1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
It sounded like a great idea to Cruise the Rhine and we added 3 nights in Zurich to the end. Our room was excellent but the true stars were the staff. There was not one who didn’t go out of they’re way to provide us with a great ... Read More
It sounded like a great idea to Cruise the Rhine and we added 3 nights in Zurich to the end. Our room was excellent but the true stars were the staff. There was not one who didn’t go out of they’re way to provide us with a great experience. With only 168 guests we had a chance to meet just about all of them. The food was fantastic with a lot of choices. We had to skip some of the excursions as they were mostly walking and with bad knees and COPD we couldn’t enjoy. Others we were able to go along and enjoy even though we couldn’t keep up with the group. Headsets provided allowed us to hear our guide from a reasonable distance. Avalon handled all of our travel arrangements as well as before and after hotel arrangements and transfers to and from airport. All went smoothly. Unfortunately we did not realize that Amsterdam was such a huge airport with hardly any accommodations for folks needing assistance walking. Perhaps if we had made requests ahead of time something could have been provided. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
I eat Gluten Free for medical reasons and the Chef and his entire staff were very accommodating. This was very appreciated and I had a great dining experience. The dinner menu was marked with all the available gluten free items along ... Read More
I eat Gluten Free for medical reasons and the Chef and his entire staff were very accommodating. This was very appreciated and I had a great dining experience. The dinner menu was marked with all the available gluten free items along with separate choices if these weren't to my liking. I had no trouble choosing from the menu each night. Breakfast and lunch offered enough choices that were gluten free. Most soups were gluten free. The wait staff was very friendly and attentive at all times. The afternoon tea had gluten free options available if I wanted any. We all enjoyed the cocktail hour before the next day briefing and dinner. The briefing for the next day was very helpful for helping us decide what excursions we wanted to particpate in. We felt the excursions gave us a great variety of site seeing for each country. I would definately choose this cruise line again in the future for another vacation. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Arrived in Amsterdam a day early to walk around and adjust to the time change. That worked well, but not enough time to do Amsterdam justice. The cruise far exceeded our expectations. The cabin was comfortable and always clean, the ... Read More
Arrived in Amsterdam a day early to walk around and adjust to the time change. That worked well, but not enough time to do Amsterdam justice. The cruise far exceeded our expectations. The cabin was comfortable and always clean, the cabin arrangement was great and you could wake up in the morning a watch the country-side go by. The staff was always looking to help, whether answering questions, arranging for extra side trips or just getting another drink, they were always very helpful and friendly. The food was wonderful with a varied menu, always including fish, meat, poultry and vegetarian selections everyday. The chef made it very clear that if you wanted another dinner, or more of anything all you had to do was ask, be careful here; even having what was served resulted in a number of pounds by trips end. The off ship excursions were fantastic; the guides were very knowledgeable, informative and personable, with great stories along the way. This was our 1st cruise and we're already planning our next on Avalon! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
This is the way to travel. Everything taken care of, great friendly and hard working staff. Amazing crew guiding the ship, excellent tour director and unbelievable chef. Food so good it could have been a foody cruise. Very good ... Read More
This is the way to travel. Everything taken care of, great friendly and hard working staff. Amazing crew guiding the ship, excellent tour director and unbelievable chef. Food so good it could have been a foody cruise. Very good selection of stops and gorgeous scenery. The Vista is a beautiful and clean ship that was a pleasure to be aboard. We are sold on this as as a way to discover a region, and look forward to our next opportunity to do so. Highly recommend Avalon for river cruising. Embarking and disembarking was flawless and removed any stress from the whole experience. Cabins were comfortable and very well maintained. Tour guides arranged by tour direct or were knowledge able and informative. The cruise is so much more than cruising, as you get the scenery, history, culture and a true experience like no other. Only wish it had been longer. Truly a life changing experience. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
The ship it was built in 2012 and it still looked brand new, our cabin was spacious and well equipped. We arrived on 12 July 2019 and checked into the Movenpick Hotel, Amsterdam City Center, the next morning to Breakfast and finally ... Read More
The ship it was built in 2012 and it still looked brand new, our cabin was spacious and well equipped. We arrived on 12 July 2019 and checked into the Movenpick Hotel, Amsterdam City Center, the next morning to Breakfast and finally closed up all our bags ready to board the Avalon Vista to get settled. We had breakfast and prep for our Amsterdam Canal Cruse plus a walking tour, every day there was tours to a lot of the sights. The meals that were provided were very delicious, for those that didn't want a large meal there was a small were served in the Panorama Lounge, it was also the location for all the briefings for the next day’s activities and music/dancing. Each day was filled with tours provided by the cruise lines or optional fee. There were never wants for service because what you might want it was provided. The ports and shore excursions were very well arranged and informative. We know that it takes a lot of planning but the only disappointment was the day of disembarkment from the ship would we would like a mini tour of Basel. This was our first trip on a long ship but it won't be our last because we truly enjoyed it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
As strange as it sounds, this cruise was actually a late addition to our European trip. We had booked an ocean cruise that started and ended in Amsterdam last year and, since the cost of the flight from Canada was significant, we allowed ... Read More
