We have cruised on 15 plus ocean liner cruises, all over the world and loved every one of them, but had been encouraged by other cruisers to try a river cruise. So we did and really regret doing so! The cost of a river cruise with Avalon was more than twice as much as any liner cruise we have ever taken(of same duration).
The service was very poor, as it seemed the boat was understaffed. The food waiters were run off their feet and just could not serve the amount of tables they were responsible for.Complimentary drinks at meal time sounds like a plus but when there are no servers available to give such drinks,it is deplorable. My husband drinks beer and when he did finally get served a beer it was often warm. I drink wine and often was without because the servers were attending to food and drinks for up to four or five other large tables.It was not the fault of the workers. Also there was no bar service on deck. On the day we had commentary there was not even a waiter on deck. You had to walk down a long set of stairs to the only bar in the lounge to get a drink. We could not believe this. We are in our early 60's but most of the cruisers were much older and this would be a difficult feat for them.
The food was our biggest disappointment.The menu was very limited and the quality was terrible.
I could go on and on ,but here're a few examples:
The romaine was so wilted in my caesar salad that you couldn't see it in the bowl.I ordered it twice and it was soggy both times,so I did not order it again. I ordered pancakes one day and they were so hard I could not cut them with a knife. I sent them back and waited 15 minutes before I met the waiter with new ones as I was leaving the table,in disgust.My husband had finished his breakfast long before this.Steak was actually a thin slice of roast beef. The dinner portions were so small, four of the six of us that sat together started ordering two main courses. I did so to find something that was suitable to eat.
The state rooms were nice and the ports were lovely, but I suggest you visit on your own or with a tour company as the food and service on Avalon did not come close to meeting our expectations, especially for the money we paid.