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This was our first river cruise and we put alot of thought into where we wanted to travel. We spent an extra night in Paris and stayed at the Pullman Paris Eiffel Tower. The hotel was fine - room was small but clean and functional with a partial view of the Eiffel Tower from the balcony. Front desk staff spoke English and were very pleasant. Elevators were sketchy at best. I should note that we arranged for ground transportation to and from the airport. When we arrived at the airport there was no one to greet us after retrieving our luggage (which took nearly an hour.) After wandering around for another 30 minutes the driver came walking in - I noticed his Avalon sign so figured he was there to pick us up (he was.) No explanation as to why he was so late and no apology. Representatives for Avalon were available in the hotel the morning of the cruise. I was under the impression they would be able to help us select some sightseeing options for that day (until we left for the boat at 3:45) - that was not the case. They merely gave us our bus pass and stored our luggage. We were able to walk around the Trocadero and the Eiffel Tower - but the security lines for the Eiffel Tower were too long to wait in to go up in it. In addition, the weather was very hot (90+) that day. We left for the boat promptly at 3:45 and our luggage was already in our stateroom when we arrived. We had time to unpack and walk around a bit prior to a going to the lounge and getting information on the cruise and all the activities prior to dinner. Everything was well organized and informative. Avalon does a great job making sure shore excursions are on time and well thought out. We scheduled every shore excursion possible. Nearly all of them were well worth the time, and in some cases, extra money. The only exception was the Paris at Night driving tour. A huge waste of money and time and we weren't the only ones who felt that way. Another note - on the first full day of the cruise we went to Giverny in the morning and then cruised into Les Andelys in the afternoon. We went on the gentle walking tour of the town. We entered a beautiful old church - the tour guide provided commentary on how France was no longer a Catholic country, but was now a Muslim country - it was an awkward, and unnecessary moment. Besides that- all tour guides were knowledgeable, friendly and accommodating. The staff on the Creativity were friendly and efficient - the tour director or captain was always there to greet people coming back from excursions. Security was also present at all times to note who was getting on and off the boat. Service was top notch. We met many interesting people from all over the world. Most were very well traveled and over the age of 55. We thought the food was okay - not great - but okay. The meals were rarely warm which is important to us. Wine was served with lunch and dinner - and your glass was never close to empty. The dining room was very noisy and sometimes hard to converse with others sitting close by. There were times we wished we could have enjoyed a more intimate meal - so if this important to you - this cruise may not be for you. Dinner was usually served beginning at 7:15 or 7:30. There is only one seating. Dress for dinner was very casual (though we didn't see any blue jeans or shorts.) There was one dressier night (farewell dinner) - but even then most folks dressed fairly casual. We did plan ahead and dressed up more that evening. We had someone on board to provide a lecture the night before we traveled to the D-Day landing beaches (highly recommend - very moving.) He was okay - albeit a bit long. On another evening the tour director gave a lecture on a young man who died in WWII in France that he had done some research on. He obviously had done alot of research. One afternoon a string trio - LaStrada - was onboard to provide entertainment. They were excellent!! We brought their CD to bring home to enjoy. Very talented young people. When it was time to leave, Avalon made sure everything was very well organized. Our transport to the airport was a little later so we had to vacate our room and wait in the lounge. It would have been nice if they had some coffee, etc., available in there for there - though I realize at this point they are flipping the boat for the next guests arriving in the afternoon.. Overall, we really enjoyed the cruise. We would recommend Avalon to others. The trip was exhausting for us, but in a good way. We feel we took advantage of every opportunity to see as much as we could - and Avalon made that possible. The staff on these boats work very hard - and always with a smile. Would we do another river cruise - I'm not sure - we might. It is definitely a good way to see a lot in a short amount of time.

