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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
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. People on ... 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 embarkation ... 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
Avalon Illumination Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.6
Dining 4.0 4.4
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.5
Family 2.0 3.5
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.3
Enrichment 4.0 4.1
Service 4.0 4.7
Value For Money 5.0 4.2
Rates 3.0 N/A

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