1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Avalon Luminary Review
  4. Avalon Luminary Cruise Reviews
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
My adult daughter (27) and I just returned from an amazing week cruising the Rhine. Unfortunately, there was record-breaking flooding in Europe, so our departure was changed from Basel to Strasbourg, but we didn't miss much. The ... Read More
My adult daughter (27) and I just returned from an amazing week cruising the Rhine. Unfortunately, there was record-breaking flooding in Europe, so our departure was changed from Basel to Strasbourg, but we didn't miss much. The itinerary included a new port each day, and sometimes two. What a great way to see so much of the Rhine while only unpacking once. The crew members onboard the Luminary were excellent and made sure that our trip went flawlessly. The meals were spectacular, with at least three special entree options at each meal and four options that were always available (including steak). Wine flowed freely and we had a choice of red, white or bubbly with our dinner. Drinks at the bar were very reasonable. There was also a coffee/tea/hot chocolate bar available all the time. The cabin was nice, but not built to suit two beds instead of one. When the beds were split apart, there were lamps on the headboard right where you would sit up in bed, so they hit your head. There was also a light switch on the wall beside the bed which turned on and off if you moved in bed. I loved the L'Occitane soap and lotions. The excursions were interesting, but we liked the freedom to do our own thing as well. If a walking tour ended up moving too slowly, we just ventured off on our own. The cable car ride up the mountain in Rudesheim was worth doing (which we did instead of the musical instrument museum). We also went ashore at night to experience more of the local nightlife. There were some interesting bars right near where the boat was docked. Although most people on board were 50 years or older, my daughter enjoyed the trip because of all the opportunities to explore new cities. The river level was very high and the current extremely strong, but the captain was brilliant at navigating the fast-flowing water. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
This was our first river cruise. We have been on several ocean cruises, which we love, but this river cruise was better. Nothing could have been better about this cruise (northbound Rhine cruise from Basel to Amsterdam) - the ship, the ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. We have been on several ocean cruises, which we love, but this river cruise was better. Nothing could have been better about this cruise (northbound Rhine cruise from Basel to Amsterdam) - the ship, the cruise itself, the staff, the food, the shore excursions. We knew nothing about Avalon. We took this particular cruise because it fit into our schedule. And it was wonderful. We did have to bus from Basel to Strasbourg because of high water, but what we missed seeing was mainly at night. Instead they booked an excursion up Mount Pilatus by gondola and cog railway. It was wet and cold and foggy, but still fun. The excursions that came with the cruise were all exceptionally well handled and had wonderful guides. The groups were small, and individual hearing devices were used so you could hear everything the guide said.. The only entertainment was music in the public areas, but one night some of the staff put on a show, which was lots of fun. The ships are small (100 passengers), so there is no need nor room for entertainment - just enjoy talking to your fellow passengers and watching the beautiful scenery. There is a tiny exercise room. The cabins are not too small and had plenty of storage. We could not hear our neighbors at all.The food was fabulous and plentiful. There were always soft drinks, tea and coffee available in one of the public areas. Plus some kind of pastries. Embarkation and disembarkation went so smoothly it was amazing compared to large ocean cruise ships. We would absolutely take another of their cruises. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
First of all, Avalon does a fabulous job of catering to everyone. I just had seen the ads and was mentally prepared to float down the Danube, gazing romantically at the beautiful scenery along the way. Unfortunately, the Danube was too ... Read More
