94 Avalon Waterways Avalon Vista Cruise Reviews

We had a wonderful experience. The hotel in Budapest was very nice. The food was great. The ship was great. The staff was very pleasant. The food on the ship was great. The shore excursions were informative and the tour guides ... Read More
We had a wonderful experience. The hotel in Budapest was very nice. The food was great. The ship was great. The staff was very pleasant. The food on the ship was great. The shore excursions were informative and the tour guides were very knowledgeable and had down home humor and incite to the specifics of the town we were in. We would go on another cruse through Avalon again. The on board wine tasting/beer tasting/information on how the locks work were very nice additions to the river experience. The daily briefing for the next days events were timely and informative. The only negative was the hotel in Prague. It was NOT the hotel stated in the brochure when we signed up. The food was below par. we had to use public transportation to get to the river area where the original hotel is located. Over all we were very pleased with our experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Our Parents have done this cruise and recommended it. Adrienne the cruise director was delightful and well educated.The ship was clean and staff was nice.All of the excursions were nice, and were as described.Easy to book excursions, and ... Read More
Our Parents have done this cruise and recommended it. Adrienne the cruise director was delightful and well educated.The ship was clean and staff was nice.All of the excursions were nice, and were as described.Easy to book excursions, and the buses used to transport us were very clean and on time, and made the trips very pleasant. Guides were very informative, and qualified. We appreciated the system used to disembark, with earbuds to hear the guides. Our blinds were closed more often than not while docked , do to other boats being docked next to us, and tied to our boat.This was not a surprise as we were told this may happen. Our only frustration, and it was a BIG one was Dining. My wife and I have a Gluten allergy, and we made that clear to our travel agent, as well as Avalon. Although certain attempts were made on the menu to provide options, they were not always accurate, and the servers as well as their superior were not very helpful, or properly educated on this topic. We have been on other cruises where this was clearly a priority,and we had no food issues whatsoever. We sent an Email directly to Avalon Operations, on the last day of our cruise, due to our frustration and as of today,(26 days later), we have not heard a thing. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We have wanted to cruise the Danube for years. We liked that we would have extended in both Budapest and Prague. We wanted to do the Sound of Music tour. We didn't do much studying of our trip until close to when we left. The ... Read More
We have wanted to cruise the Danube for years. We liked that we would have extended in both Budapest and Prague. We wanted to do the Sound of Music tour. We didn't do much studying of our trip until close to when we left. The lectures enriched our experience. The wine tasting evening was so much fun. We had several GREAT tour guides. The highlight tour was in Vennia when we went to the concert. When I left something on the bus, everything was done to get it back and they were successful. The social director was super. The food was great. The size of servings were small enough that we could have desserts. We ate upstairs for breakfast and dinner because it was quieter. It is always nice to eat in the towns. The hotel in Budapest was in a great location, but the hotel in Prague was not, but the shuttles were convienent. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We wanted a French Balcony and the other cruise lines were fully booked, so we lucked out when a room of our choice was available with Avalon Cruises. Our room was so above our expectations, as it was so comfortable and nicely decorated. ... Read More
We wanted a French Balcony and the other cruise lines were fully booked, so we lucked out when a room of our choice was available with Avalon Cruises. Our room was so above our expectations, as it was so comfortable and nicely decorated. The food and service were wonderful, with every meal a gourmet meal with great selections to pick from. We both thought the wine selections for our meals were really nice picks, and the cruise provided wine and beer at both lunch and dinner. The crew was also a big surprise, as they were so friendly and genuinely helpful - all the way from the captain to the gal that cleaned our room. We loved the cruise experience with about 160 people, so we got to know a lot of people that we met on the cruise. We have wonderful memories riding on the top deck both during the day and sometimes at night watching the world go by on such a scenic way. Overall, we would certainly do that cruise again on that boat for sure. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
A European river cruise was on my bucket list for a long time. My ancestors are from The Netherlands so I loved that I could start in Amsterdam (where I spent a couple extra days before the ship departed). Most of the trip was through ... Read More
A European river cruise was on my bucket list for a long time. My ancestors are from The Netherlands so I loved that I could start in Amsterdam (where I spent a couple extra days before the ship departed). Most of the trip was through Germany, where I've never been, and it was a great way to sample several small towns and a couple larger ones. And it was a sampling--I often wished we could spend more time in each place, but I knew ahead of time that it would be a smorgasbord trip and that maybe I could return someday to my favorite spots. It was luxurious to be in a floating hotel with an amazing restaurant that kept us full and happy. Not having to find lodging and restaurants while covering that much distance was a definite perk. I splurged for a stateroom with balcony doors and absolutely loved lying on my bed at times looking out at the banks and passing ships. I'm not big on shipboard entertainment, preferring quiet time to read, but my fellow passengers raved about the events on board. The service on the ship was excellent--very friendly and efficient staff. Our cruise director took some time to warm up but was available for the most part (he always seemed a bit flustered and busy). Some of his jokes were insensitive. The captain was aloof and he became annoyed at some of the passengers when we boarded at the time we were told to (and the sign stated), claiming that we were 15 minutes late. (The communication between cruise director, who informed the passengers, and the captain may have been less than perfect.) Overall, it was a comfortable trip. (Nice and cool in the north and very hot in the south.) Excursions were well planned and executed. Most local guides were excellent, full of interesting stories and taking good care of their groups. The small number of passengers was great, and unassigned seating at meals made it easy to meet people. If I could, I would definitely take another river cruise, maybe adding more time to explore favorite spots before heading home. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We had never been on a river cruise and are so glad we chose this ship. The ship was beautiful, immaculate and so well laid out. Meals were truly outstanding. Restaurant quality for sure! Wonderful wines and beer were offered with ... Read More
We had never been on a river cruise and are so glad we chose this ship. The ship was beautiful, immaculate and so well laid out. Meals were truly outstanding. Restaurant quality for sure! Wonderful wines and beer were offered with lunch and dinner. The tours were so well done, led by guides who clearly knew their locations and were enthusiastic to share their cities with us. Evening entertainment was always well done and appropriate to the port. The crew were outstanding: Robert, Djoko and Boris our waiters....all went over the top with service. Our cruise director, Eric, was most professional. In addition to paying the suggested gratuity, we tipped many others additionally because the service was so excellent. We cannot wait for our next Avalon River cruise. Having done several ocean cruises, there is just no comparison. We chose an "E" deck room and it was perfect. Clever storage everywhere. Although we packed way too much, we found ample storage for everything. This was a port intensive trip and we never missed not having the panoramic windows. We heard no engine noise and slept like babies in the comfy bed. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
A friend that is a travel agent alerted my husband and me to a deal. Boy are we glad we took it! This was our first time cruising and because of the ship size and helpful staff it was really easy to find everything and get questions ... Read More
A friend that is a travel agent alerted my husband and me to a deal. Boy are we glad we took it! This was our first time cruising and because of the ship size and helpful staff it was really easy to find everything and get questions answered. The food was mouth watering! There was always choice at every meal and quality ingredients were used. It enhanced the travel experience by incorporating the wine, beers, breads and other food items from the local places we were visiting. Your glass was never empty, as the servers were very attentive. The live entertainment that was brought on board was very good. However, I must say the DJ that was in the lounge during happy hour, did not play a variety of music and many songs were repeated night after night. The quality of his sound system was great though. The wine and beer tastings were educational and fun. A wine master did tastings and a wine pairing meal that was to die for. The beer brewers did a presentation in lederhosen! How fun was that! I cannot even put into words, the beauty of the cities/towns we visited. A Very romantic backdrop! The chosen stops gave us the flavor of the countries. We never felt rushed, just the perfect pace. The guides really gave us in depth information and land transport went smoothly. We definitely would cruise with Avalon again to another destination. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We wanted to visit Eastern Europe as we heard the scenery was beautiful. We were not disappointed. We felt Avalon Waterways did a great job in every aspect of the trip. It was an opera cruise, and we were not really into opera, but it was ... Read More
We wanted to visit Eastern Europe as we heard the scenery was beautiful. We were not disappointed. We felt Avalon Waterways did a great job in every aspect of the trip. It was an opera cruise, and we were not really into opera, but it was great. A concert in Vienna was icing on the cake. The cruise director ( Mr. Pinter) was very knowledgeable and worked very hard to make the cruise an enjoyable trip for everyone. His port talks were informative and a little humorous. The servers in the restaurant were very friendly and extremely efficient. They were there anytime we needed them. We especially enjoyed Puji who was really great. Avi was the steward for our cabin, and he had our room, it seemed, ready every time we returned. He also greeted us in the hallway the first day and after by our first names which impressed us. Everyone was super nice and friendly. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our first river cruise, and it was outstanding. Above all, everything was exceptionally well organized, we were mightily impressed. Our cabin was very comfortable and well appointed. The tours were all very good. With one ... Read More
This was our first river cruise, and it was outstanding. Above all, everything was exceptionally well organized, we were mightily impressed. Our cabin was very comfortable and well appointed. The tours were all very good. With one exception, the tour guides were excellent. We thought the amount of tour time vs. free time was very well balanced. The food on board the boat was excellent. Our tour included hotel stays at each end, and the hotels were very very good. Our only comment would be that it would great to have better wifi, but that is getting down to nitpicking. A walking tour was included in each city we visited and we found those very helpful. We did go on one additional cruise, to the medievil town of Cesky Kromluv and it was very worthwhile. Wines with dinner were included in our cruise price. There was also a Happy Hour with half price drinks, and that worked well for us as far as a cocktail before dinner. The coffee machine with lattes and other coffee drinks in the lounge at the back of the ship was a very nice amenity! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
