'Tis the season of the European River Cruise! It seems that word has got out that you do have to book your European river cruises well in advance to secure the itinerary of your choice. However the choices of itinerary, style of company and price point has many confused as to the right choice for them.
I thought it appropriate at this time to run a series of articles based on the different river cruise companies, their pros and cons and the reality behind all the hype and marketing. Regardless of your choice, a European river cruise is a costly investment. In the end once all comparisons are done, they are relatively similar in cost so therefore it is to your advantage to pick the one best suited to your personal tastes and expectations!
Let’s begin with Avalon Cruises. A division of Globus Gateway, the popular motor-coach touring company, Avalon offers many diverse and flexible itineraries of all the rivers in Europe. Easily combined with pre and post packages through the Globus/Cosmos affiliation, Avalon is a wonderful choice for the client looking for excellent value for investment. If you are a former Globus or Cosmos client you will also benefit from Past Passenger discounts.
Avalon River Cruise Experience
The Avalon fleet is one of the newest on the European river scene, however they also have some of the oldest! Early pre-booking will enable you to choose the departures which highlight these new ships. Emphasis is on the size of the suites. Water level suites are a comfortable 172 sq.ft and the Royal Balcony suites measure a whopping 300 sq.ft of luxury! Modern, cosmopolitan décor and amenities appeal to passengers of all tastes and budget. Avalon bedding, flat screen TVs, highspeed internet service and L’Occitane toiletries as well as the plush robes and slippers are wonderful!
Dining aboard the Avalon fleet is never a disappointment. The buffet breakfast is full of wonderful choices including low calorie options. Room service is free with lovely continental breakfast options for those who like to dine alone. Lunch is served either al fresco atop the Sky Deck or a la carte in the dining room and dinner is always a decadent four course meal choice of the local culinary highlights.
A drawback to the Avalon experience is the lack of choice in included shore excursions. Unlike some of the other companies, Avalon includes only one basic shore excursion in each port of call. There are a number of optional $$$ excursions which you can purchase while aboard ship. Wine and beer is only complimentary during lunch and dinner and tipping is not included however it can be prepaid at time of final payment of your cruise.
Advantages to the Avalon experience are outstanding. Their affiliation with Globus/Cosmos allows you the benefit of booking not only your pre/post stays but also your airfare through the same company. For those “hard to insure” passengers, their Travel Protection Plan is both economical and provides excellent coverage for both cancellation and out of country medical insurance. Deposits are only $250pp.
Onboard ambiance is casual and welcoming to all. A true cross section of both North American as well as European chic. The 2015 Early Booking Bonuses have been released. Save up to 10% off selected sailings.
Stay tuned next week for a comparison of Scenic vs Viking!