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71 Avalon Waterways Avalon Expression Cruise Reviews

We had been on the Danube with Avalon for the Christmas markets. We enjoyed our time on this cruise so much we decided to do another. We were not disappointed at all. The people, the food, the excursions were all we had hoped for. We ate ... Read More
We had been on the Danube with Avalon for the Christmas markets. We enjoyed our time on this cruise so much we decided to do another. We were not disappointed at all. The people, the food, the excursions were all we had hoped for. We ate so well and had wonderful conversations with the entire staff. The excursions were very nice as our guides were well informed and shared this information with our travel group. This seems to be the norm for Avalon. Our first cruise set the bar quite high and our second cruise met it. We invited some family members to join us on this latest cruise because we were positive they would have the same experience as we had. They were not disappointed at all. I believe they too will take another cruise (only with Avalon). We appreciated the amount of work that went into this cruise for my husband and I. We were so impressed and satisfied with our choice to cruise Avalin Waterways. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our first river cruise. AVALON was one of three recommended by our travel agent that had openings. We came into this with an open mind. Have done many (10) ocean cruises. We loved the intimacy of a smaller group of fellow ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. AVALON was one of three recommended by our travel agent that had openings. We came into this with an open mind. Have done many (10) ocean cruises. We loved the intimacy of a smaller group of fellow passengers. Missed entertainment at night. They did have some local singers, and a little musical ensemble come in twice. It was adequate. One suggestion would be to start dinner service at 6pm, instead of 7pm. By the time we were finished, it was 9pm and we were tired from the days activities. I loved the little lounge at the back of the ship that had the great coffee machine, juices, and pastries/cookies for the early risers. Also the tables sat 4; easy to talk, play cards, etc. The staff was great. Our cruise director was awesome. All shore excursions were super also. Price was a little high. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We recently returned from our Avalon river cruise from Amsterdam to Basel on the Expression. All four of us are seniors ranging in age from 65-74. Our group wanted to try a short river cruise in order to determine if we would try ... Read More
We recently returned from our Avalon river cruise from Amsterdam to Basel on the Expression. All four of us are seniors ranging in age from 65-74. Our group wanted to try a short river cruise in order to determine if we would try another, perhaps longer, river cruise. Here are our pros and cons: Pros The cabin (up on the topmost level) was large enough and the bed was very comfortable. The bathroom was fine with a roomy shower and enough counter space around the sink to handle our ‘stuff’. The large, sliding, panoramic doors were great. We wouldn’t have used a veranda and enjoyed the extra bit of cabin space the exclusion of a veranda gave us. The ship was clean. We enjoyed the fact there was a happy hour with 1/2 price drinks and Robert, our bartender, was a pro. He was funny, prompt, and had a great personality. Staff was, on the whole, pleasant. The reception desk was accommodating and the two male staff members were friendly and helpful. The exception was the female who was a bit short with the passengers and sometimes acted as if it was an intrusion of her space/time to be bothered. The cruise director was very good. When we were out and about on excursions, I found it a plus that he’d show up out of the blue (frequently on his bicycle) to wave or help with directions. He was friendly, efficient, and thorough and had a good sense of humor when addressing the passengers. Our evening entertainment was limited. However one evening we were entertained by a trio of two violinists and a guitarist who were phenomenal-really enjoyed that!! The restaurant waitstaff was good. The morning tours/excursions were okay-a few times the tour guides were a bit too in-depth with the history of wherever we were and most info was lost in the translation. I guess there were just too many details to process and absorb. Cons The room steward was sweet and young but unlike our ocean cruises, never once called us by name. The food was good but we doubted all food was fresh produce from each of our ports especially when we spied a pallet with large cans of fruit and vegetables ready to be taken into the ship. Wine choices at meals were mediocre. All breakfast and lunches were buffet-style with only dinner served by the waitstaff. Unlike Viking, Avalon did not have a welcoming ‘tent’ at the pier. Actually, Viking had two..one on each side. It was no big deal...just another detail that adds to the experience. When we were dropped off at the pier we had to search a little to find Expression (at the end). Mornings found us having breakfast followed by an excursion which lasted until around lunchtime; then we’d have lunch and downtime until supper. I found that routine to be a bit of a drag as I’m enjoy walking the many decks of an ocean ship; participating (or not) in a great variety of activities; and enjoying the panoramic views of a huge sea. All four of us concluded early on in our river cruise that the ship (no fault of theirs as they are restricted to length and width) was just too small with minimal to do. We sometimes felt like caged animals! For the amount of money we spent on this 7-day river cruise, we could have sailed on an ocean cruise for a couple of weeks. Regardless of all the differences of river versus ocean cruising, going on any vacation with our friends is quite delightful We did spend five days in Amsterdam pre-cruise and three days in Lucerne/one day in Zurich (post-cruise and all our own planning) which we enjoyed immensely! Would we try river cruising again? No. I’d rather try a land tour of cities like Prague or Budapest (like Perillo Tours). We satisfied our curiosity and have plans for a Mediterranean cruise next summer and a cruise to the Netherlands in 2021. To each his own, I say!! Happy sailing!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We took the Avalon Danube River Cruise last year and enjoyed it so much, we decided to take a second Avalon River Cruise. While we enjoyed the Rhine Cruise, we felt the on shore excursions were better on the Danube than the Rhine It ... Read More
