For years I have been planning to visit more cities in Europe, but always got scheduling conflicts for flights back to the USA. Two years ago I learned about river cruising and it began to appeal to me, so did some research about river cruising. After good research I learned about Avalon Waterways and I became more fascinated. My companion and I decided to try the Romantic Rhine 8 day cruise since it visits 4 countries and sails by so many of the castles we saw in pictures of the Rhine. From Day 1 in Basel, I could see Cruise Director Mark, our Hotel Manager, and Captain were in complete control. We were on the Felicity, in a category P room, and it was comfortable. This ship is not one of the Panorama Ships with the beds facing the window, but I have to say that bed was perfect. My partner and I had no problem falling asleep anytime we put our heads on any pillow.
The food experience, for me personally, was exceptional. The breakfast buffet had more choices (on a ship) than I have seen on many hotels on land. Everything was fresh, presented well, and of course the excellent staff was always there to help and take care of us. Lunch choices were also very good and it seemed like it varied according to the country or port we were at. Dinner was great also, we had four course meals, and always had other options for meals. Even vegetarians had choices at any meal setting, I am happy I got to experience Avalon Fresh. Desserts were always delicious, I remember most nights we were stayed in the dining room longer enjoying dessert and good company with other guest.
Excursions were all great, my partner and I do not regret purchasing any of the 4 extra excursions we bought. The local guides were all informative and always gave us that little extra insight into the town we were visiting. Insights like where is the best gift shop, what restaurant do they visit when they want a good meal, or other historical facts that you just can't find unless a local told you. We did the Mt. Pilatus and Luzern Tour, the Black Forest Tour, Sayn Manor, and Zaanse Schan. We even got lucky in Germany at the Sayn Manor excursion and met Prince Alexander of Sayn.
We got a good history of life in the Black Forest, ate some Black Forest Cherry Cake, and visited a Cuckoo clock factory.
To me this is the best way to see Amsterdam, from the water.
The craftmanship at Gassan Diamonds was to see up close.