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After wanting to try a river cruise for a long time, we finally joined with a group of friends for Avalon's Blue Danube Discovery. Trip began in Budapest where we had two days to explore the city before boarding the ship, trip ended in Prague, where we had about a day and a half. Shortly after arriving we met Monika van der Drift, our Cruise Director, who was terrific and did a wonderful job from that moment until the very end- high praise for her! We cannot say enough good things about her. Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth, and the ship's captain and crew were warm, friendly, efficient and professional. The Captain was open and engaging, and several in our group with ship-sailing experience from their military days enjoyed visiting the Bridge, and seeing how things worked, and were very impressed with his knowledge and skill in navigating the Danube. We loved our cabin, with its floor to ceiling windows, and efficient, functional layout- we have been on big cruise ships and this was by far, the most comfortable room and bathroom layout we have ever experienced- bed was also very comfortable. A+ for the room. Food was very good and we liked the option of eating lunch or dinner in main dining room or having a lighter meal on the first deck- this was particularly nice one evening when we cruised and watched the sunset over the Danube.Service was very good, we never had a problem, even when adding more seats to our dining table to accommodate some of our party-very graciously the dining room staff helped with this. Food was especially good for the two "special" dinners, the Chef's Dinner and even better, the Gala Farewell Dinner. Online DJ, Delyan, was great, and responsive to what he noticed passengers enjoying. We so enjoyed listening and dancing each evening. One evening a local ban, The Untouchables, came aboard to entertain, another evening it was The Bavarian Devils- both were terrific. There were also wine and beer tasting events, scheduled at a time that was convenient for those who wished to attend. There was a nice program of fitness activities with Ana, the Activities Director. Bikes are available on board, and many in our group took advantage of this. As for the ports, it was a nice variety of city and small town. I have a list of towns I want to return to. I will say, we were there during the heat wave hitting Europe this summer, which made for some really hot days of walking, but that is weather, and better than rain! We really appreciated the always- available water on those days. As for the excursions, there was a nice variety and you could select from both included and those available for an extra fee. Some of our favorites? Royal Waltz concert in Vienna was outstanding and almost made us forget the heat, trip to Cesky Krumlov, Nuremberg, Regensberg and Prague city tours.The wine pairing tour in Budapest also got rave reviews from those in our group. One unexpected treat was lunch on the tour of Nuremberg- much better than you might expect for a tourist group type meal. One not to repeat? Horse show and lunch in Budapest- this is much more suitable for young children, and not the Hungarian horse show you think you are going to see. We had looked forward to Schonbrunn Palace, but to be honest, it was a bit of a disappointment. We were given time to explore the extensive gardens, but no map to guide us so were worried we would not find our way back in time for the house tour. Lack of air movement in the Palace made things difficult in the heat. We did lose the last day of sailing as another ship (not Avalon!) had hit and damaged a lock, but we felt fortunate that we did not have more disruption because of this. Would we do this again? Absolutely, and we have been looking at options since getting home. It was a wonderful, wonderful vacation, thank you Avalon!

A wonderful trip, start to finish

Avalon Impression Cruise Review by deniseltd

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2019
  • Destination: Europe
  • Cabin Type: Panorama Suite with French Balcony
After wanting to try a river cruise for a long time, we finally joined with a group of friends for Avalon's Blue Danube Discovery. Trip began in Budapest where we had two days to explore the city before boarding the ship, trip ended in Prague, where we had about a day and a half. Shortly after arriving we met Monika van der Drift, our Cruise Director, who was terrific and did a wonderful job from that moment until the very end- high praise for her! We cannot say enough good things about her.

Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth, and the ship's captain and crew were warm, friendly, efficient and professional. The Captain was open and engaging, and several in our group with ship-sailing experience from their military days enjoyed visiting the Bridge, and seeing how things worked, and were very impressed with his knowledge and skill in navigating the Danube.

We loved our cabin, with its floor to ceiling windows, and efficient, functional layout- we have been on big cruise ships and this was by far, the most comfortable room and bathroom layout we have ever experienced- bed was also very comfortable. A+ for the room.

Food was very good and we liked the option of eating lunch or dinner in main dining room or having a lighter meal on the first deck- this was particularly nice one evening when we cruised and watched the sunset over the Danube.Service was very good, we never had a problem, even when adding more seats to our dining table to accommodate some of our party-very graciously the dining room staff helped with this. Food was especially good for the two "special" dinners, the Chef's Dinner and even better, the Gala Farewell Dinner.

Online DJ, Delyan, was great, and responsive to what he noticed passengers enjoying. We so enjoyed listening and dancing each evening. One evening a local ban, The Untouchables, came aboard to entertain, another evening it was The Bavarian Devils- both were terrific. There were also wine and beer tasting events, scheduled at a time that was convenient for those who wished to attend. There was a nice program of fitness activities with Ana, the Activities Director. Bikes are available on board, and many in our group took advantage of this.

