Avalon Panorama Cruise Review by Forest Beach
- Sail Date: October 2019
- Destination: Europe River
- Cabin Type: Panorama Suite with French Balcony
The cruise is marketed as an 8 day cruise, but there are 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 7 dinners included, so its a 7 day cruise at best. The last 24 hours are spent docked in Amsterdam, so you are effectively paying $1000 for one night in a small Amsterdam hotel room with a meal plan for two people. By comparison, we spent $250 a night for an entire floor of a canal house in a 9.8 out of 10 rated location for our other four nights in Amsterdam, and that includes a large breakfast We didn't spend close to $750 a day on meals or canal cruises on any of the other 4 days. We probably spent that collectively for the entire 4 days, and that includes $230 for two I Am City Cards for "free" admission to the most popular Amsterdam museums (except Anne Frank House bought two months in advance) and "free" public transportation and canal cruises.
Our Category A cabin was excellent and is reviewed separately. We went with Avalon instead of Viking because the meals were supposedly better. The meals were good, but definitely not a culinary experience, so don't expect to be wowed. Across the entire staff, the onboard service was excellent. Embarkation was also a breeze. I would recommend going downstream from Basel to Amsterdam as you get between points quicker (17 hours Cologne to Amsterdam vs. 24 hours the other direction) and with less engine noise. On ship entertainment was limited to the same lounge singer every night, plus one night with three classical musicians (very enjoyable), and another night with a local band (average).
Included excursions with local guides were informative, sometimes humorous, but not exceptional in any way.
My expectation is that the Avalon river cruise experience is on par with cruises provided by other comparably priced cruise lines. But I think they are all expensive relative to a land tour option covering comparable sites.
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