1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Avalon Waterways
  4. Avalon Illumination Review
  5. Avalon Illumination Cruise Reviews
Sail Date: September 2018
We had a great time with Avalon in China in 2017. We wanted to see the Danube and thought Avalon would be good again. They did not disappoint. The service was magnificent, the food very good, the tours were great. We enjoyed every ... Read More
We had a great time with Avalon in China in 2017. We wanted to see the Danube and thought Avalon would be good again. They did not disappoint. The service was magnificent, the food very good, the tours were great. We enjoyed every minute of it. We had plenty of time to explore Budapest and were able to store our luggage on board on embarkation day. The staff was so accommodating. One evening, we didn't not realize that Vienna closed so completely and early. We made our way back to the ship knowing we had missed dinner. We did not even ask, the crew said "you have missed dinner, can we get you something?" We will be taking other Avalon cruises because they have not disappointed at all. We needed to make alternative arrangements at the end of the cruise and the staff was very accommodating and helped us get to the train station in Regensburg to catch the train to Munich. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I initially was approached by my 89-year-old mother, who wanted to take one last trip before she would be unable. I offered to be her traveling companion, not realizing where she intended to travel. I had only been on one cruise prior, a ... Read More
I initially was approached by my 89-year-old mother, who wanted to take one last trip before she would be unable. I offered to be her traveling companion, not realizing where she intended to travel. I had only been on one cruise prior, a Caribbean Cruise, on one of the larger vessels. So when she mentioned she wanted to take a river cruise, I really had nothing to base it on. My first overall impression, exhausting! Too much planned time, not enough free time. Having to set my alarm to 6:30 every morning of my vacation did not sound like my idea of a vacation. We were constantly being rushed from one event to another, catching buses, trying to keep track of tour guides in crowds. It rained our entire trip, and blue umbrellas were everywhere. We were constantly told to keep track of the 'blue umbrella's, that was difficult at best. Not being able to speak the language, not knowing where we were heading and keeping track of my mother, dressed in black, in a sea of black, was not good, when you lost contact with the blue umbrella guide! As for the knowledge of the guides, they were EXCELLENT. I would have preferred more time to explore rather than feel like we were in a race to get to one place to the next. Our mealtimes were pretty much set in gold, so if you wanted to eat a lite-fare early and then later, this would not be the case. The restaurant area was small, and the buffet line was always crowded due to the time constraints. If you arrived late, a lot of the items were already picked over or gone. My mother, who uses a wheeled walker, had difficulty getting items onto a plate and then move thru the line. So after the first few days, I would quickly eat first, then she would arrive and I would gather her breakfast or lunch items. Dinner at least was sit-down, and we were served. But I must say, overall, I was not impressed with the menu items. Fish was always overcooked and dry. Portion sizes were OK, but I am not a big eater. Sometimes nothing really excited me at dinner, because we ate at 6-7 pm, and I am usually a late afternoon dinner person. Lunch had a lighter fare served on the deck. We started using that for our lunch, to avoid the crowds in the restaurant area. I was quieter, more relaxing, and the views good. The staff that worked this area were always attentive and polite. Our cabin was in the 'cheap seats' as I referred to them. We booked late and very few options left. It was small, as expected, and since we really didn't spend a lot of time in it, it was adequate. The biggest problem we had was the diesel fumes that came in at night while going thru the locks. That was horrible. I finally complained about it after the 3rd night, and I was told the entire ship had that problem when in the locks, yet everyone I asked whose room was above the water line, said they never smelled any fumes. Either way, that was the worst. The beds were small, but OK, given the size of the room. I was surprised to find one night, that my sheets had been just flipped over when my mother had spilled something on the top of mine. It was tucked into the wall side, but the next morning when I noticed they had not changed them but hide the spill, I was surprised, to say the least. I get that this is not a big ship with many options, but clean sheets are expected for the price we paid. The onboard