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YoungDubFan

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Everything posted by YoungDubFan

  1. On the Seine, the shorter boats may dock closer to the Eiffel Tower. I tend to book the shorter ships if possible, just because less passengers.
  2. In addition to the Active & Discovery tours, Avalon also has a fitness host on every cruise. They offer some type of class in the morning (stretching, yoga, etc.). They have a small fitness center on board. They have bikes on all European ships & offer an escorted bike tour most days. If the bike tours aren’t full, you have the option to check out a bike & do your own thing.
  3. I can highly recommend Avalon for dealing well with issues. I did a Seine Paris to Normandy RT in May 2016 when there were record floods. A significant portion of the trip was impacted but Avalon handled it very well. We were one of the few ships that actually sailed that week as our Captain noticed the river rising & moved the boat outside of Paris to get past some low bridges. Avalon transported all of us to the new embarkation point. Our CD was wonderful about providing updates at least 2X / day as to changes in the itinerary. Some cites were skipped on the way out due to flooding but Avalon replaced these with other stop. We were able to hit most on the return. On the return, the boat couldn’t sail past Rouen due to high water. Avalon bused us to Paris, put us up at a 5* hotel less than 10 min from L’Arc de Triomphe. We were given cash for lunches & received a nice cash refund before returning home. Because Avalon is part of Globus, they have contracts at a lot of hotels & were able to take advantage of this to make some adjustments.
  4. I did this cruise last year & loved it. Enjoy & I hope you have good weather.
  5. Avalon also waives single supplement on many cruises. May want to check them out.
  6. There are quite a few posts on here that deal with mobility issues. I would strongly encourage you to read those & talk to a TA who specializes in River Cruises. As mentioned, River Cruising in Europe & Europe in general is not very accessible for those who are mobility impaired. Often ships raft together & the reception often don’t line up. This means that you have to go up stairs to the sky deck (elevators don’t go to this level), cross over to another boat & back down stairs to reception & off. This may happen for more than 1 boat. Good luck with your research. There may be days that depending on the situation, she may need to stay on the ship.
  7. I’ve seen some comparisons that Avalon is similar to Marriott / Hilton while Viking is more similar to Hampton Inn / Fairfield Inn but opinions vary. I’ve done 3 cruises with Avalon & none have been on 100% full ships. I did the Tulip Time Netherlands & Belgium last Spring, Rhine Basel to Amsterdam & Seine Paris to Normandy & have enjoyed all. From what I’ve seen in port, Avalon’s excursion groups seem to be smaller vs Viking. I’ve talked to the guides in port & the ones I’ve met seem to prefer Avalon to Viking because they are treated better. That says a lot to me about how the company works. Granted, I haven’t travelled with Viking but I’ve been happy enough with Avalon so haven’t had the desire to look at another line. The food has been wonderful, wines change daily. Avalon includes beer & wine w/ lunch & dinner & also have a daily happy hour with free liquor drinks in addition to beer & wine.
  8. Enjoying in your cabin is not an issue. I’m not sure what the policy is for drinking in the lounge. You may want to check with your specific cruise line.
  9. There is a corkage fee to bring your own wine into the dining room but I don’t know how much it is. I’ve always been able to find a wine I like. On my Tulip Time cruise last year, they had a rose I really liked one night & the next night, they were pouring a different rose, that I didn’t like as well. I asked the wine steward to see if he could find the previous rose & he went & found it. The bar manager then put in another order & got the ship restocked with the 1st rose because so many people liked it.
  10. You can take anything legal on board for consumption in your cabin - soft drinks, wine, liquor, whatever you want. Avalon doesn’t care.
  11. Answering a question from another thread on here as well: 1. Toiletries on the European ships are large bottle stuck to the shower wall. 2. There are multiple water & ice dispensers located around the ship & there is a flavored water dispenser in the club lounge at the back of the ship.
  12. Scottie - there are water dispensers & ice dispensers at a couple of locations around the ship. There is a flavored water dispenser in the club lounge at the back of the ship. This is where cookies. & snacks are located. I don’t think there were any soft drinks but there may have been ice tea. I didn’t use the mini bar so can’t speak to that. Avalon does include bottled water in your cabin that is replenished as needed. The toiletries were large bottles stuck to the wall of the shower.
  13. Scottie920 - the thread is called All Things Avalon & I just bumped it to the top of the forums. You should be able to find it now. I think it is over 70 pages but it has a lot of good information in it. Please post here again if you can’t find the thread.
  14. I sailed in an aquarium class cabin for my Tulip Time cruise last April on Avalon. I agree with the comments above. I am tall & was able to see out the window but as mentioned, we were often rafted, so no real view. A nice feature of this window is that it serves as additional storage. For a Christmas market cruise, I’d go with the aquarium class cabin. I was only in the cabin to get ready & sleep. Even when I was reading or relaxing, I was in one of the lounges or out on deck - either the small deck just in front of the lounge or up on the sky deck. Save your money & upgrade your flights to premium economy.
  15. I did the Seine Paris to Normandy with Avalon back in 2016. That was the wettest May on record at the time. Unfortunately this contributed to very high water levels & flooding, which did impact the sailing. I posted a very thorough trip report. Avalon was amazing during this. They adjusted the itinerary as needed so that we still saw most of the cites. On the way to Normandy, the docking area for Les Andelys was flooded so we skipped it but then stopped on our way back to Paris. The ships couldn’t get into Paris because the water was so high, so Avalon bused us to Paris & put us up at a 5-star hotel. We were given partial refunds & money for lunch each day. Avalon has bikes on every ship. There is always a scheduled bike ride with the fitness person & you can also check out bikes to do your own ride. They have regular & a few e-bikes. Avalon also offered yoga or some type of fitness class every morning. I’ve done 3 river cruises with Avalon and enjoy them. They fit my style of vacation. Good luck with your research. You may just want to try a different line and see how you like it.
