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Posted (edited)

Not sure how Avalon  (and other cruise lines) is posting these lists of cruises they claim are "on" when some of the countries one would fly into to embark on the cruise are still not allowing US citizens to enter (and with some countries, prohibit citizens  as well from 200 other countries). My particular cruise (WBN) departs Budapest Aug 23 and ends in Nuremberg Aug 30. However, the Hungarian State Police's Border Control Section website still says US citizens are prohibited from entering Hungary, except in some cases in which entry just to catch a river cruise is definitely one that is not allowed. While Hungary has reached bilateral reciprocal agreements with many other countries, they report no agreement between the US and Hungarian govts to accept each other's "immunity certificates" has been reached as of Jul 1. Yet they book them...

Edited by PRNole47
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@PRNole47, you should have your TA contact Avalon.  They are not allowing Canadians to travel yet, so have no cruises we can take.  Avalon was very good for us changing the final payment date, when we were close to our cruise to enable us time to see when we could forward it to next year.  If you are so concerned, they can possibly do the same for you.

 

Things change quickly with Covid, and there is no need for a *reciprocal* agreement between Hungary and  any country for them to allow citizens into Hungary.  As has been stated in other posts you have made, the EU is allowing Americans into the EU, but USA is not allowing those from the EU in.

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If they wait until they get an all clear for entry, they will be too far behind to start booking cruises.  So they will continue to book and then cancel as necessary.  They've been doing that since the beginning.

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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, Daisi said:

@PRNole47, you should have your TA contact Avalon.  They are not allowing Canadians to travel yet, so have no cruises we can take.  Avalon was very good for us changing the final payment date, when we were close to our cruise to enable us time to see when we could forward it to next year.  If you are so concerned, they can possibly do the same for you.

Yep, I did that about 10 days ago. I called Avalon directly, spoke with one of their travel CSRs, and was able to to put off indefinitely my final payment date, which was yesterday. They still have my deposit and will "keep" my reservation in place until they have a guaranteed sail date, at which time they'll notify me of the change (unless I find out first by calling them) and I will submit full payment. If they cancel, then I still have the routine 3 options.

Edited by PRNole47
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12 minutes ago, SCBarker said:

If they wait until they get an all clear for entry, they will be too far behind to start booking cruises.  So they will continue to book and then cancel as necessary.  They've been doing that since the beginning.

That's probably correct. In fact the Avalon CSR  I spoke with who agreed to suspend my full payment date told me they've been using this option (postponing paymen past the due date) with many other passengers booked on their July cruises. I just don't want to fork out a large amount of money to a business, knowing the high probability they may have to cancel, and then have to chase them for a full refund (not interested in FCC or replacing this cruise with another). At least I can wait for them to refund my deposit if they cancel, since I will not have paid the full amount due until I know they're going for certain.

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Posted (edited)

Avalon has been pretty good with canceled cruises.  They give you the choice to move your payment (or deposit) to any of their product (Globus/Avalon/Cosmos) which enables you to do a tour in your own country if you can't go back to Europe.  Once the cruise is cancelled, you have 30 days to give them the decision (or we did in May) or request a full refund.  They also moved our payment date back with no problems.

 

 

Edited by Daisi
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Posted (edited)

I just had a ship reassignment.  Mine's changed from the Vista to the Expression. No other changes though.  Back on the same ship I had on the Danube in 2018.

Edited by SCBarker
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8 hours ago, SCBarker said:

I just had a ship reassignment.  Mine's changed from the Vista to the Expression. No other changes though.  Back on the same ship I had on the Danube in 2018.

I received an email from Avalon that our ship has changed, but we are still in the same cabin, thank goodness.  We were on the Artistry II and now it is the Imagery II, which happens to be 3 years newer.

This is the 13 day Rhine/Moselle northbound Basel to Amsterdam Sept. 22-Oct.4.

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12 hours ago, Loreto said:

I received an email from Avalon that our ship has changed, but we are still in the same cabin, thank goodness.  We were on the Artistry II and now it is the Imagery II, which happens to be 3 years newer.

This is the 13 day Rhine/Moselle northbound Basel to Amsterdam Sept. 22-Oct.4.

 

We've switched ships.  We were supposed to be on Imagery, and now are on Artistry.

