Lindsay Cutting, Assistant Manager at our Bury St. Edmunds travel agents, enjoyed her first river cruise when she sailed along the Danube on board Avalon Impression. Here is what she enjoyed from her trip…
Destination: DanubeRiver Cruise
Operator/Host: Avalon Waterways
Airline: Lufthansa/Air Dolomiti
(Hotel names/Ship name): Intercontinental Budapest, Avalon Impression
Duration: 8 nights
We flew from Heathrow to Budapest, via Munich, on the outward journey. The seats were leather with a good pitch and a small business class section. We had drinks and snacks on both flights, which were free of charge.
On the return journey we flew from Linz to Frankfurt with Air Dolomiti, a low cost carrier owned by Lufthansa and based in Italy. We then flew from Frankfurt to Heathrow with Lufthansa and, again, the seats and service were great.
Our first night was spent at the Intercontinental in Budapest. This is a large hotel right in the centre of the city, very close to the Széchenyi Chain Bridge and with lots of restaurants and bars close by. My room was large and comfy and we had breakfast here before leaving for the ship.
The rest of our time was spent on board Avalon Impression. I shared a Panorama Suite on the Royal Deck with wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling windows that opened up to give magnificent views of the river. There was plenty of room to move around the cabin and the twin beds faced outwards towards the window. The cabin had ample wardrobe space for two, a hairdryer, safe, small sofa and complimentary bottles of water that were replenished daily.
The bathroom was excellent; a large shower cubicle (no curtain) with L’Occitane products, a bathrobe and slippers. My overall impression was fantastic. They offered a selection of pillows and even mattresses that ranged from soft to very firm.The bed is made up as firm but this can be changed to suit you. I had mine changed to very firm and you could certainly tell the difference.
What Was Included?
Our trip included flights and transfers to the ship; all meals on board; wine, beer and soft drinks with meals; selected excursions; Wi-Fi and gratuities.
Avalon also offers home pick-up within a 100-mile radius of the airport or train station from which you are departing. There are complimentary tea and coffee stations in the Club and Panorama Lounges and they have happy hour daily. Extra excursions can be purchased on board, such as a classical music concert or a pub tour of Linz.
The entire trip was amazing but a couple of my favourite bits were canoeing down the Danube and visiting Vienna – two firsts for me.
I can highly recommend this trip to customers of all ages and ability as it had something for everyone. It isn’t a family holiday, however, we did have a 15-year-old boy on our trip from Malaysia who certainly was involved in every aspect of the cruise and took part in lots of the active excursions.
The excursions are tailored to people’s abilities. We had a hiking tour and there were three groups: one for fast walkers, one for slower walkers and one for the less sprightly. Everybody mixed well and we had entertainment at night varying from a singer at the piano to a group that came on board to entertain us.
After meals, the bar was always open and they had happy hour daily. Otherwise, drinks were purchased and added to your account. Cocktails started from €9 and spirits from €8, but were all half-price during happy hour.
As well as breakfast, lunch and dinner, they had early riser breakfast, late riser breakfast and afternoon tea – so you’ll never go hungry.
The scenery sailing up the Danube was stunning and could be viewed from the Panorama Lounge, the Sky Deck (although it was a bit chilly for that!) or simply from your bed in the cabin. We visited a variety of places from cities to very small, quaint towns and all were excited by very knowledgeable, local guides.
This was my first river cruise and, having been immersed in the trip fully, it will give me the ability to sell the product more confidently.
Overall, it is a superb way to see many different places whilst only having to unpack once!
Must see? Vienna and The Mauthausen Concentration Camp
Must do? Hike up to Visegrad Castle
Must try? Canoeing down the Danube
If you’re looking fora river cruise of your own (perhaps it’s also your first time?), we have a range of different itineraries available with various cruise lines. Call us today or visit your local Fred. Olsen Travel Agents today. We have travel agents in Norwich, Ipswich, Bury St. Edmunds, Felixstowe, Colchester and along the south coast.