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FuelScience

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We did the Romantic Rhine on the inaugural mid-April and wrote a short review which is on this board, but if you have any specific questions that no one else can answer, I would be happy to answer. If I had to use one word to describe the trip the word would be "excellent" in every way.

Cole

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One question for all who have been on the tour. Do they serve Ice Tea and Lemonade with meals with soft drinks, or just soft drinks & water. If it's Ice Tea, is it unsweetened? As a Canadian, unsweetened is a treat for me...:)

 

If I remember correctly unsweetened iced tea, lemonade, & soft drinks were included options at lunch & dinner. I drink iced tea & always had that. The provided sugar & artificial sweeteners so you can make it how you like it. I haven't been able to figure out why brewed ice tea is not common in Canadian restaurants.

 

I'll post another review / trip report after I'm back from Paris to Normandy in June.

 

I'm glad that others have found that my review is helpful. These boards have been a wealth of knowledge for me in all of my planning & I like to pay it forward.

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Hi Pat which cruise are you on in August? We too are sailing in Aug but will be our first but hopefully the first of many!

Thanks

Viv

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Does anyone know what hotel Avalon is using in Paris this year? The web site mentions the Pullman Paris Montparnasse and the Hotel du Collectionneur Arc de Triomphe Paris. Also, if you've stayed in either hotel, how was it?

 

FuelScience

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Does anyone know what hotel Avalon is using in Paris this year? The web site mentions the Pullman Paris Montparnasse and the Hotel du Collectionneur Arc de Triomphe Paris. Also, if you've stayed in either hotel, how was it?

 

FuelScience

Your TA should be able to tell you what hotel is being used,or if you didn't use a TA contact Avalon. Last year for our Seine cruise they used the Pullman Paris Montparnasse. It's a large, very busy hotel and the price through Avalon was high. We stayed at a charming boutique hotel closer to the Eiffel tower for half the price. We took a short taxi ride to the Pullman to check in and drop off our luggage, then went shopping and had lunch before returning for the Eiffel tower tour. I believe you can check in and make your own way to the ship if you want to do some sightseeing before boarding.

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Avalon is using the Pullman Paris Montparnasse. I have all of my documents for my cruise at the end of the month. I know we could have booked a different hotel for less money but my mom likes the convenience of being in the Avalon hotel with access to their rep. I'm really looking forward to this trip.

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Thanks YoungDubFan! We've done pre and post-cruise on our own before, but this time we're traveling with relatives who are much more comfortable letting Avalon handle all the transfers, etc.

 

FuelScience

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Thanks YoungDubFan re: drinks. Although both my husband & I will have the odd beer or wine with dinner, we do tend to drink a lot of juice/ice tea/lemonade with meals as well. One of our treats when we travel in the States is the unsweetened Ice Tea, in fact, sometimes we get funny looks as that's all we declare crossing the border!

 

Cole, I really enjoyed your review as well, it's great to know that Avalon is right up there when it comes to providing great customer service & tours.

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Avalon is using the Pullman Paris Montparnasse. I have all of my documents for my cruise at the end of the month. I know we could have booked a different hotel for less money but my mom likes the convenience of being in the Avalon hotel with access to their rep. I'm really looking forward to this trip.

 

It is a nice hotel and certainly convenient. Several people on our cruise stayed there because they flew in the day before and it was easier. They were very pleased with the hotel. The rooms are quite large by Paris standards and have amazing views from the upper floors. We booked our cruise late (less than 2 months ahead) and spent too much time debating hotels. The Avalon price nearly doubled by the time we were ready to make the reservation. Since we were staying in Paris 4 nights pre-cruise, we looked for a less expensive option.

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If you want the convenience of waking up in the hotel that Avalon meets in, then yes, Montparnasse can be considered convenient. The neighborhood is the business district very busy. The hotel is a convention hotel. It reminded me of the NY Hilton. The cruiselines need properties where they are able to book dozens of rooms per night. If you stay independently you have a much wider range of choice. If you are worried about transfers, your hotel can arrange a private towncar pick up with the driver holding a card with your name. Going home the ship's reception desk will call you a cab. I'm not sure what the Avalon desk does extra for guests.

