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Hi all. We have never done a river cruise. We are booked on Avalon Burgundy to Provence May 24,2020. Would appreciate any and all suggestions. I noticed that excursion information is not available until Feb. 

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You've picked a good line and a good itinerary. We did this a few years ago. We did the northbound version. The big change I see from our trip is that the cruise now starts in Port-Saint-Louis, whereas our cruise began in Arles. You might want to start with the reviews here on cruisecritic to get an idea of what to expect. I highly recommend the Pont du Gard excursion! I also left the Avalon tour of Lyon and took in the Roman museum on my own and walked back to the ship.

 

https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/getreviews.cfm?action=ship&ShipID=822

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I second the recommendation about Port du Gard, but would also suggest staying in Lyon for a day or two because there is so much to see (and eat!) there.

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I have read the posts from the link from fuelscience. Thanks. I have also looked up 

Pot su Gard. Sounds fascinating. I would love to hear about the food.

I believe that my itinerary has us in Lyon 2 days. 

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5 hours ago, Barbrox said:

I have read the posts from the link from fuelscience. Thanks. I have also looked up 

Pot su Gard. Sounds fascinating. I would love to hear about the food.

I believe that my itinerary has us in Lyon 2 days. 

 

Lyon is the culinary capital of France.  

 

Paul Bocuse has a Michelin 3-star restaurant there [https://www.bocuse.fr/en/], 

the market is named to honor him

[https://thisislyon.fr/food-and-drink/markets/les-halles-de-lyon/],

and there is a tradition of neighborhood bouchons that proudly cook just like grandmama did [not my grandma, thankfully...]

https://www.thefork.com/restaurant+bouchon-lyonnais+lyon 

 

Two famous recipes from Lyon:  

(1) Quenelles de brochet – pike is a delicious white fish with so many bones that you can't eat it, so they poach it and then push the flesh through a sieve to filter out the bones, then make dumplings [delicious];

https://www.regions-of-france.com/regions/rhone_alpes/food-gastronomy/lyon-quenelle

(2) Andouillette – sausage made with tripe [avoid this at all costs, even starvation!]

https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/themes/food/93481824/andouillette-one-of-the-things-you-must-never-try-eating-in-france

 

Lyon is also still a major silk fabric center, with the most amazing silk screening ateliers.

[e.g., https://www.atelierdesoierie.com/en/]

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Re: Lyon

Reading Host Jazzbeau's post about Lyon I am so regretting we did not make at least a day trip there when we were in Randan for a week several years ago.  We did drive just as far to le Puy-en-Velay which is southwest along the Loire and recommend a visit there for anyone staying in the region.

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Hello again and yet another question....

Are the cabin walls metal? I like to attach a map of our route when we are on ocean cruises and will pack our magnets if so for next month's Danube cruise.

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I don't have time to read all 40 pages of this thread 😄, so if my question has already been discussed, please indulge me and either repeat the information, or direct me to the post(s).

 

All 3 of my river cruises have been on Uniworld.  I think they're a great line, but their fares have increased significantly, and they no longer have the price breaks they used to offer on the single supplement.  

 

In the course of exploring Avalon as an alternative, I noticed they have a number of 4-6 day cruises.  I was thinking of combining one of these with a 4-5 day land tour of the Netherlands and Belgium, using Amsterdam as my base of operation.  With the cruises being short, I was wondering if they mainly attract a European contingent, or if it's still an English-speaking crowd?  Possibly people doing what I'm thinking of, combining land and water.

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Roz - Avalon caters to English speakers. I have cruised with them twice and the majority of passengers were Americans with some Canadians and Australians. The shorter itineraries are newer. I think this would be a great way to try this line and see how you like them. I have been very satisfied with Avalon. They give discounts to repeat passengers and are part of the Globus / Cosmos / Monograms family. 

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7 minutes ago, newcruiser1956 said:

Are you able to bring your own alcohol like you can on Viking Ocean?

 

 

Yes, no problem bringing alcohol or food on board.  We didn't, but there may be a corking fee.  You can get "topped up" at lunch or dinner no problem either, so we really only had one extra beer that we paid for.  They also had a happy hour just before dinner, when you are at the briefing for the next day.

 

Roz, we loved Avalon, not a "fussy" line, very casual (not dressy, but they did request no jeans for dinner) but still a 5 star experience.  The crew on our cruise were very friendly and always greeted you with smiles.  The captain and hotel manager were there when ever we went out on tour or returned.  One thing I really liked was we could budget our excursions out ahead of time...we pre-booked, but I already knew what to expect for pricing,  as they were listed on the website.  Really helps to compare.  As YoungDub says, they are connected with Globus / Cosmos / Monograms, so you may even be able to tack one of their tours on if you wish.