 

Received a note from our TA that we would need a neg PCR test within 72 hrs of boarding the ship.  As we are flying in 2 days prior, and I can't get same day testing for our flight, the test will be 4-5 days old prior to boarding the ship.  When we questioned her on this, she recanted and said since we're checking into a hotel arranged by Avalon, that will count.  We'll see if we're left scrambling to find a PCR test or are left on the pier when it comes time to board.

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I would seriously question that with the hotel counting. You have your doubts, so it may be best to get info from the Basel authorities about testing places for PCR-tests closer to the date. I have seen such info online for Rhineland-Palatinate, I am sure the Swiss have it as well.

 

notamermaid

 

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If the hotel is part of a pre-Cruise add on, with included activities (city tour/Zurich optionals, etc) it might be considered part of the entire package and, therefore Day One might be your arrival day in Zurich/Basel. In which case, Globus would be correct and they may want you to have your test 72 hours before starting your package, not the cruise.  That makes sense because they want their early arrival participants to be infection free, not just cruise participants. 
 

I am not one to leave anything to chance, however, so I would want Globus/Avalon to be very clear about that. In writing. 

 

I would also contact the pre-cruise hotel and ask them for suggestions on where you can get the test nearby… just in case.   I’m sure they will have a recommendation. 
 

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@ljandgb, I would contract Avalon directly by e-mail to confirm.  It would make sense that if you have the 72 hr test prior to the stay in their hotel, and it's part of their package, then that would be all you would need.  If it's in e-mail, you can either show them when you board or print it off and have it on hand.  

 

As Kenster says, it also wouldn't hurt to contact the hotel as well, just in case something gets mixed up.  I'd rather have a test I don't need, than not have one that I do. 🙂

 

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Agree, getting it in writing would be some small ammunition.  Contacting the hotel and having a back up testing plan just in case is also a good idea.  It's frustrating, as I always prefer to fly in early for cruises.  We have a terrible track record of delayed and canceled transatlantic fllights.

 

We're actually flying in to Prague (embarking Deggendorf) and ending in Bucharest - 21 days down the Danube.  Woo hoo!

 

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We also received an email saying we have a ship change for our Sept 3rd sailing on the Danube.  Originally supposed to be Imagery ii now Artistry ii.  

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6 hours ago, ljandgb said:

 

We've switched ships.  We were supposed to be on Imagery, and now are on Artistry.

 

Received a note from our TA that we would need a neg PCR test within 72 hrs of boarding the ship.  As we are flying in 2 days prior, and I can't get same day testing for our flight, the test will be 4-5 days old prior to boarding the ship.  When we questioned her on this, she recanted and said since we're checking into a hotel arranged by Avalon, that will count.  We'll see if we're left scrambling to find a PCR test or are left on the pier when it comes time to board.

The information I received is that ours is a fully vaccinated cruise.  We have our CDC vaccination cards.  We have a 2 day precruise hotel at the Zurich (ZRH) airport booked with Avalon.  Nothing was said in any Avalon email or from my TA about a negative COVID PRC test.  We embark in Basel.  Avalon will provide the COVID test to return to the United States.

 

We are flying Delta/KLM to Amsterdam ( where our CDC vaccination card is all we need, )and then on to Zurich where according to Delta and Swiss health requirements, all we need is proof of vaccination (the originalCDC card.)

I have thoroughly researched all my info at the appropriate official country health web sites.  I am relieved that a negative COVID test is not required of us as fully vaccinated.  We go to our US departure airport a day early and getting the test in the 72 hour time frame is impossible unless we get a home kit from Delta and do it online.

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This is the email I received from Avalon last week regarding their vaccination policy:

 

Dear Karen,

Our mission at Avalon is to ensure enriching, carefree and safe travel for each of our guests. After careful evaluation and consideration, we have made the thoughtful decision to require full COVID-19 vaccination of all of our guests on 2021 international departures* as a condition of travel with us.

Our new COVID-19 vaccination policy is in line with the requirements of the majority of the international destinations we visit.

This update was made for the health and safety of all guests and staff. The change will also minimize any trip interruption that would have resulted from required COVID-19 testing for non-vaccinated guests.

Our full health & safety on-trip requirements can be found on our website here.