First River Cruise - Seine/France

Avalon Creativity Cruise Review by DD1956

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2017
  • Destination: Europe River
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Stateroom with French Balcony
This was our first river cruise and we put alot of thought into where we wanted to travel. We spent an extra night in Paris and stayed at the Pullman Paris Eiffel Tower. The hotel was fine - room was small but clean and functional with a partial view of the Eiffel Tower from the balcony. Front desk staff spoke English and were very pleasant. Elevators were sketchy at best. I should note that we arranged for ground transportation to and from the airport. When we arrived at the airport there was no one to greet us after retrieving our luggage (which took nearly an hour.) After wandering around for another 30 minutes the driver came walking in - I noticed his Avalon sign so figured he was there to pick us up (he was.) No explanation as to why he was so late and no apology.

Representatives for Avalon were available in the hotel the morning of the cruise. I was under the impression they would be able to help us select some sightseeing options for that day (until we left for the boat at 3:45) - that was not the case. They merely gave us our bus pass and stored our luggage. We were able to walk around the Trocadero and the Eiffel Tower - but the security lines for the Eiffel Tower were too long to wait in to go up in it. In addition, the weather was very hot (90+) that day.

We left for the boat promptly at 3:45 and our luggage was already in our stateroom when we arrived. We had time to unpack and walk around a bit prior to a going to the lounge and getting information on the cruise and all the activities prior to dinner. Everything was well organized and informative. Avalon does a great job making sure shore excursions are on time and well thought out. We scheduled every shore excursion possible. Nearly all of them were well worth the time, and in some cases, extra money. The only exception was the Paris at Night driving tour. A huge waste of money and time and we weren't the only ones who felt that way. Another note - on the first full day of the cruise we went to Giverny in the morning and then cruised into Les Andelys in the afternoon. We went on the gentle walking tour of the town. We entered a beautiful old church - the tour guide provided commentary on how France was no longer a Catholic country, but was now a Muslim country - it was an awkward, and unnecessary moment. Besides that- all tour guides were knowledgeable, friendly and accommodating.

The staff on the Creativity were friendly and efficient - the tour director or captain was always there to greet people coming back from excursions. Security was also present at all times to note who was getting on and off the boat. Service was top notch. We met many interesting people from all over the world. Most were very well traveled and over the age of 55.

We thought the food was okay - not great - but okay. The meals were rarely warm which is important to us. Wine was served with lunch and dinner - and your glass was never close to empty. The dining room was very noisy and sometimes hard to converse with others sitting close by. There were times we wished we could have enjoyed a more intimate meal - so if this important to you - this cruise may not be for you. Dinner was usually served beginning at 7:15 or 7:30. There is only one seating. Dress for dinner was very casual (though we didn't see any blue jeans or shorts.) There was one dressier night (farewell dinner) - but even then most folks dressed fairly casual. We did plan ahead and dressed up more that evening.

We had someone on board to provide a lecture the night before we traveled to the D-Day landing beaches (highly recommend - very moving.) He was okay - albeit a bit long. On another evening the tour director gave a lecture on a young man who died in WWII in France that he had done some research on. He obviously had done alot of research. One afternoon a string trio - LaStrada - was onboard to provide entertainment. They were excellent!! We brought their CD to bring home to enjoy. Very talented young people.

When it was time to leave, Avalon made sure everything was very well organized. Our transport to the airport was a little later so we had to vacate our room and wait in the lounge. It would have been nice if they had some coffee, etc., available in there for there - though I realize at this point they are flipping the boat for the next guests arriving in the afternoon..

Overall, we really enjoyed the cruise. We would recommend Avalon to others. The trip was exhausting for us, but in a good way. We feel we took advantage of every opportunity to see as much as we could - and Avalon made that possible. The staff on these boats work very hard - and always with a smile. Would we do another river cruise - I'm not sure - we might. It is definitely a good way to see a lot in a short amount of time.
DD1956’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Stateroom with French Balcony
Cabin A 316
Very clean and well maintained. Small, but lots of storage. Sometimes we when were getting ready we got in each others way - but that is to be expected. Luggage easily fit under bed which was convenient.
Sapphire Deck Balcony Cabins