Sail Date: September 2018
Our ship, the Avalon Luminary, was beautiful and comfortable. We enjoyed every stop on the Danube cruise, with Budapest being our favorite city. Cesky Krumlov was a gem that we’d love to visit again. Our arrangements for the trip ... Read More
Our ship, the Avalon Luminary, was beautiful and comfortable. We enjoyed every stop on the Danube cruise, with Budapest being our favorite city. Cesky Krumlov was a gem that we’d love to visit again. Our arrangements for the trip and extra days on either end exceeded our expectations. The onboard accommodations and the activities program were excellent. The port city hotels in Prague and Budapest were first rate business hotels. Although we were not traveling with the group, our airport transfers and luggage pickups were flawless. The Active Discovery tour proved to be a perfect choice for us. We enjoyed the city walks, hikes and bike rides and the hands-on excursions. Our local guides always spoke good English and were knowledgeable and interesting. Avalon did a great job of managing change to make our cruise vacation memorable and enjoyable. Upon boarding, we were advised low water conditions would require us to depart immediately and change the itinerary for our first two days. We would visit Bratislava instead of Visegrad and arrive earlier in Vienna. Despite this last minute change, the cruise director had arranged interesting port activities for the next day and the crew carried it off without any problem. Avalon provides an excellent website and app to track each individual’s travel plans. An opportunity for Avalon to improve would be to integrate the customer’s choice of activities on the app, particularly when these are selected and paid for in advance. The onboard dining was a highlight with 4 or 5 entree choices for dinner and delicious lunches and breakfasts. On the nights when everyone decided to eat at the same time, the dining room was unfortunately noisy and uncomfortably warm. The service was good and when the room was not full, it was more pleasant to linger while making new friends over dinner. We thoroughly enjoyed our Avalon cruise and look forward to another river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We were interested in the Active Cruise that was offered. We went from Budapest to Linz and added Prague. I'd say overall the cruise was awesome. The food was great, the ship was great, our cabin was nice, comfortable bed, and the ... Read More
We were interested in the Active Cruise that was offered. We went from Budapest to Linz and added Prague. I'd say overall the cruise was awesome. The food was great, the ship was great, our cabin was nice, comfortable bed, and the crew were great. Also, all of the activities were very well organized. I'd say our only room for improvement was the following: 1) The 2 hour briefings were way too long. It is hard to focus beyond 30 minutes. 2) We would have loved to have a little more time just relaxing on the boat. That was probably our own fault for signing up for too many things. 3) We would definitely have loved to spend 1 more day in Vienna. 4) We think that the cruise should offer an excursion to Shonbrunn Palace. We went ourselves, and it was absolutely wonderful. 5) It would have been nice if the waiters would come up to the sky deck to take drink orders. With that said, the cruise was absolutely wonderful, and we can't wait to do our next Avalon River Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
The ship was beautiful and the staff was great. But what made this river cruise stand out was the active options for the excursions. Guided bike rides and hikes were all great. At some of the ports they could have had more bikes as ... Read More
The ship was beautiful and the staff was great. But what made this river cruise stand out was the active options for the excursions. Guided bike rides and hikes were all great. At some of the ports they could have had more bikes as these tours filled up quickly. One thing I would improve is the wine selection at dinner. I feel they could have provided higher quality wines. And also, it would have been nice to include all beverages in the price even when it wasn't at meal time. The free beer and wine being offered only at the meals didn't work well for me. I like to have a night cap and it would be good if that were included in the price. Also, more snack during the day would be good. The musician was great but the music was too mellow for the active passengers. I also recommend adding more Active Discovery cruises in other destinations. It's a great idea and a terrific way to discover new areas. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We wanted a river cruise that was active. This definitely fit the bill. This was so relaxing and pleasurable. The food was great and they accommodated my special dietary needs along with my husbands. The entire staff was wonderful, ... Read More
