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Avalon Illumination

Avalon Illumination

Postby Arizona » 15 Aug 2017 21:52

We were so impressed with our Avalon cruise in April that we have just booked a late deal for September from Budapest to Amsterdam. It's a great price for 14 nights, including chauffeur transport from home, BA flights, transfers, gratuities, excursions and drinks with meals. Even a discount for having travelled with them once before. All new ports for us apart from Amsterdam so looks good.
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Avalon Illumination

Postby Mungo » 16 Aug 2017 21:27

Sounds super! :D
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Postby Arizona » 09 Oct 2017 21:55

Now that we are home from our second Avalon cruise I thought it might be useful to post a few details which may be helpful to others.

*All the transport arrangements went well including the home pick up and return. On arrival at Budapest airport we were taken to the Intercontinental Hotel next to the Danube by the Chain Bridge. A room was set up for us with complimentary drinks and snacks. We were free to go for a stroll along the river until we were transferred to the ship at 4pm where our luggage was waiting in the cabin.

*The Avalon Illumination was identical to the Avalon ArtistryII we had previously sailed on, apart from the colour scheme and being slightly longer. Everything was organised in the same way too, with consistent quality.

*There were around 126 passengers, more or less evenly divided between Aussies, Kiwis, Canadians, Americans and Brits. There was a wide range of ages. Everyone was very friendly which made for a congenial atmosphere.

*In every port there were included tours and occasionally optional extra (paid) tours.

*We remained overnight in Budapest with an included sightseeing tour the next morning, covering the main sights, leaving the afternoon free for independent exploration or optional tours. We left Budapest at 9pm to enjoy all the spectacular illuminated bridges and riverside buildings.

*After the included coach and walking tour of Vienna we made our own way to the Sacher hotel for the pricey but delicious sachertorte. After a quick peep at the famous Spanish Riding School horses in their stables, we went to the Albertina. This combines an excellent art gallery with the opportunity to wander around some Viennese palatial rooms. For Vienna the ships have to dock just outside the city but at a spot fortunately near an underground station, Vorgartenstr, so we made our way back to the ship independently for a couple of euros (English instructions on the ticket machines).

*In the evening we went to a specially arranged concert in Vienna. We were unsure whether to go but were very glad we did as it was a mini version of the Vienna New Year's Day Concert with 2 dancers, 2 opera singers and 8 musicians. Very professional and fun.

*Along the route we visited Bratislava, Durnstein, Passau(amazing cathedral), Regensburg(Avalon vouchers given for the Sausage Kitchen!), Nuremberg, Bamberg, Wurzburg, Rothenberg and Miltenberg. All had similarities but were picturesque and interesting to stroll around. Most had been reconstructed after the war in their original style.

*In Rudesheim we were taken by tourist trams for a private tour of Siegfried's Mechanical Instrument Museum, followed by brandy coffees at the nearby hotel. We then took the cable car (8€ just by the museum) independently up to the Germania statue and a fabulous view of the Rhine. Unfortunately Rudesheim itself is overwhelmed by tourist shops and the busy railway running along the river.

*Those who like spending time cruising along the river (we do!) will be pleased to hear that there was plenty of opportunity for this as not all of the sailing was overnight.

*We were only moored against another ship (thus blocking the view) once on the whole trip.

* Although all the ships seem to stop in Cologne, it has little to recommend it other than the cathedral. Fortunately we were only there for a few hours.

*In Amsterdam we were moored near the station which was convenient for independent travel after the included tour. We were able to go to Utrecht for the afternoon as we had visited Amsterdam only a few months ago.

*While going through some of the locks we had an interesting talk about the Main-Danube Canal, which was only completed in 1992. Although originally intended for cargo traffic, it has enabled the growth of river cruising by linking the Danube to the Rhine. Due to the low bridges on this canal, the open top deck of the ship had to be closed for several days. However it was here that the panoramic windows on the ship came into their own. Descending a deep lock with the big sliding windows in the cabin wide open was quite an experience.

*Every evening we were given printed information and maps ready for the next day in addition to a short talk from the Cruise Director.

*Wherever possible the Cruise Director tried to make extra arrangements to make it easier for people with walking difficulties to access the included tours. Often they had their own guide and transport.

*All along the route we were served appropriate local wines with some local food choices on the menu too.

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We thoroughly enjoyed the whole trip and can highly recommend a river cruise.
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Postby Mungo » 09 Oct 2017 22:55

Thanks for the review. :thumbup:

A river cruise is on my "to do" list! :mrgreen:
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Postby judgegeoff » 10 Oct 2017 00:20

Many thanks for posting your interesting review of your river cruise Arizona. :clap:

We went on our first river cruise (Avignon to Lyon) earlier this year and enjoyed it immensely.
Geoff

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"Quantum of the Seas" - China & Japan - Autumn 2018
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Postby grannyM » 10 Oct 2017 17:03

Thanks for taking the time to post this very interesting and useful review Arizona. It certainly whets the appetite for a river cruise. :D
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Postby Dave » 11 Oct 2017 15:47

I'll add my thanks for the excellent review too! :thumbup:

We've enjoyed four river cruises (three Viking, one CroisiEurope) and have loved the relaxed and informal style that river cruising provides. After reading your review I took a look at Avalon Illumination on the Avalon website (https://www.avalonwaterways.com/River-Cruise-Ships/Avalon-Illumination/) and I think she looks very nice indeed!
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Booked cruise: TUI Discovery 2 - Cuban Fusion, Christmas 2017
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Postby Gillzajoker » 12 Oct 2017 16:12

Interesting and comprehensive review! :D
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Re: Avalon Illumination

Postby Meg50 » 29 Oct 2017 21:14

I read this a couple of days ago - while still on our Amsterdam- Budapest cruise.

We were tickled to find that any things that APT told us were unique to them - you did too!

Will post a review in a couple of days
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