entertainment was OK - I understand and was not expecting the big cruise events. We did not spend a lot of time listening to the shows. I did enjoy the Port of Call information for our next day's excursions. The seating was not very comfortable. Barrel chairs are not meant for long sitting. Not for relaxing and reading a book. Couches along the sides were not that great either. The tables were so close, it was hard to move around if you were stuck in the middle. The Danube River was a surprise to me. I have never traveled to Europe and I guess I expected a lot more on the river. Many times looking out, I felt like I was traveling down the Wisconsin River in November. Cold, damp drizzle was a constant. The upper deck was pretty much closed. Yes, you could walk around the upper deck, but you had to bundle up. My mother never made it to the top. She was not able to climb the steps. Which is another issue I had; Our travel agency said Avalon would be able to accommodate my mother given her handicap. While they did have an elevator, on several occasions it was not working. She had virtually no assistance getting on or off the boat. She is proud lady, who does not see herself as being handicapped, Several of the tour guides you could see were not happy having someone using a wheeled walker on cobblestone streets, with lots of stairs to climb. Many of them made comments that this tour would be difficult at best. I believe both Avalon and the travel agency should have informed my mother this trip would not be good for her. Or maybe they did, and my mother did not pay attention. Either way, it impacted my enjoyment of the trip. The ports and shore excursions were OK - we did a few of the extras. They were OK too. Would I do another river cruise? Probably not. Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe having to watch for my mother impacted my enjoyment. I did find Europe to be an incredible place and would love to go back. It opened my eyes to something I had never experienced prior. The food, the smells, the COFFEE, were my favorite parts. I wished the weather had been warmer, less damp, more sunshine - all of which obviously affected my enjoyment. For me, it was an expensive trip - I don't really know if I got my monies worth. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2014
Both my husband and I are disable. We can only walk short distances, very short. So we purchased two "Travelscoots" These are the smallest mobility scooters. They are only 28 lbs and can fold up into a size of a umbrella ... Read More
Both my husband and I are disable. We can only walk short distances, very short. So we purchased two "Travelscoots" These are the smallest mobility scooters. They are only 28 lbs and can fold up into a size of a umbrella stroller. These are highly rated by owners that traveled around the world. We have traveled on 40 plus "big" ship cruises, but never a river cruise, so this was a test..We took the AVALON illumination maiden voyage from Amsterdam to Vienna, 13 days, with walking tours everyday offered with the booking. I was so impressed with the entire crew and the Captain. Avalon had no problems with our scooters. Since we were able to walk throughout the entire ship without any problems, we never used our scooters aboard, This ship had an lovely elevator, but we did not need to use it. We choose the first cabin #201, which was close to all the public area, lobby, lounge, dinning. No problems. Our cruise director recommended the "gentle walking" tour daily and alerted each tour guild of our use of the "travelscoots". If the tour started with a bus ride, arrangements were made to transport our scooters in the bus storage, and every bus driver helped us on and off the bus. Avalon had the scoots ready in the lobby of the ship for us. Avalon crew carried our scoots on and off the ramps, Once our ship was alongside another ship, Avalon crew carried our scooters thru the other ship too!! The Captain was very, very friendly. He was always around and about the ship, greeting all the passengers with a personal warm manner. The crew was very attentive, the meals were delicious, the walking tours were daily. We took some excursions too. One was a all day trip to the lake region by bus and stops at three villages. Our "travelscoot" came along. Scooting up hills, thru cobblestone villages were no problem with these scooters. We had a wonderful time, THANKS to the Avalon captain and crew, they made the difference...I really recommend AVALON to any disable traveler...be sure to use the Travelscoots too!! Read Less
Avalon Illumination Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.7
Dining 4.0 4.4
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 2.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.3
Enrichment 4.0 4.2
Service 4.0 4.7
Value For Money 5.0 4.3
Rates 3.0 N/A

Find an Avalon Illumination Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise