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Avalon River Cruises vs Viking River Cruises

Compare the travel styles, pricing, destinations and popularity of Avalon River Cruises and Viking River Cruises.

The Low Down

Avalon River Cruises Not as well known locally as APT or Scenic, Avalon Waterways have nevertheless been cruising the rivers of Europe and Asia since 2004. Featuring modern luxury ships, with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors, our clients love Avalon, and some of their river itineraries are our biggest sellers. Avalon don't usually include Fly Offers, so you'll need to book flights separately, but consequently their cruise prices are cheaper than the other luxury Operators and they offer some great Earlybird discounts. Part of the Globus Family group of Brands, means you can secure further discounts the next time you decide to travel by coach with either Globus or Cosmos.
Viking River Cruises Cruising down the rivers of Europe you are sure to pass a Viking Longship on your travels. Viking boasts the most extensive fleet of river cruises vessels in Europe, and while their core market is the US, there are many clients from Australia that choose to cruise with them each year. In 2017 Viking launched their range of mid-sized ocean cruises - with just 930 guests this gives their ships greater maneuverability, allowing them to dock where the mega-liners cannot. Viking do not offer NZD pricing, so if you're a Kiwi wanting jump onboard then you'll need to pay in AUD or USD.

Stats

No. of Trips
144
No. of Departures
1,781
Avg. Trip Length
11 Days
Avg. Price Per Day
$496
Fleet Size
18 Ships
Known For
Panorama Suites
Ship Styles River Cruises
Regions Explored AsiaEuropeNile
No. of Trips
57
No. of Departures
2,277
Avg. Trip Length
11 Days
Avg. Price Per Day
$466
Fleet Size
75 Ships
Known For
Scandinavian Design
Ship Styles River Cruises
Regions Explored AsiaEuropeMississippiNile

In Their Own Words We asked the travel companies themselves why you should travel with them

Avalon River Cruises
One of our favourite sayings that describes Avalon Waterways is ‘the possibilities are as wide open as the views’. From Europe to the Galapagos and Asia, you can cruise in relaxed luxury with Avalon Waterways, with choices as unique as you. Avalon offers you a range of choices from excursions, dining options, activities that help you tailor your experience.

Just imagine gliding away down the world’s most spectacular rivers, all while enjoying a unique vantage point from your own private oasis. Our floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows in our suites blur the line between where the world ends, and your suite begins; allowing you to experience the world less seen from the comfort of your bed. This is river cruising from a unique point of view.
Viking River Cruises
A Viking river cruise is the discerning traveller’s dream. Whether you choose to visit Egypt, Asia, Europe or the Mississippi, our itineraries are designed to immerse you in the history and culture of each destination. With us, you could be exploring a local food market with our head chef one day and experiencing an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of a world-famous museum the next.

Our state-of-the-art ships take you right into the heart of each destination, and you won’t find any kids or ‘nickel and diming’ on board. In fact, our fares include everything you need - from meals, beverages and Wi-Fi to a culturally enriching shore excursion at every port of call. This unique combination of features has become affectionately known as ‘the Viking difference’.

Viking has 70 award-winning river ships sailing all over the world, and we can’t wait to welcome you on board to discover the Viking difference for yourself.

Recent Reviews

Danube Discovery with Budapest   0 , QLD, Australia, Jul 2022
We had a really great time from the very beginning with excellent service from Rachael in organizing our trip at relatively short notice. The boat looked new and was very clean, the crew were all fabulous and Daniella the Cruise Director was outstanding and always available to give advice and or support the passengers. The only downside was of course ...read more the low water levels in the upper parts of the Danube which prevented us from completing the journey in Nuremburg. This impacted every cruise company. Having said this, Avalon did an outstanding job adjusting the cruise by adding a few more stops along the way and through offering free excursions to compensate for the inconvenience - which in my view was minimal.

The food was excellent and we really enjoyed just sitting on the deck or in the cabin, and taking in the beautiful sites as we sailed along the Danube. We are not cruise junkies, but this exceeded our expectations and if we do take another trip, it will certainly be with Avalon.
Great river cruise - Amsterdam to Budapest with Avalon   1 , NSW, Australia, Jul 2022
We went on this river cruise last month and it was amazing. We had previously booked a shorter Basel-Amsterdam cruise with Hannah for May 2020, but alas it was cancelled along with everyone else's! She was so helpful at that time we decided to re-book this longer cruise with her as well, now that covid restrictions had eased. Although we had to have ...read more some itinerary variations and a ship change due low river levels, the whole trip didn’t disappoint.

