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FuelScience

All Things Avalon

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A couple of years ago--before going on my first Vantage river cruise--I started an "All Things Vantage" thread where folks were able to post comments and questions on Vantage river cruises. It's still around and a convenient place for folks to discuss Vantage.

 

Well, now I'm preparing for my first Avalon cruise (Canals, Vineyards, and Paris in September), so I'm going to see if a similar Avalon thread is worthwhile. If it's not, it'll simply drop slowly down the thread list.

 

So feel free to post any questions, thoughts, comments, etc. about Avalon to this thread.

 

FuelScience

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Thanks. I have searched these forums for all the info I can get about Avalon, and although most is good, it's usually an odd comment or quite old. We are looking to book our first cruise on them as they seem to be the line I think we would be most comfortable with. I am looking to hear from other's who have sailed with them recently to see if they are still as recommended as they were.

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I haven't sailed with them yet but it's just around the corner. I will be sharing as much as I can. :) We are doing Prague to Paris on the Artistry II. We leave July 18th but don't pick up the cruise until the 26th.

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We did Avalon Paris to Normandy two years ago and have booked the twelve day Basel to Amsterdam for this October. I can't think of anything that needed to be changed or improved on the Normandy cruise. We loved the boat, the food, the staff, and the excursions. We got great prices by booking early for both trips. Fellow passengers were delightful and we dined with different people every night. Mostly British and American.

 

I read on a different thread that someone complained about being held in a crowd in a hallway before dinner. That was not our experience at all! Every evening before dinner we met in the lounge to get information about the next day's actitivities. Then we proceeded to the dining room. They was no feeling of a herd rushing to get a table. Good heavens, there was seating for all and the kitchen never ran out of anything. Dinners were relaxed, and wine was available. Why would anyone need to rush?

 

We previously sailed in Europe with Peter Diehlmann and Uniworld. They were also very nice, but we felt more at home with Avalon. We have sailed 30+ times with Princess, HAL and Celebrity, but really enjoy the itineraries and pace of river cruising.

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We totally agree with our love of Avalon! We sailed with them two years ago on the Tulips of Northern Holland on the Poetry 11. Our entire vacation from beginning to end was exceptional. We are sailing on the Imagery 11 in July on the Romantic Rhine itinerary (only 10 more weeks). i am very detail oriented and would love to hear more about this itinerary and ship :). Any information would be greatly appreciated!

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Glad to find this thread. We are doing our first riverboat cruise with Avalon in August, highlights of Germany 2016, Passau to Basel. Would love to hear from anyone that has done this cruise or a similar one. I understand that riverboat cruising is a little more relaxed from ocean cruises. Is it true my husband will not need a jacket or tie for any of the dinners?

Thanks and look forward to chatting.

Karen

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Glad to see the thread as we'll be cruising soon. It's our 8th river cruise but 1st with Avalon so we're anxious to see how it goes. We love river cruising and we will have a good time I'm sure. But it's already a hassle having to be out of our hotel (actually closer to the ship than Avalon's) before we can board with Avalon. Jet lag hits us hard so we don't feel like spending the whole day out at the start of a trip. We'd rather relax in the lounge till our room is ready. We've found this possible with other lines. Other than that we are really looking forward to our cruise and will post as we go or after depending on internet. We'll follow this thread with great interest.

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Sorry I must have hit a wrong button. Was trying to reply to disnemimi and wasn't sure what to do therefore somehow I got a duplicate of her post :(.

River cruising is a lot more casual than ocean cruises. Men don't wear jackets and women wear nice blouses with slacks for dinner. You might bring 1 or 2 slightly dressy tops for welcome and farewell dinners. The entire atmosphere is very relaxed. I'm sure you will love it and will look for your next cruise when you get home from your first one :)

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Sorry I must have hit a wrong button. Was trying to reply to disnemimi and wasn't sure what to do therefore somehow I got a duplicate of her post :(.

