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Sail Date: May 2019
This wasn't our first river cruise. We did the Rhine last year. Both vacations were amazing, but the Rhine wasn't as popular/crowded (fewer ships). The Danube was high due to recent rainfall and bridge clearance was an ... Read More
This wasn't our first river cruise. We did the Rhine last year. Both vacations were amazing, but the Rhine wasn't as popular/crowded (fewer ships). The Danube was high due to recent rainfall and bridge clearance was an issue. Avalon did a great job of working around difficult conditions. The quality of the shore excursions depend, in large part, on the local guides. Many of the guides were entertaining and knowledgeable but not all of them. 1. The food selection and preparation was excellent, but the dining room is noisy, particularly at dinner time. It's much easier to hear conversations from the center (bench) side of the tables. 2. We really enjoyed having time to explore Prague on our own. I think we over scheduled our time with guided tours throughout the trip. Some time to explore on your own ought to be welcomed. I think bus tours (e.g. Vienna) are worthless. A video on the TV would give you the same information and sense of the place. 3. Our guides for Prague were wonderful. Anna (classic) and Christian(Secrets of Prague) were outstanding. 4. The excursion to Terezin was outstanding. Don't miss it! 5. Our guide to Nuremberg was not wonderful (I'm being very kind). I regret wasting the time on the old city and missing the rally ground. On our last excursion of the cruise, I found evaluation/feedback forms for the guides. Be advised they exist and use them! 6. Regensburg is a delight. It wasn't bombed during WWII and it's old and beautiful... dating back to Roman times. Our guide was excellent and the city is beautiful. Enjoy! 7. We mostly missed Passau because of the high water (delays for bridge clearance issues). We had only an hour or so at Passau before we had to sail on. Most of the day was spent in Salzburg which was strikingly beautiful as was all of Austria. 8. The Melk Abbey and gardens are beautiful. Be forewarned that no photographs are allowed in the abbey. The Wachau Valley is spectacular. Bring a serious zoom (400mm) lens to photograph the vineyards, castles and churches. 9. Vienna is beautiful. The Royal Waltz Concert is not to be missed. It was amazing. However, the guided city tour is pretty weak. Too much of the tour is bussed. We did the food tour which was fun. 10. Budapest. Almost all of the city tour is bussed- covering both Buda and Pest. Only a few minutes are free for walking. It's the worst of the lot. (Traffic is heavy and the journey was slow.) The view from the castle is the best part of the city tour. We took the "Bites of Budapest" food tour in the afternoon. It was a significantly better exposure to the city. We traveled with friends and between the four of us we experienced eleven faulty receivers which meant we missed much of several tours. The guides ran out of spare receivers for walkers a few times. This was an ongoing and persistent problem with many passengers. All in all, it was a great (if not perfect) tour! I would do it again, but the rain and high water created a high density of tourists in the cities. I had the feeling the +90% of the pedestrians were riverboat tourists.... Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our first river cruise, though we've been on a number of ocean cruises, including the Star Clipper and Aranui. Our cruise director was very good, the ship was very good, and our stateroom was very good, though the view of ... Read More
This was our first river cruise, though we've been on a number of ocean cruises, including the Star Clipper and Aranui. Our cruise director was very good, the ship was very good, and our stateroom was very good, though the view of the river from the bed was 50% blocked by a wall (we opted for state room 312, the Royal Suite, and found this aspect of it very disappointing). My criticisms or suggestions would be the following: 1. While the food selection and preparation was excellent, the dining room was very noisy, particularly at dinner time, and seemed understaffed (the staff including 2 trainees . . . .). Avalon should consider 2 seatings and better staffing. 2. The daily bulletin should include the weather forecast for the day ahead. 3. On the "Tastes of Hungary Dinner & Wine Pairing" the gypsy music was overwhelming loud despite our request that it be softer and the music definitely wasn't gypsy (as the gypsys didn't compose My Fair Lady or The Phantom of the Opera . . . .). However, the gentlemen doing the wine pairing did a very good job, it was nice that our group had a room to ourselves, and the food was excellent. 4. Rather than leaving the arrival afternoon in Prague "free time", the city tour ought to have been done then, so that on the final day a full-day tour to the former concentration camp would be available. 5. The Nuremberg tour to the Hitler sites ought to have allowed far more time at the Documentation Museum. 