As strange as it sounds, this cruise was actually a late addition to our European trip. We had booked an ocean cruise that started and ended in Amsterdam last year and, since the cost of the flight from Canada was significant, we allowed ourselves some extra time (two weeks plus) in Europe beforehand to see and do other things. We had previously considered a river cruise and the Rhine itinerary was one of the ones that most appealed to us. When the idea of adding a second cruise to our trip was proposed, we initially balked at the cost but then, reasoning that we would have to pay for hotel and transportation to these sites regardless -- plus this way we got food, tours and entertainment -- we decided it made some sense. We were able to find a sailing with space on dates that not only worked for us but also delivered us back to Amsterdam a day before our other cruise. We enjoyed the cruise very much. The shore excursions were great and we appreciated that they made use of earbuds and transmitters so we didn't have any problem hearing our tour guides. Our room was comfortable, the food onboard was good and the staff was great. We only had limited time the day before embarkation to explore our departure city (Basel, Switzerland) and were glad we took the optional tour of the city. Basel is a lovely city and it would have been a shame not to have seen some of its highlights. Embarkation went smoothly although that was, in part, because I had sent an email inquiry to the ship a day or two ahead and sorted out some confusion around when and where the tour would begin, what to do with our luggage, etc. (The information on the website indicated, in error, that hotel pick-up was part of the tour. Once this misinformation was identified, the Cruise Director agreed to reimburse us for the cost of a cab to the ship where the tour actually began.) Disembarkation was pretty seamless too -- and we were lucky that our trip allowed for some extra time in Amsterdam beyond that included with the cruise. While onboard, we stayed on the first deck, meaning we did not have the huge windows that Avalon prides itself on. We knew that and were fine with it. Although we may have been a tad envious of those on the other two decks who enjoyed that feature, we didn't really miss it and, given how much of the time we were not even in our cabin, I'm not sure the extra expense would have been worth it. In cabin, our TV service included a choice of free movies, which was nice. Free internet was also included with the cruise but the network was quite slow at times. As far as the ship itself goes, we have no complaints. The Vista is not a super fancy ship but it is pleasant and comfortable. The hot tub on the Skydeck was quite small but, as it was a bit on the cool side, I only know of a couple of people that ever used it. A bit later in the season more people might be tempted to use it and I really think it could only accommodate about 4 people comfortably and 6 if on very friendly terms. The ship had a nice little room at the rear on the third floor where coffee, tea, hot chocolate and cookies as well as other snacks could be found. On hand were some books and games, making it a nice quiet spot to relax away from one's cabin or the lounge. Also included with the cruise was wine, beer and pop with lunch and dinner. My husband may have gotten more of our money's worth from that than I, however, for other drinks it was nice to have a true "Happy Hour" each day with half price drinks. We enjoyed every port we visited and found the shore excursions to be very good however it may be worth noting for anyone who thinks a River Cruise is necessarily super relaxing that, unless you opt not to participate in the shore excursions, there can be a LOT of walking (and on cobblestones)! We loved every excursion and would not have missed them but, overall, "restful" does not describe the trip. The only negative I would have regarding the food is that, on embarkation day, some of the offerings for lunch looked to be a bit past their best (wilted lettuce and such). Thankfully, that was not representative of the rest of the trip and the wait staff was very patient and accommodating with special requests during dinner. Standard onboard entertainment through lunch and dinner was a pianist. He was very good if maybe a bit under-appreciated. There were just a few nights (3?) when other entertainers performed but all were excellent. It would have been nice to have had someone special like that more of the nights. Although I know that a few first time River Cruisers (like us) on this trip immediately said they were converts and would only do these now instead of Ocean Cruises, we did not feel that way. Personally, I rather like having some "off" (sea) days included in the mix but the River Cruise is still an experience I enjoyed very much and would gladly repeat if another opportunity presented itself. Avalon itself was very good with all arrangements and tours being handled smoothly and professionally. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We wanted to visit Amsterdam and try a river cruise. The room on the ship were spacious,' comfortable and clean. The crew and staff were very helpful and friendly. The highlights were Keuknhof Gardens and spending a day in Bruges. The ... Read More
We wanted to visit Amsterdam and try a river cruise. The room on the ship were spacious,' comfortable and clean. The crew and staff were very helpful and friendly. The highlights were Keuknhof Gardens and spending a day in Bruges. The entertainment on the ship was good and the local guides for the excursions off the ship were excellent. The only negative was the food, sometimes it was cold and 2 hours for dinner every night is just takes up too much time. I would also recommend arriving into Amsterdam 1 or 2 days earlier to explore the city more. As this cruise does not give you enough time to visit the city's museums and other points of interest like the Anne Frank Museum and their fine restaurants. I would recommend this particular cruise to someone who wanted to visit the Netherlands and Belgium and also recommend Avalon for a cruise company. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
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: March 2019
The cabins are clean and spacious for a river boat. We had a problem with dinner and the service of one crew member in particular, but the Cruise Director and dining manager went way above and beyond to make it right. The breakfast ... Read More