We took the Avalon Danube River Cruise last year and enjoyed it so much, we decided to take a second Avalon River Cruise. While we enjoyed the Rhine Cruise, we felt the on shore excursions were better on the Danube than the Rhine It seemed there were less attractions/activities on the Rhine vs Danube, which was disappointing Service crew were often stingy with wine service and bread and condiments were being collected while we were still eating. We didn't experience this on the Danube Cruise. Also, the Captain was a bit more engaging with the guests on the Danube than the Rhine. Dinner with the Captain was a real hit with everyone. Tour guides did a great job and Karoline does a fabulous job as cruise director. I am hopeful this review will facilitate improvement for future cruisers and do plan to book another cruise with Avalon Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I chose this cruise because a stateroom on the middle deck was available without the single supplement. The cruise director and staff were all terrific, experienced and patient. This was my first Avalon cruise, having done one last October ... Read More
I chose this cruise because a stateroom on the middle deck was available without the single supplement. The cruise director and staff were all terrific, experienced and patient. This was my first Avalon cruise, having done one last October on a Viking boat. They are comparable in every way for quality. I would try another cruise with Avalon on another river route. Amsterdam is quite busy, so I might recommend that first-time cruisers go southbound from Amsterdam to Basel, which is calm and quiet for the disembarkation. Amsterdam's airport is close to the river (about 40 minutes) while the airport at Basel is more than an hour and fifteen minutes from the dock, but the transfers will work well in either port. There was a nice variety of passengers from Spain, Australia, New Zealand and the United States. The cabins were tended three times daily. Meals were just right with lots of variety. I like to spend as much time on the boat as possible and for me the excursions are always optional. Cheers to the entire staff, crew and service team. They were European and Southeast Asian and just wonderful to meet. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Recommendation of Travel Agent and research we did. Everything about the Avalon experience was great. No complaints ... except wanting a bit warmer weather. Food was very good. All members of the crew were very polite and fun to be ... Read More
Recommendation of Travel Agent and research we did. Everything about the Avalon experience was great. No complaints ... except wanting a bit warmer weather. Food was very good. All members of the crew were very polite and fun to be around. The cruise director, Bart, was particularly good, funny and easy to work with. Good wines and beer and plenty of it ... if you desire. Good variety of foods throughout the cruise. The cruise itself was very smooth, a lot like being on dry land. Good excursions, with knowledgeable guides. The Black Forest guide was particularly good. The room at the end of our floor was nice for that quick cup of coffee and a cookie. We did not feel crowded at all. The eating and lounge areas were plenty big enough. This is one reason we picked Avalon ... the same size boat as others with fewer passengers. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
My wife and I,her brother and sister and brother in law, decided to take this Rhine river cruise (Basel to Amsterdam) to celebrate my wife's 70th birthday. Cruising was not high on my agenda for likes but after this experience, we ... Read More
My wife and I,her brother and sister and brother in law, decided to take this Rhine river cruise (Basel to Amsterdam) to celebrate my wife's 70th birthday. Cruising was not high on my agenda for likes but after this experience, we are both keen to do more. In early April, we flew from Australia to London and then after a few days to Basel where we joined the cruise. Everything was great - the food (excellent), the cruise director (to the point, humourous and informative), the guides (knew their stuff and added wit and humour), rooms were cleaned regularly and quickly, the bar persons knew their stuff and nothing was too much trouble. The cabin (level 3 panorama) was comfortable and being able to put our suitcases under the bed gave a plenty of room. The bed was very comfortable and having a 7ft sliding window that could be opened gave us the opportunity on occasions to lie on the bed and watch the world go by. The excursions were interesting and informative and we got good exercise by walking around the towns and cities. I certainly benefited from this. Brother and sister in law relished the walking. The boat had around 170-190 people on board with no children and this made the whole atmosphere calm and relaxed - as it should be. The age group was generally average age of around 50-55 with predominantly Americans and Canadians and a few Aussies to sweeten the pot. Dinner was in the dining room with plenty of choices of food and an endless supply of wine and beer. For lunch, you could go to the dining room for more substantial fare or in the lounge area for something light. Overall ambience on board was fantastic. The only negative that I can identify was that the WiFi was poor (and perhaps that the cruise was too short). My wife and I are now converts and are already thinking about another river cruise but perhaps a little longer in duration. We would recommend Avalon to any who are considering a river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Our travel agent had been suggesting a river cruise for a while. We are not cruise ship people so hesitated to book this trip. We were happy we decided to go.The river cruise was wonderful. Nothing like what I think of when thinking of a ... Read More