6. The Sconbrunn Palace tour in Vienna ought to have allowed much more time at the site. 7. The City tour of Prague was nothing more than an hour at the Palace and being taken to the Market Square and given free time. Rather than do that, if we did the trip over again, we'd just buy a hop on/hop off bus ticket - see the same places and many more, for much less. 8. The last event we did, which was the Czech Dinner & Folklore Show in Prague, was excellent. The meal, drinks and setting were nice, and the performers 10+. Their music was authentic music from different areas of the country as it has evolved over the years, and they had an excellent ability to get the group excited and have us participate in the fun. While this is a review of the cruise portion of the trip, we also had the pre-cruise and post-cruise experiences in Budapest and Prague. The New York Palace hotel in Budapest was excellent, while the Prague Hilton was so-so. The included and optional excursions in Budapest were good. I've already criticized the included City tour in Prague, but the optional excursion to the concentration camp site was very moving (and far too short). All in all, no serious complaints. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Great cruise with a company that made our trip so memorable. Cabin was very comfortable and staff was so helpful and friendly. Our ports and excursions were very informative. Since they were in the morning it left us ample time to explore ... Read More
Great cruise with a company that made our trip so memorable. Cabin was very comfortable and staff was so helpful and friendly. Our ports and excursions were very informative. Since they were in the morning it left us ample time to explore on our own or just lounge on the deck. Extra excursions were very reasonably priced and enjoyable. Our excursion to 2 wineries and wine tastings was the highlight of our day in Budapest. Most included excursions offer a guide for “gentle walkers” that needed a a somewhat slower pace. I would advise to bring some loose clothes because the food was phenomenal, with included wine or beer at lunch and dinner. Our cruise director Tabia was superb and made sure that everything was perfect. The wait staff in the dining room were friendly and ensured that our meals were to our liking. This was our second Avelon cruise and will not hesitate to take a third with this company. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
The Danube river was low therefore, we were bused to many of the destination we were originally supposed to cruise to and from. We were bused to Arnsdorf, Salzburg and to Regensburg, then again to Budapest, actually losing the last day on ... Read More
The Danube river was low therefore, we were bused to many of the destination we were originally supposed to cruise to and from. We were bused to Arnsdorf, Salzburg and to Regensburg, then again to Budapest, actually losing the last day on the boat and missing out again on river cruising. We were originally supposed to begin our cruise in Nuremberg, we which we did not get to see at all. Then to top it all off, while docked in Passau, another ship pulled in next to ours completely blocking the view of the land FOR THREE DAYS! This was unacceptable. Did not get the river cruise experience we were expecting. We have cruised Avalon before along the Rhine River and it was a most wonderful experience. The Danube is not a River Cruise I would recommend. It is always nice to travel and countryside was quite beautiful but again, we did not get to experience the beauty of cruising along the riverside. Too many hours on the bus to get to where we were touring. Our cruise director was most wonderful! She tried to make this Danube cruise experience better than it really was. We were afforded lunch coupons on the days we were bused to the different areas because they were so far from where we were docked. We lost our last day on the boat again due to the low water level and had to be bused 3 1/2 hours from Melk to Budapest. Did not get to enjoy that city all because we were rushed through our brief tour and whisked away to the hotel. As far as the ship and staff, we cannot say enough about them! The ship was exquisite and the staff extremely upbeat and accommodating. I would have to say that our experience was disappointing and we would have to really think about whether or not another Avalon cruise is in our future plans. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
My husband and myself chose to take Avalon Illumination -Danube river cruise from Budapest to Bucharest. This was our first river cruise and the first with Avalon. Two days before we traveled we got information from our agent that due to ... Read More
My husband and myself chose to take Avalon Illumination -Danube river cruise from Budapest to Bucharest. This was our first river cruise and the first with Avalon. Two days before we traveled we got information from our agent that due to the low water levels in Danube the cruise route has been changed. There were options for us to either cancel, credit to a later date or take a revised cruise schedule. We however decided to proceed with our trip. Avalon managed the changed itinerary so well and gave us the best experience. We had to travel by bus from Budapest to Vienna and then start the cruise through the little towns of Austria. They then took us by chartered flight to Bucharest from Vienna as the ship could not sail through. The dining experience was great, well presented and tasty fresh food! My husband was a vegetarian, every meal was a treat even for him. The staff were well informed about the food and wines. They were courteous and some were exceptionally great! The shore excursions were well organised most of the guides were good and the buses arranged for our transport were excellent. We would definitely like to sail on Avalon cruise again! Even though due to the last minute change of itinerary there were some uncertainties Avalon made our holiday very special! They even gave us a part refund as a compensation for the last minute change of plan once we completed the cruise!! I was impressed with their Avalon app that was available for the passengers as a ready reckoner! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
