By: Linh Nguyen
Senior Travel Consultant
I recently spent 8 days on the Rhine River with Avalon Waterways on their new Visionary ship. Even though this was not my first river cruise, I can say that I was still absolutely impressed with the whole experience. The ship is modern and comfortable with enough things to do while you’re cruising through this beautiful river. The pre-planned itinerary was well balanced between included land tours, optional excursions, and free time. Everyone from the Tour Director down to the local guides was friendly, helpful, and always went above and beyond to make sure my trip was as memorable as possible. The Romantic Rhine with Avalon Waterways was one of my most memorable vacations to date.
The new Avalon Visionary is an amazing ship. Its interior looks and feels like a posh, contemporary hotel you can find in Midtown. But what the hotel lacks are the beautiful dynamic views and the fact that you wake up in a new city every morning. Can you really ask for more? The balcony stateroom I stayed in was not a suite but there was more than enough room for my companion and I along with all of our unpacked luggage. The completely furnished room had 2 twin beds, a small couch and table, and a large vanity table that doubles as a computer desk and closet that ran along one side of the room. There was a lot of storage room for your luggage and the room never felt cramped. The extra space in a suite is an unnecessary luxury (unless you absolutely need room to walk around). When I was not in my room, I was either in the lounge area or sun deck. The lounge is located in the back of the ship. The wide panoramic glass provides a view no matter where you’re sitting. There was a coffee station that was always stocked with fruits, cookies, and other snack 24 hours a day. If you got bored of reading what you brought, you can pick from the mini-library of books offered or play some Nintento Wii on the large articulating flat panel TV with some of your new friends. The Sun Deck is arguably the favorite place on the ship, if you do not count the dining room. The hot tub is located on the Sun Deck, as well as a generous amount of lounge chairs if you decided to sun bathe. With the beautiful views, individual service from the wait staff, and comfortable furniture, it should be no surprise that the Sun Deck was the most popular spot on the ship.
I found the pre-planned itinerary to be well balanced and it was executed perfectly. There was always enough to do where I did not feel bored and enough free time where I did not feel too busy. We never ran late and we always had free time to be on our own or participate for whichever optional tour we wanted. Every day usually started with an included guided land tour with English speaking local guides. We were always briefed before beginning and clearly told when we needed to be back by. We were given electronic ear piece receivers while the guides had the microphone transmitter so that we always heard what our guide was saying. After the included city tour, we were separated into different groups depending on which optional tour you picked and escorted to another adventure. If you did not choose to do any optional tours, you had the rest of the day free to explore on your own.
When spending 8 days on a ship, making friends with the crew is inevitable. Especially when the whole crew is as personable and outgoing as they are. They each have their own unique charm and charisma that just draws you in. Starting with the local guides, they were engaging and knowledgeable, providing a fun, relaxed environment when we were out exploring the towns. With each new city came new guides who brought something new to the day and it was always a fresh, new experience. The ship’s crew was a blast to interact with. Housekeeping worked mainly in the background as they provided fresh linens, towels, and cleaning daily. They always had a smile no matter how early in the morning they started. The hospitality crew was always fun, energetic and upbeat. I looked forward to meals not just because of the delicious food, but to also interact with the staff. The tour director provided clear and concise information regarding our daily planning and what lies ahead. She proved to be a great resource for any questions we had and always planned accordingly.
My 8 days on the Rhine River was a wonderful trip. I consider it a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience such an incredible destination the way we did. The everlasting memories created will be with me forever. The comfortable and beautiful Avalon Visionary was a great home away from home, the itinerary was well balanced, and the amazing crew from top to bottom helped to make sure my vacation was everything I dreamed it to be.
About the Author
Linh Nguyen is a Tour Specialist at AffordableTours.com
Tel: 800.935.2620 Ext 111
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