We wanted a river cruise that was active. This definitely fit the bill. This was so relaxing and pleasurable. The food was great and they accommodated my special dietary needs along with my husbands. The entire staff was wonderful, pleasant, and went above and beyond to make sure all our needs were met. The room was always kept neat and clean and the bed was really comfortable. Our cruise director even kept the boat in Budapest until the lights of the city came on so we could see Budapest at night. That was really awesome. This was not part of the original plan, but he decided to do it since he knew we would all really enjoy it. He hit the mark with that one. The onboard entertainment was suburb. The various options we had in each city provided plenty of opportunities to meet everyone’s needs. The cruise director was very good at keeping us informed about everything that was taking place on the cruise. We started looking for another cruise by Avalon while on this cruise because we enjoyed it so much. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Avalon was recommended by our travel agent, and we are so glad we took her advice. Everything was done with excellence, and it made our first river cruise and time in Europe most memorable! This was as "active cruise", and ... Read More
Avalon was recommended by our travel agent, and we are so glad we took her advice. Everything was done with excellence, and it made our first river cruise and time in Europe most memorable! This was as "active cruise", and lived up to its name! There were always active choices - we hiked, canoed, took bike rides - but these were interspersed with walking and coach tours, sight-seeing and just relaxing. A great mix! We were very impressed with the hotel in Budapest, our overnight there, and the seamless embarkation the following day. Excellent hotel in Salzburg, too. This cruise had a land portion following 7 nights on the Danube - we enjoyed the variety. Dining was not only delicious and varied, but a great social time! We met delightful people who quickly became friends, and we will treasure our memories of this trip. Hoping another adventure with Avalon is in our future! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
Had the most wonderful vacation aboard the Avalon Luminary. Fantastic ports-of-call. Beautiful boat. We were an the active cruise, and enjoyed the hiking and biking tours. There were only 120 passengers on board so we got to know most ... Read More
Had the most wonderful vacation aboard the Avalon Luminary. Fantastic ports-of-call. Beautiful boat. We were an the active cruise, and enjoyed the hiking and biking tours. There were only 120 passengers on board so we got to know most of the passengers and really enjoyed their comany Our cabin was very nicely appointed on the second floor with a French Balcony almost at the level of the river. Land accommodations were excellent. One highlight was taking a cooking class in Vienna, where we made Wiener Schnitzel, German Potato Salad and Apple Strudel. Another highlight was exploring the caves on the Buda side of Budapest. Dining was very good. Some meals were better than others, but overall it was of a superior quality. Staff was very polite and professional. Our Cruise Director Sabina was superb. Cant wait to go on our next river cruise with Avalon. Next hopefully in the South of France Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
The active excursions were very attractive. The two days in Vienna was also attractive. The ship was shabby but the active excursions were GREAT. I was told that the Avalon Luminary is sailing into the sunset after this year so I’m ... Read More
The active excursions were very attractive. The two days in Vienna was also attractive. The ship was shabby but the active excursions were GREAT. I was told that the Avalon Luminary is sailing into the sunset after this year so I’m sure that’s why it looked old & had small cabins. The staff was still friendly and helpful. We liked that we could ride a bike along the Danube one day or hike a beautiful trail in Hungary the next. Then we could tour museums and hear classical music in Vienna. Or visit a violin maker and help shape Viennese rolls. There was a good balance of relaxing cruising and active shore excursions. The add on trip to Salzburg was also very interesting & well organized. The hotels in Budapest, Salzburg & Munich were first class. The cruise director and tour guides were interesting & knowable. Viking boats are nicer & the food is better, but the excursions are all for older folks. I’d gladly take another Active Discovery Cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We have done several ocean cruises but this is the first river cruise, so our comparison point is not with other river cruises. We had a very enjoyable time overall. The smaller ship (~150) was cozy and let the staff be more flexible ... Read More
We have done several ocean cruises but this is the first river cruise, so our comparison point is not with other river cruises. We had a very enjoyable time overall. The smaller ship (~150) was cozy and let the staff be more flexible in arrangements. The ship facilities were good overall. The excursions were great. The quietvox system they used was really useful. For the biking excursions, they had enough guides that they could have let the group split into two... one faster and one slower group. But instead, by keeping one group, the slower and faster folks were both a bit off their desired paces. The fitness center was small and one of the two bikes was broken for the entire cruise, so this caused a lot of contention. Good laundry machines available. Wait staff was really nice, but often made mistakes... wrong or forgotten orders, etc. Checkout was really inefficient. One person for all checkout. I think we waited in one for 45 minutes. Not much for kids. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2017
