I chose this cruise mostly as a surprise for my boyfriend, who is an artist and loves history, in particular military history. He had never been to France. I had lived in Paris and traveled there a couple of times since. But some of the places on the itinerary I had never been, too, either. It was our first river cruise and first time with Avalon. I have nothing negative to say. The whole experience from start to finish was amazing. We loved the ship, the cabin, the dining (food and wine), the shore excursions, and the service. Once on board, I was able to discuss my choice of Avalon with other passengers and it reaffirmed that I had made the right decision.
We stayed one night in Paris prior to the cruise and Avalon provided the transportation from and back to the airport as well as to the ship from our hotel on the day of embarkation. I prearranged all the tours based on our interests at each port and paid for tips up front. Less to worry about. I was able to rearrange a couple of tours on board after additional details were provided. The last day was Paris, also, so we got in as much as we could in the city considering two days is not nearly enough time.
All of the crew worked very hard to make our trip wonderful. They really seemed to love their jobs and it showed. Our cruise director was Jean-Loup. He was excellent - a fountain of knowledge and a whirlwind of activity and organization.