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Avalon Luminary Review

-- / 5.0
Editor Rating
58 reviews
1 Award

Lots of Good Qualities But Just As Many Bad

Review for Avalon Luminary to Europe River
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Baltimore Girl
2-5 Cruises • Age 60s

Rating by category

Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Aug 2017

This was an extended "girl's trip" with my best friend and her mom in honor of her mom's 80th birthday. Overall, we three women were well taken care of throughout the cruise and for two days of sightseeing in Prague beforehand. The Intercontinental Hotel in Prague was very nice. Our staterooms on board the Luminary (310 and 311) were also very nice -- roomy and comfortable. The purser, Sandra, and her assistant, were absolutely delightful, as were most of the crew and staff. My housekeeper, Tri, took very good care of me.

But there were certain aspects of the itinerary and the service that could have been better, and I only point these out in hopes that Avalon will take them to heart and offer some improvement in these areas: Three times I asked for laundry service aboard ship. Only the first time was the laundry done correctly. The second time my "cleaned" laundry was returned to me wadded up in the laundry bag -- they hadn't done it at all. The third time, my clothes were returned to me wet - they had forgot to put them in the dryer! The music selections on the in-cabin TV were sorely lacking. Here we are cruising through the classical music capital of the world and only one classical music option was offered en suite. Perhaps additional albums, such as classical guitar or other instrumental music could be added to the onboard listening options. One of the walking tour guides, Ulli in Vienna, was quite rude to one of the passengers, berating the 70-year-old woman publicly (over our earspeakers) for needing to find a restroom before the allotted stopping point and then chastizing her (again publicly) for making the group wait. Most of our walking tours through various cities began with a bus ride. Only once did the tour guides chasten us to wear our seatbelts aboard the bus (European law) or remind us about seatbelts when we re-boarded. Since it is not customary to wear seatbelts on public transportation in the US, I would recommend that tour guides remind passengers every single time a bus is boarded whenever seatbelts are required. Our onboard musician, Valentin Donov, was absolutely wonderful, but except for two occasions, he was the only onboard entertainment offered in the evening. The two special offerings, singer Lindsay Hamilton while we were docked in Passau, and the Quintet Aphrodite in Vienna, were fabulous - absolutely top notch. It would have been nice to have a few more of those kinds of evenings during the cruise.

I thought the food was mostly great. The breakfasts, always served buffet-style, were awesome. The dinners, during which we selected courses from a menu, were much more hit-and-miss. I liked that we were treated to regional specialties specific to the ports-of-call we visited, but the execution of most dinners just wasn't very good, and I thought three different days of Hungarian goulash at lunch or dinner was a bit much. As for drinks, it was great that alcoholic beverages were included with meals. But on at least one occasion my table was refused another glass of wine because the Maître'd arbitrarily decided that it was too close to the time we would be moving to the ship's lounge after dinner where we would be expected to pay for our drinks. Considering the price we paid for our cruise, this seemed more than a bit stingy. Personally, I found going through all those locks (24 of them) on the Danube absolutely fascinating. However, I heard several passengers complain that beginning the cruise on the canal portion of the Danube, which required summiting the continental divide, caused "lock overload" for many. We went through a lock every few hours (sometimes more often) for several days and many passengers found the slow-going tedious after awhile. After getting to the actual Danube river, we still had MANY locks to go through as we made our way to Budapest. Several passengers suggested that starting the cruise at Passau instead of Nuremberg might have been a better plan, since most of the locks could have been avoided that way. But the most glaring issue I found with this cruise was our cruise director's open hostility to passengers, including me, on several occasions. I admit a cruise director has a lot on his plate, organizing and ushering up to 138 passengers (we had 118 on our cruise) through a variety of challenging circumstances, and ours did an excellent job. But it might be time for this particular CD to retire. He was not receptive to questions when he wasn't specifically asking for them during port briefings and he certainly didn't have a gentle or generous attitude when speaking to passengers privately. Fellow passengers began to lament that they preferred to wonder in silence rather than approach the CD with questions about anything. This is not the generous, affable professionalism that should define a cruise director, in my opinion.

Cabin Review

Cabin stateroom with full sliders, king bed, no balcony

Roomy with a very comfortable bed. Lots of storage and hanging space for clothes and accessories.

Port Reviews


It was interesting and beautiful. Our guide was very knowledgeable.


It was interesting and beautiful. Our guide was very knowledgeable.

5 Helpful Votes

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