In October, we travelled as a group of six, for an 18 day cruise along the Danube river from Prague to Bucharest. What a wonderful time we had on Avalon's Illumination. The food was wonderful, the ship immaculately clean and the ... Read More
In October, we travelled as a group of six, for an 18 day cruise along the Danube river from Prague to Bucharest. What a wonderful time we had on Avalon's Illumination. The food was wonderful, the ship immaculately clean and the staff very personable. However, we knew that there had been a drought in Europe all summer and there was a possibility that it would affect our sailings. It did indeed. We were unable to sail a good portion of the river itself. About half way into our cruise we were told we could no longer navigate by ship to many of our destinations due to the extremely low riverbed. We would have to be bussed to various locations and back again. It was very disappointing, but, Avalon went above and beyond what I understand is normal in these situations! We were not simply offered a monetary credit on a future cruise. We were given the choice between staying on board (and taking in some different sights cruising back along the way we came) or terminating our cruise and flying home. Either way we were being reimbursed for those days!! We naturally chose to stay on board and ride out the adventure! Even though we were being compensated for those 7 days, we were given extra excursions, flown by charted planes to one destination, saw absolutely wonderful little towns that were new to our cruise, and did not lack for interesting and new adventures; all fully paid for. It is true that we had to be bussed to several locations and missed a good part of the actual onboard cruising part of the trip, but, Avalon can not control the river levels, and they managed to make lemonade out of what could have been a very sour turn of events. We cannot say enough about the wonderful staff and cruise director who did everything in their power to make sure that we enjoyed everything to very best of their abilities. Countless hours on the internet and telephone were spent by our dedicated and very professional cruise director making alternate plans and arranging for special busses and local mini cruises (especially in Budapest) so that we could experience some of the beauty of sailing in approximation of our cancelled cruise along sections of the Danube. (Thank you, Gusta, you were amazing!) All in all, we had a wonderful experience and quite soon after we got home we found refunds deposited into our accounts. We will DEFINITELY choose Avalon again, next time we want to cruise. Thank you Avalon! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
Looked like a great vacation but cut short in Vienna do to low water level. We where to board the ship In Nuremberg but didn't , disappointed. Wanted to see the city. Staff on the ship where friendly and very good at their jobs. ... Read More
Looked like a great vacation but cut short in Vienna do to low water level. We where to board the ship In Nuremberg but didn't , disappointed. Wanted to see the city. Staff on the ship where friendly and very good at their jobs. People on board seemed to be having a good time until we where notified the cruise would not be sailing south of Austria. Most peoples chose to end their trip and return home. We chose to continue our trip. Gusta, our tour director was very patient and helpful in planing our continued trip arrangements. The food was very good, food service and waiter staff was attentive and friendly. Excursions where handle well and the tour guides did a good job. We enjoyed Avalon and think they where very responsible in handling the problem of not being able to sail the entire Danube. Avalon's refund for our disruption in sailing says a lot about your integrity, honesty and professional approach to providing a quality vacation experience. I would give serious consideration to traveling with Avalon again. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We had a great time with Avalon in China in 2017. We wanted to see the Danube and thought Avalon would be good again. They did not disappoint. The service was magnificent, the food very good, the tours were great. We enjoyed every ... Read More
We had a great time with Avalon in China in 2017. We wanted to see the Danube and thought Avalon would be good again. They did not disappoint. The service was magnificent, the food very good, the tours were great. We enjoyed every minute of it. We had plenty of time to explore Budapest and were able to store our luggage on board on embarkation day. The staff was so accommodating. One evening, we didn't not realize that Vienna closed so completely and early. We made our way back to the ship knowing we had missed dinner. We did not even ask, the crew said "you have missed dinner, can we get you something?" We will be taking other Avalon cruises because they have not disappointed at all. We needed to make alternative arrangements at the end of the cruise and the staff was very accommodating and helped us get to the train station in Regensburg to catch the train to Munich. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