My trip on Avalon Vista was a dream come true. I have sailed on dozens of ocean cruises, but this was my first river cruise. I was amazed at how many things were complimentary. Free excursions in every port - with excellent guides and ... Read More
My trip on Avalon Vista was a dream come true. I have sailed on dozens of ocean cruises, but this was my first river cruise. I was amazed at how many things were complimentary. Free excursions in every port - with excellent guides and sights. Free soft drinks, beer, or wine with meals, free wi-fi, free wine tasting, free beer tasting. Complimentary coffee, tea, cappuccino, hot chocolate and cookies or pastries 24/7. I am lalso loved the size of the vessel (160 passengers). The food was excellent, with a focus on regional specialties. The crew were friendly and attentive. The Cruise Director was very well-organized. This cruise included hotel stays at beginning (2 nights in Budapest) and the end (3 nights in Prague). The transitions were handled very smoothly, and the Cruise Director remained with us throughout the 13 days. It was wonderful to have more time in these special cities. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was a very good value vacation with hotel nights in Budapest and Prague included , full breakfasts and tours in those cities. The ship was lovely as was our cabin. The meals were delicious and beautifully presented. The staff were ... Read More
This was a very good value vacation with hotel nights in Budapest and Prague included , full breakfasts and tours in those cities. The ship was lovely as was our cabin. The meals were delicious and beautifully presented. The staff were friendly and accommodating. The mood was relaxed and straightforward. Maps of each destination and daily agendas in each cabin along with a daily cruise talk from our cruise director enhanced our experience also. Every tour was well organized and on time without a hitch. Very professional, extremely memorable. Learning about Austrian wines and German beer and sausages was fun. The concert in Vienna was excellent,not to be missed. The Hungarian evening tour was fun as was the Czeck folklore dinner . On the last night the concert in Prague was also very enjoyable. There was lots of free time allotted if you chose to do your own thing in the stops along the way. Fall is a beautiful time along the Danube. The leaves were bright red yellow and orange which added exceptional beauty to the scenery. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
My wife and I have wanted to do a river cruise for a few years and this one was an outstanding choice. Avalon Waterways is totally dedicated to customer satisfaction, from the beautiful, sparkling clean ship to the five-star meals to the ... Read More
My wife and I have wanted to do a river cruise for a few years and this one was an outstanding choice. Avalon Waterways is totally dedicated to customer satisfaction, from the beautiful, sparkling clean ship to the five-star meals to the well-organized excursions and entertainment each day. We were happy that there was a "gentle walkers" group for each excursion for those of us slower due to age or handicap or just preference. For my wife we used a "TravelScoot" which folded up each day and fit under the bed, and fit assembled on the buses in the baggage compartment along with others' walkers. Each evening before dinner we had a "Port Talk" addressing the day's activities as well as plans for the next day. We cannot say enough about our Captain, who got the ship through a couple of low water situations, and our tireless cruise director, who attended to everyone's needs. I don't know when either one of them had a chance to sleep. We highly rate Avalon Waterways for including, in our opinion, an appropriate mix of shore excursions, on-board entertainment, and free time. The mix of entertainment was great, with local musicians and comedians, to lecturers, beer and sausage tasting. We did not need to spend more money on extra meals or drinks or excursions, although we did take advantage of a visit to Salzburg and a concert in Vienna due to our high interest in music. We highly recommend Avalon Waterways and river cruising. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Avalon was highly recommended by friends, so we gave it a try...we were NOT disappointed! Our friends gave us some wonderful tips before our travel. We spent two extra days in Budapest and would have liked one more. The hop on hop off ... Read More
Avalon was highly recommended by friends, so we gave it a try...we were NOT disappointed! Our friends gave us some wonderful tips before our travel. We spent two extra days in Budapest and would have liked one more. The hop on hop off bus was a great way to see all we wanted to see. Embarkation was great. We met at the hotel and were bussed to our ship where our bags were waiting for us. Our cabin was very nice and the bathroom was fabulous....quite large for being on a ship! Everything was clean, modern, and wonderful. We wanted 'casual' and that's exactly what we got! We could have dressed up for dinner each night, but it wasn't required. The meals onboard were quite good and the entire staff was amazing! Sylvia, our tour director was the best. She arranged some VERY interesting and fun entertainment onboard as well as the wonderful shore excursions. We will DEFINITELY be back to Avalon!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
I did not take this cruise to london and went west from budapest to amsterdam. it all started in budapest. i arrived one day early, just in case the luggage didn't appear on my british air flight from miami arriving on september ... Read More