First of all, Avalon does a fabulous job of catering to everyone. I just had seen the ads and was mentally prepared to float down the Danube, gazing romantically at the beautiful scenery along the way. Unfortunately, the Danube was too low to do much sailing, so we only were able to dock in 3 planned ports and a couple of unintended ports, used for bussing us places. So this fantasy didn't come true and not Avalon's fault at all. If you are planning a trip like this, make sure there has been enough rain for the trip to actually pass through the river. If not, you will spend hours on busses going to the places that way. You may have many more tours than you wanted and hear much more history than you can ever remember. If you are someone who will enjoy this, then no worries. We discovered it wasn't comfortable for us. They feed you well on the ship- I would say not quite the tastiness of the big ocean cruises, but certainly enough to satisfy you. The people are so nice and we made lots of friends. The age group on the ships is approx. 70-80 average, I'd say. If you are handicapped and use a cane, they make provisions with the tours for you, but the countries may not be compliant with this. Lots of cobblestones, so come prepared to strengthen your ankles on those with good shoes. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
This was our 2nnd cruise with AVALON; and we were not disappointed. The Luminary is a well-appointed ship with all the amenities needed for an upscale cruise experience. Our cabin had ample room for us and storage for our things; while the ... Read More
This was our 2nnd cruise with AVALON; and we were not disappointed. The Luminary is a well-appointed ship with all the amenities needed for an upscale cruise experience. Our cabin had ample room for us and storage for our things; while the French balcony allowed ample views of our progress along the Danube. Robes, slippers, upscale toiletries, etc. all included. The food was excellent for each meal including buffet breakfast with omelet station, buffet or menu lunch with a 5-6-course dinner comparable to a 4-5 star restaurant; and the service by the entire crew both met and exceeded our expectations. Peter, our Cruise Director, did not have no in his vocabulary and met each and every request with a smile and can do! Our arrival point was Budapest, Hungary a city to which I will someday return for an extended stay. Lot’s to see and do, great food with warm and charming people. We happened to be here during St. Stevens day the Hungarian Independence Day celebration and were treated to a spectacular fireworks display. Our Intercontinental Hotel on the Danube was 1st class as were all meals. After boarding the Luminary we sailed to Vienna where we attended an optional musical concert, which was one of the highlights of the trip and should not be missed. Additional stops in small villages and cities included Durnstein and Melk in Austria a sail through the scenic Wachau Valley in Austria; and an unscheduled stop in Linz, Austria due to low water beyond Passau. All had there special charms especially Linz which we would recommend be a scheduled stop in the future for this cruise. As a result of the low water issue (which must have been know to AVALON prior to our trip but was not communicated until we were an our way to Linz) we had to end our cruise in Passau, Germany and complete our itinerary by buses. The 8-hour roundtrip bus ride and tour of Regensburg, Germany was exhausting but it included a great sausage and kraut plate. Passau could be easily skipped and Linz substituted as it only had a cathedral to visit and view. Due again to the low water we were bussed to Nuremberg for dinner and overnight hotel stay; and disappointed in that we saw nothing of Nuremberg which we had looked forward to touring. All in all a great start, enjoyable middle and poor ending. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
The ship is immaculately maintained and luxuriously comfortable. The food was exquisite and the staff from the Cruise Director, Hotel Manager, Maitre D and all the other staff as well as the captain and crew were, without exception, first ... Read More
The ship is immaculately maintained and luxuriously comfortable. The food was exquisite and the staff from the Cruise Director, Hotel Manager, Maitre D and all the other staff as well as the captain and crew were, without exception, first class. There was a problem with the river level on approach to Vienna but the Avalon staff, in particular Adrienn the cruise director, swung into action, and we were transferred to a 4 star Hotel in Linz. This was the only negative as, although the hotel was comfortable, the food was not up to standard and they did not appear capable of coping with the influx of guests and their organisation at the main meal time was chaotic. The response from the vice president in promising a discount for any days away from the ship was rapid. It is only when problems occur that one discovers the real quality of a holiday company. Avalon response was outstanding. Though disappointing, the problems did not spoil our enjoyment and there was virtually negligible adverse comment from the guests. One problem during the booking process was encountered as we chose to travel by rail in both directions from the UK. SNCF/Avalon seemed incapable to reserving seats on the one part of the rail journey from Vienna to Zurich. This meant that, on arrival in Vienna, I had to go to the local rail station and book a reserved seat for the journey. A simple but, in my opinion. essential action. If SNCF are incapable of such a simple process you may wish to look elsewhere to book rail travel. I must stress though that, although it meant a morning doing something that could have been otherwise arranged, this has NOT diminished my admiration for Avalon and in particular the Avalon Luminary. Particular mention should go to Adrienn, the cruise director, the hotel manager ( whose name I do not have unfortunately) and to staff in the bar and restaurant namely Ganis and Stephan. 10/10 Avalon Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
