We chose Avalon Panorama for our first ever river cruise. We flew from the UK to Basel, stayed the night before in St Louis & joined the ship next day. The staff were super friendly & within a few minutes of arriving we were told our cabin was ready for us. We unpacked & quickly returned for the lunch being served in the upstairs lounge. We had a very tasty lasagne, a vegetarian rice dish was offered too. Washed down with a cheeky glass of very acceptable red, we departed for our walking tour of Basel, which was most interesting.
The evening meal was served in the downstairs dining room, with its excellent staff. Its a 4 course affair, so plenty of time to socialize with your fellow passengers, we made friends with US, Canadian, Australian & UK guests. Generally: Salad or appetizer, then choice of 2 soups, main course of meat or fish or vegetarian ( daily staples are also available, IE Steak /salmon, chicken), desert or cheese. On the evening of the the Gala dinner, we had an extra course of Lobster too. Plenty of very good, local wines were served each evening and lunch, all were excellent. After dinner, recorded music was played in the upstairs Lounge and there was plenty of space & seating for all to enjoy a drink there with new friends. On 2 occasions we were treated to live entertainment, a real treat and all enjoyed greatly.
Every day included a sightseeing excursion, some half day, some full day. Alternative trips or experiences were available and also your Adventure host would take you hiking or biking if you choose.
Cabin 221, Panorama suite: As the name suggests, we enjoyed Avalon's innovative 3 full sliding doors to fully open up our cabin views. It was stunning. The bed was very comfortable, and pillows were too. Beautiful decor & practical also. Plenty of wardrobe space & shelving + safe. Drawers were less plentiful but we coped. We opted for Breakfast in Bed option. Simply tick the boxes & time on the card and its magically delivered next morning. Bircher muesli, smoothies, yogurt, cheese, ham, croissants, danish, toast, jam, butter, tea,coffee & more.
The bathroom is very well planned and gorgeous. The shower had great pressure & hot water, no complaints at all. Heavenly scents from L'occitaine filled the room; soap, & shampoo, conditioner & body lotion.
A great walking tour through Basel with a guide on our embarkation day, excellent.
Having visited this port before I was looking forward to the included river cruise through the canals. It was very good with our knowledgeable guide but walking tour after ,the streets were grubby & it felt oppressive so we were not inclined to return into the city after lunch. Next time I will book an excursion out of the town, such a shame.
Fabulous city and great guide Rafaela made it come alive, we also booked an extra trip out to one of the Maginot line's fortresses. Wow, I never knew these existed. The local historian gave us the tour, I fully recommend.
Great to see the immense cathedral and some train spotting too! Great weather helped. Very interesting to learn of its history with our guide.
We had a full day in Heidelberg, (then the ship met us in Mainz) the castle 's history is most interesting & the town is very pretty & definitely worth visiting if only for the cakes!
We hiked up through the vineyards to the monument, hard work but worth it for the views. Came down by cable car had very boozy coffee.