Avalon Waterways Review | What Makes Avalon Different & What We Like

Our Rating

With itineraries ranging from 4- to 26-days geared toward a wide variety of travelers, Avalon provides something for everyone. The company’s itineraries call on unique ports with the opportunity to kayak, canoe, cycle, spelunk, and more. And its Storyteller Series cruises are particularly special, allowing guests to sail with some of their favorite authors such as Jen Hatmaker, Diana Gabaldon and, previously, Candice Bushnell, Gillian Flynn and more.

What We Like

  • Active & Discovery itineraries, a program that immerses you into the destinations through active tours, such as walking and bicycling, and cultural immersion through art & cooking classes, “day in the life” tours, and so much more.
  • Suite ships provide ultimate comfort with hotel-worthy beds and bathrooms with nice-sized showers. These ships also have complimentary WiFi Internet access, an expansive sun deck and a small fitness center. 
  • Large windows that open in the stateroom to create a huge open-air balcony. We called it Europe in HD.
  • A dining program that includes flexible dinner times and dinner almost anywhere you request on the ship. Plus, Avalon Fresh, which offers really good Vegetarian and Vegan options, as well as healthy breakfast items.

Avalon Waterways traces its roots back to 1928, when Antonio Mantegazza used a rowboat to transport goods across Switzerland’s Lake Lugano. His business evolved into motorcoach tourism and expanded into an international travel brand: Group Voyagers, Inc. – parent company of Avalon Waterways.


This consortium of well-known brands such as Globus, Cosmos, and Brennan Vacations has been a leader in escorted tours of Europe for almost a century, but it wasn’t until 2004 that the company launched Avalon Waterways’ fleet of royal-blue river cruisers.


The Avalon Waterways’ fleet expanded quite rapidly, eventually introduced newly designed “Suite Ships”. Today, the Avalon fleet encompasses nearly two dozen vessels. In Europe, Avalon Waterways operates on the Rhine, Main, Danube, Douro, Moselle, and Seine, as well as French wine country cruises on the Saone and Rhone rivers. Avalon also offers sailings on the Mekong, Ganges, Nile, Amazon, and in the Galapagos.


Each ship within the Avalon Waterways’ European fleet features an intimate dining room, a relaxing Main Lounge with panoramic views, a reception area, and a small fitness room. An expansive sun deck allows guests to stroll and enjoy the fresh air, or relax in a deck chair and take in the ever-changing scenery. And while it’s nearly impossible for river cruisers to feature anything more than two dining rooms, Avalon is creative enough to offer guests multiple dining options throughout the day.

What Makes Avalon Waterways Different

  • Suite Ships 

Avalon’s “Suite Ship” accommodations measure between 200 square feet and 300 square feet apiece and are equipped with Avalon’s signature Open Air Balcony – a French-style balcony that opens wall-to-wall, transforming staterooms into a giant veranda. These Open Air Balconies are found in nearly 80 percent of the total accommodations aboard Avalon’s Suite Ships in Europe.


  • Flexible & Accommodating Dining Options

 When we sailed with Avalon, I we were absolutely blown away when it came to the adaptability and accommodation of the kitchen. On the first day of the trip, we attended a meeting where we shared our dietary restrictions (one of our party is vegan) with the chef and maitre d. From that point on, Emma was practically escorted from the doors of the dining room to the breakfast and lunch buffets and given a personal tour of what she could and couldn’t eat.

Flexible dining times ensure guests don’t miss time to explore, you can stay out in town and come back to the ship a bit later for your dinner. Dinner can also be set up practically anywhere you want per request, with light dinner offered in the lounge every night.


  • Attention to Detail & Added Comfort 

Avalon’s ships are designed with comfort in mind. The lounge houses many couches where guests can relax with a book or position themselves to watch a local entertainer on board, as well tables to play games. Couches are nice and comfortable, the table and chairs can be better sometimes for passengers with limited mobility. It can be hard to shuffle around coffee tables and into the corner of a sectional.

The Cruise Manager will assist if anything in the cabin needs to be changed – Avalon can always make the mattresses more firm or soft, and provide different bedding if needed. (It likely won’t be needed, the beds are seriously comfortable.)


  • Active & Discovery and Themed Sailings

Avalon’s Active & Discovery sailings offer more excursion choices than its traditional itineraries, with added components to appeal to an active group of travelers. The choice of unique excursions offered provide the chance to immerse oneself in the culture of the region through bike rides, canoe and kayak trips, hikes, and so much more – like a visit to an essential oil factory, participating in a Medieval Knights tournament, an olive oil tasting (yum!), art & cooking classes, even a wine tasting in a cave.


Avalon also offers a multitude of themed cruises, from beer and wine cruises to photography cruises. Particularly special are the line’s Storyteller Series cruises, which allow guests to sail with some of their favorite authors.


  •  Globus Family of Brands

One differentiating factor for this cruise line is that it boasts the backing of the huge Globus family, which offers some practical value: those who are members of Globus’ Journeys Club, for example, receive discounts and other perks for traveling within the family of brands. The brand’s large footprint in Europe also helps with operational infrastructure, such as guides and transport, enhancing the guest experience.

Read other articles on River Cruise Advisor about Avalon Waterways.

