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Back from Avalon Tranquility Budapest to Amsterdam

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We just got back from our Budapest to Amsterdam cruise on the Avalon Tranquility last night.

Spent extra day in Budapest at the beginning and in Amsterdam at the end.Had a couple of good bargains in hotels in both cities.

I am super jet lagged right now but must tell you we had an absolutely fantastic time.The ship was beautiful,the service fantastic.great tours etc etc.What a great way to travel!!!! Felt totally spoiled and pampered. Can't wait to do it again.

I'll post more later after I can think clearly,or at least as clearly as I ever think.:D

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Been checking daily for your review. Welcome home!

 

We will be on Tranquility 9/2 - Budapest to Amsterdam. Have many questions, but will wait for your comments first.

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Now that you are rested, can use some help with our Tranquility cruise 9/2 Budapest to Amsterdam.

 

Can you wear jeans with dressy top to dinner? How were the included tours? Did you take any optional tours? How was the food? Is there any thing we shoud not miss? Were there any bridge players in sight?

 

Your thoughts please.

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We are booked on the Tranquiltity next June 5th, Prague to Budapest and looking forward to it. I do plan on 2 extra nights in Budapest. We are doing our own flights on FF miles and spending the week ahead traveling with a Eurail pass to visit relatives in Belgium and Vienna. I am anxious to hear more about your recent cruise esp. the river boat amenities and tours. We have reserved a B catagory cabin which has the french door. I believe it's cabin 221. It's toward the back. Do let me know about hair dryer, electric current and how you would rate the food.

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Now that you are rested, can use some help with our Tranquility cruise 9/2 Budapest to Amsterdam.

 

Can you wear jeans with dressy top to dinner? How were the included tours? Did you take any optional tours? How was the food? Is there any thing we shoud not miss? Were there any bridge players in sight?

 

Your thoughts please.

 

Sorry it is taking so long to do a review but I will answer your specific questions.

 

Jeans at dinner? Well I would not. I only saw a couple of women /men wear jeans at dinner and that was only a couple of times.I wore jeans while touring on a couple of cool days and DH wore them everyday while touring. Capris or summer slacks were worn with a nice top for dinner by the ladies and the men wore dockers and a collared shirt. I only saw a couple of suits worn by men the whole trip. They actually looked out of place as things were much more casual then that. A few of the ladies really dressed up the first night but after that it became much more casual.People dressed up quite a bit when they attended the concert in Vienna but again not everyone..

 

Included tours? For the most part these were good to excellent depending on the specific guide.THere were usually 4 or 5 guides in each port.The exception to this would be the tour in Nuremburg. It was a Sunday and a VERY hot day. The temp was about 95 F and the air conditioing did not work properly on the bus.Our guide was a very old woman who was very annoying as she complained bitterly about the bombing in the war and then insisted that Nuremburg was the most interesting place in all of Germany.NOT! WE were all miserable and could not wait to get back to our lovely COOL ship.JMHO! There was an optional here but I did not take it and didn't talk to anyone who did. That evening our CD Isabel had some excuse about it was so hot on the bus because in Germany you can't leave the motor running while waiting for passengers to board.Well that might be true but we never had any other time when the busses were to hot.:eek:

We did not take any optionals as I had toured Germany in the past. However our best friends did take several optionals and I spoke to others who also did. There were complaints about the Danube Gorge/Weltenburg Abbey tour and many people were sorry they took it.This of course has been mentioned on these boards before.

We chose to stay on board and cruise between Linz and Passau on the advice of Steamboats and were glad we did as it was a lovely part of the river. Our friends took the optional to Cesky Krumlov and really enjoyed it. I think it was a good choice for them as this was their first time in Europe. The people who did the Salzburg optional really enjoyed it too. Both groups commented that it was a long day but really worth it.So everybody was happy with their choices.

The food was good. I thought the breakfasts and lunch buffets were fantastic and the dinners very good.The serving size was small at dinner but they always came around with platters for second helpings and so I can't imagine that anyone left the table hungry.The soups were exceptionally good at lunch and dinner.A menu with choices is placed in you cabin at night and must be handed in by breakfast the next day.This is just to give the chef some idea of quanity and you still order every night at dinner. You have a choice of starter,soup,entree(meat,fish or vegetarian)and dessert.In addition salmon or chicken could always be ordered if you didn't care for the daily entrees.Cake and coffee/tea was offered everyday in the lounge at 4 pm.Iced tea,coffee and ice water was available in the reception area 24/7.A choice of red or white wine is served at dinner up until the dessert course.WE purchased a bottle of wine and bourbon on shore that we kept in our cabin and drank there and on the sun deck.

I have to admit though that I was dying for a grilled steak by the end of the cruise!:D Just me I guess!