Our travel agent had been suggesting a river cruise for a while. We are not cruise ship people so hesitated to book this trip. We were happy we decided to go.The river cruise was wonderful. Nothing like what I think of when thinking of a cruise. The small ship size and the attentive service was wonderful. Our biggest complaint was when we arrived at the ship. We could not find any information on what time we should arrive. We had a car service drive us to Basel. We arrived at the ship and there was no one to greet us, we didn't know where to go. A man standing on the side walk with in jeans and a sweatshirt no identification that he was with Avalon came over to take our bags. We asked where we were supposed to go and he just pointed at the ship. When we entered the ship, there was a desk where 2 people sat. Neither even looked up or greeted us. We had to ask if we were allowed on the ship. Then we had to ask how things would work as we had never been on a cruise before. Once we got to our room things went much more smoothly and for the rest of the trip there was plenty of information on how each day would work. the food is hot and abundant. The food buffet can be very congested as there really isn't a clear way to use the buffet. Some people made a line, some people just went straight to the hot food or the salad bar. But overall food was good. The excursions were well explained and informative. Our cruise director Hendrik was absolutely fantastic! Fun, Funny but at the same time so very organized. If we take another Avalon cruise we for sure would look to see what cruises on which Hendrik might be the Director Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
First I should say that I did not want to go on this trip and was dragged to the trip. Now let me say it was the best vacation ever and I can’t wait to go back. Everything was perfect, weather not perfect but it was fine as we dressed ... Read More
First I should say that I did not want to go on this trip and was dragged to the trip. Now let me say it was the best vacation ever and I can’t wait to go back. Everything was perfect, weather not perfect but it was fine as we dressed for it and had planned for it. We went early spring to insure the water levels as the last thing we wanted on our cruise was to be bussed. Liked - food was very good, and my wine glass was never empty even at the two hour dinners. Cruise director was excellent, this person is likely the most important part of a cruise. Ours was clear, direct, and made no excuses...”walking will be hard today”, “food at xx is excellent”, he was really good. Our room was made up twice a day and I don’t think we ever went back after breakfast when it wasn’t done. The excursions were very good as were the guides. No kids and that’s a great thing. It’s so hard to have an adult trip these days, it was very appreciated that they were not here, truth be told imho kids would hate river cruising. No goofy, no slides to the pool, no .........before jumping on my case, I raised two so I know what I speak of. I know your kids act perfectly, mine did ,but honestly they would not like river cruising. Aside from the excursions around the towns, two and three hour 5 course dinners are the evenings entertainment. Dislike- internet is slow, not much on tv. Funny we watched Casablanca every night falling asleep, picking back up where we left the prior evening. we were so tired every night we never did finish the show! My wife did not care for the exercise room, said too small, why bother? We’re walking miles every day. This is not like ocean cruising, no entertainment, except locals came on board a few nights and they were good. But honestly after walking all day, drinking wine and enjoying everyone’s company at dinner, who cares..time for bed! It was a great trip, everything was fine including the first class air tickets, nice way to travel. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Embarkation was easy, and our room was lovely. The shore excursions were more scripted than I usually care for, but for travelers who want to spend less time figuring it out on their own it would be perfect. The service onboard was ... Read More
Embarkation was easy, and our room was lovely. The shore excursions were more scripted than I usually care for, but for travelers who want to spend less time figuring it out on their own it would be perfect. The service onboard was great. The crew were hilarious, and made you feel like you were with friends even though they were new. They were friendly and helpful. The food onboard was amazing. I tried everything from snails to oxtail, and each was amazing. And if you're not into trying unusual foods, there were still plenty of wonderful things to choose from. We (late 30s) were some of the youngest on the cruise, but by no means the most energetic. We made many friends, and really enjoyed the trip. Don't let the assumption that river cruises are only for old people keep you back. It's not true and you'll have a great time with the other passengers. Loved the cruise and look forward to many more in the future. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We wanted to experience the Christmas Markets in various cities. Except for the tragedy in Strasbourg, we got our wish. The bus tour to the Black Forest was interesting , but rather long. That was modified from the original due to the ... Read More
We wanted to experience the Christmas Markets in various cities. Except for the tragedy in Strasbourg, we got our wish. The bus tour to the Black Forest was interesting , but rather long. That was modified from the original due to the changes needed not visit Strasbourg. Meals were excellent with very attentive service. The room was quite nice - we enjoyed the bed facing the river, and the bathroom was good-size with a very nice tiled shower. We just wish it had been warmer so we could have gone up on the top deck, but we will do that on our next trip. Room storage was adequate, but we would like more drawers. The entertainment was good, especially La Strada. We had more than ample time to experience the Christmas markets, and enjoyed the walking tour of Basel very much, despite the cold. Overall we would do another Avalon cruise in a heartbeat! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Our cruise was a themed cruise, Beer Enthusiast, and started in Budapest ending in Prague. Our flights, to / from, were arranged through Avalon on Lufthansa. The connections worked out great without a lot of layover time. The transfer to ... Read More