Our Health & Safety waiver has been updated with this new policy information. If you have already completed the Guest Acknowledgment step, by continuing with your reservation, you are agreeing to this policy and waiver amendment.

Please contact us if there are any questions about these requirements relative to your upcoming tour or would like to review other options, including our Peace of Mind Plan.

We look forward to welcoming you on your tour soon.

 

 

* The COVID-19 vaccination requirement is in place for all international travel

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  • 2 weeks later...

If you've used Avalon's air package, I'd love to know your thoughts.  If you've upgraded to choose your own flights, deviate dates, etc., were you pleased?  Did you save money?  Thanks much!

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My biggest fear of buying airfare from the tour operator is ending up in the middle seat of five across in the back of the plane.  Often, with tour groups, you can’t even choose a seat. They aren’t assigned to the group until maybe 24 hours out, at which point all you have is left overs.  
It may be different in this case since you don’t have an entire group flying together.  I, too, would like to hear experiences of booking air through Avalon.  Are the fares offered based in Basic Economy seats? 
Every bill we pay, and every purchase we make goes into a mile generating credit card, which gets us Biz Class seats to Europe every year or so.  But I am curious about booking through Avalon. 

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I'm booked with air now. I wasn't at first, but getting airfare on my own was looking at about $4000 at the time and they were able to get it for me for about $1200.

My flight is United there, Air Canada return. They are economy seats. I have the ability to change my United seats to anything in the economy cabin myself on the United website. Some are an upcharge for premium type economy seats. To go to the business class cabin, United tells me to contact my travel agent. The seating is 3-3-3 on what I believe is a dreamliner, so at least one of us will get an aisle seat. The Air Canada return flight does not give me any seat assignments at this time. My cruise is in mid-October.

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On 3-3-3 seating, we would select the center row, aisle seats, and gamble that no one gets the middle seat. Sometimes we luck out, and that’s really nice on an overnight flight. But if someone gets cleared to the middle seat, my bride will usually slide to the middle and let him have the aisle.   Being in the center section at least gives us access to an aisle with crawling over a stranger or having a stranger crawl over us. 
 

The 767 2-3-2 configuration in coach is great if you can get the “2” seats (window/aisle). 

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Posted (edited)

We booked our air through Avalon last cruise, and will be doing so again for our upcoming one.  Not sure if it's different with American airlines, but we wanted KLM (Avalon usually goes Air Canada), in order that we could book our own seats.  We could have upgraded to Premium Economy if we chose, as we were paying directly to KLM - $50.00/seat to upgrade, which I figured wasn't that bad as we could get the 2 window seats together.  This time, I will be looking at upgrading to Premium as well.  

 

For our previous cruise, we didn't pay at booking for our flights, our TA mentioned that we would be interested once we could get quotes.  They contacted her when they were booking to get us our flights.  Because we were going in early and coming home later, we didn't get the transfers, but that was ok, as the hotel we stayed at provided them, and so we really only had to pay for one taxi.  Next cruise, we will be getting the transfers provided.

 

Avalon is part of Globus, there are 4 travel groups under the same umbrella.  This gives them (and other groups that have large bookings) the benefit of discounts on many airlines.  They beat all prices both I and my TA could get, so I was happy.

Edited by Daisi
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It’s been a few years since my last Avalon cruise but I always have my travel agent compare premium economy through the cruise company vs what she can find. I have taken river cruises and ocean cruises and sometimes we’ve gone through the cruise company and other times on our own. I am 5’11 and my mom is 5’10” so for flights to Europe, we always book premium economy. Our seat preference is either aisle seats across from each other or a 2 if window / aisle. Some airlines premium economy boards before coach, so it’s nice to get overhead space before it’s all gone. 

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Just a curious question for those who have taken the Avalon extensions.  We are doing the Budapest to Prague next May, and are wondering what type of hotel room we will get.  I have checked out the available hotels, they look ok, but wondering if we get a room with a view, or just one wherever.  Also looking at possibly the Grand France tour (we aren't overly sure about touring next year, and they don't have the Danube cruise up for 2023), the hotel looks like it's a couple of blocks from the Eifel tower, and wondering if they try to get you a room with a view.

 

Thanks all

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