Avalon Waterways

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Avalon Waterways changed the river cruise industry by designing their ship and their entire river cruise experience around their guests. They call it inspired design and it’s the reason they stand far above its competition. Not only does it boast the largest state rooms, its entire fleet now consists of “Suite Ship,” with 200-square-foot staterooms (30% larger than the competition) with open air balconies and beds that face the water. Its amenities are countless, including a fitness center, flat screen TVs, a sky deck with shade system, premium lounge chairs, whirlpools, free Wi-Fi and more.

It is also renowned for having the best certified local guides in the business and land excursions that are second to none. Plus, it revolutionized river cruising by introducing Avalon Choice Cruising, which allows guests to customize every last detail of their river cruise, so it’s a one-of-a-kind experience created specifically for them. Avalon also continues their reign as the newest fleet on the European rivers. In an industry with an average ship age of seven years, theirs average fewer than three. Which means you are assured, no matter what the itinerary; you will experience world-class amenities and state-of-the-art technology.

Avalon also offers active discovery cruises with bike tours along the Rhine River, a running tour through Amsterdam, or hike along a first-class hiking trail. You can also bike, hike or canoe along the Danube. There are excursions to historic castles, a culinary tour, a painting class, visits to an extinct volcano, or a chocolate museum. You can even conduct an orchestra or compose your own waltz. Every port gives you a world of possibilities to interact with the locals and choose the dynamic, interactive activities that appeal most.

And if active discovery is not for you, Avalon offers other popular-themed cruise itineraries, which include wine lovers, culinary experiences, beer, jazz music, art, World War II history and a Jewish heritage cruise.

Tips to know before you cruise:

• Staterooms are individually controlled, air conditioned and heated. Clothing and dress code are casual for your comfort. Meals on board are prepared by accomplished chefs and consist of food prepared for North American tastes. There is a full buffet for breakfast and lunch, and a sit-down dinner that includes a choice of soup, main courses with appetizer, salad and dessert. There is always a choice of complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks at dinner and lunch, and sparkling wine at breakfast.

• Avalon ships in Europe have complimentary Wi-Fi. Laundry on board is available for a modest fee. You can check out books in the library. The language on board is English. All staff and guides speak English and all announcements and commentary are in English. Each stateroom has a flat screen color satellite TV and will receive English programming. There will be a channel with entertainment videos and movies. Due to the proximity to land, onshore medical services can be called rapidly. All staterooms have safes and the smoking policy is non-smoking in the interior of the ship. Smoking is allowed on the sky deck outside. Don’t forget to pack a hat and sunscreen for sunny days, and a windbreaker for the occasional drizzle. Umbrellas are provided by the ship in case it rains while on ship or shore.

The only thing left to remember is to plan ahead and get those great values with large discounts and free air flights on select sailings. A call to Action Travel will help you decide on your European river itinerary, ship and sailing date. Call 440-248-4949.

Arlene Goldberg is president and owner of Action Travel Center in Solon. You can watch her on Thursdays at noon on WKYC’s “Live On Lakeside” with the “Hot Travel Deal of the Week”

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