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Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this ship for its itinerary as we wanted to visit the Netherlands to see the tulips, in particular Keukenhof Gardens. This was our first river cruise so we splurged on an upper cabin, Cabin 314. Great room with a very comfortable ... Read More
We chose this ship for its itinerary as we wanted to visit the Netherlands to see the tulips, in particular Keukenhof Gardens. This was our first river cruise so we splurged on an upper cabin, Cabin 314. Great room with a very comfortable bed that faced huge windows overlooking the passing scenery. Plenty of storage but could have had a few more drawers. Ports were good but traffic traveling to and from the Keukenhof, Brussels and Bruges became an issue. They may have been better served to find closer ports, if possible. Ship has a large lounge where they hold light lunches and dinner, entertainment in the evening, yoga and other exercise classes during the day and a very nice bar. There is a smaller lounge at the rear of the ship that had games, books, drinks and cookies & muffins. They could have changed their snacks more frequently as they served the same type daily. Evening entertainment was usually a piano player and select nights they invited a trio who played 50s and 60s and another who played classical music. Evening entertainment was not a draw for us or in general the type of passengers on the ship. They did have a happy hour usually from 5:45 to 6:45 where drinks are half price and then the cruise director gave a brief overview of the next day’s port of call. The ship was immaculate at all times. The main dining room served all three meals as it was too chilly for the upper deck to be open. Breakfast was a buffet with an egg station where you can order omelets or eggs any way. They usually had items that could be ordered directly from the kitchen, such as waffles, pancakes, etc. Lunch was a buffet and was very tasty with a nice selection every day and usually a carving station. Dinner was not as consistent. Portions were unusually small. I ordered a shrimp cocktail which had one shrimp and a few teeny tiny ones. I had a puff pastry ragout but got no puff pastry. The cream soups were very good. Entrees were a total mixed bag. I ordered fish and it was over cooked, another time is was undercooked, the rack of lamb was over seasoned and some days the pasta dish was delicious and another it was watery. Such a shame. Wine and beer were free flowing during dinner which is a nice change from regular cruises. Service was inconsistent as well. It is open seating and dinner is served from 7 to 9. If you sat closer to the kitchen, service was generally quicker and more attentive than sitting towards the entrance. They could use a few more service staff. Dining was very casual and you could wear the same clothes you wore during the day. No one dressed for dinner. I wish I knew in advance and I would have not packed some of my clothes. Staff was great. The captain was very visible and frequently was at the gangway when we were leaving or coming back from excursions. The cruise director, Bram, was all over and did a wonderful job keeping us informed and dealing with questions and resolving issue. The wait staff, housekeeping, front desk could not have been nicer. The fitness center is extremely small - one treadmill, one bike and one weight table. They did have exercise classes early in the morning and throughout the day but we were mostly out on excursions. The weather was chilly so you need to dress in layers and good walking shoes. we frequently did over 10 miles per day but we like to wander. At embarkation, they greeted you and you stayed comfortably in the lounge with piano music, light lunch and an available bar until the rooms were ready. At disembarkation, we were staying an extra day. You requested the day before for a taxi and while you had to be out of your room by 9 AM, you waited comfortably in the lounge until it arrived. All very civilized and you did not have to leave your luggage out the day before, just 1/2 hour before you had to leave or by 9AM. I would recommend this tulip cruise but be aware of dining issues. I would definitely go on another Avalon cruise if they were going to areas of interest. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This was a wonderful trip. Rather than repeating everything I'll just say I agree with everything the main cruise critic review said. Terrific food. Comfortable cabin. Really interesting trips off the boat with very knowledgeable ... Read More
This was a wonderful trip. Rather than repeating everything I'll just say I agree with everything the main cruise critic review said. Terrific food. Comfortable cabin. Really interesting trips off the boat with very knowledgeable guides. The only reason I didn't give it the extra star is because of how hard it was to get any information from the cruise line. When you call their number you talk to someone who sounds like they are just reading the same information from the website that you are. We booked the cruise only. I asked where and when we would meet the boat. They told us to be at a hotel at 9:30am. We got there at 9:30 and sat around in the lobby for 2 hours waiting to leave. I called to see if they could arrange a flight to our next stop in Siem Reap. They said sure and sent me information about a package with hotel and tour. I asked again about just the flight and they said "No we don't arrange flights" Fine we'll get to Siem Reap on our own. Can you tell us where and when we dock in Phnom Penh? "No clue" They made a point about Visas. They said that although you could easily get a Cambodian visa when you got to Cambodia the one place you couldn't get an instant visa was at the river crossing from Vietnam to Cambodia. So we spent $250 on a visa agency since we had no Cambodian embassy here. Sure enough, every other person on the boat gave the cruise director $40 and got one. Once again, My only problems were communication with Avalon. Once we were aboard we couldn't have been happier. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We wanted a quick short get away and cruise on a river that we've never been on. The Avalon Vista has a capacity of 164 passengers & is 7 years young. It appeared well kept, was very clean & comfortable. The buffet ... Read More