River cruising is a lot more casual than ocean cruises. Men don't wear jackets and women wear nice blouses with slacks for dinner. You might bring 1 or 2 slightly dressy tops for welcome and farewell dinners. The entire atmosphere is very relaxed. I'm sure you will love it and will look for your next cruise when you get home from your first one :)

 

You must have hit the "quote" button on the right rather than the "Post Reply" button on the left. This is actually a good thing to do when you are replying to someone, as it makes it clear which post you are replying to. If you look at the quoted text that populates in your reply window, you may be able to strip out all but the part you are referring to [this is especially helpful if you are replying to a post with lots of photos: no need to fill up everyone's screen with duplicates!]

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We have cruised AMA and also two with Uniworld. Last year there was a great deal Paris to Normandy on the Avalon Creativity. It was our best friend's 50th wedding Anniversary and they have never been on a river cruise .Well we booked at the last minute and it was sensational. We thought we might be disappointed after being on Uniworld but Avalon exceeded our expectations and would definitely book with them again. The food, excurisions, accommodations everything was wonderful. We especially enjoyed our nightly entertainment in the lounge a gentlemen from Bulgaria sorry I have forgotten his name. He made our trip ..I think Uniworld was little more upscale and maybe 5 star will give Avalon a 4 star. . Saying that I will book with Avalon again as my first choice. No need to worry about what to wear at dinner. Some men wore jackets but very few. Women nice tops with black pants will work. I brought two dress but really wear what is most comfortable. It was Sept. Very cool mornings I didn't bring enough warm jackets. Bring scarfs and fleece jackets and as the cruise director stated dress like and onion.. Just start peeling when the weather gets warmer..

Have a great time.

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We are also on the Highlights of Germany cruise late August. We have done many Caribbean cruises but have not done a river cruise. When should we receive info on tours offered by Avalon? Do most people do the free tour in the morning and skip the paid tours or are they worthwhile?

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We have done 2 cruises with Uniworld and just finished our second with Avalon, having already booked another with them in 2017. We love both companies, but honestly what has sold us on Avalon are the beautiful "suite" cabins. We love the wall of windows and the configuration of the cabins. Our most recent was the inaugural on Imagery II and there was nothing that we could suggest to improve our experience. The staff was outstanding, food unbelievable (both taste and presentation) and no, men do not need to wear sports jackets for dinner, even on the special evenings. We saw one sports jacket and that was probably because there was a large group who had never sailed on a river cruise and it was a carryover impression from the big ship cruises. If you are considering Avalon, I wouldn't hesitate to tell you to do it. Cole

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I took my first river cruise - Basel to Amsterdam, on the Felicity in 2012. I love Avalon & was very impressed with everything from the cabin to the crew to the service to the food. It was a wonderful vacation. I'm leaving at the end of the month on the Creativity for Paris to Normandy. I already have my travel packet and am getting excited. One thing I like about sailing on the older ships is there are only 58 passengers on our sailing. It should be wonderful & quite an intimate experience.

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We are also on the Highlights of Germany cruise late August. We have done many Caribbean cruises but have not done a river cruise. When should we receive info on tours offered by Avalon? Do most people do the free tour in the morning and skip the paid tours or are they worthwhile?

 

Did you register for your "MyAvalon" account? When you go to your itinerary it will give you the day by day itinerary via the "Overview." On that page you will see "Excursions" which will give you a list of the potential additional excursions you can buy.

 

Back on the main menu, you will see "My Excursions." You will see a date when you can buy your additional excursions there. Once you are able to buy them they will populate and give you the opportunity to purchase. That was at the 90 day mark.

Edited by Rebel54

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In 2013 we took the Normandy/Paris cruise with Avalon and thoroughly enjoyed it. We had a number of Australians on our cruise as well as an Irish couple and several Canadians. We very much enjoyed the variety of nationalities around the dinner table and their viewpoints on WWII, which is quite a focus of this tour. We found the crew very pleasant and most were very comfortable speaking English. The captain took a couple tours through his area and the chef walked us through the kitchen. This was not case on a subsequent cruise on with another cruise line. So enjoy Avalon; we did.