The cabins are clean and spacious for a river boat. We had a problem with dinner and the service of one crew member in particular, but the Cruise Director and dining manager went way above and beyond to make it right. The breakfast and lunch were great, but we’re not much into the hour and a half dinner every night, though the food was mostly good. We were happy with the value of the excursions, both paid and included. There was an informative port talk the evening before we docked in each port, which was very helpful. There was a cheese tasting on board in the Netherlands, which was interesting. Embarkation and disembarkation was easy and stress free. We got back to the airport at a good time- not too early to have to wait around for hours Overall it was an excellent trip and I’ll definitely travel with Avalon again and recommend to others. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Globus Friends & Family opportunity. Spring was a perfect time for our 1st river cruise. The Avalon Vista was very, very nice. The itinerary was wonderful starting & ending in Amsterdam so we stayed a few extra days both before ... Read More
Globus Friends & Family opportunity. Spring was a perfect time for our 1st river cruise. The Avalon Vista was very, very nice. The itinerary was wonderful starting & ending in Amsterdam so we stayed a few extra days both before & after the cruise. The private organ recital in Willemstad was exceptional. Being behind the Delta Pan Barrage with a local quide was so educational. Every guide was excellent & truly loved their city & history. A wonderful time, great staff, too much (not complaining) really good food. Comfortable accommodations both our cabin & all the public spaces. The staff were very well trained, very helpful, knowledgeable, courteous. The cruise directory, Tibor, made all the varied arrangements look so easy, ie; added guides, added slow walker group. The coach drivers were amazing drivers on the narrow roads, small parking spaces. Always felt very safe. Again the guides answered varied questions, knew the history, had perfect English & loved what they did. 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
2 Helpful Votes
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We choose this cruise because of the Christmas markets and the cities we would visit. We did the pre-package in Prague. The cruise itinerary was changed due to the low river and we lost cruising on half the river, but only one port, ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of the Christmas markets and the cities we would visit. We did the pre-package in Prague. The cruise itinerary was changed due to the low river and we lost cruising on half the river, but only one port, Nuremberg. The ship was also changed, but it was sister ship, so it was not a big issue. They did not change the app when you logged in to show the change in itinerary. This was our first river cruise after doing about 5 of the big ocean cruises. What we loved: - The staff on the ship was excellent. Very helpful, very knowledgeable and happy to be there! - Salzburg was an amazing day trip. I would love to more time there. -The guides on the tours were great! Very knowledgeable. - The food was great (but see note below for more information) -The buffets for dinner and lunch that were offered (see not below) - You get to know many of the people cruising with you because of the small boat. What we didn't love - Since it is a small boat you eat dinner all together for the most part. Some of the nights they offered a buffet upstairs from the main dining room. We loved that option when it was offered. -When everyone dined at the same time it was very loud in the dining room. -There is not room service for dinner, only breakfast. - Many times there was only one tour offered so you will split into groups, but then basically walk over each other during the tour. What we would do different -Pack really warm clothes- long underwear, hand and feet warmers. A couple days were very cold -Go out on your own if you are the type who doesn't want to move with 200+ of your closest friends- we did that in Vienna and had a wonderful time - Make reservations on the pre or post trip for dinner. - I would do the post trip over the pre trip if I had to choose. Simply due to time change and jet lag. If you can do both, then for sure do both! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
My husband and I traveled with another couple for our first European River Cruise. I’d been wanting to do one of these cruises for years, so when the opportunity came up to go with our friends we jumped on it. It was less than three ... Read More
My husband and I traveled with another couple for our first European River Cruise. I’d been wanting to do one of these cruises for years, so when the opportunity came up to go with our friends we jumped on it. It was less than three weeks from the time we made the decision, to the time we were flying to Budapest! We decided to do five days in Budapest before boarding the cruise ship and four days in Paris after disembarking in Amsterdam. We are so glad we added the extra nights on both ends. Budapest is a fantastic city and Paris is more than I could have ever imagined! We were contacted by Avalon the day before we left the U.S. regarding the water levels on the Danube. Apparently, they were having issues and we were not going to be getting on the ship in Budapest, rather we would be transported by bus to Bratislava, Slovakia for our day tour there, and then driven to Austria to board a ship there, where the water levels were higher. They offered us the option to cancel the entire cruise if we wanted, for a refund, but we were already in Los Angeles (we live in Arizona) and the four of us decided to go anyway. We flew out of Los Angeles and on our flight out and on our return, we had a 24-hour layover in Istanbul, Turkey. Both times, we took an overnight bag on the plane (because our luggage was checked through) for one night in a hotel and stayed downtown at the DoublTree by Hilton, Old Town. It’s just a few blocks from the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. It was literally a five-minute walk from the hotel! The location was great – close to shops, restaurants, and sights. On our flight to Europe, we arrived at night so we walked into the city for dinner, visited some shops (everything was open) and got to see the exteriors of the beautiful Hagia Sofia mosque, and The Sultan Ahmed Mosque (the Blue Mosque). They weren’t open to see the interior, but walking around the area was beautiful and peaceful and there were a lot of people out enjoying the evening. On our return flight to Los Angeles, we had another 24 hours in Istanbul, and because our flight left in the late morning so we visited the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market before we departed. It was a real treat to be able to include this short visit on our trip. When we arrived in