Avalon Panorama Cruise Review by Deryck
- Sail Date: May 2018
- Destination: Europe River
- Cabin Type: Panorama Suite with French Balcony
Embarkation was done with a minimum of fuss and our luggage was placed in our suite which although compact was well appointed and provided you lived in a tidy manner the suite provided enough room to move without tripping over each other, a noteworthy point is that the beds can be adjusted from firm through medium to soft. The only draw back with our suite at the stern of the second deck was that to get to lounge at the stern on the third deck you had to walk all the way forward to the Reception area, up a deck and then walk all the way to the stern, although with the crews quarters being in the aft end of the boat I don't know how this minor inconvenience can be overcome.
If you have never done a river cruise you are in for a pleasant surprise when compared to ocean cruising. Most river cruise boats have a passenger capacity of 150/200 passengers compared with 2000/3000 on ocean cruises, so you soon get to know other passengers and form social groups which tend to be pretty inclusive as the cruise proceeds. I would sound a cautionary note for those with young children - there are no children's facilities, in fact I would estimate that the average passenger age was 60+ ( there very few passengers under 40).
There is some evening shipboard entertainment but as it doesn't get dark till late most of the time you are usually busy dining, socialising, looking at the scenery as it passes by or on-shore doing a tour. Avalon provide a good assortment of included tours which will keep you fit as you walk around the many Medieval towns the boat stops at, however for those with mobility problems they adjust the tour so that there is minimal walking particularly where there are hills. Also there is a various optional add-on tours, which cover a range of interests and if you haven't booked prior to embarkation they can be booked during the cruise.
Dinning was of a high standard, the food was varied with the evening meal usually based on dishes of the part of Europe you happened to be passing through on that day. Another point to note wine/beer/soft drinks are inclusive for lunch and dinner. The service was usually very prompt and the crew very courteous and friendly, this is not surprising with a crew to passenger ratio of about 1:3.
Overall the cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam was a very good and rememberable trip especially considering in the trip the boat climbs over the Continental Dividing Range.
Would I do another river cruise with Avalon? Definitely.
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