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I took my first river cruise - Basel to Amsterdam, on the Felicity in 2012. I love Avalon & was very impressed with everything from the cabin to the crew to the service to the food. It was a wonderful vacation. I'm leaving at the end of the month on the Creativity for Paris to Normandy. I already have my travel packet and am getting excited. One thing I like about sailing on the older ships is there are only 58 passengers on our sailing. It should be wonderful & quite an intimate experience.

 

How did you find out that there would only be 58 passengers on your cruise? Would be interested in finding out. We are looking at the Paris to Normandy & also the 8 day Rhine cruise or the Rhine/Moselle 13 day cruise for late 2017. We love the layout of their cabins on the new ships, but if there are less passengers on their older ships these may be a consideration. We sailed on the Vista in 2013/2014 on their Christmas New Year cruise and loved it!!!!

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How did you find out that there would only be 58 passengers on your cruise?

 

Don't know how YoungDubFan is doing it, but you can go to the Avalon web site and find your cruise and click the "Reserve Now" button. Proceed as if you were going to reserve the cruise. After a couple of screens you'll see a screen that allows you to pick your cabin. It shows you Deck Plans with all the reserved cabins shown in grey and not available for reservations. Count the grey cabins and multiply by two and you've got a pretty good idea of how many people are going on your cruise.

 

FuelScience

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So far there are only 52 on mine. I looked at one going in just over a month, same route and there are only 6 cabins booked. Will they really take a cruise ship out for 12 pax?

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So far there are only 52 on mine. I looked at one going in just over a month, same route and there are only 6 cabins booked. Will they really take a cruise ship out for 12 pax?

 

 

I find that very hard to believe. They certainly could have a group on this sailing and cabins have not been assigned, leaving everything available should additional reservations be made. There would be a real "fire sale" if there was a risk of an empty boat. JMHO

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I find that very hard to believe. They certainly could have a group on this sailing and cabins have not been assigned, leaving everything available should additional reservations be made. There would be a real "fire sale" if there was a risk of an empty boat. JMHO

 

I would hope that they would but when you look at the Westbound Central European Experience for 28 Jun 18 there are currently only 9 cabins booked. I would love to get in on one of their fire sales for sure!!

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Has anyone ever heard of Avalon having a "fire sale" and if so, how good a sale do they have?

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Has anyone ever heard of Avalon having a "fire sale" and if so, how good a sale do they have?

 

 

No, wishful thinking but DO go on their website and see what the specials are. I would not believe the reports of empty ships. JMO

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Glad to find this thread. We are doing our first riverboat cruise with Avalon in August, highlights of Germany 2016, Passau to Basel. Would love to hear from anyone that has done this cruise or a similar one. I understand that riverboat cruising is a little more relaxed from ocean cruises. Is it true my husband will not need a jacket or tie for any of the dinners?

Thanks and look forward to chatting.

Karen

 

Yes, no need for a coat and tie, unless they just want to stand out as the only non-crew person wearing one. :D

 

Very relaxed no dress up required.

 

JC

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No, wishful thinking but DO go on their website and see what the specials are. I would not believe the reports of empty ships. JMO

 

Our cruise last year was about as close as I have seen. We booked in July for a November cruise, got a slight upgrade at final payment. The ship ended up with only a couple of cabins not booked, at least that was the case about 30 days out the last time I checked. I suppose it is possible that they discounted it at that point even more than the price we paid. That said, even that cruise wasn't cheap, but it was cheap compared to the cruise the year before, which was a day shorter, too.

