Launched in 2010 by American-based Avalon Waterways, this contemporary ship glides down the rivers of Europe in understated style thanks to its innovative Avalon Silent Drive System that’s designed to provide a quieter cruise experience. Like its two sister ships, the Avalon Felicity and Avalon Affinity, the Avalon Luminary has a capacity for 138 passengers, making for an exclusive yet laid back atmosphere onboard.
Avalon’s young river ship fleet is reflected in its passengers who appreciate the modern décor and Avalon’s flexible MyAvalon programme, where they can tailor their experience from celebration packages and bed configuration to how much or how little sightseeing they want to do.
The Avalon Luminary attracts a discerning passenger who enjoys the floating boutique hotel feel of the ship, the spacious decks and public areas, and the wall-to-wall panoramic windows. The 39 crew, overseen by a Cruise Director, give a great passenger-to-crew ratio, meaning service is always friendly, attentive and unhurried. As Avalon Waterways is an American river cruise line, it’s very popular with well-educated, well-heeled holidaymakers from the USA and Canada, as well as Australia and the UK.
Dining options are both delicious and flexible on the Avalon Luminary. The light, airy restaurant serves a fantastic breakfast buffet with a made-to-order egg station, sparkling wine and food options colour-coded according to their nutritional value. There are also early and late-riser breakfasts available for those who want to grab a coffee and pastry on the go or enjoy a lie-in.
Lunch is another sumptuous buffet with a carving and pasta station and complimentary soft drinks. An alternative light lunch is on offer in the Sky Bistro and afternoon tea is served in the lounge or on the Top Deck.
In the evenings there’s a four-course dinner with a choice of dessert or cheese and complimentary wine and beer, followed by Night Fare from 10.30pm. At all meals there’s an emphasis on providing a great balance of seasonal familiar favourites and local delicacies inspired by the ship’s itinerary.
For an extra charge you can also enjoy drinks and a Continental breakfast in your stateroom. Fruit and a self-serve beverage station with complimentary tea, coffee and hot chocolate are always available.
The Captain’s reception is a great opportunity to meet your fellow guests over sparkling wine and canapes. The welcome dinner and five-course farewell dinner are also fun, informal occasions to eat, drink and be merry. You enjoy cocktails made with premium spirits on the Sky Deck, join in with the daily social hour and drinks specials in the Panorama Lounge, treat yourself to a drink at the bar or watch the world go by from the Observation Lounge. There’s also the chance to enjoy movie nights and performances from local entertainers. And if you feel like relaxing in your stateroom, your flat screen TV has over 100 English-speaking free movie options.
Onboard the Avalon Luminary, most passengers are happy to relax in the lounges or on the Sky Deck with its premium lounge chairs and shade awnings after a day’s sightseeing. Guests also enjoy the Local Favourites programme of events such as regional wine and food tastings, demonstrations by local craftsmen and expert talks on the history and culture of the area being explored.
The Cruise Director is on hand to help, and Nordic walking sticks, maps and headsets are available for offshore exploring. You can choose the Traditional sightseeing option where a local guide will show you all the main sights in detail, the Leisurely option where you’ll be guided round the highlights at a slower pace or Independent, where you have the freedom to discover Europe’s historic heartland on your own.
When it comes to staying in touch with home, you can use the internet corner or take advantage of the free Wi Fi throughout the ship. There’s also a games area on the Sky Deck and a well-stocked library.
The Avalon Luminary has 65 deluxe staterooms and four suites. At 172 sq. ft., the staterooms are a generous size (suites are 258 sq. ft.), and the contemporary design in warm creams, reds and beiges adds to the feeling of space and light. The suites and 54 of the staterooms feature floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors with a French Balcony. The remaining 11 staterooms have two windows. Alarm clock, bedside table, safe, hairdryer, minibar, phone, flat screen TV, air conditioning and writing desk come as standard on all staterooms, with the suites also boasting a sofa, coffee table and marble countertops in the bathroom.
Comfort is taken seriously in the cabins with extra blankets, memory foam mattress toppers, soft and firm pillows, Egyptian cotton linens, European-style duvets and the fleet’s Comfort Collection Beds with a choice of configuration coming as standard. Suites are also designed so that the bed points towards the windows, where possible, maximising your view. Storage is ample with 3-door shelved closets and under-bed storage.
Finally, extra touches like bathrobes and slippers, premium L’Occitane toiletries, room service and a nightly turn-down service in all staterooms add to the feeling of comfort and luxury.
With plenty of deck space to stretch your legs, and a whirlpool on the Sky Deck, feeling good is easy onboard the Avalon Luminary. If your itinerary takes you to Amsterdam or Durnstein you can go on a biking excursion. There’s also a small fitness centre with modern workout machines. For the less mobile, there’s an elevator to help you get around. The ship also has a hair salon which offers manicures too.
From the canals of Amsterdam, to the majestic Danube, Main, Rhine and Moselle rivers, the Avalon Luminary is an experienced navigator of Europe’s waterways. Itineraries vary from 8-day cruises like the Romantic Rhine or Essential Holland and Belgium itineraries, to the Jewels of Central Europe cruise which takes 17-nights Eastbound from Paris to Budapest or 19-nights Westbound from Budapest to Paris. For the ultimate river cruise experience there’s the 21-night Magnificent Europe itinerary that incorporates offshore stays in both Paris and London.