Cruise Search

The Rhine Revisited

Tuesday 13 August 2019

Samantha, one of our cruising specialists, recently enjoyed Avalon Waterway's Active and Discovery on the Rhine river cruise. Read her exclusive review:

Four years ago, I had the pleasure of cruising along the River Seine from Paris to the Normandy Landing Beaches with Avalon Waterways, and absolutely loved it. I am pleased to say that my recent cruise along the River Rhine was equally as impressive!

Let's begin with the ship - Avalon Panorama. She had recently been refurbished to bring her up to the standard of her younger siblings. The large Panorama Lounge had plenty of seating for all guests even when the ship was booked to full capacity. There was a bar which was where most guests would meet and socialise, especially during happy hour. It was a great way to begin every evening. Towards the back of the lounge was a relaxed dining area where a lighter lunch option and afternoon tea were served.

Avalon Panorama also had a beautiful library/relaxed lounge which offered complimentary tea and coffee, as well as a cookie station. Other public areas onboard included a well-equipped fitness centre, and observation lounge, perfect for taking in the passing scenery. The large Sky Deck had plenty of seating and sun loungers, plus a whirlpool, deck game area and the Sky Bistro, where you could enjoy a fantastic lunchtime barbecue.

Without a doubt, the Dining Room was my favourite area of the ship. Avalon Waterways' masterful chefs created mouthwatering dishes night after night. I can honestly say there wasn't one meal that I didn't enjoy. Evening dinner was a four-course A la Carte menu with an exciting selection of choices available for each course. Plus, if there wasn't a main course that particularly appealed to you, there was always an alternative option of salmon, chicken or steak. I tried the steak and it was incredible, the quality you would expect to find in a luxury restaurant ashore. Breakfast and lunch were both buffet style with an array of hot and cold dishes to suite all palettes. Those with a cabin or suite on the Royal Deck could enjoy breakfast from the comfort of their cabin. Complimentary wine, beers and soft drinks accompanied lunch and dinner onboard.

Avalon Panorama Stylish bar Beautiful restaurant Panorama Suite on the Royal Deck Panorama Suite on the Royal Deck Jacuzzi Gym Giant chess on the Sun Deck Enjoy exceptional cuisine onboard Sample regional delicacies Scenic cruising along the Rhine Traditional street in Engers Engers Palace Concert at Engers Palace Scenic cruising along the Rhine Birds-eye view of Dusseldorf Castle along the Rhine Scenic cruising

Avalon Panorama had a fantastic choice of cabin categories spanning three decks. The Lower Deck cabins had picture windows which allowed natural light to flood in. I was lucky enough to stay in a Panorama Suite on the Royal Deck - 200 sq.ft all to myself. There was everything I could ever need in the cabin, including a very comfortable bed which faced the wall-to-wall panoramic window, which transformed into a large open-air balcony. There was also an ensuite bathroom with shower, luxury L'Occitaine products replenished regularly, a hairdryer, bathrobe and slippers. There was also a fully stocked mini-bar (for a fee), a flat screen satellite TV, complimentary Wi-Fi and USB ports.

Moving on to the fantastic itinerary which called at rarely-visited towns and villages along the Rhine, including picturesque Engers. It was an Active and Discovery itinerary, which meant there was more than one way to explore new destinations. Active, Discovery and Classic excursions were included so you had three different options everyday. You could also take part in optional excursions which generally took place in the afternoon. You could cycle into the stunning Dutch countryside just outside of Amsterdam, or if you were feeling more adventurous you could kayak along the canals. During my time in Cologne, renowned for its Gothic cathedral, I opted for the active jogging tour of the city - so glad I had packed my running shoes. Whilst I was stretching my legs along the river bank, some of my fellow travellers were discovering the Chocolate Museum with a chocolate tasting. Did I pick the right shore excursion?

All of the shore excursions were very well organised and accompanied by interesting and knowledgeable English-speaking guides. There was definitely something for everyone. If you didn't want to join one of the many shore excursions, you could enjoy some well-deserved time out on the ship, or explore the town or city at leisure.

I would just like to mention a truly memorable moment. In Schloss Engers, we moored in the shadows of the most beautiful palace I have ever seen, Engers Palace. After dinner we were privileged to enjoy a private classical music concert in the heart of the palace. For around an hour we were captured by the mesmerising sounds from classical violinist Vlada and Dmitry on piano. Truly outstanding!

All in all, a fantastic cruise on an amazing ship with a superb and unique itinerary. Many fond memories made with lovely new friends.

Blue Water Holidays Blog