 

JC

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I did the process that FuelScience mentioned. There are 28 cabins booked which equals a max of 56 passengers. The single supplement was waived for aquarium class cabins so there could be 50 passengers. The cost to book this cruise has dropped significantly since we originally booked last year. We have obtained a few minor price adjustments but you can in fact book my cruise for less than I paid. I do leave in less than a month so I don't know how expensive airfare would be.

 

I was concerned about the low passenger count but my travel agent assured us that the trip wouldn't be cancelled. I'm sure Avalon has a minimum that they will sail with.

 

I know I'm looking forward to the small passenger count. I'll come back & post a review once I'm home.

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We just returned from the Danube Symphony cruise last week. We had 50 passengers on board. We have sailed on Uniworld in the past, each time with around 90 passengers.

 

I don't know if it was the difference in companies, or the difference in passenger number, but we felt like this cruise was a "miss" compared to our prior ones. Even prior Avalon cruisers felt this cruise was a little off.

 

We certainly expected to see more crew than we did. I'm not sure if they told some to take time off, or not. We were also sandwiched between 2 charter cruises, and the crew seemed very preoccupied with the upcoming one.

 

At this point, we will be hard pressed to choose Avalon again, as we felt Uniworld was much better. The one area Avalon did excel in was their spacious panorama suite. We will stick with Uniworld, though are seriously considering Amawaterways, after so many positive reviews on this board.

 

The price for an entry level panorama suite was down to $1249/person on our cruise (5 nights)

 

Robin

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I noticed on the description of our upcoming cruise from Paris to Amsterdam the train from Paris is described as going to either Metz or Luxembourg. Has anyone taken this cruise (Canals, Vineyards, and Paris) or others with the two possible train trips? Do the people taking the tour to Luxembourg take the train there while those going directly to the boat in Remich go to Metz? Or is it some other arrangement?

 

Thanks,

FuelScience

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when we did this 1 with Avalon we were bussed from Remich to Luxembourg. few hours there had lunch and then bussed to Metz and train to Paris. we of course were going Amsterdam to Paris so yours may differ.

 

interesting to read about the capacity/numbers at present. there are price incentives to book the older ships. the rooms with the big windows are lovely except if rafted, which blocks the view.

 

we did notice a change in the Avalon product compared to earlier years when we did the last 4 cruises. a lot depends on the cruise director and crew.

 

if its your 1st cruise you will not be aware of any differences to compare.

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I noticed on the description of our upcoming cruise from Paris to Amsterdam the train from Paris is described as going to either Metz or Luxembourg. Has anyone taken this cruise (Canals, Vineyards, and Paris) or others with the two possible train trips? Do the people taking the tour to Luxembourg take the train there while those going directly to the boat in Remich go to Metz? Or is it some other arrangement?

 

Thanks,

FuelScience

 

I think it depends on if you are taking an optional tour or not. We are Prague to Paris and are taking the optional trip which has us taking a bus to Luxembourg and then a train to Paris.

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No, wishful thinking but DO go on their website and see what the specials are. I would not believe the reports of empty ships. JMO

 

I'm just going by what I'm seeing for available cabins right now. The one leaving in at the end of June obviously has time to fill up, but based on what I'm seeing .... this itinerary just doesn't seem as popular as others.

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I noticed on the description of our upcoming cruise from Paris to Amsterdam the train from Paris is described as going to either Metz or Luxembourg. Has anyone taken this cruise (Canals, Vineyards, and Paris) or others with the two possible train trips? Do the people taking the tour to Luxembourg take the train there while those going directly to the boat in Remich go to Metz? Or is it some other arrangement?

