9 Prague Avalon Waterways Avalon Vista Cruise Reviews

We were interested in trying a river cruise because several of our friends had enjoyed them. Our travel agent recommended Avalon--highly!! And this particular tour included a number of places we had not visited on our previous travels. ... Read More
We were interested in trying a river cruise because several of our friends had enjoyed them. Our travel agent recommended Avalon--highly!! And this particular tour included a number of places we had not visited on our previous travels. The ships we sailed on were both fantastic. They were in excellent condition. Our rooms were actually roomy. The food was superb. The crews were most accommodating, and Christina (our cruise director) did a masterful job making everything happen, despite the challenges of a medical emergency, inclement weather, and the low water levels on the Danube. The optional excursions were well worth the extra expense. All of the tour guides were knowledgeable and personable. The shipboard activities were also well done, and entertaining. We also had a grand time exploring on our own, especially in Prague. We were also very well taken care of during both our arrival in Prague and departure from Budapest, even at 3.30AM!!. Maybe the most lasting impression will be the experience of meeting and getting to know people from all over the world during our cruise. We met many people who we will remember for a very long time. Given all this, and so much more, there is no doubt that we would love to do another river cruise in the future, and if it happens, it will be on a Avalon ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This was our first river cruise and based on our experience, certainly not the last. Despite record low river levels at both ends of our trip that required more motorcoach time, Avalon went above and beyond to make up for something that ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and based on our experience, certainly not the last. Despite record low river levels at both ends of our trip that required more motorcoach time, Avalon went above and beyond to make up for something that was out of their control. Extra excursions at no charge, partial refunds and their overall willingness to bend over backwards for their guests makes them the go to cruise line in my opinion. Our ship, the Vista, was a pleasure to cruise on. The crew was very attentive at all times. The food and service in the dining room was fantastic. Wine selections were all excellent. Stand outs for us were Lucas the maitre'd and our server Steve. These guys made every meal memorable. Our stateroom was roomy and comfortable. Always clean and well stocked. We even had laundry done and it was finished the same day. Lastly, our time on this trip was virtually flawless primarily due to the tireless work by our cruise director Ana. She was a pro from beginning to end, taking great care of all of us. And still smiled despite taking a "beating" by a few guests over the river levels. Some people just don't get it... All in all it was a marvelous experience. We can't wait to do another river cruise and it will most definitely be with Avalon. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This was our first river cruise. We have been on multiple ocean cruises and have heard great things about river cruising. We chose this cruise as Christmas is my favorite time of year and I love decorating at home. Avalon has beautiful ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. We have been on multiple ocean cruises and have heard great things about river cruising. We chose this cruise as Christmas is my favorite time of year and I love decorating at home. Avalon has beautiful ships. Our room was on the top floor, which really is only half a staircase form the lobby. Plenty of room for the week. Not as large as ocean ships but very nice. Food was excellent, our waiter quickly knew what we liked and was always accommodating. You do not have to sit at the same table, but we liked George so much we always sat at one of his tables. This being a small ship, you quickly make friends with many of the other passengers. The few negatives we do have were, need more entertainment in the evening. They did have a couple of nights with outside entertainment, but most nights was just the piano. We found on those nights most people did not come down to the lounge. Second, we would have liked to stay in some of the smaller towns longer. They were the towns we came to see. Nuremberg was not our favorite. Christmas market was large, but city was depressing. The smaller German towns may not have had large markets, but the stores were quaint and the people very friendly. Just didn't have enough time there. Third, most of the Christmas markets were very commercial. Same items everywhere. Found most of the same items in souvenir shops for less money. Had to find the small markets on the side roads to find unique items. Finally, because you are in most towns for less then a day, most tours start early around 8-8:30. That means getting up, having breakfast and out the door. If you are looking to relax this is not the trip. I came home more tired then before I left. Would I go again, but probably not till we retire, so I can rest when I come home. I was told by many other passengers who have gone on other river cruises that in the Summer, many ships are tripled docked, so you walk thru other boats to get to shore, and if you have a cabin on the side that is docked, you are looking at another boat 3 feet away. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We wanted to do a Christmas Market cruise and chose the one on the Danube so that we could visit Vienna. We had a great time. Prior to embarking we spent time in Prague exploring the city. Our ship was decorated in Christmas colors. Our ... Read More