News & Experiences On Avalon Waterways

Avalon’s Active & Discovery: Our Readers Chime In

Britton’s recent story about Avalon struck a chord with readers. Responding to 5 Ways Avalon Waterways Goes Above & Beyond, which Britton wrote after her May Danube sailing on Avalon View, our friend Ben Rich was one of several readers who felt compelled to write about his experience on Avalon. 

Read More »

Avalon’s 2024 Active & Discovery Offerings

Next week, I am headed to Budapest to sail with Avalon Waterways on the Danube. I first sailed with Avalon Waterways in 2021, when I was invited to sail the Rhone River on an Active & Discovery itinerary. These “A + D” itineraries have quickly become my favorite way to travel because of the type of travelers to whom they cater and the fast-paced style of travel that they offer. 

Read More »

Avalon Waterways’ 2024 Danube Itineraries

When visiting historically rich and architecturally beautiful cities day after day, Avalon just wants to make sure that its guests get to do and see as much as they want in each destination. For those who want a more traditional river cruise experience, with mostly classic sightseeing excursions and tours, or even a more curated experience like a wine or culinary themed cruise, Avalon offers a variety of other itineraries ranging from 3-nights to 20-plus night combination cruises.

Read More »

Lexus 🤤❄

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9 reasons we enjoyed our river cruise in Europe with avalonwaterways (partner) just got published on our blog. You know a travel experience is great when we are still saying weeks later "we should be having coffee (or happy hour) overlooking the Danube River right about now".

And, editing all our photos and upcoming videos brings back very fond memories. If you`re curious and interested in a Europe River cruise with kids (or without), check out our perspective via the Linktree link in our bio ytravelblog


#avalonwaterways #danuberivercruise #europeancruise
#viennaaustria #europedestinations #europetrips #familytraveler #familytravelblog #avaloncruise #rivercruises #rivercruiseseurope #europeancruise

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Tag someone who wants a #cruise for #Christmas
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#LetsMakePlans #LetsGetTraveling #MerryChristmas

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River Cruise Tip! If you’ve done the Danube and the Rhine, there are several other choices that could appeal.

I specialize in river cruises at my travel agency and can help select the right company, and itinerary for you. There are a lot to choose from and they are all different!
I’ve done several river cruise itineraries to less touristy locations and have LOVED them.
Just one example: I just did a Bordeaux cruise. Things I loved about it:

Literally NONE of the ports we went to were touristy;

Unlike most cruises, we spent more than one day in a few of the ports. I really loved this because I felt like I had more time to explore the destination in depth, and that is not always the case on cruises;

We didn’t cover a lot of ground. The cruise was only in the Bordeaux region of France so we could really explore that region thoroughly, and spend a lot of time off of the ship. If you like to visit lots of countries, or regions, this wouldn’t be a good choice for you, but it’s great for people who like a more in depth experience in one area.
The Bordeaux region is perfect for foodies, wine lovers, anyone who likes to explore on bike tours and Paris lovers who like to shop and enjoy beautiful architecture.
Contact me to book your next river cruise and I will get to know you, what you are looking for, and what you might like. I will then provide you with customized options to choose from that are right for you. And, I will get you perks!
Questions about river cruising? Ask me below! I’m an expert!
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8 day itinerary guide about our recent River Cruise in Europe with our partner avalonwaterways is now on our blog.

A play-by-play guide on the places we visited and the tours and activities we did in each location. It`s a detailed guide to give you perspective on what our cruise was like and what you can expect and experience.

Check it out via the Linktree link in our bio.

#avalonwaterways #AvalonInView

#europerivercruises #avaloncruise #danuberivercruise #familytraveler #familytravelblog #europedestinations #europetravels #europetrips #cruiseeurope #cruiselifestyle #regensburggermany

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"Accumulate memories and moments, not just possessions"...has always been our motto since we started our website and traveling as a family 15 years ago, and we certainly accumulated tons of priceless memories on this 8 day river cruise through Germany, Austria, and Hungry with avalonwaterways.

People told us from day one of becoming parents that our travel life is now over, but we knew that traveling with kids IS possible at any age, and they are great adaptors. This river cruise was a first for us at this style of travel, and we have lots more to share in upcoming blog posts and updates on here about our cruise, but here are 4 quick reasons we loved it:

1. Unpacking once over 8 days and unloading all our bags into a closet & draws. So nice compared to jumping from hotel to hotel like we did the other 3 weeks in Europe.

2. Not having to worry about food. Our biggest stress and time waster as a family when traveling is where are we going to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day? Not easy with 4 food tastes and dietary needs. This was all taken care of for us on the ship.

3. Transportation between each port city taken care of and getting a perspective of the scenery from the river.

4. Plenty of excursion options in each port, and the ability to split up as a family and know that we were taken care of by local guides.

What questions do you have about a river cruise in Europe?

Partnership with Avalon Waterways. #AvalonInView

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#happyhour #avalonwaterways ...

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🏞️ Take advantage of panoramic river views with Avalon Waterways! Featuring the widest-opening, wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows in river cruising! Venture through Europe and Southeast Asia on the Rhine, Danube, and Mekong rivers! Check out our available Avalon Waterways river cruises at 🔗

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My view at breakfast is spooky with #avalonwaterways ...

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