I did not take this cruise to london and went west from budapest to amsterdam. it all started in budapest. i arrived one day early, just in case the luggage didn't appear on my british air flight from miami arriving on september 25. It gave me time to meet a friend who took me on a walking tour and we had the greatest sweet and coffee on this little side street. I stayed at the marriott hotel and had a view of a lifetime...facing the bridge and every famous building in budapest! the next day the meeting locale was at the intercontinental hotel, also on the river that separates buda from pest. i believe that the only negative of the entire trip, looking back at this point.. Was on the first day with avalon and took place at the get-together meeting at the intercontinental. the luggage was checked in and when i asked the agent in charge a question about the embarkation she said: "i can't answer your question...i am just here to check you in." she provided no happy "hello and welcome to avalon". This was quite disappointing as was the room where we met. there weren't enough tables and seats and no one met us from avalon. oh well...everything can't be great....maybe they will change this in the future. What made up for this poor beginning was the ship, the cabin, the dining experience, the entertainment, all of the superb service and we had a wonderful cruise director, sylvia, who lived just outside of amsterdam in the netherlands. The designer of the staterooms needs to be congratulated as well...all of the beds faced the sliding glass doors...you could see the sights by opening the curtains and then by opening the door. they provided all of us with a clear view of the countryside from your comfortable bed.. even the soaps and shampoo were superb...occitane... In the restaurant i always sat with the same waiter: pugi...what a super representative for avalon. Not that the other servers weren't great...but, pugi was the best. Have i praised this cruise too much? this is just the beginning. and i should mention that the shore excursions were great because they were geared for everyone. if a traveller had trouble walking, they could take the green gentle walk and even use walking sticks, or maybe the fast walkers would take the red guide for some great exercise as well as seeing the sites. i also was impressed with each guide on the excursions as headphones were supplied to everyone daily. Bottom line: i was never so impressed with a riverboat tour which travelled west from budapest to amsterdam. the avalon vista was spotless. what an experience. But i do have a second suggestion (in addition to the meet and greet at the beginning of the trip)...the gymnasium needs one more piece of machinery now that everyone is so into health and body. the best elliptical machine on the market is manufactured by lifefitness and it would complete the gym since they have all lifefitness machines already. viking does not even offer any exercise equipment or even a small room for exercise. i was told on the phone, when i inquired about an exercise facility: "our clients are older and don't want a fitness center!" i took total offense and hung up the phone. kudos to avalon again. they have the beginnings of a proper facility...now all that is needed is to enhance the exercise equipment experience by adding the elliptical which more and more people are now using. But,i should add that late at night while reading in the reading and lounge area...i had my cup of coffee and two cookies( the greatest fresh cookies). what's two cookies when i used the treadmill for one hour and did all of the walking on the tours. And finally, disembarkation was so perfectly planned, it was just like one of the large ocean liners. Bottom line #2: do i recommend avalon vista?...a definite yes. It's a great value for the money. The excitement you will experience will be happiness and decision you make as you plan your next avalon adventure somewhere else in the world. I am sold on avalon. and i thought that some of the other lines were okay. This is beyond okay...try it...you'll like it! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
What are you crazy? That's what everyone said when I told them I booked a cruise down the Nile! Well they were all wrong. This trip was more wonderful than I could have ever expected. Avalon was great! The hotels were 5 star and the ... Read More
What are you crazy? That's what everyone said when I told them I booked a cruise down the Nile! Well they were all wrong. This trip was more wonderful than I could have ever expected. Avalon was great! The hotels were 5 star and the boat was lovely. Food was excellent and entertainment was fun. Don't miss Egypt just because of all the bad press. I traveled by myself and was never afraid of anyone or anything. The tour guide, Mohammed was very knowledgeable and a lot of fun. He made ancient Egypt come alive! I can't put into words just how wonderful this trip was. Don't miss out just because of what others might say. I'm a woman in my 60's that has to travel solo ( my husband will not travel, at all ), I didn't let anyone discourage me. I saw the Pyramids, Sphinx, Luxor Temple and other wonders of the ancient world. If I can, I will be going back someday. For me, it truly was a trip of a lifetime! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We chose this cruise,, quite late,.. Having been aboard BlackWatch in June,when it caught fire and we were flown home. We found everything about the Avalon Vista exceeded our expectations , having done a fair amount of cruising We ... Read More
We chose this cruise,, quite late,.. Having been aboard BlackWatch in June,when it caught fire and we were flown home. We found everything about the Avalon Vista exceeded our expectations , having done a fair amount of cruising We feel able to judge! The Captain, crew and everyone aboard were friendly and helpful. The ship was kept immaculate and the food Very good. We enjoyed being able to open our french balcony window and watch the magnificent scenery pass by. The tours laid on along the way were informative and easy to follow with our hand held mikes and ear pieces. All the entertainment was well chosen and appreciated by the guests. It is hard to fault it with good wines every evening being included., maybe they were being subsidised by the rather expensive drinks ordered during the day??! That being our only slight complaint! Would recommend the cruise to anyone,especially when the sun shone everyday. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
My husband and I have been on Avalon several times already. Organization should be their middle name. They have excellent Directors, staff and accommodations. Pre and post hotels are always top of the line and their locations are in ... Read More
