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9 Zurich to Europe - River Cruise Avalon Waterways Avalon Tranquility II Cruise Reviews

Honestly, I chose this cruise because of the Viking commercials. I knew the Rhine River cruise appealed to me but when it came down to choosing the cruise line I selected Avalon because of their panorama suites and their ships are newer. ... Read More
Honestly, I chose this cruise because of the Viking commercials. I knew the Rhine River cruise appealed to me but when it came down to choosing the cruise line I selected Avalon because of their panorama suites and their ships are newer. I have no regrets in going with Avalon. We flew in to Zurich a day ahead of schedule so that we would have some time to see a bit of Zurich. We were brave and took the tram to the Aldstadt (Old Town). The next day we joined fellow travelers for the bus trip to Basel for embarkation. When we arrived at the ship our panorama suite was ready and our bags already in the room. The cabin was bigger than we anticipated and of course the panorama window was marvelous. The crew was most professional and friendly and went out of their way to help in any way that they could. We had some glitches on the way due to the low levels of the Rhine but they could not have been handled any better. We had to change ships from the Tranquility II to the Imagery II at one point due to the low water levels. We packed our bags and set them outside of our rooms on the morning of ship change and the crew seamlessly handled everything. When we got to the new ship (Imagery II) we were in the same suite that we were in on the Tranquility II. We even had some excitement - due to the low water levels of the Rhine an unexploded American bomb from WWII was found in the river. It had to be detonated before the ships could resume travel on the river. It did not keep us from reaching our destination on time. Our cruise director, Tony, was amazing! He was very flexible with all the challenges that nature and WWII threw at him and we never felt like we missed out on anything. The food throughout the cruise was excellent and the selections at every meal were plentiful. We enjoyed the local menus that the chef prepared and the local wines. Each night a pianist played in the lounge but we were too tired to stay up much past dinner. The excursions were enjoyable although some were a bit touristy. We did not feel that the departure times for the excursions were unreasonably early. The best part of the cruise was getting to meet so many wonderful fellow travelers. If you are looking to experience what you might see in a Viking Commercial (an aerial view of a glistening river with fairytale castles on each shore as you glide past) then you might be disappointed. But this was a wonderful experience and I would recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose Avalon because of the good recommendations from friends. We had never been on a river cruise, but had been on several Caribbean cruises. We chose this one because our German friends joined us for the trip and after we spent ... Read More
We chose Avalon because of the good recommendations from friends. We had never been on a river cruise, but had been on several Caribbean cruises. We chose this one because our German friends joined us for the trip and after we spent another week with them in Germany. Although we had been to some of the cities on the itinerary, we didn't mind going again. The guides for the tours were all excellent, well prepared, and spoke good English. The food on board was the best we have ever had. They served local cuisine when possible. The service was excellent also. Our only complaint was the day we spent at the Black Forest and then to Colmar. Doing both tours was too much in one day. The bus ride to the Black Forest open air museum was 1 1/2 hours one way with only 1 hour at the sight. We could have spent double that or more. I would recommend this kind of trip with the small ship, intimate atmosphere, and relaxing sailing. (No worries about wind and waves!) Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
The excursion guides were excellent and provided a huge amount of historical information and fun tidbits about the places visited. Every guide provided explicit information for where to meet after we were on our own for free time. I would ... Read More
The excursion guides were excellent and provided a huge amount of historical information and fun tidbits about the places visited. Every guide provided explicit information for where to meet after we were on our own for free time. I would have liked a little more free time in each city in order to take in the sights and do a little more shopping. The other thing I will say is that it would be nice to have a larger gift shop on the ship. I think that if the ship promoted their gift shop and stocked it with some local nonperishable food products and local souvenir gifts it would be a nice amenity. Also, another suggestion would be for each guest to have the ability to fill out a card with their names and address to share with people they meet on the ship. Of course this would be voluntary - but we met some wonderful people and we kept saying to each other that we would keep in touch and we both forgot to exchange contact information. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
My husband and I chose this cruise because the ports and excursions sounded like a part of Europe we would enjoy seeing. We heard that the scenery along the Rhine was very beautiful, and with this being our first river cruise, we thought ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise because the ports and excursions sounded like a part of Europe we would enjoy seeing. We heard that the scenery along the Rhine was very beautiful, and with this being our first river cruise, we thought it would be a good area to start with. I was very satisfied with the ship, the staff and their knowledge, kindness and how accommodating everyone was. They were very professional and organized which was very much appreciated. The service was great!!! I felt very much at ease with the cleanliness of our cabin and the entire ship. I liked how they expressed the importance of hygiene to keep everyone healthy. I enjoyed the beautiful buffet breakfasts and lunches with such an assortment of dishes to choose from and always a change each day. I also enjoyed the upscale dining experiences and the variety of selections each night that we had. It made you feel like you were in a high-end restaurant. Desserts were always a treat. It was also amazing how hot everything was served with that large of group. I was very impressed about that. The violinist show was absolutely REMARKABLE!!!!! There are no words to describe how much I enjoyed that. I felt the ports and shore excursions were very enjoyable. I loved the history and beauty of everywhere we went and everything we had the privilege of seeing. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour guides and the amazing knowledge they expressed to us. I want to say I really appreciated our tour director, Dominic. He was so organized and knowledgeable. He was prepared each evening with our schedule for the next day which I was grateful for. Direction is very important to me. His sense of humor and his caring ways were very satisfying. We did not explore our departure city which I very much regret. We had an extension at the end is why we didn't arrive early. The embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly which was appreciated!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We were looking for something we had not done before and friends recommend a river cruise. We were thinking of going to Paris and London and this cruise gave us that option as a add on.So it was like going on two vacations at one time. ... Read More
