We had previously been on Danube and Rhone river cruises, but not with Avalon. However, a friend recommended Avalon and we chose them for our Rhine Cruise. What a mistake! To begin with the arrival arrangements in Amsterdam were poor. We arrived at the airport around 10.30am but had to wait for other travellers to arrive before we could board the coach to the hotel. We were not scheduled to board the ship until late afternoon. The Hotel lounge where we spent the intervening period was poor, with very basic food and drink available. Worse was to come. In the early afternoon we were told that we could not board the ship because of a sewage problem, so we had to spend two nights in an hotel in Amsterdam. We would then travel by coach to Cologne (4 hours) rather than sail on that part of the Rhine. So the first part of our river cruise became a coach tour! The hotel in Amsterdam was okay, but nothing like the service and comfort we would have received being on board the ship.
Once we got on board in Amsterdam the rest of the cruise was fine. The cabin and the food were both good, though some of the excursions started quite early in the morning and breakfast always seemed a bit rushed. The service was excellent. Some of the "optional" excursions seemed very expensive and often included long coach journeys - so not good value. The disembarkation at Basel/Zurich was a shambles. The coach from the ship to the airport (which included an unscheduled stop at an Hotel) took so long that we were unable to spend some time sightseeing in Zurich as planned. And to cap it all we waited for an hour at Gatwick for our "VIP Chauffeur Service" which did not show up!! We are keen to do more river cruises, but never again with Avalon.