I did see several people playing cards in the reception area and on the top deck at times. I really do not know which card game they were playing.There is a small library in the reception area where people can leave books they have read and find something new to read if they wish.This library had grown quite a bit by the time our cruise was over. There were many books on the area we were touring and novels also.

This is a fantastic vacation and even if you never did anything but sit on the deck and watch the world go by you would still have a wonderful time.The ship is absolutely beautiful and spotless. The crew works very hard all the time to see that your cruise is perfect. I usually am ready to go home but in this case I hated for it to end. It was by far the best vacation we have ever had and I can't wait to do it again!!!!:D :D :D

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Lovely to read your review - it takes me right back to our trip in May. We, too, visited Nuremberg on a Sunday when everything was closed, and had a guide (maybe the same one) who went on about the damage done. One of the Aussies on our bus leaned over and said "Well, they bloody well STARTED it!"

Some of the passengers did wear jeans most of the time, and looked fine. We usually cleaned up a bit in the evening, but I think that whatever you are comfortable in would work. We did dress up for the concert in Vienna, but lots didn't and if it turns out to be a hot evening, I am sure no one would mind it the men skipped the tie.

There were some bridge players on our trip - I am sure that if you ask your tour director he would announce that there is interest in setting up games.

We are now looking at renting a car and driving through some of the beautiful countryside that we enjoyed so much - or maybe a Nile cruise - although it would be nice to cruise from Paris to Normandy...... So many choices - so little time (and money!)

Thanks again

Pat

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It really is amazing that all the allied bombing was unnecesary. Unfortunately that is the school system in Germany. In a few years the Berlin Wall will also not be a bad thing.

 

Like to hear about your hotel bargins (pre and post cruise).

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Thank you so much for your complete and thorough review. It really helps as this boat is so new!

 

Another question...

 

We will be arriving in Budapest by train from Vienna. How do we find the boat? We do not want to meet up at 3:30pm with the rest of the passengers, as we want to take a tour (private) before boarding and will be ready to board until about one hour later.

 

Any thoughts?

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We had a fabulous guide in Nuremberg. He was younger than most of our guides (mid-30s). We did do the optional tour here, as we're huge history buffs. But he was really probably one of the best guides we had for the whole trip. Unfortunately, I can't remember his name.

 

I have to say that our hottest day (in Bratislava), I was just ready to get back to the ship, too. Our bus was fine, but it was just too warm to have fun walking around.

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We took the mini bus froim the airport in Budapest to our hotel We were traveling with friends so this came out to be about 15 euros for each couple.

Our pre hotel was the Marriott Millenium Executive Apartments..which I booked thru tripadvisor.This has got to be the BEST bargain in Budapest.It was a beautiful 3 room apartment with fully furnished everything incl kitchen.. It was located 1/2 block from the main shopping street Vaci Utca and about 1/1/2 blocks from the river. It was a short 3 block walk to the Central Market. I paid 85 euros incl breakfast for this fantastic hotel but booked it around last November.We arrived in Budapest on Saturday around 9 am but even though we could not get to our rooms that early they were happy to keep our luggage for us till we could check in around 2:30 pm.Just as well as I try to avoid sleeping that first day.

The cruise ships dock just about even with the Central Market between the Elizabeth and Liberty Bridge. The meeting place on Sunday was the Cafe Gerbaud in a room to the left,around the corner of the main cafe.We checked out of our hotel on Sunday at around 11 AM and easily walked to the meeting place. We checked in,left our luggage and then walked over to a festival that was taking place on the Chain Bridge.We walked back to the Cafe Gerbaud around 3 PM ,had a lovely dessert and an iced coffee and then went back to the meeting room to await our transfer to the ship.At around 3:45 they gathered us all together(room now full) and walked us over to the Hotel Softiel where we boarded 4 busses for our transfer to the ship.

We had a wonderful dinner with friends we were traveling with at a place called Central Kavehaz on Saturday night. I had made a reservation by email after reading an excellent review on Frommers. It was only about 3 blocks from our hotel.The web site www.centralkavehaz.hu My heart sank when we walked in as it wasn't nearly as nice as it looked on their web site.But I must tell you that this was probably the most wonderful meal we had the whole trip. The food was just fantastic.Our waiter was a very helpful young man who was just a delight!! The total bill for DH and I including wine was only about $50.00 usd. I really loved Budapset and it is on my list of places I would like to return to.I wish I had planned to arrive there 3 or 4 days early instead of just one.

In Amsterdam we stayed 1 day post trip at the ACH Leidse Square Hotel. It was in a very nice area near a canal and the museums.We walked over to the Vondal Park for dinner at a place called Vertigo which is part of the Film Museum. We stayed an extra day as DH had not been to Amsterdam but I had been. I didn't like it any better this time than I did the first time I was there 3 years ago.I have no intention of going back. This place is just way to nasty,dirty and seedy for me.I wish I had used that time for another day in Budapest.The hotel in Amsterdam was clean and nice and in a good neighborhood.I just don't like Amsteredam.We had arranged in advance for a private taxi to the airport on Monday for 34 euro..The driver showed up a few minutes early in a very nice Mercedes van for our transport to the airport. The driver was very pleasant and although we had paid in advance on the internet we did tip him 4 euros.