What an absolutely fabulous time! River cruises are not for the folks looking for on-board entertainment! One fantastic musician/singer (Valentine!) and an evening with the crews talent show, and 1 Bulgarian folk dancers! The rest of ... Read More
What an absolutely fabulous time! River cruises are not for the folks looking for on-board entertainment! One fantastic musician/singer (Valentine!) and an evening with the crews talent show, and 1 Bulgarian folk dancers! The rest of the time was used to rest for the next day! this tour was non stop once on the boat! Every day we were in port for most of the day except the day going through the Iron gorge. If you haven't exercised in a while, make sure you start walking NOW!!! we averaged about 5 miles a day walking. At 53 I was the youngest passenger out of 81 (ship was only partially full!) - Budapest was AMAZING! We stayed at the lovely InterContinental, 9th floor overlooking Buda - the beauty of the city at night reflected over the Danube and was simply beautiful. Both Buda and Pest sides were fascinating - old in Buda, new in Pest,,,,and they did an excellent job of infusing the old and the new into a gorgeous city. The local food was delicious but be wary of restaurants that have buffets sitting out, even if it's behind a counter! We ate at a Chinese restaurant but as the food was sitting out and then reheated for eating, my companion got very ill. Luckily it passed before we boarded the ship the following day. Take the Hop on Hop Off and jump on the Funicular to head up the mountain to the Castle district. Also visit Margarita Island, but find out exactly where the Hoho boat picks you up!!! there are NO signs anywhere so get exact directions (it's the first boat launch area facing the Pest side) - other than graffiti all over the city, the place is stunning! And visit the Grand market for souveniers, especially Hungarian Paprika! great deals and everyone at home loved them!! The first day of the trip we met with the passengers and cruise director - the 2nd day we had a morning city tour and did our own thing in the afternoon. The following day we did the Hop on Hop off and in the evening boarded the ship. Boarding the ship was very easy. Everyone travelled by bus to the ship where we got on! that simple. Turned in our passports, got our room key, and it was done! Food aboard the ship was delicious - awesome steak, and soups!! terrific!! Salad dressings other than the Ceaser were mediocre, but everything else was great!!! and eating while sailing and so close to the water was a great experience! The Danube is a beautiful river that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime! Serbia city tour was very interesting, as was Vir Lipinski - an ancient civilization excavated on the banks of the Danube - during our travels through Serbia the Captain even let me steer the ship!!! :) Bulgaria - Belgradchik Rocks is a must (included tour) - and the restaurant where we ate lunch was fabulous as well. Lovely views, but again, the graffiti is overwhelming and detracts from the beauty of the city. Most of the folks on the ship gave locals any extra currency they had before leaving the country - and make sure if you like to shop, you get local currency for at least Hungary and Romania. The other countries would prefer their own money but we did use Euros - but the exchange rate isn't the greatest. Romania was very interesting, and a side trip to Transylvania was a interesting as well.. ..the castle Bram was in a lovely part of town but didn't resemble what tourists imagine it to be! well lit, light in color, and housing a bunch of modern day costumes! the views overlooking Transylvania were spectacular. We went with Avanti tours which took us to a 2nd castle which was fully designed as in the day it was used by royalty, and was the highlight of the trip! Plenty of Dracula items to purchase outside of the Castle Bram. Plan on a very busy day, unless you choose to do your own thing. Our normal day on board was wake up at 630, breakfast at 7, done by 8, on the bus at 820 and returned late afternoon, dinner at 7 with everyone, and then bed by 930. then the next day same thing!!! it rained and was chilly most of the time which was perfect for me, but remember to bring an umbrella, a rainproof poncho, and a raincoat if you get tend to get chilly!! we did not find any places to shop except H & M in Bucharest, but it was pouring and