Avalon were fantastic in the circumstances, especially due to the hard work of our awesome Cruise Director Tony Jenkins. He showed such care and concern for the guests and even danced and sang in Welsh for us! A true treasure. Seeing the castles along the Rhine Gorge and our tours of Rudesheim, Rothenburg and Regensburg were highlights for us. We have done a lot of ocean cruises, but this was our first river cruise. After this experience it won't be our last!
Great time on the rivers and cities   0 , NC, United States, May 2022
Thanks Georgie. You guided me through the booking process, and we ended up with a wonderful trip. Saw lots of beautiful places and met great people on the ship. The Crew went absolutely out on their way to ensure we were satisfied all the way. Hopefully we'll soon be able to book with go with Global Journeys again. Thanks again.
Travel Alive again     0 , VIC, Australia, May 2022
We recently completed a wonderful Amsterdam to Budapest cruise with Avalon along the Rhine, Maine and Danube rivers. Like many, this trip had been deferred, with credit, for two or more years. We soon began to realise how much we were again enjoying our experience of travel. A sense of normality returned and we gained a renewed love of such scenic and ...read more historic beauty as the castles along the Rhine and later in the Wachau Valley on the Danube.

The cities in Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary were alive and well with tourists beginning to return in numbers. A bubble of joy and happiness radiated on the faces of travellers and locals from the various cultures seemed delighted to welcome us to their environs. Covid precautions were sensibly in place but did not hamper the joie-de-vivre in our hearts. It felt so good to be ‘travel-alive‘ again.
Romantic Rhine river cruise   3 , QLD, Australia, Oct 2019
Absolutely brilliant, the cabins were spacious with plenty of storage space to unpack. The staff were amazing, the food was excellent. There were onshore activities that you could participate in or you could just sit back and relax on board. Would recommend to anyone.
Relaxing but limited cruising time   0 , WA, Australia, Oct 2019
Unfortunately for us, we were not able to board the Suite Ship on day 3 as per itinerary due to the unsuitable water level. We were transported by coach from Dijon to Lyon to board the Suite Ship which was docked till day 6. Hence, we missed out on a lot of cruising. When we did cruise, it was in the evening. The extra we paid for the cabin with balcony ...read more was wasted. In the day time we could only see the river bank or another ship docked next to ours from the balcony. We were, however, compensated with one free optional tour in Lyon. We did make good of our time by enjoying the land tours (free and optional ones), food and company of fellow cruisers. Overall, the trip was relaxing and enjoyable.
Traversing France by River with Viking     0 , VIC, Australia, Aug 2022
Firstly, we have travelled with Viking by their river ships and we have driven to the same areas that were on our itinerary. Travelling by river eliminates the parking hazards and the grind in getting to and finding your bearings.
The France’s Finest river cruise actually combines two different river experiences and we did meet two couples who were ...read more only doing one week. Vikings product is excellent in both the ship accommodation and service levels. This package includes your transfer from Paris to Lyon (or vice versa ) if you combine the two trips and was seamless. The travellers comprised of about 80 per cent from the US.

The included walking tours had excellent guides in general though one issue which could be common to many such cruise trips is there are a number of individuals whose mobility is restricted and it can be tedious walking in such groups. There was an attempt at one port walk to have a fast group but unfortunately the tour guide was the hold up. We didn’t bother to do the guided walk but chose to explore ourselves in a few destinations. We would advise arriving at least 2 days earlier if flying from Australia whether you start this tour in Paris or Lyon. We found a wonderful boutique Paris hotel which was close to the Eiffel Tower and a short walk to the Viking dock.

