Avalon Visionary Cruise Review by labeggins
- Sail Date: May 2018
- Destination: Europe River
- Cabin Type: Outside Stateroom with French Balcony
The crew was delightful, the cruise director capable and the excursions and tour guides engaged were excellent. If I had it to do over again, I’d probably chose a different itinerary, though. This particular route's German ports were disappointing - it seemed as though the restaurants and shops (the small percentage that were open) were merely going through the paces and rather indifferent as compared to Budapest and Austrian ports. I wondered if those cities weren't regretting becoming ports?
The locks system throughout the river are really interesting and somehow made our 'passage' more adventurous. The rooftop deck was nicely furnished with tents to shade the sun and open-air seating, and the interior gathering spots were perfect for the small-ish number of passengers. The ship had a nice selection of novels, but could benefit from Mahjong & Cribbage sets! There was a coffee station accessible 24/7 where juice and iced tea were also available (and cookies!)
Unfortunately they closed the sky deck from Regensburg on through Nuremberg, which was awful. Not being able to be outside (especially in great weather) felt like a punishment! We couldn't figure out why they wouldn't put the chunky heavy outdoor seating up on the sky deck since it wouldn’t have to be removed for bridges & locks (since it wouldn’t blow away and isn’t higher than the wheelhouse) so that passengers could be outdoors ALL of the days of their cruise?!
We chose our itinerary based on destinations: Budapest and PRAGUE being the two main attractions. Had we known that the cruise essentially ended in terms of amenities in Regensburg (what with no sky deck access and only the aft deck which could be dubbed “exhaust central” or a very crowded, small and ill-furnished outdoor seating area at the bow) it’s likely we would have chosen a different cruise or itinerary.
Well appointed rooms and efficient bathrooms, both with plenty of storage space, feature the “panoramic” sliding glass doors with fence balcony. Though lovely, the “Panoramic” feature is only as good as the breeze outside which is all too often none, so exhaust fumes come in the room (removing the benefit of the panoramic sliding glass doors). Paying for a ship with a step out balcony (which we contemplated) would be a waste of money given the likely absence of sufficient air movement to prevent exhaust fumes from invading. Oh, and bugs.
Seemed like the ship and many of its staff stopped trying on the next to last day of our cruise ... the hallways were sweaty, the food - which wasn’t much to crow about in the first place, but wasn’t bad, either - fell into the "re-tread" category.
The 3 1/2 hour tour from Nuremberg to Prague recommends a vehicle with a bathroom rather than a bus used for city touring. The comfort of reclining seats, curtains to shade sun, seat-back tables and A/C vents is lost if you’re unable to relax awaiting the “comfort stop” at 1 1/2 hours.
Those few criticisms aside, we had a wonderful time, Budapest being the highlight with Austrian ports equally enchanting. I would definitely cruise with Avalon again … and hope to do so in future!
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