Launched in 2004, Avalon Waterways is part of the Globus family of brands, a company that was founded in 1928 and specializes in escorted and independent travel. Avalon’s immersive itineraries provide an insider’s look at each destination’s culture and history. Its superb sightseeing program, developed through its relationship with escorted tour operator Globus, provides VIP entry to must-see attractions, expert commentary from experienced guides and personal headsets so you don’t miss any details. With the debut of its Suite Ships, Avalon introduced innovative cabin designs that make the most of the passing views.
The ships of Avalon Waterways sail rivers in Europe, Asia and South America. Among itineraries are themed departures that focus on wine, local cuisine, European history, hiking and biking and more. The upfront fare of an Avalon vacation includes a river-view stateroom, onboard meals, Wi-Fi access, guided sightseeing, sparkling wine at breakfast and soft drinks and regional beer and wine at dinner, plus much more.
The company also offers cruises in the Galapagos Islands, several hundred miles off the coast of Ecuador.
Here are a few of the reasons customers choose to sail with Avalon Waterways:
Avalon’s Suite Ships in Europe and Southeast Asia offer two full decks of 200- to 300-square-foot Panorama Suites (about 30 percent larger than the industry’s standard). They feature the line’s groundbreaking “open-air balconies,” with 11-foot-by-7-foot windows that slide open to transform your entire stateroom into one huge veranda, letting in the fresh air.
Beds face the wall-to-wall windows so guests can take in the views with their morning coffee, and a sitting area accommodates up to six people. Rooms are outfitted with deluxe bedding, spacious closets and L’Occitane bath products.
Each day’s dining schedule starts with an early riser’s continental breakfast at 6 a.m. and ends with a late-night snack served at 10:30, with two more breakfast options, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner in between. Chefs incorporate locally available ingredients in their menus, and lunches and dinners are complemented by regional wines chosen by a sommelier. Breakfasts are accompanied by sparkling wines.
The line’s Avalon Fresh initiative sources items from small farms and other producers in the sailing area to create tasty, healthy vegan and vegetarian dishes. Local chefs also are brought on board to interact with travelers and introduce them to the destination’s specialties.
Avalon lets passengers customize their time ashore at a pace that suits them by offering both leisurely and traditional sightseeing styles. The first is relaxed and unhurried, the second is conducted at a typically moderate pace. All excursions are led by certified local guides who have deep knowledge of the destination and sprinkle their tours with behind-the-scenes experiences.
Guests also are free to get off the ship and explore independently to make their own discoveries. Avalon provides bikes and Nordic walking sticks for no added cost.
Daily port lectures delivered by knowledgeable cruise directors and guest speakers help passengers learn more about the sailing region. Onboard presentations -- like tastings of cheeses in France, woodcarving demonstrations in Germany or folk dance performances in Bulgaria -- provide an authentic look at local traditions.
To get a feel for the Avalon experience, check out the video below.