As for the ports, it was a nice variety of city and small town. I have a list of towns I want to return to. I will say, we were there during the heat wave hitting Europe this summer, which made for some really hot days of walking, but that is weather, and better than rain! We really appreciated the always- available water on those days.

As for the excursions, there was a nice variety and you could select from both included and those available for an extra fee. Some of our favorites? Royal Waltz concert in Vienna was outstanding and almost made us forget the heat, trip to Cesky Krumlov, Nuremberg, Regensberg and Prague city tours.The wine pairing tour in Budapest also got rave reviews from those in our group. One unexpected treat was lunch on the tour of Nuremberg- much better than you might expect for a tourist group type meal. One not to repeat? Horse show and lunch in Budapest- this is much more suitable for young children, and not the Hungarian horse show you think you are going to see. We had looked forward to Schonbrunn Palace, but to be honest, it was a bit of a disappointment. We were given time to explore the extensive gardens, but no map to guide us so were worried we would not find our way back in time for the house tour. Lack of air movement in the Palace made things difficult in the heat.

We did lose the last day of sailing as another ship (not Avalon!) had hit and damaged a lock, but we felt fortunate that we did not have more disruption because of this.

Would we do this again? Absolutely, and we have been looking at options since getting home. It was a wonderful, wonderful vacation, thank you Avalon!
deniseltd’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Panorama Suite with French Balcony
Cabin P 313
As noted above, the floor to ceiling window that you could open was wonderful. Layout of room was functional and comfortable, most comfortable we have been on a cruise ship. Bed was very comfortable. We had adequate storage. The bathroom was also an unexpected plus, we did not feel crammed at all. By far best cabin layout of any cruise we have been on. Cabin attendants were also very good and we never had a problem. The comfort of the cabin really contributed to the overall positive experience we had.
Royal Deck Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Budapest
    Much better suited to children and families; horse show not what we expected given all we had read, lunch was fine (but such a hot day, and no fans or air movement at all in the dining room, so much food wasted because it was just too hot); guide at farm could not get video to work so that part of tour was disappointing.
    View All 12,792 Budapest Cruise Port Reviews
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  • City Tour
    We had the misfortune of having a guide who must have been having a bad day. Almost kept us from doing any more city tours. Focus was on showing us where bathrooms were, and very little history or information given - in fact, guide from airport to hotel gave us much more information
    View All 301 City Tour Reviews
  • Durnstein (Krems)
    Such a lovely, small town. It is hilly, so if you have trouble walking, take that into consideration- but this was not an issue for us, basically two main streets, lovely views, castle ruins above, vineyard as you approach town. Just lovely to explore on our own.
    View All 116 Durnstein (Krems) Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Nuremberg
    We did the highlights of Nuremberg tour which was great, as was our guide. Learned so much, had a great lunch with our group (included) and still had plenty of time on our own to revisit spots in the downtown area, and do a little shopping. Stopping here made us want to return.
    View All 522 Nuremberg Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Passau
    Wonderful day seeing this gem of a town. We were hesitant about taking a full day trip and there were other good options, but we did enjoy this. We had a brief walking tour to help orient ourselves (though guide seemed intent on pointing out which shops we should spend our money in- he was a riot though, so very entertaining). We had lots of time to ourselves and enjoyed wandering around, listening to street performers, and we had a lovely lunch on the water, watching the river rafters. Also, the drive to get there was pleasant, and our bus guide was terrific.
    View All 12,792 Passau Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Regensburg
    One of the best city tours we had- this was the one day it rained and our poor guide got soaked as he tried to help us stay under cover. He made us want to return here! We liked also how close to town we were, easy to walk in from the ship and find your way around. Wonderful spot.
    View All 517 Regensburg Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Vienna
    Fabulous! In spite of heat and no air conditioning (again, temps in mid-90s), the music was outstanding. There was some ballet, some opera and the entertainers were personable and engaging. So, in spite of the heat, everyone thoroughly enjoyed. This was a highlight evening!
    View All 12,792 Vienna Cruise Port Reviews
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  • City Tour
    Even though quite hot (temperatures in mid-90s) we had terrific guide, and great walking tour with some time to explore a bit on our own at the end
    View All 151 City Tour Reviews
  • Schonbrunn Palace
    Started with tour of extensive gardens but lack of map made most in the group reluctant to stray to far; Palace itself was interesting but lack of airflow on a very hot day made things a bit difficult. Palace itselfess grand than we had been led to believe
    View All 152 Schonbrunn Palace Reviews