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Cruise Review

All I can say is that it was everything it was advertised to be: spacious enough stateroom and bathroom even more so, very accommodating staff, gourmet food, smooth riding and quiet ship, good evening entertainment by locals 4 times, and nice choice of ports. As mentioned earlier, we saw 3 different ships. There some very minor differences; but all were equally fine.

Our stateroom was on the second deck and had a wall to wall window that opened (the lower deck's windows did not open). I originally booked a room on the lower deck. When I was stewing about whether to upgrade or not, the travel agent I was dealing with said it didn't really matter because you wouldn't be spending much time in it. That had some truth to it; but I was glad I upgraded. If nothing else, if I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep immediately, it was pleasant to sit along side the open window watching the world go by.

Breakfast and lunch were buffet style. Dinner was a four, and some times five course meal and deserving of the adjective gourmet. There was usually a choice of 2 appetizers, 2 soups, 4 main courses, and 4 or 5 deserts.

You could also always order a Caesar salad instead of the offered appetizers and a choice of three things, including what was called a beef tenderloin, instead of the the main course offerings. One evening early on I felt less adventuresome and ordered Caesar salad. It was the best I'd ever tasted; and ordered nothing but it the rest of the time. I resisted the tenderloin until the last night, but Jeanine ordered it often; it turned out to be a 1 inch thick cut sirloin that was cooked to perfection. Despite serving over one hundred guests, the food always came out hot.

You could have unlimited excellent beer and wine for lunch and diner. There was even champagne available for breakfast. I can see someone who doesn't drink would think they were being cheated.

Pleasant surprises



As previously mentioned, due to low water conditions at 3 points, a cruise on the Avalon Luminary actually comprised 1 hotel, 3 different ships, and 3 portages. First we were put up in a luxury hotel in Budapest and then bused to the Luminary stuck in Komora, Slovakia. Then we were bused from Vilihofen, Germany to Regensburg where we met the Impression which turned around. Then we were put on a lower draft tourist boat from Ruedesheim to St. Goar, so as to not miss the most famous part of the Rhine, and then a bus to Koblenz where we swapped with the Visionary's passengers for the remainder of the cruise to Amsterdam. The bus portages ranged from ½ hour to 1 ½ hours. None of the shore or onboard programs were missed

I thought the situation was handled very professionally by Avalon; there was no Walmart Syndrome here (taking the cheap way out). In addition to receiving 15 Euros cash per person for lunches missed, $1250 was credited to my credit card for the inconvenience of having to pack and repack 3 times.

All European river cruise lines' literature and ads stress the possibility of disruptions due to low and high water. I don't know how other cruise lines would have handled it; but I have read reviews where passengers complained that once low or high water struck, they were stuck with buses and hotels thereafter. Avalon's performance is reason enough to try them again.

Random thoughts

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