I had a wonderful time. The tours of the cities were great and quite educational. The listening devices used during the tours were a savior. Embarkation was a bit of a fiasco. The ship couldn't make it up to the scheduled ... Read More
I had a wonderful time. The tours of the cities were great and quite educational. The listening devices used during the tours were a savior. Embarkation was a bit of a fiasco. The ship couldn't make it up to the scheduled embarkation city because of low water level. So instead of boarding the ship by 5pm in Budapest, we were to meet at a hotel near the dock and leave by 3pm. Our flight made the new time almost impossible, so we missed the transportation to the boat. After some helpful communication by the concierge at the meeting hotel, we were directed to get a taxi to the boat about an hour out of town. We were to pay for the taxi ourselves and get reimbursed once on the ship. We did as instructed and everything worked out in the end. This was my first river cruise, so I wasn't absolutely sure what to expect. For first-timers that are used to ocean liners; there isn't a lot to do onboard, but that was fine. You eat breakfast, tour the port throughout the day, board the boat, eat dinner, and usually sail while you sleep. It seems we sailed during the day only on the more picturesque parts of the river. There is some form of entertainment in the lounge after dinner (DJ, Piano player, etc), but this didn't happen to be my cup of tea. I must disclose I am 41, about 25 yrs younger than the average person on the boat. I found the dining great. The only drawback was the dinner can really drag on. Be prepared for about 2.5 hours sitting every night. The cabins were comfortable. They are about the size of an ocean liner cabin, but more sturdily built. I'm guessing weight isn't as big of an issue. So you get stone, glass door, and tile for example. The service was excellent. If I had the smallest complaint, it would be getting non-wine drinks at meals. Wine glasses were constantly filled, but getting tea or soda was a much slower process. The tours and excursions are what really made the trip for me. The local guides and planning were great. I found the paid excursions we did to be worth the money. Great time. I would highly recommend Avalon. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
Here is what I told my travel agent: The trip wasn’t the best we have done but there were some nice people we met on the boat and the stateroom was quite nice. I am disappointed in Avalon. When we were late out of San Diego and ... Read More
Here is what I told my travel agent: The trip wasn’t the best we have done but there were some nice people we met on the boat and the stateroom was quite nice. I am disappointed in Avalon. When we were late out of San Diego and missed the Philadelphia connection, after we were rescheduled I called the number in the Avalon booklet to report the new arrival information. The young lady took down all the information but no one from Avalon was at the airport when we arrived. Fortunately there was a Viking Representative there and she indicated there had not been an Avalon representative there, but steered us to where we got a cab to our hotel. I think Avalon should credit our credit card for the $50 each (total $100) we paid for Arrival Transfers. We followed the procedures exactly and Avalon failed to deliver. We were without luggage Wednesday and Thursday. It arrived at midnight Thursday/Friday so we were able to join the trip group Friday Morning as scheduled. The Danube had low water levels and as you were aware, Avalon had to change boats. Even with the boat change, we had to be bussed 50-60 KM up river from Budapest so we never saw that part of the river. Then they stopped the trip at Passau. In looking at the map, I would guess that we missed at least 1/3 of the trip. There was only one daylight sailing, the rest of the movement was at night so you didn’t get to see much of the Danube. When Avalon had to change boats they knew there was low water and they would have to modify the trip they sold to people. At that point Avalon should have offered a full refund, or at least the option to change to some other trip either this year or next. A large number of the passengers on board felt this same way. I am told that at the first night’s meeting with Robert (The Cruise Director who was excellent by the way) people were offered the opportunity to not go and get a refund….if that is the case it sure wasn’t made clear, at least not to us. But at that point, after travel all the way there and a night or two in the hotel already its sort of a dumb time to make such an offer and I am sure they knew people wouldn’t take it since they had traveled so far already. And even then, it is my understanding they didn’t tell us the cruise would be cut short at Passau and we would miss Regensburg and Nuremberg. The positive parts of the trip were the stateroom and Robert, the Cruise Director. There were shore excursions designed for those who had mobility issues which was nice, although some of the guides still walked rapidly. In looking back and comparing our experience to our Viking Rhine cruise there is little comparison, Viking was better by far even the stateroom and particularly the meals and meal selection. The crowning blow was the last dinner on board I didn’t care for any of the 3 main course selections (Avalon main course selections were a bit fancy for my taste) so I ordered the optional steak. I was delivered cannelloni. When I mentioned to the waiter I hadn’t ordered cannelloni but rather the steak, HE ARGUED WITH ME. The friends we had made with whom we were eating were surprised and recalled I had ordered the steak medium rare. After a while the waiter did return and offer to get me a steak, but by that time I was so upset I refused. Don’t take me wrong on this, none of it is your fault or responsibility. I hope no other customers have a bad experience with Avalon like we did. I am an avid Trip Advisor user and poster and plan to make my experience known that way. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
