Avalon Waterways

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Review of Avalon Waterways

This is CruiseMapper's page that reviews and lists all Avalon Waterways river cruise ship itineraries, destinations, and ports of departure. We have all Avalon riverboat schedules (sail calendar with dates and prices PP). Another feature is the Avalon Waterways ships tracking service integrated into each page. This feature shows on a map the ship's location now (current position on the river).

The Avalon Waterways cruise company was founded in 2004 and is a brand name owned by Group Voyagers Inc (also known simply as "Globus family of brands" and "Globus Travel Group").

The company's headquarters (as part of the Globus family) are in the USA (Littleton, Colorado). Avalon's current President is Pam Hoffee (promoted from Managing Director in May 2022). Other company executives include Scott Nisbet (CEO-Chief Executive Officer), Steve Born (CMO-Chief Marketing Officer), Camille Olivere (CSO-Chief Sales Officer).

Avalon River Cruises

The premium travel brand and river cruise line Avalon Waterways (avalonwaterways.com) offers exceptional personalized services, with experience in guided vacations and cruising itineraries of over 80 years. Avalon travel experts are constantly thinking of their passengers and always put them first.

Avalon Cruises Avalon Waterways

The company uses small ships, and their guests do receive personalized service in absolutely no crowd. Avalon makes it easy to enjoy the beauty of destinations, as they include guided sightseeing tours and shore excursions in the basic fares.

All Avalon riverboats feature a quiet propulsion system and outside accommodations - among the largest of the river fleets. Avalon staterooms are relaxing and comfortable, with floor-to-ceiling glass doors, satellite TV, hotel-quality beds, bathrooms with full-sized showers, and even private balconies. The expansive sun decks, modern fitness equipment, and beauty salons are another extra.

Each Avalon Waterways ship features a relaxing Main Lounge with exciting panoramic river views, an intimate dining room, and Internet workstation area. Complimentary regional wines, soft drinks, and beer are offered during dinner and lunch. Expert tour directors present educational background: language, culture, even China art lessons, a specialist Egyptologist, lectures on wildlife and natural history of the Galapagos Islands - a plus for all Avalon inquisitive passengers.

Avalon riverboats

The Avalon cruise company became known worldwide with its unprecedented fleet expansion (see in the itinerary section / at least one new ship per year). The reason for so many newbuilds is Avalon's parent company Globus Group. Founded in 1928, the Globus group of companies manages over 30 businesses in the fields of tourism and aviation, offering annually over 10000 departures on over 300 unique itineraries.

This makes Globus one of the world's largest cruisetour agencies with operations in nearly 70 countries on 6 continents and servicing over 0,5 million passengers annually with a huge variety of escorted tours, all kinds of river cruise packages, and also selling independent travel package deals.


Avalon river cruise deals relate to the following destinations and countries

  • Europe (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Holland, Hungary, France, Germany, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland)
  • North American (USA) Waterways (Mississippi River)
  • Asia (China/Yangtze, and Cambodia and Vietnam/Mekong Delta)
  • Africa (Egypt - Nile River and Lake Nasser)
  • South America (the Galapagos Islands, Amazon River)

Innovation and technology - in 2011, Avalon introduced the Panorama ship - industry's first Suite-class riverboat. On Avalon's "suite ships", ~80% of all staterooms are in Suite categories, sized 1/3 larger than the industry's average, with slide-opening wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling windows, window-facing beds for a unique river cruising experience. Another design feature is the SDS "Silent Drive System" (providing quieter and smoother navigation), contemporary interior decor, surprisingly spacious public areas (fitted with plenty of woodwork, polished metal and glass), designer lighting, contemporary artworks.

All-Inclusive deals - all shore excursions and guided tours, food and beverages (including a locally-sourced selection of wines and 24hr tea/coffee/cake/cookies self-service station) and the superior service are included in the cruise fares. The onboard experience also features

  • premium (5-star hotel room) amenities - premium bedding, complimentary WiFi access, Sky Deck (Jacuzzi, premium loungers), Hair Salon, Fitness, well-stocked library. Guest in the Royal Suite category can also enjoy in-suite complimentary iPads.
  • cuisine / food - an open-seating dining, buffet-style breakfast, lunch buffets (2 hot dishes, soups, salads, various bread, and dessert choices), 4-course dinners, complimentary wine with lunch and dinner, 5-course welcome dinners and "chef tastings". These are non-smoking ships, with the exception of those sailing in China and Egypt.
  • shipboard entertainment - stylish bars and lounges, after dinner piano music and classy performances by local musicians, special events, movie nights, beer and wine tastings, a great onboard enrichment program (by lectures focused on the itinerary/region), expert tour directors.

Company's clientele/customers are generally well-travelled, 55+ aged, mostly English speaking. The majority of passengers are retired Americans (~60%), Australians (~25%), also from Canada (~10%) and UK (~5%). Hotel staff consists of mostly Eastern Europeans. Shipbuilding company is Neptun Werft. Parent company's website is GlobusAndCosmos.com

The following YouTube video reviews the Avalon Waterways Asia cruises - Vietnam (Mekong River) itineraries.


The following video reviews Avalon's "Suite Ships" cabins.


In 2019, the Avalon fleet left four 138-passenger riverboats - the sisterships Affinity, Felicity, Luminary and Creativity. These vessels are currently chartered by "Gate 1 Travel".

Inaugurated in 2020, the company's "Your Way" program allows Avalon cruise passengers to "chart their own course, at their own pace".

  • Globus (escorted tour vacation) with hotel accommodations, sightseeing, Tour Director, certified Local Guides, transportation and coach driver.
  • Monograms (independent vacation package) with hotel accommodations, sightseeing and on-site Local Host services.
  • Avalon Waterways land extension package with expert-guided sightseeing.

