AVALON RIVER CRUISING IN EUROPE
Our Avalon adventure started in Munich, Germany for 3 nights and then 5 nights cruising from Passau, through Linz, Grein, Melk and Krems to Vienna, Austria.
Starting in Munich we experienced the best of this beautiful Bavarian city with our local guide and visits to King Ludwig’s fairytale Neuschwantein Castle (in inspiration for Walt Disney’s castle) and to the village of Oberammergau which is famous for it’s once a decade production of the passion play where every single person in the village participates. Munich is also famous for its beer halls and traditional Bavarian fare so it’s safe to say I sampled many different beers and lots of sausages!
To begin the cruise we travelled to Salzburg to meet the ship on our way north to meet the ship. Let’s just say ‘The hills were alive with the sound of music!’ as we ventured around this beautiful city and did some movie scene spotting. We arrived to Passau in the late afternoon and that’s when the real fun begins!
I hadn’t cruised before so was unsure of what to expect, but the rooms and shared open spaces on the ship were all fantastic, our cabin had floor to ceiling windows and sitting area where we could watch the world go by as we cruised on the Danube. And it helps if you’re a bit of a foodie on an Avalon cruise because the breakfast, lunch and dinner, snacks and special meals options were plentiful and no two meals are the same with a mixture of a la carte, al fresco dining and buffet options and then there’s also morning/afternoon/evening tea so you’ll never be hungry!
And with Avalon taking care of everything on the ship we were free to experience northern Austria and the beautiful towns and cities which rest on the banks of the Danube.
At each of our stops on our way through Austria we were given a guided walking tour which was led by a local guide and were able to see famous landmarks and the beautiful main centres of each place. There was so much to see and I really enjoyed the cruise inclusions of visiting oldest theatre in Austria, the Wachau wine region, and Melk’s 11th century Benedictine Abbey.
The highlight of the cruise for me was our arrival to Vienna, such a vibrant and beautiful city! We had a driving tour of the city and were let lose to explore on our own. The beautiful St Stephens Cathedral and surrounding buildings really showcase this city….and the shopping was excellent too!
I would recommend that cruising really is for everyone, you unpack once on the ship and everything is at your fingertips. I had imagined the average age of the cruisers to be a little older and for the pace to be slower, but there was a real mix of young and old travellers, families, couples and there was always something to see or do – you can be a busy, or relaxed as you like!
Top tip : Always book at least 1 night pre-tour/cruise accommodation with Avalon so that they will take you to the meeting point of the ship. Docs are usually only allocated to the ship a few days before they sail and you might get lost!