Our travel companions picked Avalon and we said we'd try it though we have cruised with Viking twice. The Panorama stateroom was fabulous - comfortable, and updated; the bathroom was roomy. 99% of the staff was excellent. My big bone of contention was getting in touch with anyone from Avalon the company when we had an issue at the hotel in Amsterdam (luckily, I had printed the paperwork) and when our luggage did not arrive. You can't leave a message with anyone as you can with Viking. The dining room was so incredibly loud that at times we had to shout to be heard; the food was good but not spectacular. The chef was was very responsive to us but some of the waitstaff had a language problem and it made it difficult to get our choices understood. Tours did not allow for enough time to walk around, sit and have a beverage, much less shop. Apparently this has been an ongoing issue for years but Avalon keeps doing the same thing. Both tour directors were great - charming, knowledgeable, informative. Maitre'd was great - personally brought a breakfast and a dinner to our room.