We started our trip in Zurich, Switzerland and had the day we arrived and part of the next day to explore. We opted to visit Mt. Pilatus on our own which was a great adventure of taking trains, buses, and boats. The views were incredible ... Read More
We started our trip in Zurich, Switzerland and had the day we arrived and part of the next day to explore. We opted to visit Mt. Pilatus on our own which was a great adventure of taking trains, buses, and boats. The views were incredible and really worth seeing. We had a little time to explore Zurich before we left but probably would have enjoyed more.
Our embarkation the next day was very smooth, our bus from the hotel in Zurich to the port in Basel was brand new and very comfortable. No time was wasted in leaving the port, as we were the last group to arrive, the ship embarked within about 10 minutes. Our room was fantastic, with a very comfortable bed, great views out of the sliding glass window/wall. The bathroom was larger than I expected and had all the amenities. I could have spent more time than I did in the room but there were too many things to do and see.
The food on board was fantastic with many options for me ( gluten and dairy free) and my husband (gluten free). The wait staff and/or chef took the time to go over the menu every night and were glad to make any changes needed. Breakfast always had a lot of great choices, especially the fresh honeycomb and house made kefir. We never had a bad meal!
Evenings on the ship were very pleasant, with most people winding down from a busy day of touring. There was always a piano player and one evening we had a trio of musicians from Belgium who were amazing. Most of the time we went up on the sky deck with some drinks and enjoyed the night breeze before bed. The outside spaces were never crowded at all. We had one afternoon where the ship was sailing to another port and spent it on the sky deck with maybe six other people.
Every tour we went on was informative, the groups were very small and the headphones that allowed us to hear the tour leader worked great. I noticed that the Avalon groups were much smaller than the other cruise lines there. We saw some small villages and cottages along the canals in Amsterdam and grapes waiting to be harvested in Germany on our guided bike rides. We even took bikes out on our own in Strasbourg, France, got lost, and found a great restaurant. All of the included guided tours were informative and entertaining although I have to admit we skipped one to have a Rudesheim coffee instead!
Because the Rhine had gotten so low, midway through the trip we had to make a switch to Avalon's ship coming from the other direction. We were all extremely happy that we didn't have to end the cruise early. The switch was seamless, and were in the same room from one ship to the other. The staff on both ships were amazingly efficient, friendly and made every effort to make sure no one was inconvenienced.
Having never been on any kind of cruise before I was very pleasantly surprised at how spacious the ship was and how there was always room in the lounges and outdoor areas.
Disembarkation was easily handled with an included transfer to the airport. We arrived in plenty of time for our flight.
We loved this trip so much we are planning another river cruise on the Danube in May! Read Less