Avalon Visionary Cruise Review by Cobbie48
- Sail Date: October 2016
- Destination: Europe River
- Cabin Type: Outside Stateroom with Window
Avalon was kind enough to totally refund our money and give us each a $500 credit to be used by end of 2016.
Not wanting to chance the Main again we chose the Rhine / Moselle cruise and boy, are we glad we did.
We expected cool rainy weather and were prepared with layers and umbrellas which worked perfectly
We arrived in Amsterdam 2 days early and stayed at the Hilton Doubletree near the train station, which was not too far from Avalon's gathering hotel, Movenpick. We loved Amsterdam. Spent some time with the Rembrandts at the Rijksmuseum. Otherwise we just strolled and explored.
As we walked with our luggage towards the Movenpick I spied the Visionary on our way. iT was about 11 am and I knew all previous passengers would have departed. I took a chance and headed to the ship to see if we could board. Jerry, the Hotel Manager, graciously said we were the first passengers and we were welcome to come aboard and sit in the lounge.
My SO and I decided we would just leave our bags and walk over to the Movenpick. We then decided to take the excursion to Zaanse Schans. It was quite rainy at the windmill village but we had a wonderful guide nad really enjoyed it. The bus then took us directly to the ship. Embarkation was a breeze and our luggage was already in the room.
We had the required emergency drill and welcome cocktail from the captain and met the department heads. Adrienn Godo was our Cruise Director and she did a fantastic job throughout the entire cruise. The reception staff was also wonderful as was Jerry, the Hotel Manager and the bar, dining room and housekeeping managers. I don't remember their names. The whole crew was wonderful and the ship was spotless.
We had a below decks room and though tiny it was well thought out and we had plenty of room for clothes and toiletries.
Dining was also excellent although we wished there was another dinner venue where we didn't have to sit for two hours every night. All the food was well prepared, tasty and mostly of the region we were sailing in. I love their breads! We often partook of the 4pm afternoon tea but never stayed up late enough for night fare. Enjoyed the cookies, pastries and coffee/tea at the back of deck 3.
We used the elevator a lot-happy to have it.
Unfortunately the weather was never good enough to partake of the sun deck. We did sit up there in front of the wheel house a few short times. Sailing by the Rhine Castles we sat in the lounge and enjoyed Adrienn's commentary.
My favorite part of the cruise was the 4 days we spent on the Moselle. With so little barge traffic it was like our own private river. The first day on the Moselle a local historian came aboard and told us all about the Moselle. We had a different historian to tell us about life in Germany from the dark ages until today. Both were excellent.
At least 3 nights there were special musical acts: opera trained female singer with pianist singing love songs, another night violins and guitar and another time folk music. We skipped the folk music but really enjoyed the other two. Every night there was Miko at the piano. I attended the crew talent show which was mostly Jerry singing. The final lunch in France there was an accordion player.
Almost all of the local guides were excellent. A few times we cut off early to do our own scouting.
Besides Zaanse Schans our other optional excursions were wine tasting in Luxembourg, and excursion to Colmar. My SO and I split up one day and he did the Maginot line and I an Alsace wine tasting. All were excellent and well priced.
We enjoyed half priced drinks at happy hour from 6-7. The cream soups were delicious.
We enjoyed all the cities except Cologne, Rudesheim and Mainz. Not sorry we saw them, just not as enjoyable as the others. Besides the Moselle we especially enjoyed Amsterdam and Colmar. The other stops in the Netherlands, Kinderdijk, Hoorn and sailing the Zider Zee were a nice bonus.
We used Avalon for our flight reservations and although in Coach we enjoyed Lufthansa. Sine we did pre and post on our own we did not use Avalon's transfers. Train from Schiphol to Amsterdam Centraal was a breeze. We spent three days post in Lucerne and took a taxi, which reception got for us, from Basel to Lucerne. Embarkation was easy.
This was our second Avalon cruise. In 2013 we did Prague to Budapest. We plan to cruise with Avalon again in 2018 on the Rhone.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Zaanse Schans WindmillsFun to see the old village despite pouring rain. Especially enjoyed windmill tour.View All 30 Zaanse Schans Windmills Reviews
Bernkastel-KuesThis reminded us of Carmel, California. Delightful wine village. I bought a bottle of Reisling to enjoy in our room. Had a fun lunch in tiny local placeView All 14 Bernkastel-Kues Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Bernkastel-Kues Cruise Port Review
CologneGood guide just didn't really like the city.View All 225 Cologne Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Cologne Cruise Port Review
KoblenzGreat guide but it was cold and cloudy so just did tour and headed back for lunch. After KOBLENZ the Moselle cruise began. Pretty sailing past the big riverside houses.View All 133 Koblenz Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Koblenz Cruise Port Review
The Gutenberg MuseumFascinating museum, otherwise not fond of Mainz.View All 12 The Gutenberg Museum Reviews
Le Petite FranceIncluded Cruise of the river surrounding Strasbourg which we boarded right at our ship. Afterwards was included walking tour and short bus ride backView All 52 Le Petite France Reviews