 

Thanks,

FuelScience

 

FuelScience, our cruise ended up in Remich, which unfortunately for me didn't have a single car rental agency, which surprises me a bit since it is not a tiny town, although it appeared that way when I was researching. My Travel agent and I both had concluded that the most likely departure would be a bus to Metz, unfortunately, at the night two discussion the CD, blew up that theory. She offered to take us for like 100euro to let us go to Luxembourg City with the group on the buses where we could catch the train to Metz(rental cars where twice as expensive for us in Luxembourg City to drive from there to Paris) where our rental was. Unfortunately with the price of the subsequent train ticket and the loss of a few hours time in France, we decided to have the ship get us a cab to Metz. That cost about 150euro. The cab ride was fine, and dropped us at the train station where we picked up our rental and we proceeded to Verdun and then to Loire Valley to view chateaus before going to Versailles where we dropped the rental car and took the train to Paris. Another unfortunate thing, was we were in Tours on Friday night when the Paris attacks occurred, so when we got to Versailles and subsequently Paris, everything was closed for the 4 days we were there. Until late afternoon on the day before our departure. It was not that big a deal, as it was nice to just wander around Paris without the pressure of trying to see all of the sights on the inside. Plus we have a reason to go back.... Assuming things someday get back to normal.

 

JC

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Yes, no need for a coat and tie, unless they just want to stand out as the only non-crew person wearing one. :D

 

Very relaxed no dress up required.

 

JC

 

Booked first River Cruise on Avalon (Prague/Budapest). Glad to read that DH will not need sport coat for dinner. Trying to travel light.

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Thanks, Rebel54. We were able to look at excursions offered. Quite different from ocean cruising as not many tours are offered. While we were researching for the cruise, my husband noticed that not many cabins were booked on our cruise and were reassured to see the topic discussed. Also, thanks to all for your positive reviews on Avalon.

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Terpshockey - if you haven't figured out yet, there will be at least one included excursion in most ports. Some may have a choice of 2 included excursions. You are correct in that there aren't as many choices but so many of the stops are so close that you can very easily walk into town & explore on your own.

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We have our first river cruise coming up in August (countdown is on!) going from Zurich to Vienna. Can anyone please tell us if it is cheaper or a must do to book the optional excursions before we leave home??? Are you able to make up your mind the night before?? Any insight greatly appreciated!

Thanks

Viv:confused:

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no price difference to pre book. however consider

 

the ports may change.

you may find you want to make other choices.

you may want to relax or do something on your own.

many factors can occur. after 8 river cruises we like to keep our options open and will book on board if something appeals.

 

our last 4 Avalon cruises had variations from the published trip so be prepared.

most of the cruise directors will explain your options and be helpful with choices. do lots of research to see what interests you.

we have visited Zurich and Vienna a few times independently, they are wonderful cities with lots to see and experience.

some find doing 2 tours everyday when cruising tiring but you will know what suits you. happy cruising.

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Seems like reservations are down on many itineraries and dates. Could be block bookings as previously mentioned or could be state of economy and fears of terrorism. I know our trip in a week still has about 13 cabins and two suites still not booked. Guess no problem finding your table of choice at dinner.

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Seems like reservations are down on many itineraries and dates. Could be block bookings as previously mentioned or could be state of economy and fears of terrorism. I know our trip in a week still has about 13 cabins and two suites still not booked. Guess no problem finding your table of choice at dinner.

 

I'm all for small and intimate groups. I would love it to be under 100 people. Keeping my fingers crossed.

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Thanks, Rebel54. We were able to look at excursions offered. Quite different from ocean cruising as not many tours are offered. While we were researching for the cruise, my husband noticed that not many cabins were booked on our cruise and were reassured to see the topic discussed. Also, thanks to all for your positive reviews on Avalon.

 

It is different because you are pulling into relatively small towns that you can enjoy as part of the included tour or on your own. The only reason I booked anything paid was because I want my husband to see Rothenberg and I want to see Luxembourg City. Otherwise I wouldn't have spent that money.

 

I'm excited for our trip and can't wait to share our experience as I haven't seen anyone post on our itinerary yet.

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I am taking cruise #10 with Avalon in August with #11 booked for next June. Obviouly if I have taken that many cruises with Avalon that I am quite a fan. I love their ships, the personnel aboard, cruise directors, and food. Can't wait for August!

 

 

Pat

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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