Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more

Avalon Waterways

4.8 | Excellent
  • 98% Recommend
Service Level
  • Luxury
Type
  • Global Operator
Established
  • 2003
Headquarters
  • Littleton, Colorado, United States
Trips
  • 950

1,442
Avalon Waterways Reviews & Ratings 98% Recommend

4.8 out of 5
Excellent 1,261 Great 113 Average 39 Disappointing 11 Terrible 18
Value:
4.8 Guide:
4.8 Activities:
4.8 Lodging:
4.8 Transportation:
4.8 Meals:
4.8

Tour Reviews

BS

Recommends

We took a small group on the Paris to… February 2020

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We took a small group on the Paris to Normandy tour recently as my wife Regina is an independent travel agent. It was, in a word, 'awesome'! The professional service that we received from the captain and Avalon crew was wonderful. The food and wine onboard was consistently superb. The onshore excursions were fascinating and very well done. Our favorite part was the tour of Monet's gardens in Giverny - 'tre fantastique'! Also seeing the American War Memorial in Normandy was deeply moving. Can't say enough about this tour!! Many thanks to the Avalon crew and excellent guides for making it a trip of a lifetime!! Merci beaucoup!!
Brian & Regina Sneed
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J

Recommends

Always Amazing January 2020

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
This was our second cruise with Avalon. We absolutely loved it. The staff is amazing. I think that is what makes the trip such a good experience. The food is always great although I thought our first cruise was a shade more creative and exciting. Still wonderful though.
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CC

Recommends

Best trip ever? December 2019

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I have traveled quiet a bit in the past 20 years or so can I can say without hesitation that my Avalon cruise is one of my best trips ever, if not THE best! Yes, they are a little pricey, but you really do get what you pay for. From the service, to the food, to the excursions ...everything was fabulous and could not have been better. Once I save my pennies, I will most definitely take another cruise with Avalon!
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S

Recommends

A truly exceptional travel experience! November 2019

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
This was our second Avalon river cruise, so having had a positive experience with this company on the Seine, we had no hesitation about booking with Avalon Waterways again. This time we added days in Siem Reap, Ho Chi Minh, and Bangkok, for a total of 16 days in the stewardship of Avalon. My only regret was that we didn’t also go to Hanoi & Ha Long Bay.

We began in Siem Reap, checking into the Park Hyatt Hotel in the center of town. In addition to its’ superb location, merely blocks from the night market, and walking distance to restaurants and museums, the hotel itself was absolutely incredible. The staff were courteous and attentive; breakfast each morning, delicious - with abundant offerings, catering to the individual palates of multi-national travellers. Guest rooms, pools, spa and public areas of the hotel are so sumptuous, and tastefully appointed (decor/architecture subtly sophisticated, not tacky & overstated) we would have been happy not to leave the hotel. Here we met our cruise director, Ha, who later introduced us to our Cambodian tour guide Pharot. The two of them would accompany us on tours of the sacred Angkor temples and introduce us to the local industry and way of life - all authentic and exceptional excursions!

The air transfer from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, and embarkation onto the ship couldn’t have gone more smoothly.

Both ship and crew were superb. The common spaces - lounge, dining room and outer deck, as well as the guest rooms, were comfortable, spacious, tastefully appointed and in good repair - one of the main reasons I chose Avalon in the first place, as so many other cruise lines seem to offer a tawdry, Las Vegas-style environment. All meals were excellent and Ha and the crew did their utmost to accommodate our vegan food preferences, sometimes modifying a recipe specifically for us. Ha even made sure the ship had almond milk on board for our cappuccinos every morning! The entire crew knew all our names by the second day, and were always diligent to point out any non vegan food offering we may want to avoid. The graciousness of the staff throughout the week was unending.

There are only two improvements that would have enhanced our on-board experience:

1.) Better/softer pillows. We did ask for alternates, which were promptly delivered to our room, but they were really no different than what we started with.