My husband and I chose Avalon due to the larger rooms and fewer people. And all the good reviews we heard from the people at Columbus Travel. We had a wonderful cruise, in spite of the low water problems we had. The ship, or I should ... Read More
My husband and I chose Avalon due to the larger rooms and fewer people. And all the good reviews we heard from the people at Columbus Travel. We had a wonderful cruise, in spite of the low water problems we had. The ship, or I should say ships as we had to switch ships midway, were very nice with large rooms, a very comfortable bed, the amazing large windows that allowed us to enjoy the outside while being in, and all the little extras that made it so comfortable for us. The room was always kept spotless for us, thanks to the sweet girls who cleaned and turned down our beds. It was also so convenient to have our clothes cleaned by the fast and efficient laundry service. Ana, our Cruise Director, was such a sweetheart and made our cruise very special. She really had her hands full with all the changes that had to be made due to the low water, but she made sure we all had a wonderful experience. The shore excursions were very informative. Ana made sure even the "Gentle Walkers", like me, were able to enjoy the sights without having to over do it. The 100 degree temperatures made it difficult to totally enjoy sightseeing, but everything was done to make it comfortable for everyone. The entertainment each evening was very good, not only the piano guy each evening, but those that came on board at each port. The food was excellent! And, of course, we happily over indulged. We would definitely recommend Avalon Waterways to family and friends. And yes most definitely we would travel again on Avalon. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We had travelled with Avalon previously in 2015 and spent a lot of time convincing my sister and her husband to join us for the Budapest to Amsterdam cruise. This was to be the trip of a lifetime for my sister. As you read on you will feel ... Read More
We had travelled with Avalon previously in 2015 and spent a lot of time convincing my sister and her husband to join us for the Budapest to Amsterdam cruise. This was to be the trip of a lifetime for my sister. As you read on you will feel our disappointment with the trip but please read to the end of my comments. On arrival in Budapest we met people who had travelled up from Amsterdam and were told that their cruise had been impacted by low water levels. Later we were told that a large group of Americans had cancelled for our trip leaving just 88 people out of a possible 140 guests. The cruise started well and soon reinforced our decision to convince our family members to join us. By the time we reached Passau we were informed that low water would prevent our on travel and we would be bused for a few days and that the boat might catch us later down river. Our options were to leave the tour then with a refund of the remaining sailing component of the fees. The other option was to stay with the group and Avalon has promised, in writing, to refund 50% of the cruise component for the bus trip days. This is a fair option but at the time of offer we had a glimmer of hope that we would be reunited with the boat soon. Almost all on board took the option to stay with the group. Aussies and Kiwis are pretty resilient so despite some grumbles they were up for the challenge. Unfortunately reuniting with the boat did not eventuate and in the final analysis we had a tiring experience busing through busy Europe to complete our planned excursion visits and ongoing passage towards Amsterdam. It was hot, many of the coaches were cramped and poorly airconditioned. Early morning departures lessened the trip experience further and in my opinion it became more like a "going to work" experience. The hot conditions took their toll and many were exhausted by the daily grind. There were no opportunities for people to opt out and take a day off as was possible on the boat. This was a problem that could have been managed by the bus options to include a day off option or bypass to the next destination. Nevertheless there are some good points to stress. First the standard of the boat and crew was exceptional. Friendly and helpful at all times. The cruise director Andre and later with assistance from Hans were very experienced people and quite sensitive to needs however there were some gaps in the itinerary that appeared to meet the needs of the company rather than the guests.....bad business practice ! We saw quite a bit of the country side but from a bus view it was restricted and I think many guests just slept their way through the excursions...missing a lot