I had the pleasure of experiencing an Avalon cruise from Amsterdam to Namur. It was a 7 night cruise on board Avalon Artistry II. This was my first river cruise and to parts of Europe I had not visit before so lots of things ticked off the bucket list for me.
I was met on arrival in Amsterdam, by the Avalon transfer representative and I was quickly taken to the shuttle bus to transfer to the hotel. They said they don’t like to keep guests waiting as they understand some have travelled for a long time and just want to get to the hotel which is fantastic after a long flight!
Our first night was at the Doubletree by Hilton Amsterdam Central Station. It’s in a good location for cruise departures and exploring the city. The rooms quite small and bathroom were tiny with very minimal amenities.
The next day we board the Avalon Artistry which is a lovely river boat. I learned that all Avalon ships are almost exactly the same layout and facilities some just vary slightly in room numbers. The cabin was small but lovely with the main highlight being the beds facing the window. It is so nice to sit on your bed and look at the view rather than looking at a wall! The bathrooms were lovely with excellent amenities (L’Occitane) and good size.
The food on board was fabulous and a good selection of choices. There is a nightly happy hour before dinner and all drinks are half price, at very reasonable drink prices. Alcoholic drinks are included with lunch and dinner. Each night there is music in the lounge, some nights local musicians come aboard – string quartet (classical music), duo singing rock n roll. The Staff on board were outstanding throughout the cruise. Gratuities are included for the Australian market because we don’t like to have it added to our ship account and no tipping is required for local guides. The day trips from the ship are busy and involve lots of walking. They do have a gentle walking group which is a slower pace but you need to be prepared for lots of walking most days.
My favourite cities/towns were Amsterdam, Bruges, Ghent and Maastricht. I can highly recommend stopping at these towns even on an independent holiday. They are just magnificent towns, so pretty and quaint. Even if you are not River Cruising I would recommend to visit these places whether you are self-driving or travelling by train as they were so beautiful.