the bus stop was too far to walk over !! normally I like to buy clothing from Europe but did not have a chance this trip...just no locations that we visited were in a "city" but more of town visits. Flight home was long, 28 hours total travel time! next time I fly to the western portion of Europe, stay a day or two, and then fly directly home to the US! too many layovers makes for a very long trip!! Everything else was very smooth and well done!! the only disappointment was that I was expecting a presentation on what we would be seeing the following day, but the nightly chats were more of an itinerary for the following day- I was hoping for history lessons of what to see, look for, etc but that did not happen. The ship was small, lovely, clean, no sundry shop so make sure you have everything you need! Crew was excellent! it helps if you learn a little of the languages before you go (simple phrases, often included in the Avalon packet!) - thank you, please, hello, etc. Very much enjoyed this and would highly recommend a river cruise for people who are interested in history and education over beaches and personal activities! both are great vacations!! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
We took the 14-day cruise, Vienna to Amsterdam, & found it outstanding. Scenery was beautiful & being so close to the center of towns & cities was fantastic. We were worried about spring rain, but we had only 1 rainy day--the ... Read More
We took the 14-day cruise, Vienna to Amsterdam, & found it outstanding. Scenery was beautiful & being so close to the center of towns & cities was fantastic. We were worried about spring rain, but we had only 1 rainy day--the day we cruised the Rhine gorge. All the crew were genuinely friendly & exceptionally competent. (On big ocean-going cruise ships I find the staff's friendliness forced & competence to solve problems sometimes lacking.) The Luminary is understated & elegant, very thoughtfully designed. Sabine, our tour director, was very knowledgeable & went the extra mile. For example: in Amsterdam, my husband left his camera on a canal boat & I was sure it was gone for good. But somehow Sabine located our boat among the hundreds on Amsterdam's canals & managed to get the camera put into a taxi which delivered the camera to our ship. Service above & beyond! A couple of tips. Do not miss the Bishop's Residence in Wurzburg--amazing! And we were looking forward to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. My husband had been there, but it was my 1st visit & I was so looking forward to its treasures. We had an excellent tour guide from the ship's tour, but it was May Day, a big holiday in Europe, & the museum was so crowded that it was impossible to see anything but the top third of the Rembrandt paintings. We loved this trip so much we are going back in July on the Avalon Panorama, & while in Cologne I'm spending my entire time in the amazing cathedral there. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
We just did the European Splendor Itinerary over multi rivers and enjoyed it very much. We were in a Cat B mid ship and highly recommend this. It was a very good location. I liked being closer to the water. We were thinking of Cat E and so ... Read More
We just did the European Splendor Itinerary over multi rivers and enjoyed it very much. We were in a Cat B mid ship and highly recommend this. It was a very good location. I liked being closer to the water. We were thinking of Cat E and so glad we went for the french balcony. People were not happy down below. Loved this itinerary. I had never been to Austria or Germany and it is so clean and green. The meals were delicious. Wines not high end but adequate. Happy hour every day is a great idea. Enjoyed a glass of sparkling wine most days before dinner. Beds were comfy and lots of good pillows. One thing I did not like was the coffee in the main dining room in the morning. Just a little thing but if you want a good cup of coffee the lounge with the library on the top level has an amazing coffee machine that makes a delicious cup of most anything you want. We did spend four nights in Vienna prior and stayed at the Holiday Inn City center and have a Vienna card for public transport and used that quite a bit. Totally worth it. We did eat a lot and did not partake in the coffee and cake at 4PM or the snacks at 10:30PM. So happy to come home and realize I had only gained 2 pounds. We were able to dance most nights when we had the energy to the piano music and Nicki made sure he played a cha cha when we were there. It is a great way to travel and take in these beautiful small towns. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2013
FAULTLESS ! This is the only word any reasonable person could use to describe our river cruise on the Avalon Luminary. FLIGHTS My wife and I (in our 60s) flew into Paris an extra day in advance , almost 24 hours after departing from ... Read More