2.) After dinner entertainment - at least for some of the evenings. We made wonderful connections over meals with several other passengers, who all agreed it would be fun to have the option to dance or enjoy music together after dinner, or even a guitar for guests to play.

The excursions off the ship continued to inspire. Often tying the river boat to trees in remote areas, we’d climb up the side of a bank on primitive steps carved into dried clay, where drivers of various types of transportation (ox carts, sampans, tuktuks, etc.) awaited to shuttle us into small villages for an exclusive and authentic experience, unfettered by mass tourism.

The tour of the Royal Palace specifically, in Phnom Phen, was my least favourite. You can’t go inside the palace. The auxiliary buildings in the compound are unkempt and very crowded. The famous Silver Pagoda - renowned for a flooring of more than 5000 silver tiles, is almost entirely covered by a patchwork of tattered area rugs. The few tiles that can be partially viewed, through gaps between the carpets, are nearly black with tarnish. Another other point of interest - the tiny Emerald Buddha, has been replaced with an unimpressive (plastic?) replica. Lastly, artifacts in display cases were covered in a generous layer of dust, without much or any explanation as to their significance. But this is the extent of my criticism about any and all excursions.

The Reverie, our hotel in Ho Chi Minh, was over the top! No complaints about this top-four-in-the-world hotel....even if it was a bit reminiscent of Las Vegas opulence and excess. The rooms had everything - including stellar views of the city, motorized draperies, heated toilet seats, luxury bath products and sumptuous beds, linens and pillows. Breakfast was good and the spa offered the ultimate in luxury pampering.

The excursions in Ho Chi Minh were also very good, and the cooking class, which I initially had my doubts about, turned out to be an absolute delight, delivering yet another authentic experience.

We had an issue with our hotel in Bangkok, due to a mistake by the tour company, that failed to secure our reservation at the hotel we were originally promised. The problem was swiftly addressed, resulting in a brief interruption in what continued on to be a positive end to our journey.

For all aspects of this experience, including service, accommodations, food quality, activities/excursions, and even conflict resolution, I give Avalon and their representatives full marks. I can’t imagine we’ll ever find better value for our money on any similar type river cruise.

Way to go Avalon!
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J

Recommends

Vietnam and Cambodia November 2019

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We were very pleased with our trip and the professionalism of Avalon and how we were treated and taken care of on our trip. Our guide was superb. Food was excellent and accommodations were very comfortable on the boat. We enjoyed all of our hotel accommodations also. We highly recommend Avalon
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TD

Recommends

I would give them 6 stars if I could. October 2019

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I'll explain extraordinary circumstances and why that rating at end of review. First, overall it's simply a lovely way to travel: wonderful room with a comfortable bed, ample closets and nicely appointed bathroom; large, sliding glass doors that make the entire room a "balcony", if desired; extraordinary service from absolutely everyone; many tours from which to choose at several ports with at least 1 provided tour at every stop; decent food with lots of choices at every meal; and a casual atmosphere that encourages passenger mingling.
Ship Details: A late 2019 September cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam aboard the Illumination.
Food Pluses: Average to excellent, so no complaint from me. 1) A buffet "Bistro" dinner was available in the lounge for those of us who didn't want to wade through a long, four-course dinner downstairs. Perfect!! 2) Avalon is still working out passenger dietary differences. They made a concerted effort to speak with anyone who had special dietary needs and did their best to accommodate them. Kudos!
Food Negatives: That given, their vegetarian option was almost always a pasta dish. That made it impossible to eat meat-free and gluten-free and have anything other than salads and, occasionally, vegetable sides dishes.
Port Stops: the design of river cruises is such that no more than a day is spent at any port, and sometimes only a half day. I wish this would change but don't have any expectations. It's still a good way to see a lot of cities and villages.
WHY 6 STARS: our boat was run into by a barge near the end of our trip and the crew response was stellar!!! It was night and we were into only the first course of our big, finale dinner downstairs. Everything, including some people, went flying across the room as screams ripped through the air. Immediately the Cruise Director, Tibor, came on the intercom and asked that we remain calm and check for any injured among us, bringing them upstairs to the lounge where a triage area was setup. (There were very few injuries, none major, and local land emergency crew came aboard to facilitate medical attention or transport to a hospital.) The staff had obviously run drills because they were on scene with First Aid Kits before the initial screams had died down. Amazing. Within 2 hours all broken glass, spilled liquids and toppled furniture had been cleaned and passengers were being served sandwiches and drinks in the lounge. Our itinerary was, obviously, changed for the next day but that, too, was handled last minute by Tibor.
So, I would travel again on any Avalon cruise!
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From Avalon Waterways