Our cruise was a themed cruise, Beer Enthusiast, and started in Budapest ending in Prague. Our flights, to / from, were arranged through Avalon on Lufthansa. The connections worked out great without a lot of layover time. The transfer to the ship from the airport was very easy. The registration kiosk at the airport provided us with essential information and could not have been any nicer. Upon arriving at our ship, Expression, the staff ensured we were registered and situated into our room. The ship, only a few years old, was very well maintained and clean. The cabin we were given had a wonderful view. Traveling at night you could see the small towns as you passed through them. Yes the landscape is beautiful even at night. You pass through some locks on your excursion on the Danube. Waking up in the middle of the night to see the lock wall and rising in the lock was amazing. The food, Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night snacks, was excellent. They had a great selection to satisfy any pallet. The lunch and dinner menus included specialty dishes from the country we were currently in. There was a snack station in the back of the boat offering coffee, tea, hot chocolate and juices, this was always well stocked and selection of cookies, pastries and muffins was excellent. The service at all meals was impeccable. A good selection of excursions were offered. The cities and towns we visited were deep in history and architecture. Many going back to the 11th and 12th century. The tour guides provided great information and were very personable. We started in Budapest, then went onto Bratislava, Vienna, Durnstein, Melk, Linz, Passau, Regensburg and then onto Prague via coach. Now onto the Beer Enthusiast portion of the cruise. The Austrian "Beer Pope" Conrad Seidel was our guide. Conrad conducted an introductory tasting on board, two brewery tours (Vienna & Passau) and a dinner paring. When we were in various towns Conrad conducted pub tours. These were not scheduled excursions through Avalon so the travel (mostly walking) and pub cost were on you. This was a hidden gem in the cruise. Conrad provided additional insight to the various towns not just with his knowledge of the pubs but the local history and architecture. I ended up with a personal tour in Vienna and the added sites he showed me were only that a local could provide. Conrad offered a personal touch to his tours and offered great insight to the local history as well. There were two excursions by Avalon one in Vienna and one in Linz. Both conducted with Conrad. This was a great adventure as well taking us to various parts of Linz and Vienna we would not have seen otherwise. The group taking the tours all enjoyed themselves as well. A great time was had by all. The service, accommodations and experiences exceeded our expectations. We would not hesitate to go on another cruise with Avalon. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We booked this trip over a year ago and then suddenly it was time to go. We were notified that the water on the Danube was low and it could adversley effect our itinerary but we decided to go ahead either way. We had added an extra night ... Read More
We booked this trip over a year ago and then suddenly it was time to go. We were notified that the water on the Danube was low and it could adversley effect our itinerary but we decided to go ahead either way. We had added an extra night in Prague before the cruise so we arrived on Monday morning at the Prague Hilton. The hotel is very large and extremely efficient, although the staff is far from warm and welcoming, with the exception of Tomas at the front desk. Having Eric, our Avalon tour director arrive on Tuesday gave us a connection and he was available most all day long to offer ideas and suggestions and helpful information about Prague. We had a quick welcome meeting on Tuesday night and our optional excursions began Wednesday night. We enjoyed our time in Prague and walked about 20,000 steps a day on our own, exploring so many wonderful areas, great food, and beautiful scenery. On Friday we boarded buses to Regensberg bypassing Nuremberg due to low water there. We were told that the decision would be made by the next Monday whether we would sail through to Budapest or be bused and stay in a hotel the last night. The ride was maybe 2-3 hours on coach buses through beautiful scenery in the Black Forest so no complaints. When we arrived at the ship, the staff was lined up to welcome us on board! They led us into the lounge where we were welcomed and then directed to our cabins assisted by staff to find our way and make us feel at home. Our cabin steward was Flory. Sweet and efficient and very professional. I have previously only been on ocean cruises and it is very hard to compare one to the other. There were about 150 guests on board and maybe 40 or so staff. The lounge and the dining room are both big enough to fit every guest at the same time, so no worries finding a table or a seat. Our cabin was on the 3rd floor. We had panorama doors that were floor to ceiling and could slide open to give an unobstructed view. The cabin was not huge, but was more than comfortable for 2. The bathroom was better than most hotels, with plenty of amenities and towels. As soon as we would leave for breakfast Flory would clean and restock our room. When we went to dinner she would do it all over again, we never once returned to an "unmade room"...she was amazing. Breakfast in the dining room was open seating, a delicious buffet with menu offerings also available. Lunch was regional depending where we were, with beer and wine readily available. Each evening we would all meet in the lounge for about 15 minutes for Eric to give us updates on the entertainment for the evening, weather reports, water level reports, and then he would send us off to dinner. Dinner was enjoyable as guests could sit where ever. Friendships were beginning and people were gravitating toward the same table area each night, which meant you