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 Adds Longer Itineraries For 2025

On the cusp of the New Year, Avalon Waterways distributed a Wish List survey to past cruisers asking them to share future travel interests and plans. One new, post-pandemic trend the company revealed is that cruisers want longer, more in-depth getaways.

Read More »

What Makes Avalon Waterways Different?

Legend has it that Avalon is a mystical island cloaked in mist, steeped in ancient lore and said to be a gateway to the Otherworld—a place where seekers discover inner peace and wisdom. That makes it a perfect name for this river cruise company. Avalon Waterways charts its course along the rivers of Europe and beyond, where every turn uncovers fresh wonders.

Read More »

Do not let anyone tell you how to live your life. It is never to late to change the path of your destiny. Your life is your responsibility…take it back into your own hands and make a conscious choice to make different decisions for yourself. This is the end of a cycle. Time to start fresh based upon on your OWN heart space 🤍🤎

This card is from the Mists of Avalon Oracle #mistsofavalonoracle by inserrarose waywardharper rockpoolpublishing 🤎

Happy Odin’s Day 🤍


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Winter may have just started, but now is a great time to book your Tulip Time river cruise with Avalon Waterways.
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We are on an #avalonwaterways river cruise in France and went on a 13-mi bike ride today and it was so perfect (and flat) 😃👩‍🎨🚴‍♀️🚴‍♂️ ...

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Let’s talk Christmas Market cruises onboard #AvalonWaterways

Call Meredith at 405.343.1819 and give the gift of #travel this year!

The world how it twinkles.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to experience the holiday season in Europe? You know ... indulging in the holiday spirit and the sights, smells, tastes and local traditions of Europe’s famous Christmas Markets? Wonder no more! Put a ribbon on your plans for next year or 2025! #AvalonInView

This is definitely on my list for 2025 travel! So come along with me!!!!
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Merry everything, happy always!

Did you know? Our Festive Season cruises on Avalon Waterways visits some of the world`s most spectacular Christmas Markets sell-out year-over-year!

Good News! We`ve added some more departures this year to help you experience the magic in person in 2023!

Can`t make it for `23, let`s try for 2024 now!!

📷 AvalonWaterways
SharontheTravelGuru GoldgellGetaways
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You must walk up over 300 steps to reach Wat Hanchey from the Mekong River. The railings are lined with the Naga - a powerful five headed snake 🐍- and surrounded by jungle.
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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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Happy Valentine’s Day!💗

I’ll always be here for you!
Ask yourself if big box & vendors can say the same! 😉

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