River Cruising from a Unique Point of View...Yours.

You see life differently. While others chase what's popular, you follow your own path. Your own voice has never led you astray. You've arrived, knowing what it’s taken to get here. At Avalon, we share your unique point of view. That's why we've designed a cruise experience that’s just a bit different. Spaces are bigger. Views are more epic. Excursions are more enriching. It's a step beyond the ordinary, but knowing you, we think you'll feel at home here. Welcome aboard.

Whether you'd like a romantic mini-break, an extended exploration, or something in between, with Avalon Waterways, you get to choose the river cruise that reveals the very best of Europe, Asia, South America, or Africa-your way!

On the spectacular ships of Avalon, "included" is one of our favorite words. Spacious outside staterooms with plenty of room to relax-included. Special touches, like regional wines and beer at every onboard dinner-included. Complimentary Wi-Fi access-included. The most shore excursions, led by Certified Local Guides-included. VIP entrance into the must-see sites-included. Unique Local Favoritessm designed to bring your destination to life-included. Expansive panoramic views throughout the ship-included. And in addition to everything that's included, we also give you the freedom of Avalon Choice®, a different approach to river cruising that lets you personalize many elements of your cruise...to make your experience exclusively yours!

We're Looking Out for the Way You Look Out

When your bed faces a wall, the view never changes. Which is precisely why our beds, unlike other cruise lines, face a window.* Because we think letting you see the incredible views that river cruising is famous for, is a darned good idea. And if we put that much attention into a bed, imagine what we’ve done for the rest of your experience.

Better Views Are Just the Beginning

Come see for yourself and read about how Avalon Waterways is different from all other river cruise companies.

Delicious in Every Flavor

From the first bite to the last "Mmmm," Avalon gives you lots of choices when it comes to dining. And because we start with fresh, quality local ingredients, delectable recipes and expert chefs, you’ll look forward to each meal the same way you look forward to each port. You pick the time, the place and the tastes you are craving, and we'll deliver dining perfection every time.

Cruises to Exotic Destinations.

Experience all that Avalon has to offer in exotic locations like Southeast Asia, China, the Galápagos Island, Egypt or the Peruvian Amazon. A journey on one of Asia’s great rivers, Yangtze, Mekong, or Irrawaddy, offers a tapestry of fascinating sights, colorful cultures, and ancient traditions. In South America you may embark down one of the world's vastly unexplored regions, the mighty Amazon, or explore the home of some of the world's most fascinating animal life in theGalápagos Island.

Associations:

United States Tour Operators Association; Cruise Lines International Associations, Inc.

Awards:

Travel Weekly Critics AwardTravel Weekly Magellan Awards 2009 Gold Winner/Cruise Ship: Best Overall River Cruising - Avalon Waterways Travel Weekly Magellan Awards 2011 Silver Winner - Avalon Waterways Conde Nast Top 5 River Cruise Lines - Avalon Waterways Conde Nast Top 5 River Cruise Lines - Avalon Waterways Conde Nast Traveler Top Cruise Ships 2010 - Avalon WaterwaysTravel Age West WAVE Awards Best New River Cruise Ship - Avalon Luminary

