings with the ... Read More
Avalon Waterways was recommendated by my travel agent and I highly recommend this cruise line. This was my first river cruise and our room with the French balcony more than met my expectations. I really enjoyed the evenings with the sliding door opened while cruising to the next town. We were impressed with the quality of food and it’s presentation. The waiters really contributed to the fun we had during meal times. They were friendly, funny, and accommodating. In fact, they were one of the highlights of our trip. The cruise director was knowledgeable, friendly, and accommodating to our needs. My friends and I enjoyed the pace of this trip. Excursions were well organized with excellent guides. We only wished we had more free time to wander in each quaint town. The trips were so well organized that we never missed getting back on board for meals. We will be looking forward to our next river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was our first river cruise and we put alot of thought into where we wanted to travel. We spent an extra night in Paris and stayed at the Pullman Paris Eiffel Tower. The hotel was fine - room was small but clean and functional with a ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and we put alot of thought into where we wanted to travel. We spent an extra night in Paris and stayed at the Pullman Paris Eiffel Tower. The hotel was fine - room was small but clean and functional with a partial view of the Eiffel Tower from the balcony. Front desk staff spoke English and were very pleasant. Elevators were sketchy at best. I should note that we arranged for ground transportation to and from the airport. When we arrived at the airport there was no one to greet us after retrieving our luggage (which took nearly an hour.) After wandering around for another 30 minutes the driver came walking in - I noticed his Avalon sign so figured he was there to pick us up (he was.) No explanation as to why he was so late and no apology. Representatives for Avalon were available in the hotel the morning of the cruise. I was under the impression they would be able to help us select some sightseeing options for that day (until we left for the boat at 3:45) - that was not the case. They merely gave us our bus pass and stored our luggage. We were able to walk around the Trocadero and the Eiffel Tower - but the security lines for the Eiffel Tower were too long to wait in to go up in it. In addition, the weather was very hot (90+) that day. We left for the boat promptly at 3:45 and our luggage was already in our stateroom when we arrived. We had time to unpack and walk around a bit prior to a going to the lounge and getting information on the cruise and all the activities prior to dinner. Everything was well organized and informative. Avalon does a great job making sure shore excursions are on time and well thought out. We scheduled every shore excursion possible. Nearly all of them were well worth the time, and in some cases, extra money. The only exception was the Paris at Night driving tour. A huge waste of money and time and we weren't the only ones who felt that way. Another note - on the first full day of the cruise we went to Giverny in the morning and then cruised into Les Andelys in the afternoon. We went on the gentle walking tour of the town. We entered a beautiful old church - the tour guide provided commentary on how France was no longer a Catholic country, but was now a Muslim country - it was an awkward, and unnecessary moment. Besides that- all tour guides were knowledgeable, friendly and accommodating. The staff on the Creativity were friendly and efficient - the tour director or captain was always there to greet people coming back from excursions. Security was also present at all times to note who was getting on and off the boat. Service was top notch. We met many interesting people from all over the world. Most were very well traveled and over the age of 55. We thought the food was okay - not great - but okay. The meals were rarely warm which is important to us. Wine was served with lunch and dinner - and your glass was never close to empty. The dining room was very noisy and sometimes hard to converse with others sitting close by. There were times we wished we could have enjoyed a more intimate meal - so if this important to you - this cruise may not be for you. Dinner was usually served beginning at 7:15 or 7:30. There is only one seating. Dress for dinner was very casual (though we didn't see any blue jeans or shorts.) There was one dressier night (farewell dinner) - but even then most folks dressed fairly casual. We did plan ahead and dressed up more that evening. We had someone on board to provide a lecture the night before we traveled to the D-Day landing beaches (highly recommend - very moving.) He was okay - albeit a bit long. On another evening the tour director gave a lecture on a young man who died in WWII in France that he had done some research on. He obviously had done alot of research. One afternoon a string trio - LaStrada - was onboard to provide entertainment. They were excellent!! We brought their CD to bring home to enjoy. Very talented young people. When it was time to leave, Avalon made sure everything was very well organized. Our transport to the airport was a little later so we had to vacate our room and wait in the lounge. It would have been nice if they had some coffee, etc., available in there for there - though I realize at this point they are flipping the boat for the next guests arriving in the afternoon.. Overall, we really enjoyed the cruise. We would recommend Avalon to others. The trip was exhausting for us, but in a good way. We feel we took advantage of every opportunity to see as much as we could - and Avalon made that possible. The staff on these boats work very hard - and always with a smile. Would we do another river cruise - I'm not sure - we might. It is definitely a good way to see a lot in a short amount of time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We were on the Avalon Creativity October/16 Paris to Normandy Landing cruise. The ship was built in 2009 & has a maximum capacity of 138 passengers. It has 3 decks of staterooms, with a sky deck on 4. The lounge/bar, reception, ... Read More
