Avalon Waterways is one of the big players in river cruising, with a fleet that spans the rivers of Europe, southeast Asia and the Amazon. Its river cruises are aimed mainly at English-speaking guests from North America, Australia and the UK and prices include everything from wine with meals to shore excursions, crew gratuities, Wi-Fi, flights from regional airports, a rail option (in Europe) and a chauffeured car to and from the airport or station.

Window open to reveal the panoramic balcony effect on an Avalon Waterways river cruise ship

Panoramic balcony

In Europe, all the most popular rivers are covered, from the Rhine and Danube to the Moselle, Main, the Dutch waterways, the Rhône and the Seine. The European ships are divided into Scenery Class, slightly older ships (although still smart and contemporary-looking) including Affinity, Felicity and Luminary, and the 12 newer Suite Ships, which have some of the most spacious accommodation afloat. Avalon has always been an innovator in ship design, making a point of positioning beds so that they face the window, which slides back to create a big French balcony – ideas other lines have since copied. There is plenty to do, too. Ships carry bicycles and walking poles and most offer a gym and on-deck, a hot tub and a Sky Bistro for al fresco dining as an alternative to the main restaurant.

A suite on an Avalon Waterways river cruise ship on the Irrawaddy

Irrawaddy river cruise

The three Asian ships, two sailing the Mekong and the smart Avalon Myanmar operating on the Irrawaddy, are more traditional in design, reflecting the colours and textures of the region, with plenty of polished wood and local art. Food on-board is superb, with a genuine chance to try regional specialities, although more conservative palates are catered for, too. These ships are much smaller, carrying just 36 guests each, while Avalon Myanmar was purpose-built with a very shallow draft, so it can explore further north on Irrawaddy river cruises than most other vessels. On the Amazon, the Delfin III accommodates 44 in suites with floor-to-ceiling windows.

An Avalon Waterways river cruise ship on the Danube

Avalon is particularly strong in the themed cruises and immersive shore excursions it offers. In Europe, themed cruises include food and wine, Christmas markets, art, beer, golf and jazz, while the excursions mix up traditional sightseeing with a new range of more active pursuits, like cycling along the Danube, kayaking, hiking and even jogging. As such, you might sail with slightly younger shipmates than you would on other lines.

Would you like to experience the unique Avalon Waterways cruise experience for yourself? Call our Cruise Concierge team on 0800 197 0854 to find out more and book your perfect voyage, or click the button below to browse all of our Avalon river cruises.

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Sue Bryant

About Sue Bryant

Sue Bryant is an award-winning writer specialising in cruising. She is cruise editor of The Sunday Times and also writes for magazines and websites worldwide. She has written and contributed to several travel guidebooks, including the Insight Guide to Great River Cruises and the Insight Guide to Caribbean Cruising. In 2016, Sue was awarded the coveted ‘Contribution to Cruise Journalism’ award by CLIA for her coverage of the industry. She lives in west London with her teenage children and two dogs.

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