This was our second cruise on Avalon, the first was on the Rhine in September, 2017. I want to emphasize that the part of the cruise that could be controlled by Avalon was exceptional, Avalon will continue to be our first choice for river cruises. Cabin, dining and service were all exemplary! The hotels in Prague and Budapest were superb! Valentin, the cruise director, was personable, helpful and hilarious.
The disappointing part of this experience was caused by the water level on the Danube. The itinerary had us transferring by bus from Prague to Nuremberg with an included excursion in Old Town Nuremberg. Due to the low water level we boarded at a different port and missed Nuremberg. Thus began a three day effort to get back on schedule. We spent a lot of time being bused to different excursions, so much so that it very much felt like a coach tour of Eastern Europe instead of a Danube cruise. We did visit some extraordinary towns, Passau, Salzburg, Vienna, Melk and others. Finally, the river was closed again in Budapest and we had to be bused from Slovakia.
Avalon did their best to ameliorate the inconvenience of "busing":
- All passengers were treated to a concert in Vienna. This was supposed to have been an optional excursion. Passengers who had paid in advance for this concert received a refund.
- When we were bused to an included excursion we were provided cash for lunch since we would not be able to eat on the ship.
- When we were bused to Budapest, the last stop on the cruise, we were given the option of returning to the ship after the excursion or checking into the hotel a night early at Avalon's expense.
- Finally, Avalon provided a substantial partial refund of fare to compensate for the inconvenience.
I was very satisfied with the cruise and Avalon's efforts to satisfy us.
All that being said, I would book another cruise on the Danube but not that late in the season. The cities visited were amazing. And, of course, the Avalon experience was ourstanding.
Smaller than an ocean cruise ship but comfortable and excellently appointed.