By Celece Seegmiller for The Spectrum Newspaper, July 5, 2015
When it comes to European river cruises, there’s usually one company that comes to mind. They’ve done an excellent job of bringing attention to the river cruise industry. You can’t open a magazine or watch a television show without seeing one of their ads. However, most people don’t realize there are a variety of options to choose from when it comes to cruising the rivers in Europe and they are all very different.
At The Travel Connection, our consultants made a goal to travel with the four of the most popular European river cruise companies. That way, we would have first-hand knowledge about each company and know how they vary. By the end of 2014, we checked Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, AMA Waterways, and Viking River Cruises off our list. We sailed on the Danube, Rhine, Rhone, and Seine Rivers – each one offering an incredible vacation experience.
There was only one more option left this year and that was Avalon Waterways. We were eagerly waiting to see who would be the first to try Avalon. I am finally happy to report that Mary Curtis just returned from her Avalon Waterways cruise a few months ago with wonderful reviews. I asked her to name one thing about Avalon that stood out among the others: “I’ve been on several river cruises in Europe and in China but I just returned from a river cruise with Avalon Waterways. Avalon boasts about their new cabin design called “Panorama Suites”. I was able to experience these new suites for myself and I can tell you that everything they’ve said about their new cabin design is true! The cabins are 200 square feet which are some of the largest in the industry – 30 percent larger than most to be exact. Avalon turned and angled the bed to FACE the window which actually creates more room for the bathroom. The bathroom was the largest I’ve experienced on a river boat and I could even turn around in the shower. There was ample closet and dresser space for both my granddaughter and myself. The most spectacular thing about the new “Panorama Suites” is the 12 foot glass window facing some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. 8 feet of that wall completely opens which creates a sort of indoor balcony. Many of the cabins on other cruiselines may only have a desk chair for seating in the cabin but in the Avalon cabin, there were two chairs at a small table, a desk chair and a love seat. I was able to sit in a comfortable love seat with the window wide-open and have the same experience as sitting on a balcony. The locks on the rivers in Europe are so narrow that there just isn’t enough room for a sizable outdoor balcony, so Avalon created the perfect solution with their “Panorama Suites”.
Can you imagine what it would be like waking up to panoramic views of the vineyards along the Rhone or castles on the Rhine from your bed? Thanks to Avalon’s Panoramic Suites, now you can!