My husband and I have been on Avalon several times already. Organization should be their middle name. They have excellent Directors, staff and accommodations. Pre and post hotels are always top of the line and their locations are in city centers - usually walkable to most of the important attractions. All of the transfers happen without a hitch. Excursions are well planned and well escorted with very knowledgeable guides. Prices compete well with all the other lines. Food onboard is delicious and with so many choices I can't imagine anyone not being happy about the dining experience. I am very happy to see that there were many more local cuisine options this cruise. I love to speak with other travelers on other lines to compare notes. I find we are much happier than most of those on other lines. Since I don't have anything to complain about I don't have too many more words to say about perfection! Just love putting my travel plans in Avalon's hands! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
My friends picked this cruise and invited me to go along. I had always wanted to do a river cruise so I signed up. They chose this one because the single traveler fee was less than other cruise lines and because it had an extensive list ... Read More
My friends picked this cruise and invited me to go along. I had always wanted to do a river cruise so I signed up. They chose this one because the single traveler fee was less than other cruise lines and because it had an extensive list of included excursions. We did only the river part of the cruise and did things on our own in Budapest and in Nuremberg and Prague. The cabins are very nice but small. Every square inch is utilized. The bathroom is pretty big, considering. As long as you follow the suitcase guides and can fit it under the bed, the cabin is very comfortable. I enjoyed everything. I have two issues. I don't walk well and I'm allergic to wheat. The tours were great. All of the included tours had a "gentle " Walker option for slow pokes and the dining room was well equipped to have gluten free options. Christian, the maitre'd was super! He made sure everyone was happy. For me, he was outstanding. We quickly identified Gary as an outstanding waiter and sat with him most meals. He was super attentive. The rooms were very clean. All bedding was changed mid week. Towels were luxurious and they were changed twice a day if needed. The your director was outstanding. She was very well organized. Tours went without hitch. Her daily on board talks were excellent. I understand she moves from cruise to cruise and doesn't stay with the Vista. Her name was Sabine. The cruise ship was great. We loved the lounge on the back of the boat. Pastries and drinks are always available. I loved it all. Great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our first river cruise. Surprisingly my husband & I were the only British people on the Xmas market river cruise tour - 80% USA, 20% Australia + some Canadians & NZ and occasional others. Avalon marketing in the UK must be ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. Surprisingly my husband & I were the only British people on the Xmas market river cruise tour - 80% USA, 20% Australia + some Canadians & NZ and occasional others. Avalon marketing in the UK must be lacking, because it was a very good trip, and very well organised. We started with 2 nights in the Intercontinental, Prague. This is a good hotel, well located, though the grapefruit "juice" at the included breakfast tasted like unidentifiable sugar water, and the ship breakfast was much better. We did not eat any other meals there. The first day we walked round the surprisingly small Prague Xmas market in the Old Town Square, and had dinner there at restaurant Mincovna on the square - quite good food, very whitewashed décor. The second day we enjoyed the included Avalon guided tour of the castle (only outside of all buildings) - the guide was good. 3 out of 5 of our daily local guides were funny and excellent, only the 2 in Nuremberg and Bamberg were rushed and a bit dull. We then chose to leave the guide and go round the Jewish synagogues, cemetery by ourselves - very interesting. That evening's meal (booked by us) was the best of the holiday, to La Veranda near the hotel - totally gourmet food in a lovely decorated room. Prague was very inexpensive all round. On the 3rd day we all were bussed to Nuremberg to catch the river ship. We left around 12.45 pm and reached the ship around 5.00 pm. It was extremely well decorated and smart, and the staff were unfailingly smiling and welcoming. We were lucky to meet some lovely friendly Americans to have dinner with each day - there are no tables for 2, so you have to talk to people when you share a table for each meal. We were also lucky with the weather which was mostly sunny and not horribly cold. We had all day in Nuremberg, only the morning in Bamburg, all day in Wurzburg (though 90% of the ship only had the morning and paid 44 euros to be bussed to Rothenburg for a guided walk in the afternoon) and the afternoon in Miltenburg, a very sweet village - though their Xmas market was shut as midweek. We were impressed by the efficiency of the private car to and from the airport at home. Only the transfer to the hotel from the airport in Prague (1.5 hours literally standing waiting for 4 other flights for us all to go on a coach) and to the airport from the ship at Frankfurt (coaches only every 2 hours for again around 4 - 5 flights, so we had 3 very dull hours sitting at Frankfurt airport - not a fun place) let the whole experience down - would have much preferred a series of taxis for us all both ways so did not eat into our holiday. We believe Avalon is much cheaper for a very similar product than some other river cruise lines, and I would recommend it - but you do need to be happy to talk to people all day, as it is very much a group experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Sunday, November 29, 2015 Vienna - Had arrived days earlier in Vienna to tour town on our own. Took our luggage to the Intercontinental Hotel (where is was securely stored) until several buses took us to the ship. Embarkation was a ... Read More
