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Margaret Lilley

Age: 55

Occupation:retired

Number of Cruises: 5

Cruise Line: Avalon Waterways

Ship: Imagery

Sailing Date: 2010-03-28

Itinerary: Budapest to Amsterdam

Not a good experience! Mainly marketed to Australians/Americans with a few Brits to fill up the numbers. If we wanted a mixture of Butlins/coach tours/three star hotel we certainly found it with here! We were treated like primary school children by the Cruise Director and offered quantity instead of quality with the food. Some of the entertainment did not even meet Butlins standards but was greeted with raucous laughter by some of the fellow guests. In fact raucous behaviour was rife, even when the entertainment was interesting e.g. with information about the wines of the region we were travelling through the talking-amongst-themselves of the fellow guests ensured it was inaudible. Scenery was good.

Mmm - well what would you think of "carrot quiche drizzled with lemon oil" (actually it tasted like lemon verbena soap and had the same consistency), roast beef that came well done or burnt, risotto made with long grain rice, and the coup de grace - tarte tatin that appeared as a wedge of what seemed to be bread pudding in a pastry case with a few apple slices on top. I say seemed as I sent it back untasted. On the plus side there was an inordinate quantity of food - but it was of a very mediocre standard and had been marketed as a gourmet experience.

Fine - it was smart with enough room for a double bed and adequate storage space. However it did seem odd that a double room only offered one chair!

One wine tasting and one beer tasting would have been good if we had been allowed to appreciate the wisdom on offer. The two lectures (in the entire 15 days) one of the EU and one on the building of the Maine-Danube canal were excellent despite the lack of visual aids for the latter. Some of the musical entertainment was enjoyable. The comedy/children's treasure hunt activities were entirely inappropriate.

Always go on the included guided tours - definitely the best bit. Otherwise try to avoid the Cruise Director (his jokes were wearing thin by the second day - they did not vary during the fortnight and were repeated ad nauseam) and do your own thing in the towns visited once the inclusive tours have finished.

Not the best cruise we have done. Won't be travelling with Avalon again. If you are interested we did write to complain and, whilst agreeing with what we said (apparently they sacked the chef at the end of the cruise) they offered no compensation and a derisory 'discount' on our next cruise with them!

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