  16. Make sure you read the post at the top of these boards for first time river cruisers. River cruising is a completely different experience vs ocean cruising. There is also a thread on here titled All About Avalon. Read through this long post because it has a lot of information specific to Avalon. 1. I didn’t use laundry so can’t comment but from what I remember, it wasn’t too expensive. From what I’ve read on these boards, service is pretty quick. 2. I think the only room service you can get is maybe a continental breakfast and / or coffee. I have never used it. I always go to the dining room for all meals. 3. I’m not aware but none that I’ve seen posted. You just get a bigger room. 4. Breakfast & lunch are buffets with a few rotating selections that could be ordered from the menu. Sometimes the lunch menu option was included as part of the buffet. Dinner is always from a menu. 5. Read the referenced threads 6. On my Tulip Time cruise last April - Avalon had eliminated the piano player for nightly entertainment. There were some local acts that were brought on a few evenings.
  17. Unfortunately most of Europe & Asia are not as wheelchair friendly as the US is. I do not know what the standards are in Australia, and for that I apologize. As CDN Polar pointed out, there can be quite a few logistical challenges. I have to say that I am surprised that the Viking crew were so accommodating in assisting getting the wheelchairs up and down stairs & gangways. I have heard that on other lines they are more hesitant to assist due to liability issues. There are quite a few threads on this board about river cruising for mobility challenged, and you should probably read most, if not all of them. There is obviously quite a difference between having to use a walker / rolling walker and wheelchair. It can be quite difficult to push a wheelchair over cobblestones. The cabins are also on the smaller size so having a wheelchair in the cabin will take up valuable space. I’m not sure if any of the ships have wheelchair accessible bathrooms. As mentioned, the ship elevators do not go up to the sky deck and when rafting, you often have to go up and down and over multiple sky decks to get on and off the ship. You would probably do best to contact every cruise line to ask what their policies are. Good luck. If you decide to take a cruise, please come back and post about your experiences. It would be very helpful to others who ask about river cruising for the mobility challenged.
  18. The deluxe stateroom is affectionately called an aquarium class or swan class room. It has a long, high window that is just at the water level. It is never actually under water. I cruised in one of these for the 1st time on my Tulip Time cruise in April of this year. I did travel as a solo. There is obviously enough space for 1 person but I can’t speak to how it would feel with 2 people sharing. I’m a larger female and didn’t find the shower too small. It’s tight, but doable with some adjustments to where the shower head is directed. On river cruises (I’ve taken 3), I’m never in the cabin much except to sleep or get ready for the day. If I’m relaxing, reading a book, etc, I’m usually up in one of the lounges watching the scenery go buy. I book the cheapest cabin so I can take more vacations. I’m sure someone will chime in who has stayed in one of these with 2 people for their perspective. Good luck with your planning.
  19. I’ve done 3 river cruises (Rhine Basel to Amsterdam / Seine - RT to Paris including Normandy / Tulip Time in Netherlands & Belgium - which included sailing on some bigger waterways on the return to Amsterdam). On all 3, I’ve hardly ever felt any movement with sailing. As has been mentioned, I often wasn’t even aware when we would leave the docks.
  20. I did a Tulip Time cruise with Avalon at the end of April this year. The tulips were late blooming (didn’t start this year until Apr. 13) so they were at peak when I was at Keukenhof. The cruise had stops in Netherlands and Belgium. In addition to Keukenhof, I really enjoyed the excursion to the Delta works. It was fascinating to see how they have tamed the tides to prevent devastating flooding. A few of our tour guides had survived the last major flooding and it was interesting to hear their stories. The cruise was round trip from Amsterdam. I went in 1 day early because I hadn’t spent much time in Amsterdam. I don’t know if you are only looking at Viking but I would encourage you to look at the other companies as well. They may stop at other cities that may be interesting. So many people only know about Viking and there are plenty of other options.
  21. Martinitime - Make sure you read the stickies for new river cruisers. River cruising is nothing like ocean cruises so make sure you are prepared for the difference. I know this thread is long but you may want to skim it, at least for posts post COVID. Ask any questions & you’ll get lots of answers.
  22. SnowShoe Cat - I wouldn’t classify Avalon as dressy. I think smart casual may be a good description. I have taken 2 Avalon cruises as a solo. Because Avalon often waives the single supplement, it is not unusual to have quite a few singles. Meals were never awkward as I was always able to sit with others that I had met during the cruise. It helps if you are somewhat outgoing, but I’ve always seen that singles are welcomed to join others. You can always do as you please and no one will mind if you join or not. On my Tulip time cruise, we had a Dutch cheese tasting and I think only about half of the passengers attended. I love Avalon and have done 3 cruises with them. If you try them, I think you will really enjoy.
  23. So sorry you suffered an injury on your vacation. It’s great to see how well AMA helped to take care of you. They seem to have gone above and beyond. I hope that your recovery goes smoothly now that you are home. Thanks for sharing your experience.
  24. Americans are able to pre-pay gratuities at the time of booking, whether booking direct with Avalon or through a TA. I’m not sure if the rules are different for Canadians. If you are already booked, check to see if you can add pre-paid tips.
  25. To my knowledge, none of the river cruise companies have any type of medical staff on board. If there is any type of medical emergency, I would assume that they would contact the closest emergency services and off load any passenger needing care as quickly as possible. You are always close to shore but depending on when you are sailing, it could take a while to coordinate where the emergency services could meet up with the boat. I am assuming that each ships has an AED on board but I don’t know this for a fact. You may want to contact the major companies and ask them if they have one on board. I’ve taken 3 river cruises and there have never been any passengers who have needed any emergency services.
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