Sunday, November 29, 2015 Vienna - Had arrived days earlier in Vienna to tour town on our own. Took our luggage to the Intercontinental Hotel (where is was securely stored) until several buses took us to the ship. Embarkation was a breeze! Luggage already in our room - simply unpack (and store luggage under bed). Required emergency drill that everyone had to attend, then welcome by Captain and Cruise Director (Tony Campailla) and our first meal (nice selection) on the ship. Monday, November 30, 2015 Vienna – Since we had already toured Vienna, we took the tour bus into town in the morning for the “guided tour” and ditched the tour – some Christmas Markets shut down due to high winds. Had Sacher Torte and visited Museum. We then took the bus back to ship for lunch. After lunch, we took the bus to Schonbrunn Palace for the paid Excursion. It started raining on the way there and then the rain increased steadily in intensity. Christmas Market was shut down due to the extremely high winds (big disappointment as blogs stated this was one of the best Christmas Markets to attend). Since we had seen this palace twice before, we probably should not have pre-signed up and paid for this excursion and done it at the last minute. The inclement weather (heavy rain) ruined the experience. Lesson learned. Tuesday, December 1, 2015 Dürnstein – Unbelievably high winds. Had a walking tour through the small town with time to shop at the local stores. No Christmas Market. Saw the Blue Church. Melk – Since we had toured Abbey before, we walked the small town. Christmas Market shut down – only open for locals on weekends and evenings. Heard people from the Viking ship complain about this fact as they walked past us. Wednesday, December 2, 2015 Salzburg Excursion (Paid) - We took the bus ride to Salzburg. Had the chocolate pretzel and local sausages. Great Christmas Market and lots of great shopping (probably second best). Continued on with our growing Gluhwein mug collection. Lunch on own as bus took us to Oberndorf that afternoon to see Silent Night church. Then another short bus ride to a very small village, where two gentlemen sang Silent Night in the local church. Stollen and Gluhwein served up after the music in a courtyard. Bus ride back to the ship docked in Passau. Thursday, December 3, 2015 Regensburg – Another place we did not take the walking tour. Left before the tour groups and quickly found the Christmas Market. At 11 am, before tour groups arrived, we stopped at the Historische Wurstkuche (Old Sausage Kitchen) and put in our order (utilizing the free meal coupon provided by Avalon). Similar the Seinfeld “Soup Nazi” we had the waiter repeatedly say: “Not all inclusive!!” We each received 6 small sausages with sauerkraut plus a beer. There was a large bread basket with a couple dozen rolls. As we were leaving after the meal, the waiter ran after us. “How many rolls?” We had 3 total. Not all Inclusive meant 1 roll per person. We had to pay .90 euro for third roll. We reported this to Tony back at the ship who was saddened since Avalon paid the Old Sausage Kitchen for this experience. In the afternoon a bus took us to the Taxis and Thurn Palace for their Christmas Market. (Looking back it was the BEST Christmas Market!) Great shopping and outdoor firewood heat everywhere. (Tony personally took the group there and back.) Friday, December 4, 2015 Nuremberg – It was becoming quickly evident that the Christmas Markets were providing way too many opportunities for shopping. Tony let us know of 2 stores in Nuremburg that carried quality luggage. When we arrived that afternoon we took the tour bus into town and were dropped off near the train station. (As with these tours, we always asked the tour guide where the bus would be picking us up and at what time.) We found a very nice carry-on piece to make sure we could bring back all the goodies we found. The Christmas Market was incredible (would rate this third best of the markets). We walked and did some shopping. We were told to meet for the tour bus ride back at the “Golden Fountain” in the Market Square. Unfortunately, the “Golden Fountain” was completely covered with construction materials, so we made the assumption that it was the Fountain based on where we were at looking at the maps that Avalon had provided. (NOTE: Avalon provides very detailed and easy to understand maps of the cities we visited. Because of this, we could find many things on our own utilizing the map. Always took a second map along for reference and kept one for our memory book.) Saturday, December 5, 2015 Munich – Bus ride to Munich. Did the walking tour, then time on our own. Since lunch was not included we did the local Rathaus (basement) for a meal. Spent the short time we had in Munich mostly at this place. Markets were far too crowded due to it being a Saturday to do shopping. The walking tour included the Hofbrauhaus and the Glockenspiel (at noon). Again, not enough time on these excursions. This was also the large “turn-over” day on the ship – the first of two. In all we experienced 3 Welcome Dinners, 3 Farewell Dinners, and 3 “last suppers”. These large change-overs are very stressful. You just get to start knowing people and then you have to start over again with a new group. This second group was very loud compared to the first. Those we talked to whom had just arrived loved Prague and their Christmas market (we missed out on that experience). Sunday, December 6, 2015 Nuremberg – Attended the morning service at a local church. Everything in German. Were able to figure out hymnal and tried sing along in some places. Church was cold – somehow heat was being pumped under the seats to help warm us up though. Did some more shopping after the service and returned to the ship late afternoon. Monday, December 7, 2015 Bamberg – Took the guided walking tour, since we had a free beer gift certificate and didn't know the location. This was a mistake. Tour guide took us to a museum and offered people a chance to use the bathrooms. Over ½ hour (almost 40 minutes) was lost due this convenience for others. Tour guide quickly walked us to brewery to get gift bag. It contained beer and glasses; however, it did not contain the smoked beer. Just a regular lager. The whole point of Bamberg is their smoked beer. In hindsight, would have skipped the walking tour, forgone the free beer gift, and spent time at the Christmas Market (we only had less than ½ hour to visit it after the lost bathroom time). Tuesday, December 8, 2015 Wurzburg – Did not do the walking tour in the Residenz. Took the tour bus there, then walked on our own. Watched the Market’s slowing opening while at a local coffee shop. Then shopped that Christmas Market. Listened to a street musician play wonderful music. Later waited for the ship to arrive at the dock. We had learned the night before that the Danube had been running high and the Captain was racing ahead of the rising waters to get under bridges. If it had been one day later, we would have been put on a bus (and off the ship). To make Wurzburg excursion, they stopped at a small town and bussed us ahead of the ship. We were also delayed 4 hours due to a