I noticed a new posting by a great travel site, Gonomad, on river cruising in 2015. In 2008, hubby and I took a river cruise in France with the Avalon company. It was our first river cruise, and part of our four month sabbatical. And the most expensive part of our sabbatical, and a bit of a splurge on our part! But in planning the entire trip, we found ourselves at the bottom of France, near Figueres, Spain needing to get to Paris to find our way back to the US on the Queen Mary, and a river cruise seemed a delightful way to go there.
We were told, then, that this particular river cruise was new to Avalon as well as it was only the second time the ship had made the cruise. We enjoyed it on the whole. We were not fans of being served German food on a French river cruise, and found the many “extras” we had to pay for a bit over the top. The staff were great, the captain delightful and very accessible, the accommodations very nice.
Although on the first night, our room became full of a noxious odor and we had to go to the main lobby and get someone to air it out while we sat on deck – noone ever apologized for that. ALthough as we were still a month or more from reaching home, we didn’t complain either, so who knows. I always wonder, however, why it’s the only company that has never sent us any sales literature! And, we even signed a form on that cruise and had a film crew on board most of the time because supposedly they were creating a sales video.
But from the Gonomad article, it looks as though they have in the ensuing years refined their food, and excursions and created themes. Small ships are definitely lovely ways to meet new people and see the world.
My advice to you, and myself, is to do more research next time. Four months of living in other countries involves a lot of planning, and so I was relieved to spend a week or more on a small ship and let others plan. But, in hindsight, I wish I had done some more research into companies, cost of extras, and more.
I don’t know when, or what company, but I do want to try another river cruise somewhere in the world.