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Avalon Waterways offers premium, upscale river cruises to destinations around the world with a fleet that includes some of the newest, most innovative and most spacious river ships you'll find anywhere.
Avalon designs cruise experiences with "more enriching excursions, bigger spaces and more epic views." The goal is to transport passengers on a wide range of breathtaking itineraries — along some of the most intriguing rivers in the world — in style and comfort and with an all-inclusive price tag and with maximum freedom of choice.
Avalon has a fleet of 18 of its own ships — 15 sail in Europe and three in Asia (see below) — and it also charters other vessels for sailings in China (Century Legend and Century Paragon), the United States (American Queen on the Mississippi), the Galápagos (Isabella II), the Nile River (Mayfair and Sonesta St. George) and the Amazon (Aria).
Avalon has long been known for its luxury voyages along the rivers of France, the upper and lower Danube, the Rhine, Rhône, Saône, Main and Moselle rivers and the waterways of the Netherlands and Belgium. In the past few years it has added more exotic sailings to the Yangtze River in China, the Irrawaddy in Myanmar, the Nile River in Egypt, the Mekong in Southeast Asia and the Amazon.
Typical itineraries include wine country explorations of Burgundy and Provence, from Paris to see Normandy's landing beaches, as well as Christmas market cruises from late November through December. And we love the wide range of thematic cruises Avalon offers, including art & Impressionist cruises (example: the gardens of Giverny, France), beer tasting cruises, culinary cruises, golf cruises, history cruises, Jewish heritage cruises, music cruises, wellness cruises and wine cruises. Every Avalon cruise provides insights into the history and culture of the surrounding area.
Notably, some of its ships are so lithe that they can reach key destinations that other river ships can't. For instance, the ship can take on passengers in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and sail directly into Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, leaving guests more time to explore instead of dealing with local transports.
Except for the newest ships from Viking and Scenic, Avalon's award-winning ships are the youngest on Europe's waterways - the fleet is quite a bit younger than the industry average. That means you'll find larger staterooms, more innovative technologies and more features and services. As Avalon likes to say, "Seeing the Old World doesn't mean you have to cruise on an old ship."
Each of its ships offers big-ship amenities together with the intimacy of a river cruise. You'll also find multiple dining venues on many of the ships, plus a handy online service that lets you book optional excursions and drink packages in advance. We also like the fact that at least one shore excursion in every port comes standard with your sailing.
On board, Avalon offers Local Favorites presentations to give guests a glimpse into your destination’s culture and traditions. You can opt for a wide range of activities on shore, including food and wine tastings, exhibits by local artists, walks with tour guides and performances by local entertainers. Rather than herding you around, Avalon offers more expert-led discovery options than any other cruise line, making it possible to explore each port according to what intrigues you most.
Avalon calls the Panorama Suites on its newer ships "revolutionary." They're 30% larger than the industry standards and feature large wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows that open up, giving the feeling of a large open-air balcony. The rooms are laid out so that you won't miss a single passing riverscape.
Staterooms come with hotel-quality beds, soundproofing, flat-screen satellite TVs, full-size showers, marble countertops, L'Occitane bath products and complimentary Lavazza coffees.
Elsewhere on board, you can relax in a cozy corner of the Panorama Lounge and take in the passing scenery, sip cocktails made from premium spirits, hit the Fitness Center, visit the hair salon or lounge outside on the sun deck.
With Avalon Choice, you can personalize your cruise each day at no additional cost. You decide what and where to eat on board, what entertainment to catch, what activities to pursue, and the style and pace of your included shore excursions. Freedom!
Avalon cruises are all-inclusive. Your fare includes beer and regional wines with your onboard dinners, free wi-fi, a choice of dining options and venues, enrichment activities and included shore excursions.
What kind of cruise do you want? Use Cruiseable's Bliss Filters — and fine-tune your results — to see upcoming Avalon cruises that are a perfect match for you!
Here's a 3-minute video from Avalon about its river cruise experiences.