along the way. These guys were also very entertaining and provided an essential buffer to reduce possible ill feelings amongst the guests towards Avalon. So where does this leave me and my family in regard to this trip and Avalon ? Obviously you can see this was a disappointing outcome which as mentioned can happen with high or low water conditions. Assuming that Avalon meet their stated refund then I will have confidence to travel with them again. That would be a fair deal. I would caution Avalon in making assumptions about bus travel in very hot conditions. They may have dodged a bullit if there had been a serious heat stroke. Some came close to it. At this stage we will try Avalon again. Their facilities and staff and services are to good to not travel with again ! And we will all watch the weather predictions more closely when booking....next time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We only had 7 nights of our 15 day cruise due to low water levels which was disappointing, however Avalon did everything possible to still make this a fantastic trip. Our cruise director was exceptional in every way. We did lose some free ... Read More
We only had 7 nights of our 15 day cruise due to low water levels which was disappointing, however Avalon did everything possible to still make this a fantastic trip. Our cruise director was exceptional in every way. We did lose some free time as we had to bus between towns. Hotel accommodation was always very good. We also met some wonderful people in our early 60’s age group. Cleanliness and service whilst on board was fantastic as was on-board entertainment. Cabins are beautifully quiet, well appointed and spacious. Some of the walking tours whilst very interesting were a little long-winded and didn’t leave enough time for a good look around. However these are not compulsory. We feel Avalon handled a very difficult situation in the best possible way. We were given lunch money where appropriate on the bus section of the trip. As I mentioned while disappointed you can’t argue with nature and sometimes in life you just have to roll with it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
The main reason, initially to chose Avalon was that the set up of the cabins. Also the fairs suited us as we had follow up plans with family. The service crew were constantly helpful and pleasant. Our waiter, Gabriel, went out of his way ... Read More
The main reason, initially to chose Avalon was that the set up of the cabins. Also the fairs suited us as we had follow up plans with family. The service crew were constantly helpful and pleasant. Our waiter, Gabriel, went out of his way to ensure that our dining experiences were positive and enjoyable. He was always polite, gave good advice, was helpful and respectful and made us feel very valued. Our rooms were serviced efficiently and non obtrusivelly and the laundry service was highly efficient with laundry being returned either before or on the allotted time. The Cruise Director was very efficient and effective. He had a very good understanding of passengers and the itinerary. He kept us well informed of any changes and the reasons for these changes so there were no unexpected surprises, Ot would have been great to have had more opportunities to visit the sky deck but can understand the limitations . We can highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Choose Avalon because of Panoramic rooms. Rooms did not disappoint. The crew was very courteous and professional.Always willing to help and assist. If we made the wrong menu choice,our water served a alternative choice. Doesent get any ... Read More
Choose Avalon because of Panoramic rooms. Rooms did not disappoint. The crew was very courteous and professional.Always willing to help and assist. If we made the wrong menu choice,our water served a alternative choice. Doesent get any better than that. Ship was extremely clean as well. Would absolutely book another Avalon cruise without question. Room staff made sure our rooms were cleaned and ready without delay. Also liked the total atmosphere on the ship especially the entertainment and lectures in the afternoon. The generous cocktails,beer and wine made for a very enjoyable and relaxing voyage. There are a lot or European river crusades that are very good, but Avalon exceeded all of our expectations.There was always a great selection of various walks and excursions with excellent guides leading to very rewarding experiences. But maybe the most enjoyable part of the cruise was that it was so relaxing and very educational. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
We are fourth time river cruisers, with a dozen more ocean cruises. We chose this cruise based on itinerary, price and to travel with two other couples, who are also of the early retirement age. We have previously completed this cruise ... Read More