We wanted a quick short get away and cruise on a river that we've never been on. The Avalon Vista has a capacity of 164 passengers & is 7 years young. It appeared well kept, was very clean & comfortable. The buffet breakfast & lunch, along with the sit down dinner was varied & very good. As this was Avalons first sailing of the season, we were able to check into our rooms upon embarkation. The disembarkation was timely & orderly. The pick up & transportation to/from airport/ship went smoothly. Although it did take us a few minutes to find the Avalon meeting location upon arrival at the airport. The staff & crew on board were friendly & helpful. The wait staff in the restaurant were 2nd to none. Entertainment was a little lacking & not to our liking, but may have been suffice for others. One night was classical music & the other was a couple of local singers which we did not attend, and of course the nightly piano player. We also had an afternoon of cheese tasting. We always enjoyed exploring Amsterdam, especially the canals, but this time we wanted to visit the Keukenhof Gardens (tulip garden), the worlds' largest flower garden, also known as the Garden of Europe. Keukenhof Gardens is in Lisse, South Holland near Rotterdam, where our ship docked & offered an excursion to. Although it was early in the season, it was still an amazing sight to see. While in Rotterdam, we also visited the town of Gouda with its well kept interesting architectual buildings from yesteryears. We then went onto Antwerp, Belgium where the weather was quite windy, but we still manage to enjoy the area. The Belgium city hall & train station are a few places to visit if you like to take pictures of the well kept buildings. Unfortunately the city hall was under renovation with a "picture" meshed cover of what the city hall would have looked like. We also stopped along the way to visit the beautiful architecture & canals in Ghent & Middleburg, along with the historic town of Willemstad, before sailing back to Amsterdam. In summary, we had an enjoyable trip. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
I chose this cruise because it was my first cruise ever and was offered on a singles 50+ website. It was a small river ship, and as I was born in Germany (U.S. Army), it as well as Switzerland was at the top of my bucket list. It felt ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it was my first cruise ever and was offered on a singles 50+ website. It was a small river ship, and as I was born in Germany (U.S. Army), it as well as Switzerland was at the top of my bucket list. It felt manageable to me, traveling solo as a deaf person. The ship’s crew were wonderful and unforgettable! Madalin in the dining room was my favorite waiter, always taking care of me and making sure I ordered the best meal on the menu. He also never forgot that I hate red wine and always poured the white without me asking. My cabin steward was wonderful, and so were ALL of the crew members! They were all in a line to greet us as we arrived, and there were many hugs upon departure. The food was fantastic, but for some reason, other passengers didn’t agree; they were used to getting tons of food at the buffets any time they wanted on the big ships. With constant port stops, there was no time to be bored. My only regret is that it was winter, so we couldn’t open our sliding glass door and turn out cabin into a balcony. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Embarkation was easy, and our room was lovely. The shore excursions were more scripted than I usually care for, but for travelers who want to spend less time figuring it out on their own it would be perfect. The service onboard was ... Read More
Embarkation was easy, and our room was lovely. The shore excursions were more scripted than I usually care for, but for travelers who want to spend less time figuring it out on their own it would be perfect. The service onboard was great. The crew were hilarious, and made you feel like you were with friends even though they were new. They were friendly and helpful. The food onboard was amazing. I tried everything from snails to oxtail, and each was amazing. And if you're not into trying unusual foods, there were still plenty of wonderful things to choose from. We (late 30s) were some of the youngest on the cruise, but by no means the most energetic. We made many friends, and really enjoyed the trip. Don't let the assumption that river cruises are only for old people keep you back. It's not true and you'll have a great time with the other passengers. Loved the cruise and look forward to many more in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We wanted to experience the Christmas Markets in various cities. Except for the tragedy in Strasbourg, we got our wish. The bus tour to the Black Forest was interesting , but rather long. That was modified from the original due to the ... Read More
