This was our third Avalon cruise. We had done the Rhine and the Seine cruises and loved them, so of course we stayed with Avalon. If you haven't done the Rhine, this tour does go by the Rhine castles and Lorelei Rock. I think that is really the high point of the Rhine cruise. (Plus, the Rhine is more industrial, which this tour is defiantly more scenic)
On this cruise, the ship sails on the Danube canal, Main River, Rhine canal and Mossel River. There is very little industry, so the scenery is just beautiful, especially the mountains on the Mossel with the vineyards.
We did the tour extension and started in Prague. Since our plane was late, we only had one full day in Prague, and that really isn't enough in this awesome city. We did the Avalon tour as well as Hidden Treasures and the Folklore dinner. We enjoyed all of them.
Avalon's hotel, Hilton, did not meet our expectations due to very noisy (think jackhammer) construction that takes place from 10 to 7 pm. Although it was a superior hotel with beautiful rooms, not being able to hold a conversation in our room due to noise was not acceptable.
However, this was a wonderful cruise. It helped that we had a fantastic Austrian cruise direction, Helmut, who kept things moving with Swiss precision. Not only were his evening cruise briefings concise and funny, but he was always there to make sure that our local guides had us where we were supposed to be He did a superior job of organizing our transfers off the ship.
The crew of the ship were excellent. Of course our cabins were spotless, as was the ship and dining areas. The meals were delicious. Breakfast was buffet, with any food you could imagine, including an omelet station, which was particularly popular. Lunch also offered a great selection. Dinner was 4-5 courses, and you have a choice for each course. They serve wine and beer with lunch and dinner, complimentary. The ship also served tea at 4:00 with baked goods and sandwiches. We found all the food fantastic!
Our lounge singer was ok, but the entertainers they brought onboard were excellent.
The Imagery II is a great ship. Avalon has made the rooms bigger than they were formerly; there is more room in the shower now and a little table by the french balcony. They have scented oil diffusers in the bathroom, but took them out at my request due to my allergies. The rooms on the mid deck all have the sliding glass door that runs the length of your room. This is wonderful when you are up early and sailing into a port. You can sit in bed and watch the world go by. The lower levels do not have these windows, and our friends on the lower deck would see swan asses sail by. However, our friend on the lower decks felt like they were rarely in their rooms, which is generally true.
We did all of the included and extra tours that Avalon offered. We enjoyed all the included tours. We would have skipped the "VINEYARDS, VILLAGES & VIEWS OF THE MOSELLE" because we went to a former nunnery that didn't exist, and it was meaningless. However the first half of the tour was interesting in that we saw how sparkling wine was made. Our tour guide knew a lot of information about growing wine grapes, and that was interesting.
Ports were exceptionally beautiful with medieval half timbered houses. Wurzberg is a stand out for the bishop's residence and Trier for its Roman ruins. We would have liked to spend more time in those towns. Bamberg is a breathtaking beautiful town.
I like that Avalon now offers activities to suit different fitness levels. We did the average group, which was usually around 2-4 miles of walking. There was a gentle walking group for those who didn't want to walk that much. There is a fast paced group that goes on hikes to castles and bike rides. People seemed to enjoy having neat options.
I am very glad that we did this cruise. It was relaxing and enjoyable.
Wonderful room. Bathroom was relatively spacious. Love the french balcony and table and chairs. Didn't love the oil diffuser in the bathroom.
The Bishop's residence is a stand out with the ceiling fresco.
Pretty little town to have a glass of wine. Musical museum is enjoyable.
Beautiful old houses. Wish we could have spent more time here.