 

We found the food good, and it was great to be able to try new stuff knowing if we didn't care for it, they would bring us something different.  They always had a good selection of regional food on both the lunch buffet and the dinner menu.

Edited by Daisi

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We have also noticed that there seem to be quite a large contingent of single travelers on Avalon (likely because we tend to travel in shoulder season and single supplements are often waived on those). But it makes it nice for single travelers I think. In our experience there are lots of Canadians and Americans, a few Brits and Aussies and on both of our last 2 Avalon cruises there has been a large tour group of Thai travelers. They were all in one group and ate together and had their own tours so they mingled very little with the other passengers. 

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Interesting we never had anything but travelers from Canada and New Zealand. And maybe a few Aussies.

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NewCruiser - as mentioned you can bring your own alcohol on board. You can consume in your cabin but I think there is a corkage fee if you want to drink in the public areas. 
 

Avalon tends to waive single supplements on many sailings so there tend to be quite a few singles on board.

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Thanks to YoungDubFan, mhb1757, and Daisi for your responses and information.  Very helpful and reassuring.

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I have all menu's & daily sheets from the Rhine cruise if you are interested in a sample....just let me know.  We are looking at booking the Danube with the extensions for Budapest & Prague.  I looked at other lines, but either they missed stops we wanted to see, or the rooms didn't look as nice.  We didn't spend a lot of time in the room, as you only see one part of the river, but it sure was nice being able to lean over the large french balcony railing or lay on the bed & watch the scenery.

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Loving this thread, I read all 40 pages of comments 🙂

 

Anyway, just to add a vote for Avalon, I did their Amsterdam to Basel cruise and loved every second.  All the excursions were fantastic, all the meals were what you'd expect in a 4 star restaurant.  

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On 10/19/2019 at 3:40 PM, Roz said:

All 3 of my river cruises have been on Uniworld.  I think they're a great line, but their fares have increased significantly, and they no longer have the price breaks they used to offer on the single supplement.  

 

In the course of exploring Avalon as an alternative, I noticed they have a number of 4-6 day cruises.  I was thinking of combining one of these with a 4-5 day land tour of the Netherlands and Belgium, using Amsterdam as my base of operation.  With the cruises being short, I was wondering if they mainly attract a European contingent, or if it's still an English-speaking crowd?  Possibly people doing what I'm thinking of, combining land and water.

Roz - We have travelled with most of the major players...  We originally booked Avalon due to price - and worried that the experience might be "less" as the price was much "less" than some of the other lines.  There was nothing "less" about the experience.  In fact, Avalon has become our "go to" when we are looking at a river cruise. We did (northbound) Burgundy & Provence with them - and since that time, have done the Seine, the Netherlands (for an itinerary that was heavily into WWI and WWII history - not being offered any more...), Peru - and are booked with them for Eastern Europe in October next year.  They are fairly relaxed on board - which suits us just fine.   We did have Eastern Europe booked with them last year - but it was cancelled due to low water - and the refund was very quick. 

 

I do agree that the shorter itineraries might be the equivalent of a "taste test" - you can try before a full commitment.

 

Fran

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Fran, thank you for posting about your experience with Avalon.  I'm probably going to book with them for my next river cruise.

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18 hours ago, Roz said:

Fran, thank you for posting about your experience with Avalon.  I'm probably going to book with them for my next river cruise.

I just updated a thread that I started a number of months ago about an issue that I had with Avalon....  We have run into some issues with the Toronto Globus/Avalon office - and I am not happy.  I do not feel this is reflective of the product itself, but definitely has soured my taste in regards to the booking experience.  I have not heard of anything similar happening in the US - so perhaps this is just a local issue. 

 

Bottom line - keep *EVERY* piece of correspondence you receive if you book directly with them, and read them all carefully.  Don't assume changes are just minute.  They (Avalon) decided to pull back an Early Booking Discount from our friends - and did not notify them.  It was caught when we asked for the booking to be transferred to our TA.  Despite 2 separate invoices showing the discount, they are arguing with our TA about the final amount owing.  

 

Fran

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Thanks for the warning, Fran.

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Good morning!  Thanks to all who posted because I enjoyed all the information about Avalon.  I am ready to venture into river cruising as a solo and had an eye on Avalon.  Keep it Coming!

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I agree.  Great thread and so much information.  I am going with several members of my family.  I am one of the solos in the group.  I liked the fact that they have 5 cabins on each ship for singles that they don't charge a single supplement.  I've paid that for years.  I think I may end up paying $100 more but that is way ahead of the curve.  So many great itineraries that i have the feeling I will be going again.    

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