Built in 2012, and overlooked by its godmother – Canadian travel guru Vanessa Lee, the Avalon Vista and its sister, the Avalon Panorama, introduce guests to an innovative way of travel, aboard a ‘Suite Ship’ that provides panoramic windows which morph into open-air balconies.
Possessing all of the mod-cons that you’d expect, including a Sun Deck, Wi-Fi throughout the ship and fitness centre, as well as some little treats that can’t be found on many other river cruise ships, like a top deck whirlpool for when relaxation is at the top of your itinerary, the Avalon Vista helps passengers to weave through the rivers of Europe in style.
The Vista has a maximum capacity of 166 people, most of who are from the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia. River cruises aboard the American-born ‘floating boutique hotels’ are marketed towards the English-speaking corners of the world, so there’ll be little need for your translator, even when on land where you’ll be guided by an English-speaking expert.
Passengers travelling on the Avalon Vista can enjoy a staff to passenger ratio of roughly 1 to 3.5, with a whopping 47 crew members on board, ensuring top quality, personalised service throughout your journey. This includes the presence of a Cruise Director at every stage, who can help you to maximise your Vista experience. Most passengers are well-travelled, well-educated and affluent, and enjoy experiencing Europe’s waterways from this sensational, luxurious vantage point.
As soon as guests step on deck, they will be able to enjoy the upmarket ambience of the Avalon Vista. From the Captain’s reception with sparkling wine and canapés, to the slightly more formal welcome and farewell dinners that offer a great opportunity to dress up a little, there are plenty of superb dining opportunities throughout every itinerary.
The main dining room can be found on the Sapphire Deck and offers a spacious, open-seating area in which guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Alternatively, guests can head to the ship’s Panorama or Sky Bistro during lunch hours for a light lunch, or use them as an alternative venue for the dinner service. The Sun Deck also hosts occasional al fresco barbecues for up to 40 passengers when the weather allows.
Complimentary wines, beer and soft drinks accompany every evening meal, and a self-serve beverage station ensures hot drinks are available throughout the day. Breakfasts are served at times that can suit early birds and late rises, with a buffet breakfast station and made-to-order egg station on hand to provide you with your perfect breakfast plate. For lunch, there is a buffet station, dishing up carved meats, pasta and more, while the four-course dinners offer a choice of appetisers, entrees and desserts (or cheeses) across both a regional and Western menu.
The Vista also offers daily afternoon tea with tea, coffee and sweet treats, as well as room service (fee applicable).
As with most upmarket river cruises, Avalon’s entertainment programme is low-key. A variety of options are available for guests to enjoy, from enjoying the social hour in the Panorama Lounge to sipping premium cocktails on the Sky Deck as you watch the enchanting scenery glide past. Local performers pop on board in some ports to provide you with musical entertainment that echoes the region’s traditions and customs, and there are also regular movie nights which are perfect for film lovers, and evening piano music to add a soothing soundtrack to your down-time.
Alternatively, the on-demand entertainment system that’s connected to the flat-screen in your room is a great excuse to retire for an early night.
Avalon Waterways knows how to do shore excursions well. Choose from a range of excursions that fall into three categories – Leisurely, Traditional and Essential Sightseeing. Guided tours with English-speaking experts are available in every port, and are included in the cruise fare; guests are also provided with individual headsets to ensure they don’t miss out on any key points. Passengers also have complimentary use of maps and Nordic walking sticks for independent exploration.
Meanwhile, the Local Favorites programme ensures onboard lectures, local chefs, entertainers, artisans and local experts can help to enrich your mind and enhance your Avalon experience. There is also a fully-kitted out Internet Corner and Sky Deck games area for a little fun between ports.
As part of the Vista’s design, there are two full decks of suites that feature wall-to-wall panoramic windows that double up as an open-air balcony. This means you can wake up every morning and be wowed by the scenery that you can enjoy from the comfort of your luxurious window-facing bed.
There are 17 deluxe staterooms (172 sq. ft. with two picture windows) located on the Indigo Deck, that offer all of the amenities you could need including a deluxe bed with premium mattress, soft linens and choice of pillow. Of the 66 suites onboard, 64 of them are Panorama Suites, which are split across the Sapphire and Royal decks, and boast an impressive 200 sq. ft. of space. These feature the retractable windows that can create an open-air balcony. There’s also a sitting area with space to seat six people. Additionally, there are 2 Royal Suites, located on the Royal Deck, that offer a huge 300 sq. ft. of space, and segmented bathrooms with dual sinks.
All guests benefit from a nightly turn-down service, a flat-screen TV with entertainment system, bathrobes, slippers, complimentary bottled water and top-quality L’Occitane toiletries.
Take a dip in the top-deck whirlpool, or find a spot to soak up the sun on the spacious Sun Deck which is dotted with loungers and a fantastic shade system. Kick back, relax and watch the world go by - or for active sorts, the expanded fitness centre would be an ideal space to head. Don’t forget a pampering session in the onboard hair salon, located on the Royal Deck – perfect for a pre-dinner treat!
The Avalon Vista can be found cruising some of Europe’s most majestic rivers, with three popular itineraries on offer, which typically run between 10 and 14 nights. Choose from the ‘Legendary Danube’ which takes you along this iconic waterway between Prague and Budapest, or instead opt for the ‘European Splendour’ or ‘Magnificent Europe’ itineraries, which takes guests between Amsterdam and Budapest. There are also Christmas time river cruises with added extras, including trips to Christmas markets and festive-themed activities – perfect for a truly magical holiday!