I recently cruised with Avalon from Paris to Normandy’s Landing beaches. This Paris-to-Paris cruise combines time in France’s marvelous capital with discoveries of quaint French towns. My ship was The Tapestry II, one of Avalon’s new Suite Ships, built in 2015, and it is lovely! Décor is classic and understated, only 64 cabins, 50 of which are Panorama Suites.
The itinerary included Vernon, where you can choose between a guided visit to Claude Monet’s gardens at Giverny or the magnificent Bizy Castle. Les Andelys with its Château Gaillard, then Caudebec, where you can take an included excursion to the poignant Normandy landing beaches or choose the “Taste of Normandy.” We visited Joan of Arc’s historic Rouen, and in Conflans, you can see either Vincent van Gogh’s Auvers-sur-Oise or Napoleon and Josephine’s elegant Château de Malmaison.
Some if the ship highlights include:
- Crepe making and pastry demonstrations by the chef (all delicious!)
- Special Wine Pairing dinner in the Lounge (only 20 people, so recommend signing up as soon as announced, although they offered on 2 or 3 nights)
- Special “Grill” lunch (burgers and brats) on the Sky Deck. Again, limited seating, so reservations required.
- Excellent service and almost 100% of the staff seemed to truly enjoy their job, whether interacting with guests or each other.
- Guides were exceptional, as I‘ve experienced on other River Cruises as well.
- Food was good to very good and the variety of options Avalon offered was enough to satisfy even the pickiest eater.
- Panorama Suites are nice, 200 SF. Bathrooms are gorgeous.
I have taken a number of river cruises over the years – Avalon is the best!