* Very impressed with personal journey booklet, all details if we were needed, which were perfect because our flight were delayed. * Our cabin was always very clean and the cruise service were polite. * I am impressed with cruise ... Read More
* Very impressed with personal journey booklet, all details if we were needed, which were perfect because our flight were delayed. * Our cabin was always very clean and the cruise service were polite. * I am impressed with cruise director information daily, our cruise director always working above our expectation. * Included tours and optional tours are great. Transfers were excellent. * I did not drink wine or soft drink except for water, which is fine with me. However, we did not like dinner food, main courses, most of the time. Breakfasts were great. * We could not invite any family members and friends because they did not like the idea of paying for full price a year in advance, or when booking. * We like the idea of switching to different groups, which given cruisers a chance to get to know people from different countries. Sometimes it might turn out that people are from you home town/ state. * We are physically active, unfortunately walking desk was closed due to the weather. However, we enjoy the music and dancing at night instead for our physically work out. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this for its destinations, as it was along the lower reaches of the Danube, which we didn't know. Embarkation was very smooth, though it was a pity there wasn't more time in Budapest. The cruise was full of interesting ... Read More
We chose this for its destinations, as it was along the lower reaches of the Danube, which we didn't know. Embarkation was very smooth, though it was a pity there wasn't more time in Budapest. The cruise was full of interesting trips, including visits to a school in Bulgaria, and a lunch with a local family in Croatia. All of the local guides were experienced, very knowledgeable, and spoke good English. The Cruise Director also gave us interesting daily talks on the countries we were visiting. On two evenings we had excellent local dancers/singers on board. Everybody I spoke to enjoyed the cruise very much; the ship is lovely, with good size cabins and lounge, and the food reflected the countries we were visiting. The service was excellent, and the staff (mainly East European) friendly, relaxed and efficient. There is an attractive indoor swimming pool, and a minute fitness room. WE did feel that during the one day with no port stop there could have been more activities arranged, especially as it rained solidly all day.We finished with 3 nights in the Sheraton in Bucharest, which is a stunning city. We mainly found our own meals in Bucharest, but we did feel that more could have been made of the final night's dinner, which was uninspiring and a big contrast to the excellent on-board meals. We certainly plan to travel again with this company, and would recommend this particular cruise as something a bit different. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
I did not take this cruise to london and went west from budapest to amsterdam. it all started in budapest. i arrived one day early, just in case the luggage didn't appear on my british air flight from miami arriving on september ... Read More
I did not take this cruise to london and went west from budapest to amsterdam. it all started in budapest. i arrived one day early, just in case the luggage didn't appear on my british air flight from miami arriving on september 25. It gave me time to meet a friend who took me on a walking tour and we had the greatest sweet and coffee on this little side street. I stayed at the marriott hotel and had a view of a lifetime...facing the bridge and every famous building in budapest! the next day the meeting locale was at the intercontinental hotel, also on the river that separates buda from pest. i believe that the only negative of the entire trip, looking back at this point.. Was on the first day with avalon and took place at the get-together meeting at the intercontinental. the luggage was checked in and when i asked the agent in charge a question about the embarkation she said: "i can't answer your question...i am just here to check you in." she provided no happy "hello and welcome to avalon". This was quite disappointing as was the room where we met. there weren't enough tables and seats and no one met us from avalon. oh well...everything can't be great....maybe they will change this in the future. What made up for this poor beginning was the ship, the cabin, the dining experience, the entertainment, all of the superb service and we had a wonderful cruise director, sylvia, who lived just outside of amsterdam in the netherlands. The designer of the staterooms needs to be congratulated as well...all of the beds faced the sliding glass doors...you could see the sights by opening the curtains and then by opening the door. they provided all of us with a clear view of the countryside from your comfortable bed.. even the soaps and shampoo were superb...occitane... In the restaurant i always sat with the same waiter: pugi...what a super representative for avalon. Not that the other servers weren't great...but, pugi was the best. Have i praised this cruise too much? this is just the beginning. and i should mention that the shore excursions were great because they were