tended to have the same wait staff. This became very beneficial as they started to know your likes and needs. Wine and beer were refilled often so pay attention to how much you drink! There was entertainment after dinner so people would wander back to the lounge to enjoy whatever was offered each night. We had pre booked our excursions and we also took advantage of the daily included walking tours to familiarize ourselves with the area before venturing off on our own. The tour guides employed by Avalon for these walking tours were local, and knew the areas well. Due to missing the Nuremberg embarkation, we were in Regensburg a day before our schedule. Some pre booked tours had to be changed or cancelled. Avalon really showed their professionalism in this area. I can say all of the rescheduling went as smoothly as if nothing had changed. We were barely aware that anything was disrupted as Avalon went WAY out of their way to compensate us. Cancelled rebooked excursions were quickly credited back to my credit card. A concert in Vienna that we had booked was now offered for free and our money was refunded. A walking tour of Regensburg was concluded with a certificate for lunch at the oldest sausage kitchen dating back to the 1100's. Then Avalon also gave each of us 15 Euros each to spend as a compensation (although we didn't feel we needed to be further compensated). Monday night came and it was time to hear the decision about our sailing future. Eric had good news and bad news. Bad news! Our hotel reservations in Budapest were cancelled....Good News...We would sail the entire way! The water had risen just enough so we could enjoy our entire week on the ship! YAY! Without going into details about each and every port I can just say we enjoyed every stop, although they started to blend together after 4 countries in 1 week. ABC... Another Beautiful Castle was a phrase we heard from our tour guides and they were correct. Take lots of pictures and save the daily itineraries that Avalon leaves in your stateroom by putting them into those complimentary folders they give you on your first day. You will need all the help you can to put your memories into order when you get home. We booked a few extra nights in Budapest after the cruise ended. We stayed at the Hilton Budapest on the Buda side. I cannot say enough nice things about the friendly, professional, and welcoming staff at this hotel. And the view........unbelievable! My overall opinion about river cruising...the small passenger numbers were great. Staff to guest ratio was very impressive. The ship was well appointed, extremely comfortable and well maintained. It was completely comfortable in every way ( the coffee tea and cookies in the rear lounge 24/7 were a delightful treat). Fellow passengers were fun and friendly and easy to talk to. We had an age spread of about 30-75. There were approximately 10 singles on board not traveling together who appeared to get along with every one and thoroughly enjoy themselves. There were 4 or 5 "30 somethings" traveling with their parents. They all seemed to be along to assist and enjoy their parents company. There were many couples in the 50-70 age range from many walks of life. Food was good, drinks were free at dinner and lunch and extremely low priced at happy hour. Tours were professional and informative. Scenery was gorgeous and plentiful. Would I recommend it? A most definite YES! A easy way to travel to 4 countries in a week and feel pretty spoiled by a wonderful staff along the way. Hats off to the Captain and his crew for safely navigating a very low Danube river! A big THANK YOU to Eric for being so good to all of us while maintaining his smile and professionalism as he went with the flow of a constanalty changing itinerary . " I will see you when I look at you" Bon Voyage! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Avalon delivered a top notch vacation and attended to every detail to give us a most memorable and stress free vacation. The hotels in Budapest and Prague were superior. The cruise director, Sabine, worked tirelessly to ensure ... Read More
Avalon delivered a top notch vacation and attended to every detail to give us a most memorable and stress free vacation. The hotels in Budapest and Prague were superior. The cruise director, Sabine, worked tirelessly to ensure everyone's concerns were properly addressed. Despite historically low water levels on the Danube, Avalon did everything they could to make our vacation pleasurable. Everything was well thought out to provide the best possible experience for all passengers. From the hotels, to the guided tours, to the ship staff, to the food and entertainment, to the cabins, all met our highest expectations. Our only disappointment would be at port as we were usually double docked along side another ship. We never got to enjoy the views of the port cities and had to keep our curtains closed most of the time. We have traveled on other cruise lines in the past and would definitely recommend Avalon to anyone considering a river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We left Budapest on October 5th and after a relaxing day of cruising, we arrived in Vienna around dinner time on the 6th. We were very fortunate to be able to navigate this stretch of the river; I believe that some cruisers had to be ... Read More
We left Budapest on October 5th and after a relaxing day of cruising, we arrived in Vienna around dinner time on the 6th. We were very fortunate to be able to navigate this stretch of the river; I believe that some cruisers had to be bussed to Vienna the next week. We enjoyed a day and a half in Vienna and when we boarded the Expression around 8:00pm on the second night, we found a letter outlining modifications to our itinerary that were being made due to low water concerns. In a nutshell, the changes (for the majority of passengers continuing on to Prague) were 1). Linz, Austria was substituted for Nuremberg 2). We were bused from Passau to Regensburg rather than cruising to Regensburg 3). We were bused to Prague from Passau not Nuremberg (same distance) Passengers were free to disembark and would be given a pro rats refund based on the number of days left in the cruise; I do not believe anyone took this option. We were given 30 Euros cash for our lunch in