FAULTLESS ! This is the only word any reasonable person could use to describe our river cruise on the Avalon Luminary. FLIGHTS My wife and I (in our 60s) flew into Paris an extra day in advance , almost 24 hours after departing from Sydney. This isn't the place to review the airline we chose, so I'll refrain. PARIS HOTEL The Hotel (Hilton Arc de Triomphe) was excellent, meeting all our expectations and living up to its 5-star rating. The room was very comfortable and quiet and the air conditioning did exactly as it was instructed to do. The (French) staff were all friendly and helpful and our lack of the French language was no problem. We stayed for 3 nights and would recommend the hotel to anyone. PARIS EXCURSIONS An interesting coach sightseeing tour of Paris highlights was included and well worth taking. We also took the optional tour of the Palace of Versailles - what a fabulous place. It's so popular with tourists that it was inevitably fairly crowded and the pace had to be kept up during our visit. Despite the crush, it's a must-see. On our extra day in Paris, we took a private local river cruise on the Seine - what a wonderful way to see many of the sights the city offers. VERY FAST TRAIN ("TGV") This was our first experience of a very fast train, when we travelled from Paris to Luxembourg. We would never have imagined how quiet, comfortable and quick the trip would be, but it certainly was - and at 320 km/h. LUXEMBOURG and TRIER (GERMANY) Due to prior flooding in that area of Europe, the rivers were high and bridge clearance tolerances were low in some places. As a result, we joined the ship in Trier, instead of Luxembourg. My wife took the optional coach excursion back to Luxembourg and found it very interesting and worthwhile. From this point on, timings are a bit of a blur, so bear with me. THE SHIP The Luminary exceeded our expectations in virtually every respect. The entire vessel was immaculate and stayed that way during the whole cruise. We were fortunate enough to have one of the 4 suites on the ship, which are somewhat larger than the other cabins. But apart from space, all the cabins were of high standard of presentation and facilities. The décor is understated elegance and the overall layout of the ship was obviously designed with the passenger in mind. There was no smoking anywhere internally, although outside facilities were available. As a result, all of the interior had a fresh appearance and certainly none of that 3-star "odour" you can find in some accommodations. THE CREW The entire crew, from the Captain all the way down the line, were exceptional. Their training was obvious, with "engagement" of passengers a clear priority. Crew members were from many different part of Europe and some from Asia, but without exception, they were friendly, obliging and spoke excellent English - not one sour face amongst them all. They were enthusiastic about their work and had a genuine smile for everyone. Obviously hand-picked for their skills and talent, the crew even performed a hilarious "revue" one night in the lounge and had passengers busting their sides with laughter. Our trip spanned "Halloween" and that day was themed accordingly throughout the ship. I can't speak highly enough of all the crew who made our cruise so enjoyable and fun. TOUR DIRECTOR Jerome Bertrand, our Tour Director, kept us thoroughly informed and ensured that the well-oiled machinery necessary for a successful cruise was kept running. It was obvious that he intentionally did a lot of his work in the background and avoided being "in-the-face" of passengers, but was always available to assist. THE FOOD If you enjoy your food, you'll enjoy the fare on Luminary. The Chef is a real character who can cook up a storm and delight passengers with his enthusiasm and banter. The only complaint about the food ........ the waistline grew somewhat ...... but that's a small price to pay for great meals. THE CRUISE Much is already written about the beautiful towns and villages we passed through or stopped and visited along the Moselle and Rhine Rivers. The balance was just right and shore excursions were easy and very enjoyable. To highlight any one in particular would be a disservice to the others. GOING HOME This was the only disappointment of the entire trip - we didn't want to go home! Nevertheless, everything good comes to an end and the disembarkation and transfer arrangements in Amsterdam happened with a minimum of fuss. IN SUMMARY Just do it ! You'll never regret it. Avalon river cruises, such as the one we took, are a relaxing, comfortable way to see delightful parts of Europe - and you only unpack your bags ONCE. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
We joined the ship in Amsterdam and stayed there the night. passengers that had got into Amsterdam earlier than we did were able to partake in a city tour and a visit to the Rijksmuseum which unfortunately we were not in time for on the ... Read More