We wanted to do a Christmas Market cruise and chose the one on the Danube so that we could visit Vienna. We had a great time. Prior to embarking we spent time in Prague exploring the city. Our ship was decorated in Christmas colors. Our cabin was on the third deck and was beautiful. The food was great and our cruise director was friendly, entertaining and helpful. The entertainment and activities were wonderful. The service can really set the tone for the cruise. Our service was over-the-top! Sylvia and the other crew members did everything they could to make our journey great. We had some scheduling issues in that the Christmas Markets weren't open the first couple of days however that gave us time to explore the stalls and shops that were open without crowds. We also were able to get a "behind the scenes" look as they set up the markets. We really enjoyed the excursions and the guides were excellent. Our final port was Vienna and we booked two additional nights there to give us more time in the city. One of our Vienna excursions was to a concert and it was beautiful. This was our second Avalon Waterways cruise and we look forward to boarding one of their ships again in a year or so. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We wanted to visit Eastern Europe as we heard the scenery was beautiful. We were not disappointed. We felt Avalon Waterways did a great job in every aspect of the trip. It was an opera cruise, and we were not really into opera, but it was ... Read More
We wanted to visit Eastern Europe as we heard the scenery was beautiful. We were not disappointed. We felt Avalon Waterways did a great job in every aspect of the trip. It was an opera cruise, and we were not really into opera, but it was great. A concert in Vienna was icing on the cake. The cruise director ( Mr. Pinter) was very knowledgeable and worked very hard to make the cruise an enjoyable trip for everyone. His port talks were informative and a little humorous. The servers in the restaurant were very friendly and extremely efficient. They were there anytime we needed them. We especially enjoyed Puji who was really great. Avi was the steward for our cabin, and he had our room, it seemed, ready every time we returned. He also greeted us in the hallway the first day and after by our first names which impressed us. Everyone was super nice and friendly. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our first river cruise. Surprisingly my husband & I were the only British people on the Xmas market river cruise tour - 80% USA, 20% Australia + some Canadians & NZ and occasional others. Avalon marketing in the UK must be ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. Surprisingly my husband & I were the only British people on the Xmas market river cruise tour - 80% USA, 20% Australia + some Canadians & NZ and occasional others. Avalon marketing in the UK must be lacking, because it was a very good trip, and very well organised. We started with 2 nights in the Intercontinental, Prague. This is a good hotel, well located, though the grapefruit "juice" at the included breakfast tasted like unidentifiable sugar water, and the ship breakfast was much better. We did not eat any other meals there. The first day we walked round the surprisingly small Prague Xmas market in the Old Town Square, and had dinner there at restaurant Mincovna on the square - quite good food, very whitewashed décor. The second day we enjoyed the included Avalon guided tour of the castle (only outside of all buildings) - the guide was good. 3 out of 5 of our daily local guides were funny and excellent, only the 2 in Nuremberg and Bamberg were rushed and a bit dull. We then chose to leave the guide and go round the Jewish synagogues, cemetery by ourselves - very interesting. That evening's meal (booked by us) was the best of the holiday, to La Veranda near the hotel - totally gourmet food in a lovely decorated room. Prague was very inexpensive all round. On the 3rd day we all were bussed to Nuremberg to catch the river ship. We left around 12.45 pm and reached the ship around 5.00 pm. It was extremely well decorated and smart, and the staff were unfailingly smiling and welcoming. We were lucky to meet some lovely friendly Americans to have dinner with each day - there are no tables for 2, so you have to talk to people when you share a table for each meal. We were also lucky with the weather which was mostly sunny and not horribly cold. We had all day in Nuremberg, only the morning in Bamburg, all day in Wurzburg (though 90% of the ship only had the morning and paid 44 euros to be bussed to Rothenburg for a guided walk in the afternoon) and the afternoon in Miltenburg, a very sweet village - though their Xmas market was shut as midweek. We were impressed by the efficiency of the private car to and from the airport at home. Only the transfer to the hotel from the airport in Prague (1.5 hours literally standing waiting for 4 other flights for us all to go on a coach) and to the airport from the ship at Frankfurt (coaches only every 2 hours for again around 4 - 5 flights, so we had 3 very dull hours sitting at Frankfurt airport - not a fun place) let the whole experience down - would have much preferred a series of taxis for us all both ways so did not eat into our holiday. We believe Avalon is much cheaper for a very similar product than some other river cruise lines, and I would recommend it - but you do need to be happy to talk to people all day, as it is very much a group experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I lived in Germany for 3 years when I was younger and have been dying to go back to the German Christmas markets ever since. A Christmas market river cruise has been on my bucket list for years, so I was thrilled when the opportunity came ... Read More
