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This was a Danube cruise, Budapest to Nuremburg. Due to low water on the river, the ship discharged passengers just beyond Regensburg, busing those who were departing from Nuremburg and to Prague for those who had signed up for it. At this, we considered ourselves fortunate, because we heard that some other cruise captains refused to go on past Vienna. Ours did go on, although it was disconcerting to hear the cruise director offhandedly characterize our situation as "precarious." The Wachau valley, through which the Danube flows, is beautiful, and we had practically cloudless skies to appreciate it. The several little towns visited along the way bear enough resemblance to each other that they ultimately became indistinguishable and of marginal interest. The ship is comfortable and the staff outstanding. Embarkation and dis-embarkation were a breeze as were the excursion arrangments; Avalon's approach to organization leaves nothing to be desired. That cannot be said for life on board. Like most river cruises, there is little to do except to drink and socialize. Entertainment was practically non-existent, consisting of beer and wine presentations/sales and a talented local musical duo on one night. The fitness facility boasted perhaps three machines and some free weights. Surprisingly, we found the food to be quite ordinary--perhaps a bit better than one would receive on Royal Caribbean or Princess. Then again most travelers have learned to discount the poetry most lines summon to describe their usually pedestrian fare. Perhaps a third of the cruise passengers did go on to Prague, and here unpleasantness awaited. The cruise materials had promised lodging in one of two 4-star hotels located in the city's renowned center. Some weeks before sailing, we were advised by email that we would be lodged in a third hotel, which a quick glance at a city map revealed to be across the River Vistula in a working-class neighborhood perhaps an hour's walk from anything a tourist would wish to visit, with a rack rate of about $100 per night less than the downtown accommodations. Questioned about this, and how the arrangement met the company's contractual promise to provide "comparable" accommodations in the event that a hotel change became necessary, its representative offered the standard "nothing can be done" explanation. Upon arrival, our preconceptions were borne out. The hotel itself was fine, but entirely out of the way. The hotel does run a shuttle to the downtown, but it runs infrequently and only into the early evening. We and our fellow passengers became quite irate when, after a half-hour ride downtown, the shuttle deposited us in front of one of hotels that had originally been designated as our lodging. I brought this matter to Avalon's attention in a detailed email upon returning home and the company promised a full review. Six weeks later, it delivered a perfunctory response with a vague apology that explained absolutely nothing. Be advised.

Avalon Pulls a Fast One on its Customers

Avalon Panorama Cruise Review by Jesse S.

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2018
  • Destination: Europe River
  • Cabin Type: Panorama Suite with French Balcony
This was a Danube cruise, Budapest to Nuremburg. Due to low water on the river, the ship discharged passengers just beyond Regensburg, busing those who were departing from Nuremburg and to Prague for those who had signed up for it.

At this, we considered ourselves fortunate, because we heard that some other cruise captains refused to go on past Vienna. Ours did go on, although it was disconcerting to hear the cruise director offhandedly characterize our situation as "precarious."

The Wachau valley, through which the Danube flows, is beautiful, and we had practically cloudless skies to appreciate it. The several little towns visited along the way bear enough resemblance to each other that they ultimately became indistinguishable and of marginal interest.

The ship is comfortable and the staff outstanding. Embarkation and dis-embarkation were a breeze as were the excursion arrangments; Avalon's approach to organization leaves nothing to be desired.

That cannot be said for life on board. Like most river cruises, there is little to do except to drink and socialize. Entertainment was practically non-existent, consisting of beer and wine presentations/sales and a talented local musical duo on one night. The fitness facility boasted perhaps three machines and some free weights. Surprisingly, we found the food to be quite ordinary--perhaps a bit better than one would receive on Royal Caribbean or Princess. Then again most travelers have learned to discount the poetry most lines summon to describe their usually pedestrian fare.

Perhaps a third of the cruise passengers did go on to Prague, and here unpleasantness awaited. The cruise materials had promised lodging in one of two 4-star hotels located in the city's renowned center. Some weeks before sailing, we were advised by email that we would be lodged in a third hotel, which a quick glance at a city map revealed to be across the River Vistula in a working-class neighborhood perhaps an hour's walk from anything a tourist would wish to visit, with a rack rate of about $100 per night less than the downtown accommodations. Questioned about this, and how the arrangement met the company's contractual promise to provide "comparable" accommodations in the event that a hotel change became necessary, its representative offered the standard "nothing can be done" explanation.

Upon arrival, our preconceptions were borne out. The hotel itself was fine, but entirely out of the way. The hotel does run a shuttle to the downtown, but it runs infrequently and only into the early evening. We and our fellow passengers became quite irate when, after a half-hour ride downtown, the shuttle deposited us in front of one of hotels that had originally been designated as our lodging.

I brought this matter to Avalon's attention in a detailed email upon returning home and the company promised a full review. Six weeks later, it delivered a perfunctory response with a vague apology that explained absolutely nothing.

Be advised.
Jesse S.’s Full Rating Summary
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