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Avalon Cruises

Raleigh
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Avalon Cruises

I just went on an Avalon European River Cruise from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Basel, Switzerland down the Rhine River.

As much as I liked the ship: staff, food, cleanliness, etc., I have to tell you that the cruise was a complete disappointment. The ports that the cruise stopped at were not very exciting/interesting. The excursions offered by the cruise line were very unorganized (to the point where a tour guide did not show up!). On one of the 'free' excursions, a tour bus drove over 100 passengers on a 1 hour and 45 minute trip which let us out at a large 'gift shop'. We were told to shop and enjoy the gift shop for 40 minutes and then we needed to get back on the bus to return to the ship. That was way too much travel to head to a gift shop! The real disappointment of the cruise was the scenery along the river: lots of RV parks and trailer parks; boring roads and fields on either side. There was a very small stretch of scenery that included approx 7 castles. Whereas that was impressive, it was only several miles of a very long stretch of river during an entire week of cruising! Note: You have to go thru many (about 25) locks during the cruise. The first several were interesting but when you go thru a lock in the middle of the night and the ship has only several inches between it and the 'wall', you experience bumping and terrible noises as you are trying to sleep.

I spoke to many people during the week-long cruise (both young and old) and I did not find where ANYONE liked it. They too had expressed their disappointment.

I would not recommend this cruise.

Chicago, IL
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1. Re: Avalon Cruises

I cruised on River Beatrice this year and we traveled with an Avalon ship for part of the trip. I noticed that their guests left on shore excursions (which were perfect/excellent and interesting guides) at 8AM while we did not start until 9. Was that the case on your cruise? Also, their staff were not very happy with requests to go onboard and see their ship. We were not very welcome. Wonder why.

Chicago, IL
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2. Re: Avalon Cruises

I meant to say that we were on the Danube and not the Rhine like the OP.

Chicago, IL
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3. Re: Avalon Cruises

I also meant that OUR shore excursions and guides were perfect. Can't comment on another ship's guides since we were on our own. Boy, I can't quite seem to get this straight. Hope you all know what I mean even if I don't...LOL.

Raleigh
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4. Re: Avalon Cruises

How was the Danube? The Rhine was very blah (except for the VERY small stretch of river that had some impressive castles). As far as the Avalon not letting you tour their ship: If they were in-between cruises, I would think it would be OK to show you around. If it was during a cruise, they probably wanted to protect the other passengers' privacy and security.

Our shore excursions were sporadic as far as the dearture times...most were between 8:30 - 10:00 but there were also excursions that left after lunch. We went to a Windmill village, a Winery, The Black Forest....but all of these excursions centered around buying items at a gift shop. I don't travel from the US to Europe to be dumped off in a gift shop....it was really frustrating. There HAD to be better options in order to enhance the quality of the cruise.

Glad to hear that you likes the excursions you went on...perhaps the Danube has better offereings?!

Chicago, IL
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5. Re: Avalon Cruises

Actually I think there is a lot to do/see on both rivers. On this cruise I was surprised how wonderful Budapest was,,,so glad to have been there. I had been to Vienna before but we did different things this time including a visit inside morning exercise at the Spanish Riding School and a terrific concert in the evening for example. I had not been to Durnstein before and we took the helicopter trip over the valley as far up as the Melk Abbey. That was really cool and we were back in time for the interesting wine tasting in Durnstein too. There was beautiful scenery during lunch between Durnstein and Melk. The abbey is gorgeous and the little town below it is quaint. A shopkeeper gave us an impromptu tasting also.

On to Linz and Salzburg. Especially liked the guide there, very interesting and not afraid to talk about politics present and past. The lunch, the views at the top of the funnicular and the Sachre Torte (I missed it in Vienna) stand out in my mind for Salzburg. I had been to Passau 10 years ago but, again we did different things. Some went on to Prague after the cruise, in fact many did. I thought the scenery was beautiful but honestly I don't recall doing a lot of gazing at it because we had so much to do. I was really impressed with the knowledge shared by the young and energentic cruise manager, the interesting folks on board so friendly too, the staff that anticipated what you wanted next and the dining focused on the gourmet and not the gourmand. Hope you'll give it another try.

Halifax, Canada
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6. Re: Avalon Cruises

I, too, am looking at a Danube river cruise. I am confused by all the different tour companies. Anyone suggest which one is best. The previous post seem to indicate Avalon was not.

Chicago, IL
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7. Re: Avalon Cruises

You can find a list of River Cruise experts/travel agts who passed a course and/or have been on one or more river cruises in your area at Find a Travel Agent on uniworld.com. I was on the Danube on River Beatrice. Try to get a suite if you can and you'll also have butler service.

Glassboro, New...
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8. Re: Avalon Cruises

Oh Boy ... I was just browsing through some posts and found your post on an Avalon River Cruise down the Rhine (which we are taking this upcoming May).

I sure hope it wasn't as disappointing and as bad as you depict.

It sound like it was a waste of time and money.

Besides what you have posted, is there anything positive besides the accommodations, food, etc.

Iowa
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9. Re: Avalon Cruises

We, my 80 yr old mother and I, are travelling on the Rhine/Moselle cruise in a few weeks. As she does not get around that easily, could you suggest some excursions that WERE worth going on? I appreciate your candor with this as it will save us some time and energy.

Thanks

Quincy, Illinois
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10. Re: Avalon Cruises

Me and my wife just finished a Rhine Cruise on Avalon Felicity. It was our first river cruise and we thought it was great. There was a lot more to the trip to the gift shop then the OP has stated. Mr. Adolf Herr the owner of the shop was on the boat the night before showing a film about his clock shop and gave a wood carving demo where he gave away some carved christmas trees. The shop was not just a gift shop. It was the House of Black Forest Clocks and I attached a link below. At that shop they sold the nicest Cuckoo Clocks you could find anyplace. All hand carved by Mr. Herr and his family. The trip to the shop and back was maybe 100 miles in all and it went through the Black Forest in Germany which we really enjoyed. They stopped the bus so we could get some great pics of the country side.

That was just one morning of a great cruise down the rhine from Amsterdam to Basel. Hope you go on your cruise and have as nice of time as we did.

Roger

house-of-black-forest-clocks.com/shop_e.asp