We were on the Avalon Creativity October/16 Paris to Normandy Landing cruise. The ship was built in 2009 & has a maximum capacity of 138 passengers. It has 3 decks of staterooms, with a sky deck on 4. The lounge/bar, reception, cruise director’s desk & public computer areas are on the entrance deck, between decks 2 & 3 at the front end of the ship. The dining room is also at the front end of the ship, but between decks 1 & 2. The smaller lounge, where the coffee machine & snacks are, is a quiet area, is at the back of the ship on deck 3, next to the hair salon. The small, very small gym with cardio equipment & few light dumbbells is on deck 1, by the stairway up to the dining room, next to our room. The gym does not get used much, except for the rare ocassional use of the treadmill. The room is fairly well insulated, but you will hear a little bit of thumping if you concentrate & listen, but nothing to be alarmed about. The public areas on the ship are clean & generally very well maintained. In June/16, we had a French balcony stateroom on the Avalon Luminary, but were not in the room as much as we thought we would be, as such, we decided to try an outside cabin this time around. As outlined in the Avalon literature, all features & amenities are the same, save for the balcony vs. the windows. There was sufficient space for all our clothing & toiletries. There was also enough electrical outlets to charge your devices, albeit you'll need an adapter plug. We were in our room for about the same amount of time as aforementioned. As such, we felt we got a better bang for our buck, by booking an outside cabin vs. one with a French balcony. It also didn't hurt that we got an Avalon free air promotion, Journey Club & a recent sailing discount. The service received in the stateroom & dining room, was very good as was the quality of food & its presentation. Yvette, our cruise director was knowledgeable & well organised. The officers, wait staff, room stewards & crew were friendly & courteous. The Captain & Hotel Manager were always present seeing us off & on the ship when going & returning from excursions. I was impressed with the Captain when he pitched with the crew in removing railings & moving things around when the ship was approaching a low bridge. The ports of call, included & optional excursions are subjective, but in our opinion, were very good. We especially enjoyed visiting Rouen & the small quaint town such as Beuvvron En Auge. The same goes for the on board entertainment. We had 2 after dinner shows, a singer who was very good & of course a show put on by the crew which was funny. We also had local crepe chef & a very good D-Day speaker. We would sail with Avalon again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We chose this cruise as I wanted to see Monet's Garden and my husband was interested in the Normandy tour. All of the tour guides associated with the cruise were outstanding - easy to understand (English speaking) and enthusiastic. ... Read More
We chose this cruise as I wanted to see Monet's Garden and my husband was interested in the Normandy tour. All of the tour guides associated with the cruise were outstanding - easy to understand (English speaking) and enthusiastic. Of course, we would have preferred a little more free time in each area especially the Normandy cemetery. Our only complaint was that wine flowed freely at meals but it was hard to get ice tea or a soft drink in a timely manner. Also my husband wanted coffee with his dessert and it almost always arrived after he was finished. Our cabin was adequate - it was always clean and freshened up by Peter - he did a great job. We especially enjoyed the crew night performance after dinner and the talk prior to our Normandy excursion. The cruise director, Jerome, kept us well informed of everything and was very personable. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Our travel agent recommended Avalon. We wanted to experience Paris and Normandy. The WWII beaches and cemetaries were a goal. We also wanted to experience many of the Cruise daily excursions. We really enjoyed learning (relearning) the ... Read More
Our travel agent recommended Avalon. We wanted to experience Paris and Normandy. The WWII beaches and cemetaries were a goal. We also wanted to experience many of the Cruise daily excursions. We really enjoyed learning (relearning) the history of France. Walking down streets with buildings built in the 14th Century, learning about castles, battles, and historical politics was very stimulating. The Ship was in very good condition and our cabin well kept. The crew was very attentive, nice, and fun. We felt safe and each stop was well planned. Good coordination / communication from the Cruise Director. Really liked the singer and key board player...plus the crew skits were entertaining. Would suggest replacing the DJ with someone who can play the piano and intersperse live music with more contemporary recorded music. We really appreciated the cleanliness, courtesy, and "on time" rigor of the crew and ship. We have recommended Avalon and this cruise to friends already. Read Less