We wanted to experience the Christmas Markets in various cities. Except for the tragedy in Strasbourg, we got our wish. The bus tour to the Black Forest was interesting , but rather long. That was modified from the original due to the changes needed not visit Strasbourg. Meals were excellent with very attentive service. The room was quite nice - we enjoyed the bed facing the river, and the bathroom was good-size with a very nice tiled shower. We just wish it had been warmer so we could have gone up on the top deck, but we will do that on our next trip. Room storage was adequate, but we would like more drawers. The entertainment was good, especially La Strada. We had more than ample time to experience the Christmas markets, and enjoyed the walking tour of Basel very much, despite the cold. Overall we would do another Avalon cruise in a heartbeat! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise and cruise line because they were less expensive than others, and had good reviews. I also wanted to see Europe at Christmas time. I was not disappointed. Had a wonderful time. This cruise was so well done, every ... Read More
We chose this cruise and cruise line because they were less expensive than others, and had good reviews. I also wanted to see Europe at Christmas time. I was not disappointed. Had a wonderful time. This cruise was so well done, every excursion, guided tour, and everything in between was exceptional. The staff on the ship were so nice, kind, and very helpful! The food was amazing, so many choices on the menus, but not overwhelming where it was super hard to decide. I loved that the cruise was rather small in size a very intimate atmosphere. The ship was easy to get around, and felt quite cozy no matter where you were. Our cruise director Bart was just a super great guy! So personable, and knowledgeable. Anything we needed he was right there to take care of it. I loved this cruise so much we are already planning our next one. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We traveled with another couple and chose December to experience Christmas Markets. Our vacation started with 3 days in Prague. The local tour guides were excellent. We joined the city tour, Terezin, and the Avalon-sponsored Czech dinner ... Read More
We traveled with another couple and chose December to experience Christmas Markets. Our vacation started with 3 days in Prague. The local tour guides were excellent. We joined the city tour, Terezin, and the Avalon-sponsored Czech dinner at a local hall. We toured on our own the last full day. We weren't able to embark at Nuremberg as planned because of low water. Instead we traveled to Nuremberg by coach, checked out the Christmas market for a couple hours, and then were bussed to Straubing for embarkation. The following day, the Illumination cruised back to Regensburg. That, and the additional stop at Linz, Austria were the only 2 changes on the entire cruise. We were relieved that low water didn't impact our trip significantly. We enjoyed wonderful local city tours at every port. Every guide was top-notch. The ship was beautiful, clean, and all staff were so friendly and accommodating. Sabine, the cruise director, was amazing! We can't say enough about how well we were treated. We met lots of fellow cruisers and enjoyed social time with them. We will definitely cruise with Avalon again! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Our cruise down the Danube in December was truly a trip of a lifetime. The entire staff aboard the Avalon Illumination were amazing. We received first class treatment in a very relaxed, friendly and professional environment. The ... Read More
Our cruise down the Danube in December was truly a trip of a lifetime. The entire staff aboard the Avalon Illumination were amazing. We received first class treatment in a very relaxed, friendly and professional environment. The Christmas Markets and all the sites along the way were beautiful. The Illumination was the prettiest boat on the river and was "decked out" for the holidays. The food and wine selections at all meals were wonderful and the lounge/bar was perfect place to unwind and get together with fellow guests after dinner and various times throughout the day. Sabine, our Cruise Director, was very helpful with suggestions and detailed information about how to navigate each stop along the way when we wanted to go out and explore on our own. Avalon is a top notch company and we have recommended this cruise line to all of our friends back home. Thank you, Avalon, for making the beginning of our holiday season so merry and bright! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
I chose this cruise as I have always loved Christmas markets and have German heritage. My sister and I did this cruise together for a milestone birthday. We spent a few days exploring the glorious city of Vienna, Austria before boarding ... Read More
I chose this cruise as I have always loved Christmas markets and have German heritage. My sister and I did this cruise together for a milestone birthday. We spent a few days exploring the glorious city of Vienna, Austria before boarding our cruise ship there. Avalon took over from there. The Avalon Vista was a beautiful ship. Meals were superb, crew was exceptional and excursions and tours were informative and fun. Our cabin was spacious and generously appointed. Service was great - crew (and especially our cruise director Gusta) were accommodating, friendly and extremely organized. We cruised along the Danube River and enjoyed several ports and port excursions. Ending in the city of Prague, this was a trip of a lifetime and I would highly recommend Avalon river cruises. I have been on several cruises on large cruise ships and this experience was by far superior. Thanks again Avalon for this adventure! Read Less
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