I lived in Germany for 3 years when I was younger and have been dying to go back to the German Christmas markets ever since. A Christmas market river cruise has been on my bucket list for years, so I was thrilled when the opportunity came up for me to take this trip. I have done probably a dozen ocean cruises, but this was my first river cruise. We began with two nights in Prague at the Hilton Prague Old Town. I can't imagine a better place to stay because we were within walking distance of two Christmas market areas. There were also some great local restaurants nearby. The second night we ate in an old 10th century cellar that had been converted to a restaurant. The food was good, and the atmosphere was excellent! We were bussed to Nuremburg to board the ship. I was so excited as I stepped on board because for the first time in a long time, I had no idea what to expect from this cruise. The ship was so tiny (which of course I expected) but very welcoming. They had done a fantastic job of decorating for Christmas, and we even had a lit Christmas tree out on the bow! We were in room 231, and the room was fantastic. It has the French balcony, so the entire wall is a window. I love the ocean, but it was a really neat experience to see the constantly changing scenery outside our room -- castles and vineyards and swans -- very different than ocean scenery! My one complaint about the room was that it occasionally reeked of cigarette smoke. I don't know if it was coming from the smoking area at the aft of the ship or the crew area that was just one room down from us, but there were times that it made me feel slightly nauseous. After the third occurrence, I mentioned it to the cruise director who blamed it on the ship next to us, but since that ship hadn't been there the first or second time we had the problem, that clearly wasn't it. Oh, one random complaint about the room: the tv had 8 different fireplace channels -- 8 different options for watching a fireplace on tv! -- but no music channels more recent than the 80's. :( I did, however, enjoy the German tv stations; they gave me a great chance to practice listening to the language and see how much I could manage to understand! Speaking of the cruise director though (Jean Loup Domart), I have to say he was amazing. I left my credit card in one of the Christmas market shops & didn't realize it until we were heading out for an excursion. Long story short, he found out about it and actually went to get my credit card while I was on the other trip! I would have thought that he was absolutely fantastic even without the credit card issue, but that just proved his willingness to go way above & beyond what anyone would expect and shows how much he cares about the passengers. I'm not going to go into detail on each port because that would take forever (and because until I get a chance to look back through my pictures, they're all kind of blending together in my head). But I will say that I would highly recommend this itinerary for anyone who is sort of a kid at heart and really just wants to experience Christmas every day. I was not at all let down by the Christmas markets and thoroughly enjoyed sampling all of the local foods & drinks and browsing the market stalls. We also visited some castles & impressive churches, so there's still plenty to do when you get tired of eating, drinking, and looking at Christmas trees. If you do a Christmas market cruise through Germany, the three things you must try are the Gluhwein, bratwurst (duh!), and roasted chestnuts. Oh, and in Prague, don't miss the honey wine and the trdelnik. If you see people eating something that looks like a hollowed out loaf of bread, believe me, you want one too! Onboard Experience: The food was very good. Better than I've had on any mainstream cruise line. Maybe not quite up there with Princess, but not far off. I never ate breakfast on the ship because I knew there would be plenty to eat for lunch & dinner (and because I didn't want to wake up at 7 am just to have time to eat -- the included excursions were mostly very early in the morning). I only ate lunch on board twice because we usually ate off the ship, but everything I did eat on board was great. I especially appreciated that wine was included with dinner! There was a happy hour almost every night offering half priced drinks. We definitely took advantage of that most nights, but you can't stray too far from what's on their drink menu. I tried to order a lemon drop martini (which I thought was an extremely common drink) and they had no idea what I was talking about. The server thought I wanted a regular martini (yuck!) with a lemon slice. So I reverted to a cosmo (which was on the menu) instead. Nightlife on board is pretty much non-existent. There was a guy from Bulgaria (I think) named Sergio who played a keyboard and sang 70s & 80's songs (with a heavy accent). That was, until a drunk woman kicked him off his station so that she could play while she & her friends belted out "Bohemian Rhapsody." When my husband decided to join in, I became thoroughly embarrassed and decided it was time to retreat to the room! (It was pretty funny, though.) Aside