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My wild guess based on my Avalon cruise last sept would be 50 - 70. Some younger and some older.

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My wild guess based on my Avalon cruise last sept would be 50 - 70. Some younger and some older.

 

 

 

Same in July except there were a few families with High School and College kids. This was on Avalon.

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We're on Tapestry ii with our first full day ahead. It's our 1st Avalon cruise after 7 cruises with Viking. Loving it so far. We have 85 passengers. We have a mix of Americans, Aussies, New Zealanders and a small group from Taiwan. Our cruise director thinks there are some Canadians, too but they weren't at the briefing. Terrific first dinner. It's middle of the night now and our first tour tomorrow is at 8:30am so I'd better stop for now.

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We're on Tapestry ii with our first full day ahead. It's our 1st Avalon cruise after 7 cruises with Viking. Loving it so far. We have 85 passengers. We have a mix of Americans, Aussies, New Zealanders and a small group from Taiwan. Our cruise director thinks there are some Canadians, too but they weren't at the briefing. Terrific first dinner. It's middle of the night now and our first tour tomorrow is at 8:30am so I'd better stop for now.

 

Will be interesting to hear your thoughts on the differences between the two lines!

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We're on Tapestry ii with our first full day ahead. It's our 1st Avalon cruise after 7 cruises with Viking. Loving it so far. We have 85 passengers. We have a mix of Americans, Aussies, New Zealanders and a small group from Taiwan. Our cruise director thinks there are some Canadians, too but they weren't at the briefing. Terrific first dinner. It's middle of the night now and our first tour tomorrow is at 8:30am so I'd better stop for now.

 

 

 

That's one of the reasons I originally chose Avalon. Different nationalities, not only American pax enriches your experience

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We are on an Avalon Rhine Cruise from Amsterdam. We are scheduled to meet at the Room Mate Aitana Ijdok 6 Amsterdam 1013 MM prior to boarding the boat. Does anyone know if this is within walking distance from the central are of Amsterdam?

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We are on an Avalon Rhine Cruise from Amsterdam. We are scheduled to meet at the Room Mate Aitana Ijdok 6 Amsterdam 1013 MM prior to boarding the boat. Does anyone know if this is within walking distance from the central are of Amsterdam?

 

Google maps shows it to be northeast of Centraal Station. It's a 1.1 km (0.68 miles) walk to the plaza in front of the station.

 

Hope this helps,

FuelScience

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We were on the Avalon Illumination from April 15-22 this year on the Tulips and Windmills cruise from Amsterdam to Brussels, and were very satisfied. There were 106 pax out of 166 capacity. Food was good, crew was good, CD was good, tours were good. Accommodations were very good.

 

We had done one other river cruise ~5 years ago on the Uniworld River Countess from Amsterdam to Vienna and were quite happy with that, but I would put Avalon one notch above, mainly because of the cabin size and layout. Having said that, after paying the big bucks for the cabin with the big windows, half the time we were moored against a stone wall or another ship moored along side. On this particular cruise because the ports were so close together there wasn't a lot of time to just sit and enjoy watching the world go by. Most of the sailing was in the evening during dinner and into the small hours after midnight.

 

The one thing we did not care for was the boarding procedure. We had to meet at a hotel (Room Mate Ijdock in Amsterdam) and hang round there for a while until we were all bused to the ship about 2 km away at 4:00 pm. We could have left our bags and returned later, but the hotel wasn't very convenient to much within walking distance. To answer a question above, it would be a ~20-30 minute walk to the Centraal Station in Amsterdam. I much preferred the Uniworld process, where we could board in late morning and were in our cabin by ~ 1:00 or 1:30. We were then free to leave the ship until sailing time.

 

The CD mentioned that the cruise following ours had only 66 pax. It started in Brussels, which may have put some people off, but realistically, you have a much higher chance of getting killed or injured driving to the airport than getting involved in a terrorist attack, so it didn't affect us much. However, by the end of the cruise the Brussels airport was still not fully operational, so there was a scramble to rebook departing pax through Amsterdam or Paris. We had planned to spend a few days in Paris, so it didn't affect us.