Regensburg since we could not return to the boat. Also, when docked in Linz, we were given the option of complimentary full day excursions to either Salzburg or Cesky Kremlov. Any one who had already booked these excursions was given a full refund. We felt that we were treated very fairly by Avalon for relatively minor changes in our itinerary and would recommend Avalon to others. We had taken a 3 day Avalon cruise two years ago, so we skipped the included tours in Budapest, Vienna and Melk but heard good reviews from fellow passengers. We were very pleased with our docking locations - right in town. In Vienna, Linz, and Passau we could stroll back to town after dinner since we were either overnighting or sailing late at night. Highlights of our trip were the Szenchenyi baths in Budapest, the Faust Cellars wine tasting in Budapest, a visit to a wine garden on the outskirts of the Vienna Woods, a Monet exhibit at the Albertina Museum in Vienna, high Mass at the Augustiner church in Vienna, sausage and beer at the Old Sausage Kitchen in Regensburg, and a tram to Postlingberg in Linz for spectacular views. Our particular tour included 2 nights pre-cruise in Budapest and 3 nights post-cruise in Prague. The Sofitel Hotel in Budapest was great, located right at the Chain Bridge with beautiful views and an easy walk to Parliament, St Stephen's Basilica, the Central Market, etc. The included breakfast was very good. In Prague, we stayed at the Prague Hilton which I would not recommend, Location was poor; it was separated from main part of city by a major highway. The neighborhood was a bit "iffy" - we would not have been comfortable walking around at night. Fortunately taxis and Uber's were plentiful and quite reasonable. Also, when we arrived (about 2 hours before. check in) our luggage was unloaded from the bus and just sat outside the hotel for 2+ hours. When we finally were able to check in, we went outside and retrieved our luggage, but there was no security and anyone could have walked away with it. Overall, it was an excellent trip. Food on the Expression was excellent; service was very attentive and the cruise director did a great job despite the challenges of last minute changes. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Imagine our disappointment when we learned that our much anticipated cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest could not be offered as promised due to record low, drought- induced river water levels. However, the amazing staff at Avalon, ... Read More
Imagine our disappointment when we learned that our much anticipated cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest could not be offered as promised due to record low, drought- induced river water levels. However, the amazing staff at Avalon, especially our cruise director Jerome, managed to provide us with an lovely trip despite Mother Nature's non-cooperation. Our ship was stuck in Passau, and the Avalon team sprang into action, arranging accommodation at excellent hotels, transportation on very comfortable motor coaches, delicious meals, knowledgeable guides, and even a mini-cruise through the Rhine Gorge as we made our way south to the Danube. Their professionalism and experience made the very best experience out of what could easily have been a traveler's nightmare. Meeting up with the ship was a joyous occasion, and we were greeted by the crew like long-lost family. The 10 days we spent on board the Expression left nothing to be desired: comfortable cabin, excellent meals, helpful staff, well-organized excursions, friendly fellow passengers, and even an evening of fireworks. (OK, the fireworks were not arranged by Avalon, but were a nice touch anyway.) Excellent service in the face of adversity says more about a company than an uneventful trip would. We would travel with Avalon again knowing that our comfort and enjoyment were paramount, even under trying circumstances. Bravo Expression staff and crew, and bravo Jerome! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Because of the low water situation on the Danube, our intended 14-day cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest became four nights in hotels, three days on buses, and 10 nights on the beautiful Avalon Expression. But I'm pleased to report ... Read More
Because of the low water situation on the Danube, our intended 14-day cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest became four nights in hotels, three days on buses, and 10 nights on the beautiful Avalon Expression. But I'm pleased to report that Avalon took very good care of us. The price adjustment that they gave because of the changes was more than fair, the hotels that they substituted in for the first four nights (Jakarta in Amsterdam, Hilton in Bonn, and Marriott in Frankfurt) were very comfortable (although the Jakarta was inconveniently located), and we were well fed on the bus portion. Cruise Director Jerome did a marvelous job of keeping things moving with a minimum of inconvenience; he really was excellent all along the way. The Rhine Gorge cruise was every bit as enjoyably on a local day cruiser as it would have been on the Expression. To make up for the cruising days missed along the Main River, once we reached the Expression at Vilshofen on the Danube, several days were added to the itinerary, enabling us to see places such as Mauthausen and Linz that weren't on the original schedule. The experience on the Expression was excellent. Our french-balcony room was spacious and very comfortable (see below). I have to say that the food on board, while usually quite good, was not spectacular (although the treats that were served in the lounge at tea time most afternoons were excellent). The dining room servers were always personable and accommodating, the onboard entertainers were enjoyable, and our party appreciated the daily pre-dinner happy hour, when drinks were half price. We also found the included wines that were offered with dinner to be very good. The daily shore excursions were also generally excellent, as were the local guides. My wife is "looking forward" to a knee replacement in a few months, so she appreciated the "slow walkers" group that was offered with each excursion, which seemed to take shorter routes, with fewer stairs, while hitting most everything that the "normal" groups saw. We've done a lot of ocean cruising, but this was our first river cruise. Based on our experience, I doubt it will be our last. And if we are able to do another, it will definitely be with Avalon. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