from a cuckoo-clock demonstration one night (which I didn't attend, but my husband won a beer stein there), that was it for nightly entertainment. On the one hand, it was sort of sad that there was nothing to do after dinner, but on the other hand, I really didn't mind too much because I knew we were in for another early start the next morning. To me, this is the type of cruise you do primarily for the itinerary rather than the on board experience. We spent as much time as possible out in the towns and mostly considered the ship a nice easy way to get from place to place, not the primary destination like it sometimes is with ocean ships. As for the excursions, I highly recommend the added excursion to Rothenburg. It's a very charming town that I remembered visiting when I had lived in Germany before, and I was so glad to have the opportunity for another visit. Most of the included excursions were great. The Bishop's Residence in Wurtzburg was amazing! But there was one that I felt was a waste of time (unless you're seriously into cuckoo clocks). I guess the ship has a deal worked out with this cuckoo clock store owner. He's the same one that came on board for the demonstration that one night. The excursion involved at least two hours on a bus (round-trip) to his store where we were given a free piece of black forest cake. Then we stayed at the store for an hour with nothing to do but look around this guy's shop. Yes, the clocks were impressive, but I had no desire to buy one or to spend my vacation time waiting in this guys crowded store. The cake was okay, I guess. I'm not one to turn down a free dessert. After the cruise, we had two nights at the Movenpick Zurich Airport. I wasn't quite as impressed here as I was with our hotel in Prague. There was nothing within walking distance, so you have to take the train in to town. Once you get into the main part of the city, there really wasn't much to do. There's an indoor Christmas market that could've been nice if it hadn't been so claustrophobia-inducingly crowded. So we left there to find a place for dinner as soon as we could wrestle our way back outside, but Zurich is so expensive that it took forever to find a reasonable place to eat. We had booked an independent excursion for the next day to visit the Lindt chocolate store, a cheese factory, and ride a cable car up a mountain. That trip was one of the highlights of our entire vacation. From up on the mountain, we could see Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Lichtenstein, and the mountains that border Italy. There was this light shining down into the valley, and it was one of the most breathtaking things I've ever seen in my life -- right up there with the view from atop Capri. Anyway, in conclusion, I'm not in a hurry to rush out and book another river cruise. I do prefer the ocean cruise experience overall and probably could never afford to do another river cruise anyway. However, if I were planning a trip through Europe, I would definitely prefer a river cruise to just driving around. I love being able to see multiple places in one trip, and a river cruise is a great way to get to places that can be hard to navigate on your own. I would not hesitate to book with Avalon again, although I am still very curious about AMA and Viking and would love the chance to see how they compare. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Overall • Very nice trip with few negatives. • Many interesting sites and photo ops • Avalon cruise was very good – excellent facilities and very good service, several very good tours, but fair (relatively bland) food. • The ... Read More
Overall • Very nice trip with few negatives. • Many interesting sites and photo ops • Avalon cruise was very good – excellent facilities and very good service, several very good tours, but fair (relatively bland) food. • The rooms on board were as nice as expected – very nice bathrooms, very good bed, well equipped and nicely decorated. Avalon had the largest rooms of any of the river cruise lines during the April and May periods. We also liked the large sliding (French balcony) door. • The big 3 cities (Prague, Vienna and Budapest) are indeed must see places. Regensberg was also extra nice. • Vienna and Budapest are a minimum of 2 days. Should have stayed another day in Budapest, • Most of the included and optional tours were quite helpful in getting an overview of area and enabled us to go to many of the further away places. There was limited time inside several of the more important attractions. Other Comments • Cruising along Danube and Main was very enjoyable. There was plenty of exceptional scenery and interesting engineering sites such as the extensive lock system and dams. Cruising is likely the best way to view so many historic areas and well as more relaxing method of travel. • Water levels in parts of the Main were quite low and just barely passable. Several other ships cancelled travels north of Passau. Our Captain said there was less than a foot of clearance on the bottom. • Prague and Budapest airport where easy to navigate, with little hassle in processing and little unnecessary delays. Both airports were quite far away from the cities. • Prague was not bombed during the 20th-century wars, while Budapest and Vienna had much reconstruction of their older buildings. • Public transportation in Prague and Budapest was easy to use and quite good. The Metro however was buried quite deep and some escalators where extremely steep and long.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
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