When you receive your documents,about 3 weeks before your cruise you will get the name and phone number of your CD. You can call her the day before you meet and she will tell you where the ship will dock but I know it is always between the Elizabeth and Libert Bridge. We actually saw it there on Saturday afternoon before the start of our cruise.

The cabins have hair dryers in the cabinet under the mirror.Everything is 220v.You will need a converter and adapter plug if you don't have dual voltage.We just brought extra batteries for our camera and used the provided hair dryer.

I kept all the daily newsletters and thus have all the arrival and sailing times if anyone is interested in that let me know.

Regarding the CD,her name was Isabel,German and although this was her first river cruise she had worked for Globus for 19 years doing land tours. She did a great job and although she was definitely NOT a warm and fuzzy person I have no complaints about her at all. You would not believe what a pain some people can be. I could tell you stories but won't but will tell you I would NOT want her job!:eek:

Sorry this took so long to post. It sure takes me a lot longer to recover from jet lag than it used to!!!!:D

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We had a wonderful guide in Brastilava. I think his name was George.It was raining a little but he was very amusing and the rain did not bother us at all. It sure was cold and windy on top of that mountain though.:eek:

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We were in cabin 321 and our friends were in 323. There was absolutely no vibration or noise at any time ever.If we were up on the front deck in front of the lounge or on the sun deck you could hear the bow thrusters when we entered the locks. I would be comfortable when I cruise again to either be on the top or middle deck but I do like the location toward the middle of the ship.Very,very quiet.

The sun deck was closed the whole time we were in the Main Danube Canal which turned out to be from Monday just past Nuremburg to Thursday AM. Thanks to this board I was not surprised and expected it. I do feel strongly that Avalon should put in their disclosures that the sun deck will be closed for this period of time.It has nothing to do with the water levels but rather the low bridges. We did not have many smokers on our cruise and I never really had a problem finding a place on the front deck in front of the lounge.Most of our group were having a party in the lounge in the evening. Unlike the prior cruise the sun deck was left open while we were in port so people could sit on top and enjoy the sights of the cities even though we were in the canal. It was closed again when we set sail.

This is just making me want to go back. What a wonderful vacation!:D

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Would be more interested in your evaluation of Tanquility's cabins. How would you rate against a hotel room? Bathrooms? Storage? Amenities?

 

Seems we are communicating on two different threads!

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The Tranquility has very spacious cabins with lots of storage.The suitcases,2 -30 inch and 2 carryons fit easily under the bed. There was 2 large closets with plenty of room for all our clothes. We did have to ask for extra hangers but they were delivered immediately after we requested them from reception by phone.There are 2 drawers in each of the bedside tables,storage under the mirror and desk,with a hair dryer and a mini bar. We asked that everything be removed from the mini bar and we stored our own water,diet coke,wine etc in there.There is additional space in the bathroom with a medicine cabinet and storage under the sink.

In the shower is a liquid soap dispenser and there is a basket on the sink with shampoo,shower cap,conditioner and some bar soap. I did bring my own shampoo with me.

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How was the decor? Did you enjoy/use the windows/French Balcony? Would you consider it at a four/five star level?

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How was the decor? Did you enjoy/use the windows/French Balcony? Would you consider it at a four/five star level?

 

1. Decor was nice.Modern

 

2.Yes and Yes

 

3. Never thought about it.

 

If you have an Avalon or Globus catalog there is a picture of the cabins in there.

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Do you have any idea how the cabins on Tranquility compare with those on the Artistry? We are taking the Tranquility Tulip cruise in April... loved our Danube cruise on the Artistry last year.

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Do you have any idea how the cabins on Tranquility compare with those on the Artistry? We are taking the Tranquility Tulip cruise in April... loved our Danube cruise on the Artistry last year.

 

I looked at the Avalon web site and the cabins look the same. This is the first year for the Tranquility however. The size is the same and the decorating looked similar in the pictures. The Tranquility is a really beautiful ship.

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Do you have any idea how the cabins on Tranquility compare with those on the Artistry? We are taking the Tranquility Tulip cruise in April... loved our Danube cruise on the Artistry last year.

I do have a thread running for our river cruise. Right now a most pleasant Netherlander has been kind enough to reply to my many queries concerning time off the ship where we'll be spending a couple days prior and several days post cruise primarily in Amsterdam as our base and then travel out as we see fit. Everything I've heard about the Tranquility, Avalon and Globus leads me to believe this will be wonderful in all regards.

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