My wife and I chose the river cruise on the Danube because we wanted a relaxed and luxurious way to see Europe. We were not disappointed. Everything was wonderful from the comfortable accommodations, the wide variety of delicious foods, ... Read More
My wife and I chose the river cruise on the Danube because we wanted a relaxed and luxurious way to see Europe. We were not disappointed. Everything was wonderful from the comfortable accommodations, the wide variety of delicious foods, the friendly and helpful staff who remembered our names and preferences, and the exciting adventures on the land excursions. We chose Avalon based on the recommendation of a friend. The AvalonGO app was helpful during our cruise. Prior to embarkation the Danube River water levels dropped causing us to have a ship change. We were notified of this. Unfortunately, another ship change occurred the night before we were to embark, and the app wasn’t updated with the ships new name. We stayed at our own hotel and did not have a ship transfer as part of our vacation, so unless the app was updated there was no way for us to know. We walked along the long Vienna embarkation dock, but didn’t find our ship. We did find the Avalon Expression and learned the story. From that moment on there wasn’t another glitch. One other thing I didn’t know that I would have liked to know is that because of all the ship traffic on the river, boats “park” two or three deep next to each other. This makes the view out the large windows less desirable, but the views when sailing still make it worthwhile. The excursions were well done. I’d recommend people bring their own headphones for the guide devices. My favorite excursions were Dürnstein, where we climbed up to some old castle ruins, but didn’t have a whole lot of free time, and Chesky Krumlov, where after the guided tour we had a full 3.5 hours to explore the town, shop, and eat. Overall, it was a wonderful experience with a classy mature crowd, and I’d recommend an Avalon river cruise to any adults looking to get away. (In fact, my parents are looking to go next year!) Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We took this cruise to celeberate our 30th wedding anniversary. Several friends had used Avalon and were please so that helpe us make our decision. Our accomodations in Budapest, on the ship, and Prague were exceptional. Due to low ... Read More
We took this cruise to celeberate our 30th wedding anniversary. Several friends had used Avalon and were please so that helpe us make our decision. Our accomodations in Budapest, on the ship, and Prague were exceptional. Due to low water levels some parts of our time on the ship had to be adjusted. Our cruise director, Isabell, did an amazing job of keeping us informed of changes. Avalon went above and beyond to make up for these adjustments. They added additional tours that were of no cost to us due to these changes. We did have to change ships but this was done very eficiently and at no inconveneice to us. The food on board the ship was delicions. We really enjoyed the light lunch buffet that was offered. As an avid runner, I was able to run each morning when we were docked and felt very safe in doing so. The staff and crew were top-notch! We will definitely be using Avalon in the future! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Loved Budapest, liked having a few days to get our sleep patterns on track with the time change. We added on Prague at the end of the cruise and it was a beautiful city, a highlight of our trip. We did this cruise for our 30th wedding ... Read More
Loved Budapest, liked having a few days to get our sleep patterns on track with the time change. We added on Prague at the end of the cruise and it was a beautiful city, a highlight of our trip. We did this cruise for our 30th wedding anniversary and met another couple that were there for their anniversary...what are the odds of meeting someone who was from our area that was celebrating exactly the same day! We met people from all over the world. Enjoyed the smaller towns, hidden treasures that I probably would never have seen otherwise. Just a great experience. The food was great, the local wines and beers. The coffee bar and library was a great place to relax and enjoy some quiet company. The hotels we stayed at were also nice, well located in the city for transportation. We did a mix of excursions and were glad we didn't try to do everything because we enjoyed the bigger cities on our own after getting a feel from the local guides. I wanted to say “Thank you” to Avalon for my recent river cruise experience. Our cruise director made the best out of the changes in our itinerary due to the low water levels in the Danube. I feel like the company bent over backwards to compensate us for the changes; including giving us “lunch money” for unscheduled time off the ship during lunch, refunding us for excursions. Also instead of staying docked in Passau with all the other cruise ships, we got to cruise up river to provide more time to enjoy the scenery. Isabel did a wonderful job and we thoroughly enjoyed our trip. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose Avalon because of four previous, wonderful experiences with the Globus group. Because of low water on the Danube we had to embark on the Panarama for one day and then transition to the Expression for the remainder of the cruise. ... Read More
We chose Avalon because of four previous, wonderful experiences with the Globus group. Because of low water on the Danube we had to embark on the Panarama for one day and then transition to the Expression for the remainder of the cruise. Both the embarkation and disembarkation went extremely well. The Captain was gracious, approachable and exhibited confidence in what he and his crew were doing. This was a comfort to me. Our room was all that I had hoped for on our journey: clean, spacious, and, wow, what great views. In fact, the entire ship was meticulous. We were never interrupted by housecleaning, but they were always available to us if needed. The food was incredible during our breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. We're still thinking of all the tremendous food choices that were provided us. The servers were friendly, always smiling, quick to serve and very patient with all the requests people kept throwing at them. As to entertainment we enjoyed the beer and wine tastings. The music entertainment was quality for many. Before I forget I must mention our tour guide, Isabel, for she was working diligently to make us aware of all the cruise happenings because of changes made to the trip with the low water. All the shore excursions had knowledgeable and friendly guides, and the substituted trip to Cesky Krumlov instead of getting down the river to Nuremburg was a fine trip for us. Avalon was very generous in compensation given to us because of the low water and the extra ship transfer. Would we do it again, you bet we would! Thank you for creating great memories for us! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
The cruise was from Amsterdam to Budapest. Positive points: Size of cabin was decent Crew was very nice with very few exceptions. Curise director very experient and willing to help, he did a great work. Free shore ... Read More
The cruise was from Amsterdam to Budapest. Positive points: Size of cabin was decent Crew was very nice with very few exceptions. Curise director very experient and willing to help, he did a great work. Free shore excursions Coffee lounge open 24 hours was very nice Breakfast had a large variety. Negative points: Some of the stops were very quick, only a few hours. Some of the excursions gave too much details and left very little time to exlore the area. Food although well presented, with the exception of breakfast, had some unusual seasonings with herbs. Did not like the food at alll. One diiner I found a hair on my plate and I received very little apologies. Most of the entertainment onboard, except for the beer tasting was somewhat boring. The top open deck was closed most of the time. It seems the water level in the rivers was high and they had to close the access to the top level in order to pass under some bridges. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We embarked in Budapest after 2 nights in a First class hotel Sofitel, excellent breakfasts The cabin was decent as well as the bathroom which was small but well designed (which was not always the case in other ships) Crew very ... Read More
We embarked in Budapest after 2 nights in a First class hotel Sofitel, excellent breakfasts The cabin was decent as well as the bathroom which was small but well designed (which was not always the case in other ships) Crew very nice, dining excellent. many choices of food, good wines and biers Crew director was superb ( he had to rescheduled 3 days of the cruise as there was not enough water on the Danube,) adding a free excursion, more entertainment, one more visit of the town, Passau. free food voucher He informed us well of what was going on. All the free excursions were done with experienced guides. as well as the paid excursions Hotel Intercontinental in Prague was superb, good breakfasts, 3 nights included embarkation and disembarkation was super efficient as well as finding our luggage . we are seniors, first river cruise , and we will take a cruise with Avallon if we have the opportunity again as we got more than we expected, Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Our travel agent recommended this trip. A river cruise had long been on my bucket list and this seemed like the perfect timing: both hubby and I had a milestone birthday this year. We loved the intimacy. With the small number of ... Read More
Our travel agent recommended this trip. A river cruise had long been on my bucket list and this seemed like the perfect timing: both hubby and I had a milestone birthday this year. We loved the intimacy. With the small number of passengers, we got to know almost everyone. The food was outstanding as was the wait staff. We enjoyed the on-board entertainers and the well-organized shore tours. We enjoyed time sitting atop the ship while watching the beautiful scenery as we passed by. Happy hour was one of our favorite times; we enjoyed well-made drinks and had time to visit with new friends. The tour guides spoke good English, which was a positive. We liked that we each had personal listening devices, so it was easy to hear the guides at all times. All in all, this was our best vacation ever! We hope to take another similar tour soon. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We had previously taken the Rhine river cruise a few years ago, and enjoyed it so much we decided to take the Danube cruise. First our cruise director Tony is wonderful, most thoughtful and innovative. Handled difficult situations with ... Read More
We had previously taken the Rhine river cruise a few years ago, and enjoyed it so much we decided to take the Danube cruise. First our cruise director Tony is wonderful, most thoughtful and innovative. Handled difficult situations with ease. Would take another with him any time. One downside, compared to our previous cruise there sere quite a few "extra" (non included) day trips which we interpreted as just extra money raisers. There were some days that if we hadn't taken an extra cost activity there was no activity. This raised the total cost to quite expensive. The little villages we visited were very beautiful, and the people very friendly, but were there to sell things at a very high price. The hotel accommodations were excellent, and located right in the heart of the old city area's where we wanted to explore. One of the local guides, in Vienna, could have talked more about the Palace and less about her personal life. The dinner in Budapest was a charming excellent representation of the food of the area in a comfortable setting. The dinner in Prague was like a herd of cattle stuffed into a room too full and so noisy you couldn't carry on a conversation. The flight home was difficult with extra plane changes and our luggage was lost in Paris and we were without this luggage for TWO WEEKS. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Avalon Expression Ratings
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