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About Swannee50

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
  • Interests
    Travel, craft, reading, swimming
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America, azamara
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
  1. 😂So good. Makes me feel much better. And just like the video, we still enjoyed the trip. I just have to let go of my feeling of being ripped off & appreciate what we did have.
  2. Exactly Ros. Truth in advertising would be a fine thing!
  3. Thanks, Coral. We all have similar problems. I would like to think the many companies who offer cruises, not just Avalon, would keep TAs & guests better informed. Once we had boarded our ship, a crew member let slip that they’d known for 3 months that the low water levels would mean we wouldn’t get through. I’m sure he wasn’t supposed to tell us that!
  4. This is all very helpful advice. Being our first river cruise, we went into it rather blindly, assuming it would all be well-planned. So much to consider if you’re a first time river cruiser. I hope my experience, & all the helpful tips I’ve received here, will help anyone else about to book their first river cruise.
  5. I think part of the problem is being so far away down here in Australia. We had heard of cruises being affected by floods but had no idea drought was also a factor. The situation simply wasn’t reported down here. We’re so busy worrying about our own droughts that we don’t focus on anywhere else! We should have done a lot more homework. Lesson learnt there.
  6. Thanks for the encouragement to still try river cruising but now with more informed decision making. 👍🏻
  7. Thank you Host Jazzbeau. I’ve been trying to think of other options where I could satisfy my desire to see more scenery & it sounds as though the Douro would be just what I’m after. I’ll certainly look into that. Appreciate you taking the time to give me the heads-up. 👍🏻
  8. I think that if you read my previous posts carefully you will understand we weren’t blaming Avalon for low water levels. I acknowledged that Mother Nature has the final say. My complaint was in how poorly Avalon handled our situation, not that they were to blame for the drought. I also pointed out that a refund differs from compensation. Even after the refund, we were still a long way out of pocket from what we paid for our tour to the sub-standard one we received. I also pointed out that had we cancelled our trip before leaving, & taken the refund offered by Avalon, we would have lost our air fares. We couldn’t afford to do that. With only 4 days notice, we tried very hard to find another tour but there was simply not enough time, as those 4 days covered a weekend when travel agents in Europe & here in Australia were closed. Unfortunately, the situation is far from one as simple as your reply would suggest. We were only asking for fair treatment from Avalon.
  9. Great to hear that your experience of Christmas Markets river cruising is so positive. It sounds as though the tour you did was the one we imagined we would have, although I would still like more than 2 days out of 10 to enjoy scenery from the river. We know that Mother Nature has the final say in any travel experiences & you can’t fight that. It’s just the way it’s handled by the different companies that’s important. We were unlucky to have chosen Avalon who handled it very poorly in many ways. Happy future cruising.
  10. Thanks Pully8, pleased you’ve had positive river cruising experiences compared to ours. With what I know now, I actually wouldn’t choose a river cruise to see Christmas Markets. Because they spend the days ashore & cruise from late afternoon, you see no scenery at all due to night falling so early in winter. My advice would be to choose a bus tour instead & keep river cruising for summer months. Live & learn. Unfortunately, our travel agency, who finished each letter assuring us of their best service at all times, just seem to blame us for not cancelling. They were polite but didn’t ever address our complaint that we didn’t get value for money. Just quoted terms & conditions every time. I don’t think they’re at all interested in repeat business from us. Couldn’t recommend that agency or Avalon/ Globus, but I’m sure other people have very different experiences. It’s just very disappointing when expectations fall so far short of reality. Happy future travelling.
  11. Booked a long-awaited Basel-Prague Christmas markets Avalon cruise for November-Dec 2018. Due to drought, we learnt 11 days prior to departure, that due to low water level, itinerary might have to be concluded by bus & hotel. Offered full refund if desired, but we were happy with the bus/ hotel option so decided to continue on that understanding. We were happy that we would still see all the towns & Christmas markets in Germany, as per our original plan. 4 days prior, told there would be no bus/ hotel option, instead we would sail only to Strasbourg where we would dock for 5 days, then sail back to Basel. Again, refund offered but in the 4 days, we were unable to find an alternative tour that would also fit in with our non-refundable air fares, which were not part of the tour package, therefore not covered by travel insurance. Under Avalon’s terms & conditions, we had to accept that this change was also allowed. However, the tour we received bore no resemblance to the one booked, in either places visited or value for money. Why is Avalon/ Globus, or any company for that matter, allowed to substitute inferior tours when a change has to occur? We can accept the changes but not being short-changed after paying a lot of money for what ended up being a budget tour. Being docked for 5 days in a poor area of town with no nice outlook, wasn’t our idea of a river cruise! We received a refund for not being able to have the same sized room on the substitute vessel & a refund of the one night we didn’t spend on board. These were refunds of money already paid , not compensation for any inconvenience, disappointment & stress caused by Avalon/ Globus. They were also paid by cheque, in spite of the assurance they would be paid in the manner we had used when booking, which was direct deposit. And 1 of our party had her cheque dishonoured, for which she had to pay the bank fee! Repeated appeals to Avalon through Circuit Travel in Sydney, have been dismissed out of hand. Our first trip with Avalon will be our last. Never again.
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