Avalon Imagery II
Set for a 2016 release, the Avalon Imagery II is one of two brand new Suite Ships that are being added to Avalon’s impressive fleet (the other being the Danube-based Avalon Passion), and will provide luxurious and enriching itineraries on the Rhine River. With the Imagery II, Avalon continues to offer the highly acclaimed Open-Air Balcony concept in all 52 of its suites, which are spread across two full decks. Combine the beautifully-appointed staterooms with the multiple dining areas, elegant public areas and extensive excursion list, and any river cruise on the Imagery II will undoubtedly be unforgettable.
There is a maximum capacity of 128 passengers, with 37 English-speaking, attentive crew tending to their every need. The river cruises appeal to a senior, well-travelled demographic, and while American guests make up a large proportion of guests onboard, there is a growing number of other English-speaking nationalities making bookings, including passengers from USA, Canada, Australia and the UK.
All guests can enjoy the services of an onboard Cruise Director and English-speaking certified local guides.
Head to the Sapphire Deck for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which are all served in the main dining room. Breakfast consists of a full buffet, with a made-to-order eggs station. Complimentary sparkling wine and fruit juices are available every morning, so guests can start their days in style! Lunch service in the main dining room includes a well-rounded buffet, with a selection of pastas, salads, soups, entrees and desserts, as well as a meat carving station. Soft drinks are complimentary with lunch.
Dinner consists of four courses and waiter service, with a menu including various dishes that are both regional specialities and popular Western favourites. With dinner, local wines, beers, soft drinks and wines are complimentary, and teas and coffees are served after dessert, too. Night fare is available at 10:30pm and a continental breakfast room service is on offer at an additional fee.
There are a couple of alternative dining venues available if guests wish to sample something different, including the al-fresco Sky Bistro when weather permits, and the Panorama Bistro on the Royal Deck, which is open for early- and late- riser breakfasts, light lunches, dinners and afternoon tea. Hot beverages are available throughout the day from the self-serve station, at no extra charge. Dress code is casual, with many guests choosing smart casual attire for evening meals.
The Panorama Lounge is the primary entertainment venue, and is where crew shows, movie nights and local performers and musicians enthral guests well into the evening. The lounge also features a grand piano with in-house pianist, and a full-service bar serving premium spirits and cocktails. A social hour, including various drinks specials, takes place here daily before dinner.
Alternatively, guests can enjoy relaxing evenings in the Sky Lounge on the Sky Deck or in the Observation Lounge at the bow of the Royal Deck. Highlights of every cruise include the Captain’s Reception (with sparkling wine and canapés), and the gourmet Welcome and Farewell dinners. These are all perfect opportunities for guests to dress up and mingle with fellow travellers.
Avalon excels at shore excursions, with certified local guides leading the way. The Avalon Choice programme offers guests a choice of leisurely, traditional and independent sightseeing options, which ensures guests can embark on excursions that suit their interests perfectly. Headsets are provided for all guided shore excursions, and, if exploring independently, there are complimentary maps and Nordic walking sticks available.
Back onboard, there is a deck games area on the Sky Deck for some healthy competition, and an Internet corner if you need to access the internet and don’t have a device to connect to the shipwide Wi-Fi. The Local Favorites programme provides guests with plenty of enrichment when on the ship, including guest lectures, artisanal talks and tasting sessions.
There are 12 staterooms with picture windows and 52 suites with Open-Air Balcony feature onboard. Panorama Suites are 200 sq. ft. and have wall-to-wall floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows that can slide completely open to let the outside in. The Comfort Collection beds are also angled to face the view out of the window too, giving guests the perfect vantage point without even having to move from their bed.
Other amenities include Egyptian cotton linens and European-style duvets, private bathroom with shower, bathrobes and slippers, L’Occitane bath products, minibar with complimentary bottled water, telephone, hairdryer, flatscreen TV and in-room safe. There is also a nightly turndown service. Royal Suites are larger (300 sq. ft.) and include larger sitting areas and larger bathrooms.
Active guests can make use of the facilities in the onboard fitness centre, which is equipped with a variety of exercise machines, weights and stretch mats. There is also a whirlpool on the Sky Deck where passengers can relax in the bubbles at the same time as admiring the beautiful river views. Alternatively, take a seat in one of the premium lounge chairs and relax with a good book and a refreshing drink.
There is a hair salon onboard which also offers manicures, too.
The Avalon Imagery II will sail the eight day Romantic Rhine itinerary, either sailing between Zurich and Amsterdam, or Amsterdam and Basal. Some itineraries offer optional extension which includes stays in Paris and London. Journey along the Rhine and navigate the canals of Amsterdam, before sightseeing in Cologne, Koblenz and Strasbourg. Sail through picturesque areas of the Black Forest and the Rhine Gorge before exploring Heidelberg, eyeing the legendary Lorelei rock and spending time at the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, a Black Forest open-air museum and woodcarver’s workshops.