Budapest, we checked into the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus for the five days before our cruise. The hotel was GORGEOUS! Located on the Pest side of the Danube, it was convenient to public transportation, shops, restaurants, etc. We did a lot of walking throughout the city, visited many sites on our own, and were thrilled to find so many fantastic restaurants! The tour of the Hungarian Parliament Building was outstanding, I’d definitely recommend adding it to your list of things to see! The ceilings are gold! We walked over the Széchenyi Chain Bridge to the Buda side and took the Buda Hill Funicular to the top of Castle Hill. You get a great view of the city from there! Once on the Buda side we visited Matthias Church, walked around the town and took lots of pictures. On some of our other days we went to the Gellért Thermal Bath (great experience!), walked part of Andrássy út (a boulevard dating back to 1872), shopped and had lunch in the Central Market Hall, my husband and my friend’s husband visited the House of Terror museum and found it extremely interesting and eye-opening!, we saw the Shoes on the Danube memorial, the husbands went to a Ruin Pub (Google it), we took the Budapest Metro (the oldest electrified underground railway system on the European continent!), we had lunch at the famous Gerbeaud Café (we should have skipped the lunch as it was so-so and just should have eaten dessert!). It’s really a great city and we’ll definitely go back. Through EatWith.com we booked a walking tour of a real Hungarian market - Bosnyák téri Vásárcsarnok - a place frequented by the locals, not tourists, and also spent the evening at the home of a local resident who cooked the four of us a meal using recipes passed down through his family. What a fantastic experience! Here are the restaurants we visited while in Budapest: ÉS Bisztró - at our hotel (Kempinski Hotel Corvinus), for dinner Fekete - for breakfast Madal Café - for coffee Börze – for lunch. Wonderful! Antré – for breakfast. Beautiful little place. Urban Betyár – for dinner. Fantastic!!! The night before our bus departure (which would have been the day we were getting on the boat but couldn’t due to the water levels), we changed hotels from the one we were already in (the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus) to the one provided by Avalon Waterways (the Sofitel Budapest Chain Bridge). The breakfast was fantastic, the staff was wonderful, and the lobby was nice, but the room was not so great. It was conveniently located near the Chain Bridge, and we were only there for one night, so it worked out just fine, but I would have been disappointed if we had to stay at the Sofitel longer than one night. The next morning, we lined up and got on the buses headed to Bratislava and Vienna. I actually enjoyed the bus trip because I love to see areas outside of the city centers. The buses were modern and comfortable, with experienced drivers. The guides provided narration as we traveled and pointed out sites we might be interested in. Bratislava was great. I would love to go back and explore more of the city. The old walls, the little shops, the cobbled streets. It was great for pictures and we enjoyed hearing the guide give us the history of the city. Make sure to buy some of the honey wine they’re famous for! We arrived in Vienna late afternoon that same day and boarded the ship. The Vista and its staff made a great first impression. The ship was gorgeous, well appointed, with beautiful lounge and dining areas, comfortable rooms, and plenty of places to relax and enjoy the view. The staff was friendly and attentive. Our room was directly across from our friend’s room, located at the very back of the ship. We loved being the last room in the corridor, as we had quick access to the rear lounge, most of the time having it all to ourselves! The 24/7 coffee machine was a big hit with us - lattes at any hour of the day! The tours of each town we stopped at started early, most of them beginning between 8:30 and 10:30 AM. This doesn’t sound early for a tour, but when you have to get up, shower and get ready and have breakfast before taking off, it winds up being a very early start to the day. The tours in all the cities we visited were informative, educational, and worth going on. Even with the walking tours, there was plenty of time to explore on our own once they were over. We did a classical music concert in Vienna, rode bikes (provided by Avalon!) in Dürnstein, Austria, visited the magnificent Benedictine Abbey in Melk (it’s a must see), opted to take the excursion to Český Krumlov in the Czech Republic (another fantastic little city), went shopping in Regensburg, Germany, toured the Würzburger Residenz in Würzburg, Germany – a breathtaking 18th century palace boasting one stunning room after another, you will walk through the place with your mouth gaping open – a tour I would highly recommend, a walking tour of Miltenberg (the half-timbered houses are so Bavarian!, visited Siegfried's Mechanical Museum (a showcase of approximately 350 self-playing, mechanical music instruments spanning 3 centuries) in Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany, marveled at the cathedral in Cologne, and then headed to Amsterdam for the final leg of our tour where we took a canal boat cruise, walked through the red light district, visited a diamond factory, saw wooden shoes being made, and toured windmills. After Amsterdam, we spent four nights in Paris and came back to do one last night in Amsterdam before flying back home. What a trip! The only negative thing I can think of regarding the cruise was the fact that most of the sailing was done at night. I understand not wasting cruise days for travel when they can travel at night when everyone’s sleeping and wake up in the next city on your tour the next morning, but the commercials and brochures and videos show couples watching the beautiful European villages go by while sipping wine on their balconies, and that’s just not the case. I would have liked to have more daytime travel. I also want to make a quick comment about the internet on the ship. I'm hopelessly addicted to the internet. I'm a blogger (www.salenalettera.com), I am active on Instagram, I'm a frequent emailer, and I like to read news and Google to my heart's content, no matter where I am in the world. And I have to say, the internet was great. I was able to do everything I needed to, there was only one service interruption, which was promptly fixed, and the front desk even loaned me a laptop computer because the tablet I brought with me was more difficult to blog from than I had anticipated. It was much easier to use the actual keyboard on a laptop. Several people have