Tips & Tricks for Your River Cruise

Packing for a River Cruise

July 27, 2015

Welcome Aboard: Firsthand River Cruise Experiences

Have you ever wondered what it was like to cruise with Avalon? Are you cruising with us later this year and want to know just how wonderful the experience will be? Two cruisers blogged about their firsthand experiences aboard our ships. Natalie joined the Avalon Tapestry II® on the Paris to Normandy Landing Beaches itinerary, and Christine enjoyed The Rhine & Moselle itinerary on the Avalon Artistry II®.  Here’s what they had to say:

Suite Ship

As I approached the ship I was instantly struck by how luxurious the ship was. It is decked out with luxury sun loungers and tastefully decorated with plants on the top deck. I was greeted with a glass of Champagne into an airy reception area and couldn’t wait to see my cabin. It didn’t disappoint with a modern bathroom and a full supply of L’Occitane® bath products. The layout of the bedroom was fantastic with the beds facing the French windows. The layout might not sound exciting but Avalon is the first River Cruise Line to point the beds towards the window. Natalie

View. Photo credit: Natalie

View from the ship. Photo credit: Natalie

We got a full immersion quality European experience in a most relaxing carefree way.  We met interesting people from different corners of the word and made new friends from this shared experience.  The service, meals and coordination for sightseeing were seamless and outstanding.   I recommend river cruising for any traveler who loves art, architecture and history who prefers to travel in a service oriented, worry-free way.  While unique in its own right, it is a good match for past ocean cruisers and those who enjoy an opportunity to see all the sights.  – Christine

Enjoying the Sky Deck. Photo credit: Natalie

Enjoying the Sky Deck. Photo credit: Natalie


Sky Deck Lunch & Dinner: We had booked the grill lunch which was hosted on the Sky Deck. They host these lunches several times on the cruise itinerary but you must put your name down to reserve a space. Lunch was delicious and I enjoyed fresh salad and steak. Natalie

The team enjoying drinks. Photo credit: Natalie

Enjoying drinks on the Sky Deck. Photo credit: Natalie

I booked a place in the bistro dining experience. This was hosted in the Sky Deck and there are 20 places available so you need to book. They offer a 7 course tasting menu and once again was extremely impressed with the standard of the food. Natalie

A match made in heaven: crepes & cocktails. Photo credit: Natalie

Shore Excursions

Van Gogh excursion (available on Art & Impressionist Special Interest River Cruises): Before you set off on the tour you pick up a complimentary water and a headset so you can listen to the tour guide. The tour guide William was really engaging. He brought the history to life and it was very special to see the places and subjects Van Gogh had painted. I particularly enjoyed walking through the fields Van Gogh painted known as Wheat Field with Crows. Natalie

Berkanstel: So far this has been the highlight if the trip.  Without a doubt, it is one of the most scenic destinations I’ve ever experienced! After a morning guided walking tour, we took a bike ride along the river and then went to a wine tasting event that featured 118 local vineyards.  Avalon treated us to this special wine tasting event and all travelers agreed it was a wonderful experience and yet another opportunity to meet new friends from all over the world.  – Christine


Beauty in Berkanstel. Photo credit: Christine.

Rudesheim is a typical Rhine Valley wine town and it was an unexpected treat. A visit to Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum was included here along with a festive Rudesheim coffee tasting featuring their native brandy recipe and a German oompah band.  We rode the cable car up to Niederwald monument where we were in awe of both the enormous statue found high above the river and the inspiring views. – Christine

At top of cable car ride, find the Niederwald monument and magnificent views

At top of cable car ride, find the Niederwald monument and magnificent views. Photo credit: Christine

Highlight of Cruising

rhine gorge christine

Rhine Gorge Views. Photo credit: Christine

…we sailed the spectacular Rhine Gorge. A highlight this morning after breakfast was our cruise through the Rhine Gorge. Here ancient castles stand on lofty cliffs rising 400 feet above the waters. We cruised past the legendary rock of the Lorelei and took in more vineyard and breathtaking views, one after the other. – Christine




The engine is so quiet the experience is tranquil and the journey along the Seine was stunning. I was surprised by how unpopulated the river banks were. Every now and then you would spot a stunning Chateau along the banks. I would have happily sailed along the river for days absorbing the view … This evening we were sailing to another port in Paris close to the business district so I sat on the deck and enjoyed a refreshing cocktail as the ship gently sailed past the glittering sights of Paris before heading back to my room where I enjoyed the view for a little bit longer before falling into a relaxing sleep. Natalie

More views of France from the ship. Photo credit: Natalie

More views of France from the ship. Photo credit: Natalie

We want to give a big thanks to Natalie and Christine for sharing their experiences with us, and for allowing us to share their quotes with our community. We appreciate it very much and hope to see you again soon!