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It was disappointing that there was nothing at all to eat at the Hotel Pullman Montparnasse, where we were taken for the day. There was a hospitality room with coffee that no self-respecting Frenchman would have drunk and lukewarm water with tea bags, but that’s all. We had been travelling since 3am and only had a nasty airline croissant, arriving at the hotel at around 10. Some others had been travelling for much longer. We were given no advance information about the hotel or what facilities would be provided. Our day at the Pullman on the way home was even worse, with no hospitality room or refreshments at all. It was simply somewhere to drop us in the morning and then collect us later to go to the airport. As with embarkation day, we were given no advance information regarding what to expect at the hotel. Other than that, the cruise was mainly excellent. The cabin was as good as any standard cabin we’ve had on a river cruise. The shower room was one of the best – very smartly finished and cleverly fitted, with plenty of storage, and a spacious (it’s all relative) shower cubicle with glass door and powerful shower. Service was friendly and efficient, food excellent, well prepared with plenty of variety. We’d have liked to see more meat and especially fish (smoked salmon, prawns…) to go with salad ingredients at lunch time, but that’s about our only criticism. Hand sanitisers were provided at the restaurant entrance but passengers weren’t really encouraged, let alone made, to use them. We found that very surprising and disappointing. There weren’t as many on-board activities as we’ve found on other European river cruises – fun things such as glass-blowing and “oompah” bands (although the Crew Show was entertaining). The Normandy Beaches talk included plenty of good material but was a bit disjointed and the speaker’s diction was often poor, making him hard to understand. Our cruise director, Yvette, gave a presentation on wine and cheese, with wine tasting. All credit to her for making the effort, off her own bat, and there was some good content, but it was one of the poorer PowerPoint presentations I’ve seen (and I’ve seen many!), with far too much material for the time allowed, slides in random sequence with much scrolling backwards and forwards, and so on. We hated disembarkation information being posted on day 5 of an 8-day cruise, with constant reminders and repetition, making us feel the cruise was over soon after it began. The persistent exhortations regarding tipping were particularly irritating – had our tips not been included in the cruise price, we would have been inclined to leave nothing, in revenge. We enjoyed the cruise, overall, and in most respects it compared well with Scenic and Viking river cruises we’ve taken. We would book with Avalon again…but only if confident we wouldn’t have to go through the Pullman experience.

Very good except for embarkation and disembarkation days

Avalon Creativity Cruise Review by CCDave

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2016
  • Destination: Europe River
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Stateroom with Half-Height Windows
It was disappointing that there was nothing at all to eat at the Hotel Pullman Montparnasse, where we were taken for the day. There was a hospitality room with coffee that no self-respecting Frenchman would have drunk and lukewarm water with tea bags, but that’s all. We had been travelling since 3am and only had a nasty airline croissant, arriving at the hotel at around 10. Some others had been travelling for much longer. We were given no advance information about the hotel or what facilities would be provided.

Our day at the Pullman on the way home was even worse, with no hospitality room or refreshments at all. It was simply somewhere to drop us in the morning and then collect us later to go to the airport. As with embarkation day, we were given no advance information regarding what to expect at the hotel.

Other than that, the cruise was mainly excellent. The cabin was as good as any standard cabin we’ve had on a river cruise. The shower room was one of the best – very smartly finished and cleverly fitted, with plenty of storage, and a spacious (it’s all relative) shower cubicle with glass door and powerful shower.

Service was friendly and efficient, food excellent, well prepared with plenty of variety. We’d have liked to see more meat and especially fish (smoked salmon, prawns…) to go with salad ingredients at lunch time, but that’s about our only criticism.

Hand sanitisers were provided at the restaurant entrance but passengers weren’t really encouraged, let alone made, to use them. We found that very surprising and disappointing.

There weren’t as many on-board activities as we’ve found on other European river cruises – fun things such as glass-blowing and “oompah” bands (although the Crew Show was entertaining). The Normandy Beaches talk included plenty of good material but was a bit disjointed and the speaker’s diction was often poor, making him hard to understand.

Our cruise director, Yvette, gave a presentation on wine and cheese, with wine tasting. All credit to her for making the effort, off her own bat, and there was some good content, but it was one of the poorer PowerPoint presentations I’ve seen (and I’ve seen many!), with far too much material for the time allowed, slides in random sequence with much scrolling backwards and forwards, and so on.

We hated disembarkation information being posted on day 5 of an 8-day cruise, with constant reminders and repetition, making us feel the cruise was over soon after it began. The persistent exhortations regarding tipping were particularly irritating – had our tips not been included in the cruise price, we would have been inclined to leave nothing, in revenge.

We enjoyed the cruise, overall, and in most respects it compared well with Scenic and Viking river cruises we’ve taken. We would book with Avalon again…but only if confident we wouldn’t have to go through the Pullman experience.
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