asked me about the weather this time of year. For me, it was perfect. I hate the heat so the cool temperatures suited me just fine. Some villages were quite cold, 38-40 degrees Fahrenheit, some days it was overcast, and a few days we had drizzly rain, but it didn't affect our experience negatively. My husband brought a fleece vest, several long sleeved shirts, and one of those super-thin but warm puffer jackets and all of that worked well for him. I just had a couple of thin sweaters, a few pashminas, and a long, duster-style sweater "coat" - not really a coat, just a heavier sweater material. I layered when it was cooler and was able to take things off as it warmed up. My only other advice....wear comfortable shoes. There is a TON of walking!!! I am overweight and out of shape, but I still walked an average of 5 miles per day. One day we did 6.7 miles!! The pace of the groups was easy to keep up with and if you're really challenged with walking, or use a cane, or just find it hard to keep up, they do have a "gentle walker" group you can join. It's the same tour, to the same places, just a little slower paced. The upside to all the walking? Even with all the eating I did, the desserts I had, and the lattes I consumed, when I got home, I was 13 pounds lighter! This was a fantastic river cruise and I'd recommend it to anyone. It was a great first-time river cruise experience. Can't wait to do another one! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We were interested in trying a river cruise because several of our friends had enjoyed them. Our travel agent recommended Avalon--highly!! And this particular tour included a number of places we had not visited on our previous travels. ... Read More
We were interested in trying a river cruise because several of our friends had enjoyed them. Our travel agent recommended Avalon--highly!! And this particular tour included a number of places we had not visited on our previous travels. The ships we sailed on were both fantastic. They were in excellent condition. Our rooms were actually roomy. The food was superb. The crews were most accommodating, and Christina (our cruise director) did a masterful job making everything happen, despite the challenges of a medical emergency, inclement weather, and the low water levels on the Danube. The optional excursions were well worth the extra expense. All of the tour guides were knowledgeable and personable. The shipboard activities were also well done, and entertaining. We also had a grand time exploring on our own, especially in Prague. We were also very well taken care of during both our arrival in Prague and departure from Budapest, even at 3.30AM!!. Maybe the most lasting impression will be the experience of meeting and getting to know people from all over the world during our cruise. We met many people who we will remember for a very long time. Given all this, and so much more, there is no doubt that we would love to do another river cruise in the future, and if it happens, it will be on a Avalon ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
This cruise went along the waterways that my wife and I really wanted to travel on. From the time we checked in, the staff was friendly, professional, and provided attention to detail. All of our needs were met and the staff made it a ... Read More
This cruise went along the waterways that my wife and I really wanted to travel on. From the time we checked in, the staff was friendly, professional, and provided attention to detail. All of our needs were met and the staff made it a point to remember what our choices were so they could better anticipate what would make us happy. The excursions were great and we learned quite a bit about the different towns along the way. I met people on my trip, that I'll never forget and made new friends. The cabin was nice, clean, and quiet. The entire ship was clean and easy to maneuver through. The food throughout the day was delicious and plentiful. The service was excellent. There was live entertainment that kept the fun alive into the night. Overall, the entire cruise was amazing and I'd highly recommend Avalon Waterways to anyone who is considering river cruising. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
This was our first river cruise and based on our experience, certainly not the last. Despite record low river levels at both ends of our trip that required more motorcoach time, Avalon went above and beyond to make up for something that ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and based on our experience, certainly not the last. Despite record low river levels at both ends of our trip that required more motorcoach time, Avalon went above and beyond to make up for something that was out of their control. Extra excursions at no charge, partial refunds and their overall willingness to bend over backwards for their guests makes them the go to cruise line in my opinion. Our ship, the Vista, was a pleasure to cruise on. The crew was very attentive at all times. The food and service in the dining room was fantastic. Wine selections were all excellent. Stand outs for us were Lucas the maitre'd and our server Steve. These guys made every meal memorable. Our stateroom was roomy and comfortable. Always clean and well stocked. We even had laundry done and it was finished the same day. Lastly, our time on this trip was virtually flawless primarily due to the tireless work by our cruise director Ana. She was a pro from beginning to end, taking great care of all of us. And still smiled despite taking a "beating" by a few guests over the river levels. Some people just don't get it... All in all it was a marvelous experience. We can't wait to do another river cruise and it will most definitely be with Avalon. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We booked aboard the Avalon Vista from Budapest to Nuremberg. We really had a wonderful trip. Due to low water levels our cruise had to be altered multiple times. Avalon handled these changes nearly seamlessly and bent over backward ... Read More