lock being broken just as we were leaving the Canal and entering the Main River. This put the trip behind for awhile. Waiting for the ship to arrive in Wurzburg (it was 45 minutes late) got us a little worried that we would miss out on the paid excursion to Rothenburg. Rothenburg Excursion (Paid) – Took the bus. Left the tour group once we got inside the wall (because again the Guide stopped first at a public bathroom for the group to use). Utilized the Avalon map to navigate our way around the place. Visited the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas Museum (Avalon had provided everyone with a free entrance coupon). Store was extremely crowded and very long lines to check out if purchasing an item. We were able to walk part of the rampart wall above the city – that was a great experience! Needed more time to spend exploring this wonderful place! Near the church, we had a cherry flavored Gluhwein that was exceptional. Wednesday, December 9, 2015 Miltenberg – Wonderful town! Ship had to dock a long ways away (the ship was docked at the far end of the town well past the normal docking locations) and we had to walk through muddy construction area (work was being done to build up the shore to prevent flooding damage). Again, left before the tour groups and did our own thing. The town is very narrow and long – basically two streets running parallel to the river. If you stopped in one of three stores with an Avalon poster in the window, you received a free treat (like a piece of candy). Christmas Market here was also shut down. Another place where it is open at night and weekends for the locals. Many old buildings and simply a quaint beautiful little town! Half-timbered houses and cobblestone lanes made it very picturesque! Thursday, December 10, 2015 Rudesheim – Bus ride, then mini-train ride to the Musical Museum. The mini-train is a tractor pulling covered carts that hold a dozen people each. We again did our own thing and walked the Christmas Market rather than visit the Musical Museum. Wonderful little town! Had a full lunch with everyone from the tour group at the Rudesheimer Schloss with the “special coffee” for dessert. Great local band playing during the meal. This was the second turn-over of guests on the ship. We again had people suddenly leave that we were getting to know. Friday, December 11, 2015 Heidelberg – Since we’d been there before we decided to rest a bit and started packing items we had purchased. The ship left after people got on the bus to Heidelburg and we used the time to get organized. We did not stop in Speyer – instead we stopped in Mannheim and were able to walk to the old town (a bit of a maze even with the map provided by Avalon) that included walking under the train tracks through a tunnel. Another great Market! Another great shopping mecca. More great Gluhwein and sausages. Unexpected stop – but a very pleasant surprise. Glad we bought that second carry-on luggage! Saturday, December 12, 2015 Strasbourg – We docked on German side of Rhine (most likely Avalon did not want security issues being docked in France since the attacks earlier in the month in Paris). We quickly found out that crossing the Rhine on a tour bus was a lengthy experience due to border control being tightened in France. One lane traffic vs. three lane traffic. Delays in and out of Strasbourg put a crimp on time to do anything. In Strasbourg, pairs of Policemen every block. The Market place was simply overcrowded (again probably because it was a Saturday - just like Munich). If you tried to talk to some of the vendors in English, they would ignore you (some even rude). On the perimeter, pairs of French Army with submachine guns. We got back to the ship 30 minutes late due to border delays. Alsace Excursion (Paid) – Stopped at Winery owned by a local family. Sampled 4 wines. This excursion also included a stop to the very quaint village of Obernai. Again not enough time to explore due to short time provided during this stop (would have had less time available if we took the walk with the tour guide). Sunday, December 13, 2015 Breisach – Spent morning walking the town which sits on a high hill. Long walk up to the high point to get to the church and old town. Nothing open in town (Sunday). Great views of the Vosges Mountains in France and the Black Forest in Germany though. Colmar Excursion (Paid) – Bus trip. Took the guided walking tour. Beautiful town with not enough time to explore Christmas Markets. Would have loved more time at this place. Stopped at the Hansi Shop and had a small bite to eat and drink, then shopped for Hansi specialty items. Waited for the tour guide to walk us back to the bus. She walked too fast and many people in our group struggled to keep up. The walk itself was at least 12 blocks crossing busy traffic. The ride back was a bit better until we got to the bridge crossing the Rhine. Again, the lanes went from 3 down to 1 for the border inspection between France and Germany – delayed arrival to ship. Monday, December 14, 2015 Basel – 4:30 am wake up call. Bus left at 6:00 am and took 90 minutes to get to Zurich. We were on first group to depart ship (8 of us) since our flights were that morning. Provided with a cold boxed breakfast to eat on bus ride. Disembarkation was very efficient with colored ribbons to mark our luggage. PLUSES and MINUSES: - Tony Campailla is an exceptional Director! - Suppers at least two hours long - length of meal can get tiresome after a while. Some meal selections became repetitive during a two week trip. - Breakfast and Lunch selections all wonderful. Soups fantastic! Lack of local cheeses - could have had more selections made available. - Congestion at the serving area. Badly designed. People getting soup and bread coming from two directions to also get served hot food creates a constant traffic jam at lunch. - Tour Guides for off ship excursions were not the best at time management. - Room was had lots of light from full windows. Bathroom was very roomy. Beds comfortable. Small frig in room to store occasional food items bought in excursions. Never felt cramped - even watched 3 movies while we were underway. - Service was exceptional. From the front desk staff, to the bar, to the room attendant, to the wait staff - everyone. They made you feel very welcomed and cared for. - Excursions need about 2 more hours added to them to make them worth your while. - As stated, maps provided at front desk are excellent! Daily newsletter