We joined the ship in Amsterdam and stayed there the night. passengers that had got into Amsterdam earlier than we did were able to partake in a city tour and a visit to the Rijksmuseum which unfortunately we were not in time for on the day. Day two started with a canal cruise around the Amsterdam canals which was enjoyable. Following the canal cruise we sailed for Cologne. On arrival in Cologne there was a good included city tour which was good. Though we must say having just done an Avalon cruise in France and other European tours if another tour guide tells me the history of ionic columns and windows being followed by romanesque windows followed by Gothic windows followed by new gothic windows there may be another homicide in the world. All these tours seam to include a church or cathedral which is the oldest, best example unique in some way. Whichever city or town you are in theirs is the best in some way. On both cruises there were optional tours that you paid for where you went to olive plantations or did wine tastings etc. In all cases these were to us the best tours but were rarely included. At the port of Breisach there was an include tour to the Black Forrest. Allowing for the return trip this tour spent 3.5 hours on country roads then winding country roads that made some passengers feel a little travel uneasy. With only one stop to take photographs. The highlighted stop was a commercial cuckoo clock company in the Black forest that there were a number of Globus buses visiting at the same time. In the afternoon there was an optional tour to the City of Colmar the passengers paid for and we would highly recommend. A beautiful Alsace city with an area known as little Venice with canals. Other highlights would include the included tour to Heidelberg and the cruise through the Rhine Gorge. The crew ere generally very helpful. There was free Wifi which was patchy but far superior to our earlier ship the Scenery. The cabins were very well kept with plenty of storage. The bathrooms were also good for the size of the ship. The food was of good quality but not much variation. Towards the end of the cruise some items seemed to run short of supply. There is a fair amount of time regimentation on these cruises which is something those people thinking of cruising should take into account in their deliberations. In summary we did enjoy both our cruises but are unlikely to do another as we like to be more active than these are fairly sedentary holidays. Roll calls for river cruises don't appear to be very successful due to the small passenger numbers. We were very fortunate to have contact before hand with Bill and Jane from Long Island New York and had a very enjoyable time in their company. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
We returned late Saturday night from our 16 day trip to Germany and Austria which included a cruise from Frankfurt to Vienna on Avalon's Luminary. We were thrilled to have no rain and LOTS of snow and only a few times were the ... Read More
We returned late Saturday night from our 16 day trip to Germany and Austria which included a cruise from Frankfurt to Vienna on Avalon's Luminary. We were thrilled to have no rain and LOTS of snow and only a few times were the conditions icy and/or slushy, making walking unpleasant. The snow covered scenery was magnificent and really added to the ambiance. This was our 4th visit at this exact time of year and the first time we had snow in every city we visited, except for our 4 days in Berlin at the very beginning of our trip. The Luminary is a new ship and she is elegant and understated. The highlight was the outstanding staff who was among the very best we have encountered on any cruise line. Gabriel, the utterly competent Maitre'd, managed a dining staff that was not only professional but also warm and gracious. Stand outs were Charlie (Perdang), Laszlo and Norbett. Our chef, Stefan, had been with us on our Affinity cruise last year and he was delightful, always smiling and very visible at meal times. Timea and Daniel at reception were always helpful and pleasant. Hans lived up to his reputation as an excellent cruise director, handling both the day to day aspects of his position along with the additional issues he faced due to weather challenges. We had about a dozen passengers unable to get to the boat due to weather problems in Frankfurt that disrupted flights and was on the phone constantly working to get them to the boat at the next ports of call. We had 4 in our group delayed and were surprised to learn that even though Avalon had booked their air and transfers as a complete package, Avalon's air department does not track flights at all to let the ship know of any delays. I had to let Hans know what was happening as he was unaware and told me that it is the passenger's responsibility to call him directly with any flight delays. Be aware of this if you expect to have your air issues handled by Avalon. The excellent bar staff of Vladimir, Bibi and Radu made before and after visits to the forward lounge very enjoyable. Rooms were well appointed