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CruiseReportAvalon Waterways Avalon Expression5A cruise review of Avalon Waterways Avalon Expression in Europe
by S35flyer
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  Avalon Expression  
Romantic Rhine 4/19
April 2019
Reviewer Rates This Cruise
First river cruise and frankly my wife drug me kicking and screaming on this trip, note we are 67 and 59. Net net, best trip ever and I can’t wait to go back.

We went Amsterdam to Basel over 7 nights. We had no water issues and after reading the horrors others have experienced, spending 10,000+ dollars, I feel very lucky. If this had occurred the review would likely be very different.

Went to Amsterdam two days early to get over jet lag from Arizona. Best decision ever. We walked and explored and rested-I really like Amsterdam, we walked over 10 miles each day exploring. We all met on our third day at the hotel and they bussed us 200 or so feet to the ship. We had a briefing, scanned passports and then hey let’s explore Amsterdam! Instead we took a walk back into the city, had some lunch and then returned for a trip to the Keukenhof gardens, wow. I don’t really appreciate flowers, but this place was amazing, see it if you can. The rest of the cruise was as advertised and the ports are well documented, truth is I can’t spell the names.

Our cruise director, Henrick, was amazing.  I’d go another cruise with him anytime! I just wish I knew which ones he was running. I wish we had done a 14-day cruise, those 7 went by so fast. We made new friends, thanks to the open seating at meals, had great food, and the excursions were mostly very enlightening. One or two we broke off and went on our own. If there is any complaint about these it’s that there is no time for shopping or just browsing. After a few days one figures this out and does their own thing. For example: Cologne has this local beer, Kolsch, that everyone drinks. We found a pub off the beaten path and enjoyed a rainy afternoon in the pub drinking Kolsch with om-pa-pa band playing and everyone singing.

Timing- we went early April, it was cool, not cold and sprinkles here and there. Did not bother us at all, think extra sweatshirt and jacket. I think 95% of the people were between 50 and 75, there were no children, and for that I’m grateful. There was one 18-20 year old and every time I saw her she looked really po'ed. River cruises are nowhere kids need to be, it’s an adult trip, with adult things to do. Your mileage may vary. I want to add one other thing that I don’t see a lot of in reviews and I add it with the hope it helps. In my opinion to do river cruising one needs to be “fit”. There are many stairs, cobblestone streets, hills and lots of walking. We had some challenged folks on board and they were not able to do anything except stay on the ship. River cruising isn’t like ocean cruising, there is no entrainment, like a ocean cruise, one dining area and the ship is usually docked in the day for the shore excursions. River cruising should be named "a five star hotel that goes from place to place so you can get off and explore on foot." 

In summary, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. If you are traveling over the ocean, come early, give yourself a chance to get over jet lag instead of wasting two days on board trying to rest. Do make efforts to meet people, that is one of the best things on these small ships. Allow yourself to relax because, yes, it really is that good. Took me two days to believe it.

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