We found it easy also to use the airport train and metro to arrive at our hotel. COVID restrictions in general had been removed at the time of sailing. Viking staff all were required to wear masks. The only real COVID issue we faced was 3 weeks prior when our airline changed our flight schedule. We are thankful that we had booked our flights via Viking and together with Hannah from Global Journeys as we were able to resolve this significant problem. We were lucky that we had considerable flexibility to depart early as we are a retired couple. We have used the services of Global Journeys on previous bookings and would recommend the company. They were always ready to respond quickly to your queries.
Fantastic cruising     0 , QLD, Australia, Aug 2022
We thoroughly enjoyed our first river cruise. Low water levels thankfully didn't disrupt our trip. Great service from all the staff.
Wonderful way to experience the beauty of the South of France     0 , QLD, Australia, Aug 2022
From the three day pre extension in Nice to the three day post extension in Paris our Provence to Lyon river cruise with Viking was by far the best holiday we have had so far. Everything was perfect the weather, the high standard of the Viking staff, the food on board the ship and the tours at each port were well above our expectations. Nothing was ...read more too much trouble for all the people who work on the Viking ships I would highly recommend this company to anyone wanting to see France or any other country where they sail. Global Journeys looked after all our bookings and did a wonderful job of making sure everything went to plan, well done!
Our first river cruise   1 , NSW, Australia, Jun 2022
The Viking boat (Magni) was well maintained. The cabins were all well-appointed and kept spotlessly clean. The saloon had a small outside dining and seating area. The overall dining experience was excellent with good food and impeccable service. Breakfast and lunch could be enjoyed in the saloon’s outside dining area, although there were limited tables ...read more available.

We originally booked a standard cabin on the lowest deck, which had a narrow water level window. We felt this might be a bit oppressive for the next 2 weeks, so we took the opportunity to upgrade to a French balcony cabin on the middle deck and were very pleased we did.

The after dinner entertainment in the Saloon was quite meager with only a piano player to entertain us.
We would have liked to spend more time on the top deck during the day and after dinner, but for a period of about a week, access to the top deck was denied due to safety concerns with the low bridges. We believe this to be a specific issue with Viking. For us, this was the major disappointment with this cruise.

Given our experience with ocean cruising, we felt this cruise lacked a “wow” factor. With reduced access to the sun deck, limited shore time and limited activities on the boat, it was a long 2 weeks. Would we recommend Viking? Yes, we would consider one of their ocean cruises. We like their “no children and no gambling” policy.
Great experience   3 , QLD, Australia, May 2022
We absolutely loved our Viking river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. The tours offered met our needs, the staff were lovely and the food delicious. I would not hesitate to recommend this cruise.
River Cruise in Russia   7 , QLD, Australia, Sep 2019
We have completed many coach tours and independent travel in Europe and the United States. Viking's Waterways of the Tsars was our first River Cruise - so it was a new country as well as a new travel style! There were 192 passengers on our trip, the majority from US and many seasoned cruisers! We had selected the "cheaper" window style cabin rather ...read more that a verandah cabin - it was quite spacious, provided plenty of storage and accommodated adequate river views when underway. We spent most of our on board time in scenic common areas. There were often 3-5 boats berthed alongside each other at river ports and it was often necessary to traverse several of these to access our boat, Akun.

September was "cool to cold" with beautiful Autumn coloured leaves in gardens and forests; skies were a little grey and the tourist season was drawing to a close... I would hate to be a visitor at its peak! We enjoyed having the same comfortable bed and the superb quality meals (small buffet or table service for Breakfast and Lunch; a la carte for dinner with choices from Local Specialties (this was a great way to sample traditional Russian foods) or Classic menu items. We immersed ourselves in the varied programs provided by Viking - there are no casinos or "stage shows" on board... and we did not miss them! The organisation was very efficient and professional; the staff were warm, friendly and helpful.

We travelled in the Moscow to St Petersburg direction and in retrospect I think this was the preferable direction - we had booked two extra nights, through Viking, in hotels both in Moscow and St Petersburg. It was great to have those extra nights especially in St Petersburg where the accommodation was very central and allowed lots of opportunities to explore independently. We weren't as confident and adventurous at the start of the trip! I hadn't expected the Viking river berths in both cities (3 nights at each) to be situated in such outer locations. Fortunately, the company offers many Included Tours in the program. We also selected several Optional tours. On a "free day" we travelled independently from the Moscow river berth to view Victory Park (the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945 Museum). We would recommend this if you have an interest in these tragic years of Russian History - the Viking program, as the name of the tour would indicate tends to focus more on the Tsarist history. We have visited many European cities and St Petersburg would now have to be our favourite city.

Be warned that the application for a Russian Visa is a time consuming exercise and can be costly. After obtaining the required "Invitation Letter" from Viking we were able to complete and submit our Visa application to the Russian Consulate online. Our passports were returned to us 20 days later. Our Viking booking included flights with Emirates as well as transfers to and from the airport, a stress free exercise.

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