11 days
River Cruise
Value (3*)
Physical :
From: $ 3,499

Highlights

  • Onboard welcome reception
  • Choice of excursion to Black Forest, or guided tour in Colmar
  • Guided tour, visit to La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral
  • Choice of visit to Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum, or cable car ride to the Niederwald Monument in Rüdesheim; special treat; scenic cruising through the Rhine Gorge; time at leisure in Boppard
  • Choice of guided tour in Frankfurt, or guided tour in Seligenstadt
  • Guided walking tour
  • Guided tour, visit to the Bishop’s Residenz
  • Guided tour, see the Old Town Hall
  • Guided tour in Nuremberg; transfer to Munich
  • Choice of guided tour of Munich, or full day excursion to Neuschwanstein Castle and the Bavarian village of Oberammergau
  • Your picturesque river cruise begins on the Rhine River in Basel, Switzerland
  • You’ll sail to Breisach, with your choice of a guided tour of charming Colmar, or an excursion to the Black Forest
More

Highlights

  • Onboard welcome reception
  • Excursion to Black Forest; Christmas market
  • Guided sightseeing, visit La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral; Christmas market
  • Guided tour of Heidelberg Castle, see the Great Vat; Christmas markets

    Day 5 Mainz (Disembarkation):
  • This Christmas river cruise begins in Switzerland and takes you down the Rhine River to France and Germany, with beautiful passing landscapes and quaint villages festively lit and decorated—a unique and unforgettable way to celebrate the season!

    Board your ship in Basel, Switzerland, then stop in Breisach, considered the gateway to Germany’s Black Forest
  • An area of unrivaled natural beauty, best known for Black Forest ham, cherry cake, and the cuckoo clock
More
16 days
River Cruise
Value (3*)
Physical :
From: $ 6,498

Highlights

  • Onboard welcome reception
  • Choice of excursion to Black Forest, or guided visit to Badische Winzerkeller
  • Guided tour, visit to La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral
  • Special treat; choice of visit to Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum, or cable car ride to the Niederwald Monument in Rüdesheim; scenic cruising through the Rhine Gorge; time at leisure in Boppard
  • Choice of guided tour in Frankfurt, or guided tour in Seligenstadt
  • Guided tour
  • Guided tour, visit to the Bishop’s Residenz
  • Guided tour, see the Old Town Hall
  • Full day guided tour in Munich
  • Choice of Roth guided tour, or Nuremberg guided tour, or Nuremberg Rally Grounds tour; lecture on board
  • Guided walk; beer tasting on board
  • Guided walk
  • Guided tour of the Benedictine Abbey in Melk; scenic cruising through the Wachau Valley
  • Guided sightseeing
  • Guided tour, see Heroes’ Square
  • Your breathtaking river cruise begins on the Rhine River in Basel, Switzerland
  • You’ll sail to Breisach, your starting point for a Black Forest excursion, and to the city of Strasbourg, France, along the way
More

Highlights

  • Welcome to Switzerland
  • Guided walking tour, with the Lion Monument and Chapel Bridge
  • Excursion to Mount Pilatus (in case of bad weather, visit the Swiss Transport Museum instead; transfer to Basel to join your ship; onboard welcome reception
  • Choice of excursion to Black Forest, or guided tour in Colmar
  • Guided sightseeing, visit La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral
  • Guided tour of Heidelberg Castle, see the Great Vat; visit the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz
  • Visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum in Rüdesheim; special treat; scenic cruise through the Rhine Gorge; guided walk in Koblenz
  • Choice of “Cologne Highlights” walking tour, or Jewish Heritage walking tour
  • Canal cruise
  • Travel to Paris by high-speed train (first class)
  • Guided sightseeing, Seine river cruise
  • Travel to London by high-speed Eurostar train (Standard class)
  • : guided sightseeing, visit St. Paul’s Cathedral (except on Sundays)
  • You’ll start your European vacation tour with a visit to Lucerne, Switzerland
  • Your Monograms® Local Host® is on hand to assist you with sightseeing, free-time recommendations, and any other assistance you need during your 2-night stay in Lucerne
More
 

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