We were looking for something we had not done before and friends recommend a river cruise. We were thinking of going to Paris and London and this cruise gave us that option as a add on.So it was like going on two vacations at one time. Just worked out for us at the right time. Our cabin being at the back of the ship had the advantage of being next to the snack lounge but then again you had to walk the length of the ship to get to the main lounge for your meals. That was no big deal for us but could be for some older person . The food was good I thought and I tried alot of the choices. But I did notice alot of people ordering the optional choices which were more the standard foods like steak and salmon. On the last day of the cruise portion of our travels my wife fell at the windmills. We were taking by ambulance to the locaL hospital. From there we had to get taxi to a second hospital for treatment and from there a taxi back to the ship. It all worked out but what an experience. We were able to continue our travels and did complete our trip. But we were glad to get home and recover. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose this particular cruise because it fit in with our travel time to Europe. We were in Basel, Switzerland for business and ended our trip with the river cruise. We had always wanted to try a river cruise, because I am prone to ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise because it fit in with our travel time to Europe. We were in Basel, Switzerland for business and ended our trip with the river cruise. We had always wanted to try a river cruise, because I am prone to sea-sickness and never wanted to take an ocean cruise. We thought river cruising would be a great way to see this area of Europe and it was. We thoroughly enjoyed our time on the Avalon Tranquility II. From the time we boarded the ship, we had a wonderful time. Our stateroom was lovely - with plenty of room for unpacking our clothes and storing our luggage. What a great idea to have under-bed storage room for suitcases! The bathroom had a roomy shower, deluxe granite countertops and lovely toiletries. Our room and bathroom were cleaned a couple of times a day! The housekeeping staff was courteous and helpful. The meals were outstanding. We enjoyed the bountiful buffets for breakfast and lunch. Every night dinner was an occasion with wonderful choices for each course. The service was great. We enjoyed meeting and visiting with other passengers. It was nice to have the freedom to sit where and with whom we wanted. We enjoyed the tours at the various ports. The guides were all entertaining and knowledgeable. It was nice to be so close to the city centers in many of the ports. We appreciated the bikes being available for a short bike ride along the Rhine which has many bike paths along the shore. The daily "port talks" with the Tour Director, Nico, were a highlight of the afternoon and a great lead-in to dinner. His guided tour of the Rhine River Gorge and description of all the castles was enhanced by the lovely weather we had that day. It was sad to leave our beautiful floating home when we disembarked in Amsterdam. We were very pleased with our Avalon cruise and look forward to taking another some day. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
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
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this cruise because we have an ancestral and current relationship with Germany. All travel procedures from embarkation to shore excursions to disembarkation went smoothly. We enjoyed participating in the included shore excursions ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we have an ancestral and current relationship with Germany. All travel procedures from embarkation to shore excursions to disembarkation went smoothly. We enjoyed participating in the included shore excursions as well as participation in some of the optional excursions. While not needed, it is nice that the cruise line offered a "gentle walker" option for guests who may have more difficulty with mobility. The guides were very knowledgeable and gave wonderful information and insight during the walking tours that would occur had we been left to explore each stop on our own. It would have been nice to have had the excursions in Amsterdam divided offering the Windmill tour or the Foodie tour in the morning/afternoon so that we could have experienced both, very hard to have to choose between the three offerings at the end of our trip. The room and bathroom were large enough for two people to move about without difficulty and provided enough space to easily stow unpacked clothing and luggage. Dining options, happy hour, and evening itinerary discussions were very helpful to planning each day. Personally, I will never take another cruise on a vessel any larger than the one taken on the Rhine River Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I always wanted to do a Europe river cruise and I’m so happy we used Avalon. The whole experience was outstanding. From the moment we stepped onto the ship we were treated royally. The staff was very professional and friendly. Our ... Read More
I always wanted to do a Europe river cruise and I’m so happy we used Avalon. The whole experience was outstanding. From the moment we stepped onto the ship we were treated royally. The staff was very professional and friendly. Our cruise director was always available for questions. I loved that every evening before dinner, we all met in the lounge for drinks and an informational talk from the director on what to expect the next day, reminding us what tours were available and what to expect in the next country or region. The rooms were beautiful and spacious. The floor to ceiling windows/door let you see the breathtaking European countryside as we cruised the beautiful Rhine River. Every tour was exceptional as were the guides. Each excursion would have a knowledgeable tour guide who came from that region and explained so much of the region’s history. Oh yeah, the food was was in abundance and delicious! All the food, wine and beer was from the region we were visiting. The wine and beer was flowing throughout lunch and dinner. We had a phenomenal experience and can’t wait for the next Avalon Cruise! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Avalon Tranquility II Ratings
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