 

Conclusion: we were very happy with both Avalon and Uniworld and would go with either again. The principal difference was the larger cabin and better layout on Avalon. Otherwise the product was very similar.

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Just paid our deposit for 2 trips in 2017!! 8 day Paris to Normandy 30 September on Tapestry II & 13 day Rhine & Moselle Amsterdam - Zurich 12 October on Artistry II. This will be part of a 6 week trip including England at start of trip and spending time in Switzerland at end of cruise before heading home. Will be interested in hearing from others departing from Amsterdam and where they stayed if they arrive before cruise start. Will check out the hotel mentioned above. Have visited Amsterdam in 2012 with friends so not sure what our plans will be.

Had to cancel our Grand France cruise last year due to health issues 2 weeks before we were to depart, so thought we would do something different for our next trip. Cruised with Avalon in 2013 on the Vista and loved the cabin layout the general feel of the ship, the great crew & fellow passengers so more than happy to cruise with them again.

Will be great to read future posts and other plans & suggestions.

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we are looking at the above cruise + 11 day ocean cruise in baltic next year,

unsure about the river cruise whether threre will be too many church/musuem tours we can handle a few but is there other options ?and whether the river cruises up more up market than what we are use to on ocean cruises? thanks in advance

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Hello kiwixmas,

 

it really depends on how happy you are to engage in the offered alternative activities and DIY in the ports. You can even skip the usually included guided tour and stay on the boat to relax or venture out on your own. You are free to do all that.

 

You could have a look at previous threads of cruisers on that itinerary, if you cannot find much have a look at the Viking thread to see what those cruisers did in each port. You will find brewery tours, castles, etc. Evening entertainment, remember, is low key on a river cruise. Some companies even offer a walk in the woods, dance lessons, a cycle ride or buiscuit making... You do not have to go to eight churches and six museums if you do not want to. :)

 

Uniworld and Ama, apart from Avalon and Viking, also have interesting itineraries. Or you could take an APT river cruise with a so-called "signature experience" that no other cruise line offers. You need to see on which date it is offered but you can have a banquet in a castle on the river Rhine. Highly recommended, the castle I mean, have not had dinner there, only coffee and cake.

 

Have fun planning.

 

notamermaid

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we are looking at the above cruise + 11 day ocean cruise in baltic next year,

 

unsure about the river cruise whether threre will be too many church/musuem tours we can handle a few but is there other options ?and whether the river cruises up more up market than what we are use to on ocean cruises? thanks in advance

 

 

The tours are usually one hour in length. Followed by free time of 1-1.5 hours. Sometimes you are lucky and your ship is docked right in town. Even in places where there are huge cathedrals, i.e. Cologne, the tour is of the vicinity, the guide will talk about the cathedral and point out the unique and many times magnificent features but it is up to you if you want to explore on your independent time. I think in Strasbourg we went inside to watch the astronomical clock but if you wanted to wait outside and look at something else all you need to do is tell the guide so she can tell you where to meet.

 

The service and meals you receive on the river cruise is certainly more up market than any mass market cruiseline

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Will be interested in hearing from others departing from Amsterdam and where they stayed if they arrive before cruise start.

 

We have stayed at the Mercure Amsterdam Centre Canal District on Noorderstraat a couple of times and found it to be quite good and reasonably priced. It is convenient to the museum district, about a 15 minute walk to the Damrak and 30 minute walk to the Centraal Station plaza.

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If you're willing to do stairs, we really like a a little B&B called misc eatdrinksleep. It's just off of Nieuwmarkt Square, about 10 minutes walk from Centraal Station. It has 6 rooms, 3 of which look out onto the canal. Rachel and Pepijn were wonderful hosts. Breakfast is included. We (three couples) spent two nights there before our cruise and loved it. The owners gave us restaurant suggestions and arranged transport from the airport on arrival and summoned a taxi when we were ready to go to the ship. When we were getting ready to leave, we lamented that we hadn't been able to go by a liquor store to get a bottle of gin to take on the boat. Pepijn found a bottle that he'd been given that he didn't care for and gave it to us!! Highly recommended if they have rooms available.

 

FuelScience

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