Avalon Waterways leads the way in indulgent river cruise travel with spacious and award-winning ships. They offer a personalised onboard service with attentive crew and the itineraries have been put together carefully to ensure a seamless sightseeing process can be observed throughout your holiday. Avalon also take great care in ensuring their travel is environmentally conscious.
Gary Buchanan has sailed the Seven Seas during his 33-year career as an awardwinning specialist cruise writer. Author of four books about cruising, he regularly contributes to prestigious newspapers such as The Telegraph and magazines including American Express Departures. He is a pundit on all things cruise and is looking forward to enhancing the content library for Panache Cruises.
“With their entire fleet made up of ‘Suite Ships’, guests enjoy specially-designed ‘beds with a view’ plus full sliding-wall window balconies - two facets which encapsulate the Avalon distinction. As well as being all-inclusive, I believe it’s the added refinements that raise the bar. Each aspect of an Avalon cruise enhances guest’s overall appreciation, from expert lecturers to accomplished guides, regional cuisine to excursions calibrated to offer exceptional insights.”
A full range of drinks plus other onboard services are all available at an extra charge.
Dining on your Avalon cruise is a moment to savour thanks to the broad range of food on offer, not to mention the stunning restaurants in which your meals will be served. The Panorama Dining room has a glass-wall so you can enjoy the views as you cruise and there is even an al fresco, made-to-order option in the Sky Grill on many ships. If you wish for something more casual, you can enjoy 24-hour refreshments at the Sky Grill with delicious coffee and sweets and you can even have a continental breakfast delivered if you’re a late riser. You have the freedom to dine in all these venues throughout your cruise.
You’ll have a full breakfast complete with sparkling wine if you prefer, and there is even an egg station to cook them fresh how you like. For dining throughout the day you’ll of course enjoy lunch and dinner but there is also a choice of snacks in the afternoon, as well as afternoon tea and even supper late at night. You won’t ever go hungry on your Avalon cruise!
At lunch and dinner, you’ll be offered sommelier-paired wines from the local regions you visit on your trip, or you could have beer if you prefer. There is a bar serving all the beverages you would expect it to and more besides, and you can help yourself to some fresh fruit too. The Club Lounge has a 24-hour self-service station. Here, you’ll find speciality coffees, hot chocolate and teas and also cookies for a treat. Bottled water is also included throughout.
Avalon is proud to have been awarded Cruise Critic’s Best in European River award in 2019 which is largely due to the impressive suites and staterooms onboard. They are all stylish and spacious and the Panorama Suites are 30% bigger than others across the rivers of Europe. Beds and pillows are part of the Comfort Collection and there is enhanced soundproofing to ensure a good night’s sleep and you’ll be pampered by L’Occitane products and plush towels in your marble bathroom which is full-sized.
All suites come with WiFi access, satellite TV with films, air conditioning, hairdryer and plenty of storage space. The accommodation is carefully laid out so that the space is used to the best of its ability and you get the most out of the views. They also include:
Your suite options can include:
Your river cruise needn’t see a reduction in your overall health and wellbeing. In fact, staying healthy onboard has never been easier thanks to a range of initiatives and facilities.
If you enjoy walking, you can take advantage of Nordic walking sticks which are available for use when you are ashore – it’s the perfect way to stay active. The range of onshore activities will also contribute to your activity levels – read more about them in the next section.
However, if you prefer more traditional methods, you can spend time in the fitness centre onboard which is complete with a range of state-of-the-art equipment. The Adventure Host onboard will guide you to a range of active pursuits in the form of excursions off the ship but will also host fitness or strength and conditioning classes such as yoga.
If you’ve completed enough activity and wish to unwind, you can relax on the Sky Deck in one of the luxurious lounging chairs or perhaps take a dip in the whirlpool.
Even the cuisine onboard can contribute as there are fresh, healthy options offered with every meal.
The destinations are the focal point of your cruise with Avalon so expect these to be integral to your enjoyment. You’ll have the benefit of not only onshore experiences but they will also be brought onboard too with displays of regional customs, local artisans allowing you to taste their produce and learn of their cultures. There will also be entertainers to give traditional performances and experts will educate you about the history.
Getting active onshore is facilitated by The Adventure Center. In it, you’ll find bikes, maps and more to allow you to get into the heart of the places you visit. There is also an Adventure Host to take you that bit further. They will help you stay active on your ship as well as ashore with the activities mentioned in the wellness section.
An experienced and professional Cruise Director will provide you with commentary as you sail the waterways, educating you about the local region. They’re also on hand to help with other excursions and requests.
Excursions of all kinds can be enjoyed throughout your cruise and are offered in all ports to get the most out of your destinations. Your sightseeing will be benefitted by the addition of an expert local guide to lead you to the most interesting areas and sights.
Avalon excursions are award-winning too – voted by Cruise Critic as Best River Cruise Line Shore Excursions 2019. Avalon knows everyone is different so it offers a range of excursions in each place, in different categories so you can choose which is right for you:
Perhaps you just want to watch the world sail by? If so, this can be done from the Sky Deck, the Observation Lounge or even the Panorama Lounge.
If you wish to connect with loved ones or even do your own research, you can make use of the computer onboard. Or if you’d prefer to read or play some games, the ships include a library you can borrow items from. You can even take a behind-the-scenes galley tour to see how the ship’s kitchen operates.
Avalon have created AvalonGO which is a mobile app to keep you up-to-date with all the key information you might need. Itineraries of the day, schedules, any transfers, even the GPS of where you are can all be found in there. Plus, there’s information on dining and entertainment too. It also allows you to connect with others with the ability to share photos and comments. One of its best features is how you can use it in your destination – it offers all the sort of local advice you might need from restaurant recommendations to maps of the towns.
Avalon offers some more in-depth excursions that might appeal to aspirations you have held. Wine tasting, painting classes, an activity such as canoeing, these are available at an extra cost but add so many more incredible memories to your cruise, helping you discover more.
If you are venturing as far afield as the Amazon and Galàpagos, you’ll have naturalists onboard and indeed any other special interest cruise will include experts. History buffs, wine masters and so on, to ensure you learn more about the topics in question.
Having been in the tourism business for over 90 years, Avalon have the ultimate respect for the places they visit and know a few things about how to conduct travel consciously. They are committed to minimising any negative impact they or their guests might have on the environments and seek to improve the lives of the people who live in the destinations visited.
They are working to reduce their use of non-renewable fuels to minimise the environmental impact and there are many initiatives in place to facilitate this. Furthermore, Avalon follows the "Leave Only Footprints and Take Only Photos" philosophy in order that no natural habitats or environments are damaged and they will continue to function as they should. The Cruise Director on your ship will educate you on their “do no harm” code of conduct so you’re fully aware of their ethos.