Sailing effortlessly along some of Europe’s most beautiful rivers, the Avalon Visionary is another of Avalon’s exciting Suite Ships and was launched in 2012 as a sister ship to the Avalon Panorama and Avalon Vista. Slightly smaller than some of the other ships in the fleet, the Avalon Visionary has been modified to freely sail its Rhine itineraries - but while it may be smaller in size, it’s still big on style and personality. With two full decks of suites feature Avalon’s trademark Open-Air Balcony concept, and suites that are 30% larger than the industry standard, a river cruise on the Avalon Visionary is as luxurious as it is enchanting.
The average Avalon passenger is a mature traveller with a keen interest in the culture, history and heritage of Europe. The majority of its guests hail from the USA, but other English-speaking nationalities including Australian, Canadian and British passengers make up the typical mix. The vessel’s maximum capacity is just 128 passengers, and every one of its 37 crew and staff members speaks good English, providing an attentive and personalised service to all.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner services are offered in the main dining room on the Sapphire Deck, with a buffet-style breakfast and lunch, and a set sit-down menu for dinner. Early and late riser breakfasts are available in the main lounge, as well. The breakfast buffet consists of a range of mouth-watering dishes, from meats and pastries to freshly prepared eggs, plus fruit juices and sparkling wine. Room service for breakfast is also available, with a choice of continental items on offer (fee applicable). Lunch service consists of salads, soups, carving station and cooked to order pastas, as well as a non-buffet menu of traditional fare such as steaks and Caesar salad. The Panorama Lounge offers lighter fare, and on nice days the Sky Bistro on the Sun Deck serves grilled dishes in an al-fresco setting.
Dinner includes a range of regional specialities and traditional favourites, to suite every palate. There’s an open seating arrangement, so you can sit where and with whom you choose, and the menu consists of four courses, with most dishes hailing from fine French and Italian cuisine. A selection of local wines, beers, soft drinks and water are complimentary during dinner sessions, and soft drinks are free with lunch. Hot beverages, cookies and fruit are available from the self-serve station in the lounge throughout the day. Night fare is available from 10.30pm.
Dress code is smart casual for dinner, with more casual, comfortable attire often worn during the day. It’s not uncommon for guests to dress up a little during the evenings, particularly for the five course welcome and farewell dinners and Captain’s reception.
There are a number of areas onboard where guests can relax and enjoy their evenings, including the Sky Lounge on the Sun Deck, the Observation Lounge and Club Lounge. The Panorama Lounge offers social hour and drink specials, and features a full-service bar serving upscale premium spirits and wines.
Nightlife isn’t hectic, but there are carefully selected after-dinner entertainment options that complement the itineraries, such as cheese tasting, local string musicians and live piano music in the main Panorama Lounge. Movie nights are also popular.
The Avalon Visionary benefits from an Internet corner, where guests can stay connected with friends and family back home, and there is also a deck games area on the Sun Deck. Alternatively, the inviting lounge chairs and whirlpool will help guests to relax and unwind when they’re not exploring the ports. Onboard lectures and planned activities to suit the itinerary are also included as part of the Local Favorites programme.
Visionary cruises are port-intensive, with a number of shore excursions included in the fare with a choice of Leisurely, Traditional and Independent sightseeing options to suit every guest’s preference. Audio headsets are also provided for all guided excursions. From sightseeing tours of cities, museums and landmarks to exploring charming towns and villages, the excursions and tours offered are in-keeping with the itinerary and will help all guests to fully appreciate the area and destinations of the cruise. Biking excursions in both Amsterdam and Durnstein are also available on some itineraries, and Nordic walking sticks can be used at any point.
There are 12 deluxe staterooms with picture windows situated on the Indigo Deck and 52 suites spanning the Sapphire and Royal Decks which benefit from Open-Air Balcony technology. These range in size from 172 sq. ft. to 300 sq. ft., with similar amenities across the board. These include Comfort Collection queen size beds, complimentary Wi-Fi, private bathroom with full shower, choice of pillows, minibar, bathrobes and slippers, climate control, telephone, hairdryer, in-room safe, L’Occitane bath products, flatscreen TV and complimentary bottled water.
Royal Suites boast a few added extras to reflect the higher end accommodation, including a full size bathroom with separate WC, king size bed, open air balcony and floor-to-ceiling windows and a spacious seating area.
There is a hair salon onboard that offers styling as well as manicures and pedicures. There is also a fitness centre equipped with treadmill, recumbent bike, free weights and exercise bike, plus a whirlpool on the Sky Deck.
The Avalon Visionary operates a wide selection of itineraries, ranging from the Romantic Rhine tour between Amsterdam and Zurich to the equally popular Danube Dreams, Highlights of Germany and The Rhine & Moselle voyages. Every itinerary offers shore excursions, activities and entertainment to ensure every guest can enjoy an exciting and fulfilling river cruise experience – examples include visits to castles, cathedrals, windmills and Roman ruins, beer tasting in Germany, sampling of sweet Sachertorte in Vienna, market shopping and guided city tours.
Itineraries tend to last between eight and 12 days, with shorter cruises also available.