was also very well done. Nightly talk from Tony about the next day's events was entertaining. - Selection at bar was very good with half-priced happy hour almost every night. - No snow. Both a plus and minus. Would have made markets look more magical; however, walking was nice and easy without walking in slush. - St. Nicholas Day - they had everyone put shoes outside their cabin door and in the morning a special gift from St. Nick was in the shoes. - Passenger Turn-Over. Watch for trips where passenger turn-overs can take place. Usually Nuremberg and Frankfurt are two locations where this can happen in the trip. - Coffee machine in back lounge area with good selection of cookies. - Were told at the end of the cruise that Avalon was testing out new dinner service, new linens, new towels, etc. on this specific cruise. The silverware rolled too easily on the plate; however, the linens and especially the towels were were very soft. - Would we do this trip again and with Avalon? Absolutely! Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Because of low water levels on the Danube, our trip was not up to our expectations. Avalon handled the situation very poorly. We called them before we left for the cruise and we were told that sailings were going as scheduled. They ... Read More
Because of low water levels on the Danube, our trip was not up to our expectations. Avalon handled the situation very poorly. We called them before we left for the cruise and we were told that sailings were going as scheduled. They actually knew at that time that other trips had been interrupted. Not only did we have to switch our boat once, but we had to pack up and move twice. From other reviews we were told that the Avalon crew was exceptional. We did not find that was the case. As a matter of fact, our cruise director had no personality at all. The crew was lacking smiles and I feel it may be because of the additional work that they had to do that week. We embarked in Budapest and attempted to sail to Vienna. After an hour and a half we were told by the river authorities that we had to turn around. We spent an additional 2 days on the boat in Budapest sailing nowhere. Avalon made another poor decision to sail the vessel into Hungry when they could've bussed us an hour and a half West. They did offer $500 refund and a free concert p/p. We feel that was totally inadequate. We were also unable to do some of the other extra excursions that we had paid for in advance and were hoping to do. Also, we never made it to Nuremberg. That was partially our choice because we did not want to spend a day bussing around for approximately nine hours! I would definitely think twice about doing another river cruise and certainly not with Avalon! I do have to mention that the boat was beautiful and the design of the rooms was lovely. Sorry we couldn't have spent more time sailing on the boat. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Our 11 day Avalon cruise started with three days on land in Prague. Very nice accomodations, great city tour. We met on first night with cruise director, at that time concerned travellers questioned the river levels, as we heard they were ... Read More
Our 11 day Avalon cruise started with three days on land in Prague. Very nice accomodations, great city tour. We met on first night with cruise director, at that time concerned travellers questioned the river levels, as we heard they were low. We were told that by the day we were to sail, that the water levels were probably going to be okay. We were lead to believe that somehow the water levels could be manipulated by man power, dam? Departure date came and we were given a choice to see Nuremberg by bus, as we couldn't sail, due to low water, or take a bus to A small village up river where boat was docked. To see Revensburg, we also had to bus, ship couldn't get there either. Did not dock in Passau, had to be bussed there from village. Avalon advertises their cabins with the great view. Anytime we were docked, there would be another ship parked directly beside us, never even got to open curtains. Our sailing was done in early evening or night, so never got to see the wonderful sights advertised. We did dock in Linz and Budapest, so we were able to go ashore to explore on our own. Daily tours were really early. Biggest disappointment was that we never got to enjoy the views from our cabin, which was explained to our group the last night: reason being that River cruising is so popular that there is not enough port space for the ships. The staff on the Avalon Vista was great, cruise director not so much. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We had seen so many advertisements and promos for the European River Cruises our expectations were set really high and I have to say that our cruise on the Vista certainly delivered on all fronts. We joined the ship in Amsterdam and ... Read More
We had seen so many advertisements and promos for the European River Cruises our expectations were set really high and I have to say that our cruise on the Vista certainly delivered on all fronts. We joined the ship in Amsterdam and the arrival and check in process was all pretty seamless. We were escorted to our stateroom shortly after embarkation which was roomy with plenty of storage space. We settled into daily routine very quickly and the crew were very friendly and always at hand. The food was divine - be prepared to gain a few kilos - and a trip to the galley makes you appreciate the selection even more. Perhaps our only misgiving is that we would have done a bit more Investigation about the various towns to decide whether to go on the "daily city tours" on offer. Be warned each city tour includes a visit to the town square/historical centre, town hall and cathedral - which after awhile becomes rather tedious. Other than that we could not fault the ship, the crew or anything about the cruise. We selected Cesky Krumlov as our full day tour and were absolutely enthralled with our choice. Those on the cruise that selected the Sound of Music tour were thoroughly disappointed and the complaints were long and many. The other full day option to the Lakes District was another popular choice. Would happily recommend Avalon to anyone wanting to experience the personal service you get on a river cruise as opposed to ocean cruising. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Avalon Vista Ratings
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