Cruising the Rhine since 2010, the Avalon Felicity is a sister ship to Avalon Luminary and the Avalon Affinity, and shares their mission to provide unforgettable river cruises to well-travelled guests who are keen to learn more about the history and culture of Europe. As one of the smaller ships in the fleet, the Felicity offers an intimate experience to its passengers, with luxuriously decorated interiors that are modern, contemporary and elegant. From the statement atrium that benefits from lots of natural light to the beautifully-appointed staterooms that guarantee a good night’s sleep, a river cruise on the Felicity is a refined and indulgent experience.
With a maximum capacity of 138, the Avalon Felicity offers an intimate river cruise while still allowing guests to socialise with like-minded travellers. The majority of guests hail from the USA, but you will also find guests onboard from the UK, Canada and other English-speaking countries, too. River cruises on the Avalon Felicity tend to be marketed towards a more senior well-travelled audience, with many guests having an interest in enrichment and furthering their experience of European culture, history and heritage.
There is a dedicated Cruise Director onboard, and 39 English-speaking crew members who will provide attentive and professional service at all times. Certified local guides are also fluent in English.
An open-seating policy operates in the main dining room, so reservations aren’t necessary and guests can choose where to sit. All meals can be enjoyed here, including a buffet breakfast (including full buffet, made-to-order eggs, sparkling wine and fresh juices) and a buffet lunch (including carved meats, pastas, soups, salads and entrees) and a sit-down four course meal with waiter service for dinner.
Guests can enjoy both regional specialities and traditional Western fare, so all palates are well catered for. Wines, beers and soft drinks are all free of charge with dinner, and soft drinks are also complimentary with lunch. There are also other casual dining areas onboard, including the Panorama Bistro where guests can enjoy light bites, late-riser breakfasts and Afternoon Tea, and the Sky Bistro on the Sky Deck, which offers al-fresco dining when the weather permits.
Hot beverages and fresh fruit are available around the clock via the self-serve station, and room service is also available, offering continental breakfasts at a small fee. Dress code is casual, with guests opting for smarter casual attire for evenings onboard.
There is a daily entertainment program onboard, ranging from movie nights and crew shows to local performers and the soothing sounds of the in-house pianist. Guests look forward to special events including the Captain’s welcome reception (with sparkling wine and canapés), and the Welcome and Farewell five course dinners.
The Panorama Lounge on the Royal Deck is where the majority of entertainment takes place, and also offers a social hour every evening before dinner, with a selection of drinks offers available. Alternatively, grab a seat in the Observation Lounge where you can admire the views at the front of the ship at the same time as socialising with fellow travellers.
There is a comprehensive Local Favorites programme of activities available during the voyage, which includes food and wine tastings, lectures and presentations. There is also an Internet corner, shipwide Wi-Fi and a well-stocked library filled with books, cards and games. The Sky Deck features a deck games area, as well.
However, the main draw of an Avalon river cruise is the tours and excursions that are included in the fare. The Avalon Choice experience allows guests to pick and choose excursions and tours in most ports, with leisurely, traditional and independent sightseeing options available. From sightseeing in Strasbourg and Cologne to canal cruises in Amsterdam, there’s plenty to see and do to keep every inquisitive guest satisfied, including biking excursions in Amsterdam and Breisach, and the use of Nordic walking sticks if desired. Headsets are also provided for all guided tours.
Of the 65 staterooms and four suites onboard, 85% of them feature a French balcony, while the remainder have picture windows. All rooms are spacious, ranging from 172 sq. ft. in staterooms to 258 sq. ft. of space in the suites. Regardless of which room you choose, guests can enjoy amenities including a flatscreen TV with plenty of channels, radio, mini-bar, in-room safe, hairdryer, Comfort Collection beds (with optional queen or twin configuration) featuring Egyptian super-combed linens and European-style duvets, telephone, premium bath products, complimentary bottled water, individual climate control, a nightly turndown service and use of bathrobes and slippers.
Avalon Suites feature more spacious bathrooms and seating areas that boast a sofa as well as armchairs.
There is a whirlpool situated on the Sky Deck available, if guests wish to enjoy a refreshing dip, as well as plenty of sunloungers and premium lounge chairs. A system of shade awnings offers respite from the sun if required.
There is also a hair salon onboard, that offers manicures and pedicures as well as hair styling, and a fitness centre that is equipped with workout machines and free weights.
The Avalon Felicity offers the eight day ‘Romantic Rhine’ itinerary, both northbound (Zurich to Amsterdam) and southbound (Amsterdam to Basel). As part of these itineraries, guests can visit legendary cities including Strasbourg, Koblenz and Cologne, see the sights in Heidelberg (Germany’s oldest university town), discover the Black Forest and explore cosmopolitan Amsterdam - all at the same time as appreciating the stunning scenery that the Rhine and the Rhine Gorge have to offer.
There is also a 14 day extended edition of this itinerary, which also includes luxurious land stays in Paris and London.