We are fourth time river cruisers, with a dozen more ocean cruises. We chose this cruise based on itinerary, price and to travel with two other couples, who are also of the early retirement age. We have previously completed this cruise twice with a competing line. The provider's website is intuitively easy to understand and use. Our package included the international flights; however, travelling a non-direct route to Europe was tiring and annoying. Having the booking company and the service provider send us duplicate travel documents was confusing. The ship is in pristine condition, well maintained. It was easy to find ones way around the vessel. The public men’s washroom was well maintained. WiFi worked well (service and bandwidth) in most areas of the ship. It was disappointing to have the nautical crew add ballast for nearly an hour to clear a bridge. It was also disappointing not to be able to use any of the upper deck for numerous days; would have helped with my exercise and weight control program as well as sun tanning. The Cruise Director, Nico, was extremely accommodating and humorous, but often confused me with his instructions and explanations. The food quality, presentation and taste rated with the best we have experienced. The staff very accommodating. Noting our preferences, Edwurd, Diggo and Lauretiu (a superb and primary waiter) brought lemons without request and smaller wine servings. The small portions reduced our calorie intake. Snacks are available afternoon and evening. Staff are generous with the included alcohol servings. Many of the wines served were of excellent quality to our pallets. The tours were well organized, informative adhere to the published itinerary and rarely operated outside the stated timelines. The guides were readily understandable, the headsets aided this hearing impaired individual in understanding the commentary. However; the tours started at 8:00 or 8:30 A.M.; which meant early rising for us. In addition, the tours were of short duration - one to one and one half hours. The competitor tours started later and we spent more daylight hours on port. We enjoyed the onboard entertainment, which was unique to the area. Example, the zither, Um Pa band and guitarists. Lectures were informative and interesting. We highly recommend this cruise! You may wish to compare detailed itineraries prior to selecting a line. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
I chose this cruise because Diana Gabaldon was going to be featured. I’d been interested in a River Cruise but with the added bonus of my favorite author meant I had to go on this trip. It truly was an experience of a lifetime. It ... Read More
I chose this cruise because Diana Gabaldon was going to be featured. I’d been interested in a River Cruise but with the added bonus of my favorite author meant I had to go on this trip. It truly was an experience of a lifetime. It went beyond my expectations. The food was great and the staff friendly and helpful. Historically interesting sites, beautiful scenery and knowledgeable guides really added to the enjoyment. There were plenty of excursion options so while it made choosing one difficult at times, it meant there was something for everyone. The events with Diana Gabaldon were well organized and thoughtfully planned. These were particularly enjoyable for us fans. Diana herself was very gracious and approachable. Sharing a meal with her and her husband was one of the highlights. My husband especially liked the lightning over Vienna but we really can’t credit Avalon for that! Overall, the cruise gave us memories that will last our whole lives. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
We took this cruise because Diana Gabaldon, Outlander Book Series, was the hostess. It was our 50th wedding anniversary celebration and everything was perfect, Prague through Budapest the inclusive tours were outstanding! The food was ... Read More
We took this cruise because Diana Gabaldon, Outlander Book Series, was the hostess. It was our 50th wedding anniversary celebration and everything was perfect, Prague through Budapest the inclusive tours were outstanding! The food was great matching the town we were in. The room was more than comfortable and service was above and beyond!! The tours were informative and well planned, walking was long but reasonably! The breakfast bar was well balanced with fruit, cereal, omelets and pastries!! Lunch was either light or buffet with local choices. Dinner was the highlight with several choices, wine and beer included! My glass was never near empty and the beer was cold!! The cruise director was a hoot, your not on vacation you’re on a cruise!!! Eastern Europe is beautiful and historic with plenty to see and lots of beer to drink! The ‘crew’ looked after us from boarding to departure with smiles all around!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
This cruise was the Legendary Danube Author Cruise, featuring Diana Gabaldon. Our Cruise director Robert was outstanding. Tours in Prague led by Helenna were excellent. The waiter/waitress staff were very attentive. Food variety was ... Read More
This cruise was the Legendary Danube Author Cruise, featuring Diana Gabaldon. Our Cruise director Robert was outstanding. Tours in Prague led by Helenna were excellent. The waiter/waitress staff were very attentive. Food variety was geared for each of the countries being visited. Great way to try something new to you. Access to Diana Gabaldon was very open and had set times for interaction, book signing, Q&A session. What entertainment I participated in was top notch. It was a good mix of subjects, How the lock's work and the history, Beer tasting and it's history of the regions. Musicians boarded at the lock's and debarked at the locks. I will be using Avalon in the future. I now prefer river cruising over ocean cruising. The smaller size is easy and relaxing. I never felt overwhelmed with to many people in one place at one time. Cabin size was ok with 2 twin beds. Definitely had to jocky for position. The sliding doors were great, just couldn't leave open to much due to the bugs. This was explained to us in our opening ceremonies. It was fun in the locks with other ships side by side. There was not any stop that I wasn't satisfied. Prague was a great start (3 day land) beautiful city and so much history. In Nuremberg had a guided tour of Roth and it's city center. Met the Mayor who was very excited that they were hosting the "Challenge races" same as the "Ironman triathlon". Regensburg was having it's yearly antique fair, art museum opening and the bridge opening. This was on Sunday and 95% of the shops were closed. Not a problem because of all the street vendors, beer gardens and restaurants were happy to accommodate. Linz had a great city and Cathedral tour. Passau was a great sight seeing stop a quick look and we were off to Vienna. Melk is picturesque and the Melk Abbey was amazing. So much history. Vienna is amazing. Had a city tour, then embarked on our own. Used subway system, watch out for the pick pocketers. Went to the Belvedere Museum, upper and lower. Monet, Picasso and Klimt to name a few of the outstanding art pieces there. Transit system is excellent. Ending in Budapest. Such a beautiful city. Did city tour and the walking culinary tour. Outstanding. Amazingly the passenger age group in my estimation was mid 20's to 80's. Average around 60. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
We traveled eastward on the Danube River from near Nuremberg to Budapest. Totally enjoyed ourselves! Cities we visited were so interesting, and the ship tours were terrific! We loved sailing into Budapest, which the tour director ... Read More
We traveled eastward on the Danube River from near Nuremberg to Budapest. Totally enjoyed ourselves! Cities we visited were so interesting, and the ship tours were terrific! We loved sailing into Budapest, which the tour director prepared us for by telling us all to be on top of the ship at 8 a.m. for an experience we'd never forget. And it was just that! We were taking photos on all sides of the ship as quickly as we could. What a city! Also enjoyed the entertainment the ship brought on board. There was a beer tasting as well as musical entertainment that was first class. There was one singer who was absolutely fabulous. We also enjoyed the night concert at the music hall in Vienna, and the view of the city lights in Budapest. Crew was extremely friendly and attentive. Room on this ship are spacious and very nicely appointed. Bathrooms are wonderful! Love the bed facing the sliding glass door. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
The Avalon Illumination is a beautiful vessel, essentially a floating luxury hotel. Lovely experience on board with a wonderful Czech hotel manager, Barbora, and a smiling, mostly Romanian, crew. Top-notch organization from Dutch cruise ... Read More
The Avalon Illumination is a beautiful vessel, essentially a floating luxury hotel. Lovely experience on board with a wonderful Czech hotel manager, Barbora, and a smiling, mostly Romanian, crew. Top-notch organization from Dutch cruise director, Mark. Excellent meals and many charming small touches, such as glasses of lemonade awaiting us when we returned from excursions, or dining hall decorations that reflected our ports of call. The Prague to Budapest route was great, with visits to three great capitals and fascinating smaller cities (e.g. Regensburg, Linz). There were also enrichment activities such as a lock expert who gave a fascinating power point presentation; a tour of the wheelhouse; and various musical acts in the evenings. However, I didn't like most of the side trips at additional cost, which were fairly aggressively up-sold. Wherever we went there were hordes of other river cruisers on the same itinerary. A particular disappointment was an expensive day trip to Cesky-Krumlov. A concert evening in Vienna, which I attended to accompany a friend, was truly lame in a city famed for its music, and similarly overpriced. My advice would be to research all stops well in advance; get off and wander on foot or hire local drivers; and take time to enjoy the river cruising rather than feeling compelled to do excursions. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
We had heard so many great things about the European River cruises and we were so tired of the large cruise ships with the crowds, the impersonal service and lousy food. We had friends that had cruised with Avalon so we decided to try it. ... Read More
We had heard so many great things about the European River cruises and we were so tired of the large cruise ships with the crowds, the impersonal service and lousy food. We had friends that had cruised with Avalon so we decided to try it. Everything was so great - from the pre and post hotels to the ship excursions to the food and beyond. The staff were outstanding especially our server in the dining room. We specifically tried to choose the same table at every meal in order to get the same server. I would say that the overall cruise wasn’t the leisurely vacation that one would expect from a “cruise”. We did a lot of walking and touring and we were tired when we got back home but it was definitely worth it to experience the beauty and history of Europe. We will most definitely plan another very soon.....and with Avalon! Read Less
Avalon Illumination Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 2.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates 3.0 N/A

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