Sail Date September 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
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
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
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
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
My Wife and I took Avalon Waterways Romantic Rhine cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversery, cruising down the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel this August. It was not only our first cruise it was the ships first cruise too. Well it ... Read More
My Wife and I took Avalon Waterways Romantic Rhine cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversery, cruising down the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel this August. It was not only our first cruise it was the ships first cruise too. Well it was my first cruise if you don't count the trip across Lake Erie from Cleveland to Detroit that I took with my family in 1955 on the SS Aquarama. I had visited the Rhine before form the land side and wanted to share that experience with my wife during our river cruise. We were a little apprehensive about the maiden voyage but it turned out not to be a problem at all. The only thing that went wrong was our room safe did not have its battery installed so we could not lock up our valuables. That was quickly remedied by the ship's engineer. The first night's dinner service was a little slow but that just gave us more time to spend getting to know our dinner companions. It is a small ship with only 138 passengers and with open seating at every meal it is possible to get to know more than half the people on board if you don't dine with the same folks twice. With free wine at dinner and great companions it was tempting to linger over a meal. Meal service improved each night as the Maitre d' whipped his staff into shape. The wait staff was from Easern Europe, Indonesia, and China. Some of them started out clueless and managed to stay that way throughout the cruise despite Attila (his real name) the Hungarian's best direction. Just like on my sailboat, you have some crew that works out and some that doesn't. The food was very good and matched the region we were in. The only thing I got hungry for was simpler fare which we had the opportunity to sample when off the ship. Portions were not overly large like in the USA but you were well fed. The highlight of the meals were the salad dressings which were very light and always interesting. The only thing I would change is to lose the cake at 4:00 routine in favor of some extra time at happy hour or bigger glasses for the iced tea served when returing from a shore excursion. Iced Tea is the official (non alcoholic) drink of my home state of Texas and I have to commend the ship for doing a credible job with their brew, although not quite robust enough to stand up to a good piece of smoked brisket. The ship itself was very comfortable. We had a room on the bottom floor near the back. You would think it would be noisy but this ship has very little engine noise. The first day we pulled away from the dock and were moving before I realized it. Several passages are made at night and it was no trouble at all to sleep while underway. I found the top deck layout awkward. They had a hot tub in the forward section in front of the bridge. This meant anyone using that had to walk throught he lobby and past nearly everyone to get to it. This could have been better relocated aft with a seperate stairway near the back of the ship. I would also move the smoking section to aft of the bridge. I don't smoke. If you put the smokers at the front of the ship then the non smokers are downwind from them all the time. We ended going to the foremast part of the ship to try to get fresh air. We had the smallest stateroom on the ship and it had pleanty of space. We had more than enough room for our clothes, our empty suitcases slid easily under the bed. I loved being able to unpack only once during the trip. Beds were very comfortable. The room air conditioninig worked quietly. Our flat screen TV was good and offered a view from a foreward facing camera as well as a GPS display of the ships position and speed. Quite handy if you want to keep an eye on the helmsman's activiites. Our cruise was populated by many travel writers who were invited aboard to review the ship on its maiden voyage. I talked to many of them and they seemed to be enjoying their trip. I had a slightly different perspective from them because I paid to take this trip and I had no prior cruise experience. I have to say it was one of the best vacations I ever had. The pace was liesurley yet not boring. The people were interesting, the sites were lovely the service was good but not intrusive and I felt this Avalon cruise offered a great value for the money. Strasbourg - How the Germans would build a French town. Eat lots of pastry, have a french eclair for one hand and a pretzel for the other. Go to the cathedral and ask what time it is. Beware of beggars. Koln - Big Cathedral, interesting shops. Good place to take a stroll and find a sidewalk cafe to sit down and drink beer or wine. Koblens - Charming town. Take a walk down to the German corner to see big William  Heidleburg - Monster castle, great town to walk around. Only eat in restaurants with flags, sign of simple fare and low prices. Take the Philosopher's walk up the hill on the other side of the river. Rudesheim - Go to the Drosselgasse and dance the polka with the locals. Seigfreid's museum is unique. Try not to buy a cuckoo clock here. Get a hat instead. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
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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