geared for everyone. if a traveller had trouble walking, they could take the green gentle walk and even use walking sticks, or maybe the fast walkers would take the red guide for some great exercise as well as seeing the sites. i also was impressed with each guide on the excursions as headphones were supplied to everyone daily. Bottom line: i was never so impressed with a riverboat tour which travelled west from budapest to amsterdam. the avalon vista was spotless. what an experience. But i do have a second suggestion (in addition to the meet and greet at the beginning of the trip)...the gymnasium needs one more piece of machinery now that everyone is so into health and body. the best elliptical machine on the market is manufactured by lifefitness and it would complete the gym since they have all lifefitness machines already. viking does not even offer any exercise equipment or even a small room for exercise. i was told on the phone, when i inquired about an exercise facility: "our clients are older and don't want a fitness center!" i took total offense and hung up the phone. kudos to avalon again. they have the beginnings of a proper facility...now all that is needed is to enhance the exercise equipment experience by adding the elliptical which more and more people are now using. But,i should add that late at night while reading in the reading and lounge area...i had my cup of coffee and two cookies( the greatest fresh cookies). what's two cookies when i used the treadmill for one hour and did all of the walking on the tours. And finally, disembarkation was so perfectly planned, it was just like one of the large ocean liners. Bottom line #2: do i recommend avalon vista?...a definite yes. It's a great value for the money. The excitement you will experience will be happiness and decision you make as you plan your next avalon adventure somewhere else in the world. I am sold on avalon. and i thought that some of the other lines were okay. This is beyond okay...try it...you'll like it! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We choose this cruise since a went from Budapest to Amsterdam, and some friends were doing the same cruise. We embarked on time and when we got to Amsterdam there were not problems with disembarkation. The ship, cabin, dinning, ... Read More
We choose this cruise since a went from Budapest to Amsterdam, and some friends were doing the same cruise. We embarked on time and when we got to Amsterdam there were not problems with disembarkation. The ship, cabin, dinning, entertainment, service and shore excursions. were just great. The shore excursions provided a lot of walking so for those who want to get a lot of exercise this is a good way to go. All the staff and crew were very friendly and extremely helpful. Both my wife and I have traveled for years in numerous countries and this is by far the most stress free trip we ever took. We are looking forward to another river cruise in the future and would definitely choose Viking if they were available in the area we were traveling. I don't know what more to add. We booked the two day stay in Budapest before the cruise and that was also excellent. The breakfast buffet in the morning at the hotel was really good and the Viking personnel at the hotel was great at suggestion places to eat, setting up tours and general information. Viking is absolutely the top of the line if you want a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2016
A small river boat from Budapest to Amsterdam. City tours every day, river cruise every night. Incredible staff, better food, and luxurious accommodations. I got an understanding of the history or the river valleys, the castles, the ... Read More
A small river boat from Budapest to Amsterdam. City tours every day, river cruise every night. Incredible staff, better food, and luxurious accommodations. I got an understanding of the history or the river valleys, the castles, the monasteries, the Prince Bishops and the stages of the agriculture, the wars, the religions, and economies over 2000 years. Detail: Embarkation and debarkation - The crew took care of everything. All we had to do was walk on board. Ship: 200 staterooms, three dining areas, rooftop lounge and walking track. Dining: Three gourmet meals a day, each spread over a wide time band, running into each other. Snacks and coffee/tea all the time. Often the lunches and dinners were themed, with excellent food based on where we were travelling. Local wines in abundance. Just when I was wondering how they could improved as the trip had five days to go, they went all out for a series of incredible meals. Entertainment and activities - Onboard, music and culture, electronically showing pictures reliving the day. Offboard, several trips every day with varying levels of effort, showing the best each city or region had to offer. Service - Sublime, personal, from new friends. Ports and excursions - We hit all the big cities, castles and monasteries,with great local guides pointing out their favorite points and the importance of what had happened. Also remember a trip to a family vineyard and wine bottling and selling operation, excellent in-town food, souvenirs and just time to ramble in town, waving to the ship staff going the other way in a small alley. We are already planning another viking cruise or two, probably Portugal and the Baltic Read Less

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