Travel to Bucharest where you will be met and transferred to your hotel for a one night stay at the Athenee Palace Hilton Bucharest (or similar).
Included today: Guided sightseeing. Much recent history has taken place in Romania's capital city, and its wide, tree-lined boulevards and Arc de Triomphe—built in 1922 to honour the bravery of Romanian soldiers who fought in World War I—have gained it the name 'Paris of the East'. During your included tour this morning, see the main sights including The Royal Palace Square, the scene of riots in 1989, which led to the collapse of the communist dictatorship. Travel by coach to Oltenita, where your ship is docked. Before dinner, meet your crew at a welcome reception.
This morning during breakfast, dock in St. Gheorghe, from where the excursion into the delta will start. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and the best preserved of Europe's deltas, this area hosts over 300 species of birds as well as 45 species of freshwater fish. From its source in the Black Forest to its delta at the Black Sea, the Danube measures 2,845 kilometres in length. The Km markings can be clearly seen on the river banks the length of the river. Depart St. Gheorghe during lunch and enjoy a small celebration to mark Km "0"—the end of the Danube's journey. This afternoon a chance to relax and to learn more about the fascinating Delta at an on-board lecture.
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You're spoilt for choice when it comes to panoramic views across the River Danube. Admire the Chain Bridge and the former Royal Palace from one of the hotel's beautifully appointed rooms, or treat yourself to a gourmet Hungarian dinner with views of Buda Castle. Official rating: 5 stars.
Just a leisurely stroll away from the historic Castle district, this luxurious hotel sits on the banks of the river Danube in the heart of Budapest.
The Sofitel Budapest Chain Bridge hotel has an enviable position overlooking the River Danube and Budapest's famous Chain Bridge, and many of the 357 rooms come with a view of the river. A Swarovski water fountain, luxury spa, original art and a French-Hungarian restaurant make this hotel a special base for your time in Budapest. Official rating: 5 stars.
The hotel boasts a prime location near the River Danube, Hungarian Parliament, Hungarian State Opera and Castle.
It may occasionally be necessary to use alternative similar standard hotels to those shown.
"Very interesting holiday"
"Extremely good all round performance..."
"British customers undervalued?"
The provision of pre-tour information, while comprehensive enough was only available on line and lacked a professionally touch. Luggage labels, for example, were required to be printed and '....attached to your luggage or if preferred, inserted in your own luggage tags.' Previous Avalon cruises (and incidentally other cruise lines) provided proper luggage labels. Similarly, information about extra excursions was also only available on-line not in the form of a booklet.
Initially we assumed that these deficiencies were due to economic reasons and gave us thoughts that the cruise would be similarly affected - fortunately that did not prove to be the case. However in conversations with other passengers from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, USA, South Africa we discovered that only British guests had been subjected to these 'economic' measures. All others had been supplied with proper labels and a booklet with details of extra excursions.
We are left with the conclusion that perhaps Avalon has become rather indifferent to British customers and as a result we can award only four stars.
Gold and Glamorous Excursion in Budapest and Hungarian Puszta Farm, Horse Show with Lunch were very good. The latter for spectacle and the former for the stunning 'Glass Paintings of Miksa Roth'
"Comfortable accommodation, good quality food but not gourmet. Well thought out programme of excursions, though..."
Comfortable accommodation, good quality food but not gourmet. Well thought out programme of excursions, though free time was sometimes a little rushed.
"Excellent service throughout"
Cruise director was excellent so we're all of the other staff. They always are that is why we have been with them 5times
Not sure what this refers to?
"Having enjoyed your first class service last year we booked again this year and was..."
Having enjoyed your first class service last year we booked again this year and was disappointed that the standards have dropped.
Last year prior to departing we received all documents including full details of all available trips in a cheque book style book together with proper luggage labels and a cloth folder with your logo to keep everything in.
This year WE had to print off all documents and trip details ourselves together with a A4 luggage label which WE had to fold!!!! Whilst this in itself showed falling standards we then find out on our cruise ship that all other guests EXCLUDING those from Great Britain had received all the above. It was considered quite funny by others who thought all guests were treated equally!!!
As one of the trips was called off as a result of heavy rain the Cruise Director advised all guests that we were to receive a 100 dollar voucher per person against future cruises. I have received an e-mail forwarding £150 voucher without explanation made out to to wrong name!!! I am somewhat confused by this.
Also we had requested twin beds but we had two singles pushed together with one double mattress across both. Their situation was rectified after one night but we would consider that if twin accommodation was requested on our original booking we should have had this without having to arrange it ourselves during our holiday.
Not as interesting as Budapest to Praque
"A great ship and a wonderful holiday"
The Avalon Passion was a lovely ship and kept in pristine conditon. Our cabin was clean and inviting and had everything we needed. The beds were so comfortable, with wonderful mattresses and soft, downy pillows. The staff were all helpful and friendly and the food was great. Avalon cater for all diets and it was amazing that the chef and maitre de would consult you each day to see what you would like prepared.
The car service provided to get us to the ship and home again after the cruise was an extra bonus and the drivers we had were exellent.
The one "niggle" was that we did not get to the delta because the Danube was too low for the ship to sail there. This was presented to us as something that was unpredictable, but apparently it is well known that July is the month that the Danube is low. We feel that the delta should not be offered in July, but the alternative cruise we had should be offered instead. Other than that, an asterisk with the explanation that it would be quite likely that the ship would not make the delta would forewarn passengers and give them the choice to accept or decline a July cruise.
Overall our experience was wonderful and we would certainly recommend Avalon.
It was a wonderful holiday, which started from the minute we closed the front door and got into the car which was sent for us, to the time we got out of the car bringing us home and carried our bags indoors.
"First time river cruise - expectations exceeded!"
First river cruise. Standard of vessel and cabin met or exceeded expectations. Food superb and very well presented and served by an excellent staff. Challenge of closure of lower Danube very well met by the company.
Many excursions included longer bus trips than expected - more research before hand would have revealed that!
Exceeded Expectations in all respects
"The best holiday we have had! (and we are usually difficult to please!) "
Everything was perfection. The organisation was fantastic, everything went like clockwork. The attention to detail was noticeable. The restaurant service never failed to impress, the ship itself was lovely, the cabin was excellent and always maintained spotlessly. The tours were well thought out and executed.
"My service feedback with Avalon Cruises"
Great boat. And crew looking forward to the next trip