What an amazing trip. I traveled on the Avalon Visionary in late June, 2018 on the upper Danube River. We traveled from Budapest to Nuremberg and visited four countries. River cruising is such a wonderful way to travel - I can't fully describe it (it didn’t hurt that the weather was perfect). And it totally made me want more!
Every part of this ship is designed for the view. From the top deck to the main dining area. But the best part is the view from your stateroom. I would certainly argue that these Panorama staterooms are the best designed rooms on the river. Every part of the stateroom has been expertly engineered - and you can tell.
If you are the type of traveler that enjoys lying in bed, drinking a cup of coffee in the morning (or wine in the evening), watching the landscape go by - this is the room for you!
I was in Panorama Suite 322 – it had easy access to the self-service coffee machine which was fantastic in the morning. There was a bit more noise and vibration than I was expecting, so I would probably recommend a suite closer to the front on this particular ship. This suite included a bed that could be one queen bed or separated for two single beds. It also included lots of closet and storage space, a desk, couch, adjustable height table, two nightstands, and a TV. It also included the 11’ floor to ceiling window that opened to a 7’ wide open French balcony.
Sometimes thought, travel doesn’t go quite as planned. Our itinerary was to sail us from Budapest to Nuremberg, for a total of seven nights. However, there was a barge stuck between Regensburg and Passau, blocking the Visionary from reaching Budapest. Lucky for us Avalon is part of the Globus Family of Brands, and when things go a bit sideways they are able to use their contacts from Globus, Cosmos and Monograms to ensure a seamless trip. We still met our cruising group in Budapest, and they then bused us first to Bratislava for one night, then to Vienna for two nights, and then finally to Durnstein where we met our ship. With river cruising you have to go with the flow as so many things can impact the sail-ability of the river.
When we did reach our ship, you could see why it was well worth waiting for. The ship was in top condition, and even thought it was over five years old - it was spotless and very well maintained.
Service on the ship was quite good. Most of their staff was from Eastern Europe and all of the crew spoke English. This ship caters to an English speaking crowd.
Excursions included one overview tour per stop, with the option to purchase additional excursion. The only optional tour I chose was the Viennese Concert which I would highly recommend to anybody - even if you don't like classical music. There was a lot of beauty that night and a touch of humor. Hearing such talented performers in such an intimate and beautiful setting stirs your soul.
Avalon offered many additional features, such as complimentary wine and beer for lunch and supper (the wine varied each night, and was very good). They also had a full bar, for anybody looking for a different type of drink. You are also welcome to bring your own alcohol on board, so if you enjoy a particular type of drink - you are welcome to bring it.
Bicycles are also provided to guests and kept with the ship, so they are always ready to go when in port. I enjoyed a beautiful bike ride through nature to the lovely town of Roth on our last port of call. It was absolutely fantastic to have this as an independent option.
Food on board the ship was plentiful and varied. I am a celiac so I have very specific food requirements and the waiters and chefs were very helpful in ensuring I had enough to eat and I never had a bad meal! Breakfasts and lunches were buffet style, with a plated meal for supper.
Entertainment on board was quite good, with a speaker or entertainer coming in every night. This included a wine expert, a beer connoisseurs, a speaker on the locks, and a Bavarian folk band (who got on the ship at one lock, and off the ship at another lock)!
Overall, I loved the time I had on the Avalon Visionary - where the focus really is on the view - and what a view it is! I would highly recommend them for almost any type of traveler. When it was over, I was already starting to plan a return trip - it absolutely made me want more.
If you are interested in learning more about river cruising or would like to book a river cruise, contact me through email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 587 772 2525. I am located in Sherwood Park, Alberta (a suburb of Edmonton), and am the owner operator of Evening Star Travel. I book travel for clients all across Canada.
Avalon Visionary Stats
Max Passengers: 128
Beverages Included: Wine, Beer and non-alcoholic drinks included with lunch and supper. Coffee, tea and juice self serve.
Excursions Included Per Port: One (unless it's on an Active Discovery Cruise) - additional excursions available for a fee.
Pool or Whirlpool: Yes - Whirlpool on the top deck
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa or Hair Salon: Yes - Hair Salon (for an additional charge)