I just returned from a wonderful vacation on Avalon Waterways. I was able to go on a European river cruise that was a trip different from any I have done in the past. We flew into Budapest and spent 2 days exploring that fascinating eastern European city. It was an interesting mix of today’s world with that of a medieval town. Once we boarded the boat, we left for a scenic trip along the Danube. The great thing about river cruising is that the boat usually stops near the center of town to allow easy access to either explore on your own, or take one of the offered excursions. Since the boat is considered full at 170 passengers, there is plenty of opportunity to get to know your fellow cruisers. I also learned that the Danube operates with the help of many locks along the way. After the boat docked in Nuremburg, we traveled to Prague to spend 3 days before flying home. If this sounds like a trip you would like to experience, I would love to be able to talk to you about river cruising.
Arriving at the pier you are impressed with all the shiny balconies and the size of this new ship.
As you enter the ship you are struck by the soft colors and grand atrium with its spiral stair case and class with lights from the top to the bottom. On the lower public deck is one of my favorite areas where there is light entertainment most of the day, and the Galata shop, a bar and the very best pastries , sandwiches and salad shop. We ate one of our dinners at the The Grill Seafood and Stake House. This has very good food and good selection. The chef came by and he said he has been with Princess 40 years, and of course he is from Italy. We ate in the main dinning room the next evening and it was really good also.
When we did our site inspection of the rooms, one of the agents used the term "compact". That is a good description of the suites as well as the cabins. We did note that unlike other Princess ships a mini suite does not have a larger balcony. The rooms are also in soft colors and very comfortable.
Another favorite area is the Sanctuary and also the new Retreat. The Retreat is the adult pool, quit area. This area is included in the cruise cost, however there are a couple of cabanas the you can rent by the pool. The Sanctuary is an are that you need to pay extra for. It has butler service, spa cabanas, sunning chairs and cabanas. In contrast is the main pool are that is fun and lots of actives along with their huge screen for movies. Even during a very sunny the you can see it so clear. Activities include skeet simulator, golf, table tennis, volley ball, basket ball and a game room. The smaller lounges around the ship are all very nice and are from library comfort style to very modern moos scape look. The even have a TV theater area where the play games. The main show theater is different than most cruise ships, in that, it looks like a movie theater and is two decks high. As with all the ship the sounds, lighting and techs are really advanced over other ships.
The "sky walk" is not for those who are bothered by heights , but great for the rest of us. It is a short walk on a glass like see through floor. You look right down on one of the outside lounge ares and over the ocean. It really is a wired feeling the first time you do it. It is a beautiful ship with a nice staff.