We booked aboard the Avalon Vista from Budapest to Nuremberg. We really had a wonderful trip. Due to low water levels our cruise had to be altered multiple times. Avalon handled these changes nearly seamlessly and bent over backward to ensure that we were happy. They went above and beyond. I don't remember hearing hardly any complaints. Our cruise director Istvan Pinter was wonderful. Calm, cool, collected, helpful, understanding and more. It can't have been easy to handle the logistics of all the changes. We may have had to take a bus in a couple unexpected places but the trade off was hardly a cloud in the sky! Beautiful, warmer than expected weather every day!! Not one rain drop. The Avalon Vista is a great ship. Clean, well appointed. The staff was very friendly and accommodating. Some of my favorite places on this trip were an unplanned outing to Bratislava, Slovakia; our excursion to the Bohemian town of Český Krumlov; and Durnstein. The food was generally amazing! There was only one day at lunch when I had a hard time finding something I liked. I am sure if I had asked they would have made me something as well. They were very good about that. All in all this was a great trip. Avalon is great and the Vista was great. I know there are other companies that cost a lot more, and I don't know why anyone would chose them over Avalon!! Our time in port and our excursions were wonderful! The only things I had any complaints about were I wish there had been a better beer selection on board (the WINE however was amazing) and I wish someone had suggested that some of us might like to ride a bike along the river instead of being on board for the shortest distance between ports (15 - 20 miles). Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
What we wanted - cruising down the river with views from our balcony. What we got - bus trips and views of other ships docked cheek by jowl. The Danube has been in low water state for MONTHS apparently and so each cruise line has ... Read More
What we wanted - cruising down the river with views from our balcony. What we got - bus trips and views of other ships docked cheek by jowl. The Danube has been in low water state for MONTHS apparently and so each cruise line has restricted the number of ports of call and anchored for days in some, essentially just providing an hotel for the night and bus tours for the days. We were supposed to sail from Budapest to Nuremberg but ended up with less than half of that ( and mostly tied up at dock at that!) The ship, accommodation and staff were very good indeed, but we should have been advised months before we sailed that the brochure was a fiction! Not a happy cruiser! Apparently Viking passengers have been offered a 25% refund, no such offer from Avalon. To say we are disappointed is clearly an understatement Buyer beware, as this may continue in 2019 unless there are floods this winter. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Our travel agent recommended Avalon Cruise Lines, as we had no previous cruise experience. our on board cruise director, Mauro, was the best and completely engaged. All the various shore excursions were well organized and came off without ... Read More
Our travel agent recommended Avalon Cruise Lines, as we had no previous cruise experience. our on board cruise director, Mauro, was the best and completely engaged. All the various shore excursions were well organized and came off without a hitch. All the service crew, including housekeeping and wait staff were superb. Our cabin was spacious and having the wall to wall- floor to ceiling French balcony windows was a real plus. The on board musical entertainment was delightful. The quantity and variety of the food was a plus and the quality never declined. Having open dining seating lead to many happy conversations with different groups of friendly travelers. Everyone involved with Avalon was accommodating to our wishes. It was a memorable cruise. We had many photo opportunities taken from the ship as it passed by the castles on the Rhine River.. We liked the experience of passing through the many locks and remarking on the engineering wonders. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
What a marvelous start, all of the crew treated us as long term good friends, right from the Captain to the room staff. Our Cruise Director Ms. Barbara Bocz proved to be the number one person to handle all requests , solve any problems ... Read More
What a marvelous start, all of the crew treated us as long term good friends, right from the Captain to the room staff. Our Cruise Director Ms. Barbara Bocz proved to be the number one person to handle all requests , solve any problems and in doing so, made us all happy to be onboard! The accommodations, meals, staff services in all areas far exceeded any preconceived expectations. It’s impossible to mention all the staff by name but we do wish to make special comments on the extra efforts made by Lucas, head of dining and two fantastic young ladies Beden and Mimi who were wonderfully enthusiastic and full of fun in making our meals a every enjoyable experience. Charlotte our room (233) daily basis attendant looked after our accommodations expertly and in very friendly manner . News of the required transfer to the second ship came because of river water levels , Barbara stepped up here, professionally handling all customers concerns whether staying with the cruise or going on by bus. Those that took the remainder of the trip by bus were totally refunded the days they missed on the ship and were provided hotels, transportation and food on behalf of Avalon!! We decided to stay with the cruise and received a cash compensation for our trouble. Our Cruise Director Barbara stayed on the Visionary which was fantastic!! We did have a fantastic time on the cruise and look forward to doing it again! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
We had high expectations for our first (and LAST) river cruise last summer to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We had no idea that there were issues with low water levels until we landed in Prague. Most other people were told ... Read More
We had high expectations for our first (and LAST) river cruise last summer to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We had no idea that there were issues with low water levels until we landed in Prague. Most other people were told before they left town they could cancel for a full refund - we were not. After purchasing Business Class tickets, we didn't think it made sense to turn around and go home. BIG MISTAKE. "Issues" means that many of our stops were skipped and we were transported by BUS rather than cruising. They passed out this type of information day by day to avoid everyone cancelling right out of the shoot. To top it off, they kicked us off the last segment because they said the boat could not make it to Budapest. Funny thing - we saw our @Avalon ship docked in Budapest the next day. (We were treated to yet ANOTHER 5 hour bus ride instead of a cruise.) I get it that they don't control the weather, but they did nothing to make it right. By the time they responded to our complaint (at least a month after it was filed) they could have cared less. It was a LOT of money as we had upgraded to the Royal Suite since it was a special occasion. While the thought of a European River Cruise may sound lovely on paper, trust me, its a huge gamble and frankly not worth it. HUMONGOUSLY disappointing to say the least. I don't know how @Avalon can maintain a business where you can't deliver what you sold. They could have made it right by giving us a nice discount - they chose not to. I'm going back to Ocean cruises. Thanks. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We had never been on a river cruise and since "Travel With Alan" offered a special, we thought we'd try river cruising. First we were notified that the ship could not make it into Amsterdam due to low water so we'd ... Read More