and beds very comfortable. We had to go to the front desk to request a robe and it would have been nice to have these in the rooms when we checked in. The quality of food was excellent and we enjoyed a galley tour one afternoon with Stefan. The food is freshly prepared and was consistently cooked properly and served hot. There was a special offered each day at breakfast and several menu items that could be ordered at lunch if one did not want the buffet. The variety was very good for a ship of this size. Avalon advertises they offer a variety of low calorie options but this is really not accurate. At both breakfast and lunch, the choices for those choosing to follow a lower fat diet were very limited and the kitchen was not able to accommodate special requests for these meals. Hot soups at lunch were consistently cream based and though there was a small salad bar, there were limited items that were prepared without additional mayonnaise, etc. Veggies were prepared with butter and meats with sauces. This was not an issue at dinner when the two people in our group - including me - that prefer low cal options were well accommodated. Included wines were good. We did want to purchase better wines on a few nights but they were completely out of about 75% of the red wines offered on the wine list, the same situation we had encountered last year on the Affinity. I am not sure why they offer an ala carte list if they are unable to stock for it. We tried to order no less than 7 different reds by the bottle and not a single one was available. We were limited to the German wines and this was disappointing as we would have preferred some variety and were happy to pay the extra. By the next to the last night, they had also run out of vodka and Kahlua, which I found strange as well. There were some negatives on this trip for us: There was lots of sailing time and virtually no in cabin entertainment was available. There were three English channels and this is a cruise line that caters to North American passengers and Aussies so this is something Avalon really needs to address. Often CNN did not even have sound available. Avalon really needs to add some movie options and music channels. One can only watch progress through the locks so many times and after dark which comes very early in winter, there was no scenery to enjoy. Only twice were we docked in any reasonable proximity to the city we were visiting. I consider reasonable a 20 minute walk at a good pace. This mean taxi fares to get us back when we chose not to take the scheduled bus transfer. Walking groups were not grouped by physical ability and this was a hindrance in my opinion. There were most always 4 groups so it would have been easy to designate a group of slow walkers and another for those who wished to walk faster. Internet service was more unavailable than available. I had issues sending but could receive. The people in the cabin next to us to us could send but not receive. On this 11 night cruise, menus were much the same for the second half and more variety would have been welcomed. There was not much in the way of evening entertainment, even for a river cruise. The onboard piano player, Ivan, had a very limited repertoire. We were scheduled to be in port late in Regensburg so looked forward to being off the ship there but the heavy snowfall caused the river to rise very rapidly and instead of leaving at 11pm we had to pull out at 4:30pm. The evening entertainer was unable to get aboard that night. Last year we really enjoyed a Christmas evening put on by the crew but this was missing this year. For a Christmas cruise, there was nothing to distinguish the season in terms of any events or entertainment. A highlight for us was the crew show where about a dozen of the crew put on a series of skits that bordered from amusing to hilarious. Stefan and the gang of Roman bell ringers took top prize judging by passenger reaction. On the night of the 2nd crew show (a repeat of the first) we happened to be docked next to the River Countess and noticed their show taking place at the same times as ours. There was a young lady dressed in traditional Bavarian attire signing which made up the bulk of their entertainment and we noticed a number of their passengers peering over into our lounge where our staff had us bursting out with laughter at some of the antics. We were very happy to be on the Luminary with its very special crew. Overall we enjoyed the cruise but will next year we are booked on AMA for a wine themed cruise since they offer some of the things Avalon is missing, like walking groups organized by capability, bicycles and in room entertainment. The itinerary we chose for 2011 also has 4 of the 7 nights (enough for us we decided on this trip) either as overnight stays or very late in port which will give us the opportunity to spend more time in the cities we visit. Read Less
Avalon Luminary Ratings
Category Editor Member

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise