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
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
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
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
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
4 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 stay in a ... 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
1 Helpful Vote
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
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