We had never been on a river cruise and since "Travel With Alan" offered a special, we thought we'd try river cruising. First we were notified that the ship could not make it into Amsterdam due to low water so we'd stay in a hotel for 2 days and bus into Cologne. Since it was only a 3 hour bus ride, we thought ok, no problem. The hotel was called The Room Mate. Upon arrival we were to be greeted by a cruise rep. and taken to our hotel. That's sort of what happened. The Rep was there but we had to walk our luggage to another location, wait for a couple, who never arrived. Then a driver showed up and we had to walk to another location. I'm a slow walker.....after being told this, he grabbed my bags and expected all of us to keep up. That's 5 people cause the van wouldn't hold more.....rest of the people had to stay at the second location and wait. He didn't drive to the door, we had to go all the way to the back of the parking garage. It was cheaper than to park near the door. We arrived at 2:30 and our room wasn't ready....after 14 hours on planes and in airports, that's the last thing we wanted to hear. After 1 1/2 hours our room was ready. I had to ASK them to carry my luggage to my room. The room was clean, I'll give it that. Keep in mind we're expecting to be on a cruise ship not a hotel. We were bused to a river boat the second day to take a tour of the Canals. The tour guide could not be bothered with questions.....just told us the history of Amsterdam. Getting back to the hotel, I went downstairs to see about a Windmill Tour only to be told it was only offered the first day not the second. Day 2 found us on a bus to Cologne. It was hot, Cathedral was beautiful but we chose not to do a walking tour. Found out later that was wise. Back onto the bus to get to the ship. We got there around 4:30 or so. The ship was a pleasant surprise. The rooms were nice with full ceiling to floor windows. We could open them to bring the outdoors in but it wasn't a balcony that I thought we had. River Cruising was wonderful, you're right there on the shore almost. I could talk to the people who were on the shore fishing or camping or just watching. Bathrooms were much nicer than on a cruise ship with a glass door shower. I didn't find the food for dinner as appetizing as I thought it should be. My husband had steak almost every night because he could find anything he liked. One night we were offered Prawns but it was 1....albeit large but 1 Prawn. Entertainment was lecturers or a bit out of our taste. There was an Oompa pa band one night and a singer (we didn't enjoy) and another singer (we didn't bother to go hear) Service....they cleaned the rooms daily, we ask for breakfast to our room 3 times and got nothing. The boats didn't dock near much of anything and if the cruise company didn't provide it, there was a lot of walking to get to anything to see. a couple of times they did bus us into town because it was docked miles away. Shore excursions were a joke......walking tours and if you saw something you liked the tour guides would say, well you can come back once the tour is over. Why, I'm right here but if I didn't stay with the tour, I'd have to find my way back to the ship. The upper deck was not available most of the time because the ship needed the rails lowered to get under the bridges...this was kind of a bummer....would have been nice to sit on the upper deck as we sailed. Then came the bombshell......we'd get to Regansburg and no further due to low water. Europe was in the midst of a drought that was 3 months old. Now, I ask you, 3 months??? IMO they should have cancelled the entire cruise but NO, they chose to BUS us everywhere and put us up in hotels. I'd always wanted to do a land sea cruise but NO MORE. The buses caused us to rise EARLY and have breakfast (who eats at 6:30) then get on a bus with EMERGENCY bathrooms only. Some of the tour guides on the bus were very nice and told us a bit, then let us view the scenery or sleep. Others wouldn't shut up. We'd bus somewhere, get out and walk places and back on the bus. The first hotel was the Marriott in Passau..clean rooms with a bathtub so deep a lot of the cruisers wouldn't attempt to get in. My 6'1" husband found it difficult...I had him help me in and out. We stopped at Melk and saw the Abbey and had a wonderful lunch. The Abbey is beautiful and worth seeing. Back on the bus to Vienna where we stayed at the Hilton. Very clean and nice hotel. Both the Marriott and the Hilton delivered our luggage to our room in a very timely manner. We chose to see the Lipizzenar Stallions instead of a walking tour. The Concierge got us the tickets and taxi as well as other helpful information They were marvelous. Upon arrival back at the hotel, we ask about a couple more things to do only to find they were MILES away from where we were. This time we ask the Avalon Rep who didn't know much about Vienna except where things were. She couldn't help much at all. We chose to go to the City Park across the street walk a bit and then people watch. We did have a piece of Sacher Torte and it was everything we thought it would be. 2 nights in Vienna which was nice....no unpacking and packing. Next we bussed to Budapest. This hotel was the Intercontinental and I can't say enough good about this hotel. We enjoyed the room, the location and the Concierge. The tour in Budapest was very nice and we had a great guide in Lazlo..I know I spelled that wrong. The food in most of these places was Buffet and you can't expect a lot from that type of dining. We didn't get lunch money (we were told they were going to do this) until the first day in Budapest..in Euro....guess who's not on the Euro. Avalon has said they are going to refund 100 per cent of the cruise portion for 5 days...….guess we'll see if they really do. One positive note our cruise director Tony, worked his butt off and tried to be every where at once. He was a shining moment in an otherwise difficult time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We have cruised several times, but this was our first river cruise (sort of). A friend had highly recommended taking a river cruise and when we saw the dates and itinerary for this cruise, we booked within 30 minutes (which is how we ended ... Read More
