We recently returned from a Rhone river cruise on the Avalon Scenery and would strongly recommend this trip. The itinerary included two nights in Paris and one in Monte Carlo. Both the hotels were very comfortable but, being really picky, the long queue for breakfast at the Pullman in Paris and the decidedly second-rate breakfast provided for the Avalon group at the Fairmont in Monte Carlo were disappointing. Once aboard the Scenery, every aspect was excellent. The friendly crew, the excellent tour leader (Sylvia) and all the local guides were instrumental in making life on the boat very comfortable and enjoyable. The food was very good, and the included wine with the evening meal was free- flowing. It was good to have coffee/tea/juice and cakes and biscuits available all day, as well as having afternoon tea provided. The choice and quality of all the meals were excellent. It would be impossible to go hungry on this trip! We enjoyed all the included walking trips round beautiful mediaeval villages and the scenery was always beautiful. It was strange to have no sense of movement on the water - this trip would suit people who do not travel well at sea. There are some things to consider when thinking about this holiday. It certainly is not for less active people , as friends had suggested to us when we booked ( we are in our late 60s). We were up at 7a.m. most days as the walking tours and optional trips tended to start at 8.45 . So no lie-ins! However, the tours were so good that we would not have wanted to miss them. The walking was not excessive but we were out for 2-3 hours at a time. We only went on one additional trip-to the aqueduct at Avignon- but the people who did others enjoyed them. The passengers were from all over the world- we had not realised how popular this cruise would be or how widely advertised. No wonder they get booked up so quickly. The meal times were set, at 12 for lunch and 7pm for dinner, and seating was always open. Our cabin was well equipped and very comfortable. However, we were disappointed that the French windows did not both open fully and that there was no room between the bed and the window to put a chair and enjoy the view of the river. Also, the bed was parallel to the window and river whereas it would have been nice to face it. We did receive a2016 brochure and find that all these aspects have been altered in 60% of the fleet. This will make it worth paying for a cabin with the opening windows -and will bring the boats in line with others we saw on the Rhone. We did see the cabin of people on the lowest deck (of 3) and they had just high windows as the cabin was below the water line- with a good view of the ducks swimming by! Given that the public lounges and the sun deck were always quiet, it may not be worth paying for a higher deck cabin unless it is on the new layout. A final point is to check flight times carefully. We had a very tight change at Paris on the way home (Nice-Paris-Manchester). It involved a long walk between departure gates and we were anxious and would have had a problem if we could not walk quickly. We have done many sea cruises but enjoyed this river cruise just as much and would certainly strongly recommend the Avalon company and this particular part of the world. Hannah at www.CRUISE.co.uk coordinated our trip and answered our enquiries very promptly and we had no complaints or problems with any part of this very enjoyable holiday.
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