Can your bed’s placement in your stateroom make a difference in your river cruise experience? Avalon Waterways thinks so, which is why the line touts its staterooms as having the best views on the rivers.
“Avalon is just built differently,” Patrick Clark, managing director of Avalon Waterways, told me during a recent conversation. “Everyone else has beds facing the wall.”
Avalon’s beds face 11-foot windows, framing the European landscapes that Avalon ships pass, creating, in essence, “beds with a view.” Avalon’s beds feature pillow-tops for the ultimate degree of comfort.Staterooms also feature Avalon’s signature Open Air Balcony, a French-style balcony that opens wall-to-wall to turn a stateroom into what feels like a giant veranda. Nearly 80 percent of the total accommodations aboard Avalon’s “Suite Ships” in Europe feature this innovative feature.
Forgoing actual “step out” balconies results in more interior stateroom space on Avalon’s “Suite Ships.” On those ships, you’ll find two full decks of accommodations measuring between 200 square feet and 300 square feet. “Our smallest room fleet wide is 172-square-feet,” Clark said. “That’s a very important differentiation when you consider others in the industry have rooms as small as 135-square-feet.”Where might you experience these staterooms with their window-facing beds?
All throughout Europe, where Avalon operates 15 ships (and with two more to come next year). You might consider France, where Avalon doubled its capacity with the christening of the Avalon Tapestry II this past spring. Or Avalon Poetry II, which sails from Burgundy to Provence, and from the Rhine to the Rhone on a brand-new itinerary.
In fact, with Avalon, you can customize itineraries that range from 3 nights to 22 nights as well as choose from more than a dozen theme and specialty cruises. “We view choice as a way for the customer to make each voyage their own,” Clark said.Further catering to choice, Avalon has gotten creative to give guests seven dining options throughout the day.
It begins with Continental breakfast that is offered through room service — something you don’t see a lot on river cruisers. Then there is the early-riser’s breakfast, the full main dining room breakfast, and finally a late-riser’s breakfast. There are usually two options for lunch (including an outdoor grill), and two for dinner, the main dining room and the Panorama Bistro, which serves tapas-style, Mediterranean dishes for up to 24 people in a section of the main lounge.
And in addition to the included shore excursions, Avalon offers custom options — for a fee — for those who want to do more. “We find that some people may have had a morning excursion, and rather than relax in the afternoon, they want to go on another excursion, so in select cities we offer options,” Clark said.