We have cruised several times, but this was our first river cruise (sort of). A friend had highly recommended taking a river cruise and when we saw the dates and itinerary for this cruise, we booked within 30 minutes (which is how we ended up with Cabin P319). My ancestry is 94% European so a trip to Holland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary was exciting. We flew out on Monday, July 30, and landed in Amsterdam on Tuesday, July 31. We were warned 3 days prior that we would not be able to board the Vista in Amsterdam as planned due to low river conditions but they would motor coach us to Cologne, the second stop on our trip, and we would embark at that point. It was a little disappointing at first, but it gave us an extra night in Amsterdam and we enjoyed our time there. Tony, our cruise director, was fantastic and kept us well-informed all along the way. Wednesday night at dinner, he let us know that we would not be boarding the Vista in Cologne, but would be motor coaching all day on Thursday between our next two stops (Amsterdam to Cologne to Rudesheim) and we would now be boarding in Rudesheim. It ended up being a VERY LONG day on buses and we finally boarded our ship just before dinner on Thursday evening. The staff greeted us as we boarded the ship. Our cabins were in perfect condition, complete with a welcoming towel animal on the bed. We were afraid that we would now be missing our tour of the Rhine Gorge but Tony made sure that we were chartered for Friday on a public tour boat that took us up the Rhine Gorge and our buses met us at the stopping point to take us back to the Vista awaiting us in Rudesheim. That evening, we sailed to Miltenberg. Monday night we were told that there was a big possibility that we would not be able to cruise the entire way to Budapest. In fact, we would probably not be able to sail past Passau at all. We were informed at Tuesday night's Port Talk that unfortunately, we would be having our Captain's Farewell Message and Gala Dinner on Wednesday night and getting off the ship on Thursday morning in Regensberg. Tony had to break the news that we would be motor coaching across Europe for the remaining 4 travel days. We ended up getting two nights at the Intercontinental Hotel in Budapest (just across from the Chain Bridge), which was a great way to end the trip. Out of our 15-day "cruise", we actually got to spend 7 nights on the ship, but only cruised for 5 days due to low river conditions. As a first-time experience, it was very disappointing to say the least. We didn't complain and tried our best to "go with the flow" (pun intended). After all, the weather is not controlled by Avalon. I want to make sure everyone understands that Avalon went out of their way to make this trip as nice as possible considering the conditions. They made sure we not only were able to make all of our planned stops and excursions, but they even added a few along the way to break up the bus trips. All hotels and meals were included, and Avalon (and Tony) exceptionally handled the trip interruptions. With all that being said, the biggest disappointment to me was my Cabin Steward. She was very nice and polite and did a great job at making sure the bed was made and the towels were folded. After the first night's towel animal, and not getting one on the second or third nights, I asked her to make me animals each day. I know it's not an ocean cruise but I like putting the pictures in my scrapbook, and she told me that wouldn't be a problem. My husband gave me $50 euros to put on the bed as a tip for the two weeks of towel animals. I received TWO towel animals for the $50 euros. Since we were having to disembark early, I was expecting one on the last night of my cruise, but when I went to my cabin that night, there was no animal. I asked Katy about it the next morning as we were disembarking and all she had to say was, "So sorry, Darling, I was busy." WHAT??? $50 euros and you were too "busy" to provide one more animal??? I know that may seem like such a small thing, but I felt like she was paid very well for three nights, but she knew I couldn't do anything about it. The biggest disappointment to my husband was that the crew only opened up the top deck on the last day when we were docked in Regensberg. That was one of the things my friend had raved about was cruising on the top deck and being able to see the 360 degree view. We were never allowed that opportunity. All-in-all, Avalon took care of us and I was glad we had chosen them over another cruise line. IF (and that's a big "IF") I ever choose to do another river cruise, I would either book a spring trip or one of the famous "Christmas Market" itineraries that we kept hearing about along the way. I do NOT recommend a summer river cruise! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
I selected this cruise because I wanted to experience a river cruise. I had never been on the Danube, and the towns and the cities on this voyage seemed that they were going to be historic and beautiful. We were not disappointed. ... Read More
I selected this cruise because I wanted to experience a river cruise. I had never been on the Danube, and the towns and the cities on this voyage seemed that they were going to be historic and beautiful. We were not disappointed. Hungary was amazing, (If you have the opportunity to be there and explore at least four days before embarking, I would recommend it highly.) The small towns along the way were completely enchanting and the guides gave us great insight into their past. Although I don't like bus excursions while on a cruise, I have to say that there is an excursion to Cesky Krumlov that must be taken! It's an experience like no other. The ship was pristine and the staff went over and above in order to make us comfortable and meet all of our needs. The food was delicious. There is an attempt to meet the dietary requirements of all (such as those with allergies or those who are vegan). I would suggest that more options be available to vegans, for example: having vegan options in the coffee/snack area. (I must say that the coffee/tea station at the back of the ship was a very nice touch.) There was a lovely piano player on board most afternoon and evenings. I would love to go on another river cruise with Avalon. I was very impressed by the condition of their ship, their menu, their polite and capable staff, and the itinerary offered. I would recommend going in June (or before June) when the river is still at a high level so all ports can be reached. We went in July and the river had lowered considerably. Read Less
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