The "Avalon Choice" menu (offered on every cruisetour itinerary) allows choosing from a wide variety of price-included excursions grouped as:

  • DISCOVERY - interactive activities specifically designed to cater to passengers' interests (cooking classes, painting workshops, etc).
  • ACTIVE - guided trips (jogging tours, hiking, biking, paddling) along the destinations
  • CLASSIC - local expert-guided tours themed on port's/destination's history, culture, architecture

The AvalonGO App helps customers to independently explore all itinerary destinations, providing detailed daily scheduled activities, itinerary information, nearby attractions, maps, travel directions, local dining (cafes, bars, restaurants) and entertainment options.

In 2022, the company introduced the sustainability "Lighthouse Project" (Planet-People-Places) aiming to protect waterways and wildlife and to promote organizations that support sustainability, communities and environmental preservation. As part of this project, in the period 2022-2024, the company planned to reduce its paper waste to ~1% (by replacing paper use with interactive digital technologies), to start using biofuel for bunkering, to reduce by 50% its total CO emissions, to install electric bow thrusters (on all older boats). As of 2022, Avalon already eliminated (shipboard and ashore) single-use plastics, reduced by 95% paper waste, invested in farmers (to secure locally-produced food and beverages and support local economies), installed LED lighting fleetwide), increased using shore power (while the boats are berthed) to further reduce pollution.

Avalon Waterways cruise price Inclusions

All meals onboard are included in your fares (meals at breakfast, lunch, dinner). Also included are:

  • Captain's welcome and farewell parties (sparkling wine, canapes)
  • Welcome Aboard dinner, Farewell dinner
  • (daily) Afternoon Tea, Night Fare (served at 10:30 pm)
  • Local destination chef dinner
  • Meals and complimentary drinks (daily) - breakfast (sparkling wine-juices, made-to-order egg station), lunch (soft drinks), dinner (regional wines, beer, soda, choice of appetizers-entrees-desserts-cheese).
  • Staterooms amenities - 2 twin beds that convert to queen-size, 3-door ample closets (shelved), 1 private bathroom (with glass-door separation shower), a hairdryer, complimentary bathrobes and slippers, 2-seater sofa, coffee table, smart TV (satellite), a vanity desk, individual room climate control, direct-dial phone, mini-fridge, personal safe, deluxe pillow menu (soft/hard), 1,5L complimentary bottled water. Standard occupancy in all staterooms is 2 guests.
  • Other features - panoramic windows, contemporary design of public spaces, headsets (shore tours), premium coffees-cappuccinos-lattes, coffee self-serve station, a lounge for premium spirits, modern fitness center, premium bedding (BedsSM), luxury bath amenities (L'Occitane), early- and late-riser breakfast, full buffet breakfast, Alfresco lunches (Sky Bistro), regional food recipes, 4-course dinners (open seating), English-speaking crew, non-smoking environment, large modern bathrooms (showers are with sliding glass doors), flat TVs (satellite), 3-door closets. Alternative dinners with regional specialties are served at the Panorama Bistro (on the newest "Suite Ships"), complimentary maps and Nordic walking sticks (on tours).

Avalon Waterways cruise prices also Include city tours and excursions (with a local guide), but these visits and their features are subject to change (a substitute will be offered). All Avalon cruise rates in our articles are per passenger (double occupancy, airfare not included). On some of the Avalon cruises, mid-vacation flights are required.

Avalon river cruises Europe, Asia, USA hotel package deals

Note: Avalon river cruise deals are also inclusive of premium hotel stays (included in the ticket's price).

  • Avalon Waterways Europe hotel deals - Vienna (InterContinental), Budapest (InterContinental), Prague (InterContinental or Hilton), Paris (Hotel du Collectionneur Arc de Triomphe, and Pullman Paris Montparnasse), Cote d'Azur (Fairmont Monte Carlo), Munich (Sofitel Munich Bayerpost), Cote d'Azur (Fairmont Monte Carlo), Bucharest (Athenee Palace Hilton).
  • Avalon Waterways Asia hotel deals - Thailand/Bangkok (InterContinental Bangkok), Cambodia/Siem Reap (Victoria Angkor Resort and Spa), Vietnam/Ho Chi Minh City (InterContinental Asiana Saigon). Avalon hotel partnerships in China/Tibet - Shanghai (Fairmont Peace), Xian (Hilton), Beijing (Fairmont), Chengdu (Shangri-La Hotel), Lijiang (Crowne Plaza), Lhasa (Sheraton - Four Points).
  • Avalon Waterways USA hotel deals - Chicago (Palmer House Hilton), Springfield (Hilton), Nashville (Opryland Hotel), Memphis (The Peabody Memphis) and New Orleans (Hilton New Orleans Riverside).
  • Avalon Waterways Amazon River (Peru, South America) hotel deals - Lima (Casa Andina Miraflores), Sacred Valley (Casa Andina Sacred Valley), Machu Picchu (Sumaq Hotel) and Cusco (Casa Andina Cusco).
  • Avalon Waterways Galapagos Islands (Ecuador, South America) hotel deals - Quito (Swissotel Quito), Galapagos (Finch Bay Hotel).
  • Avalon Waterways Egypt (Nile River) tours and hotel deals - Cairo (Oberoi Mena House, and Fairmont Heliopolis), Alexandria (Helnan Palestine). For Avalon's Nile cruises currently is chartered the ship MS Farah.

If some water level problems occur, or any technical problems, Avalon Waterways may operate the itinerary by motorcoach or to change the entire cruise tour program. Check the visa requirements with your travel agent - visas are the client's responsibility.

(new) Avalon Waterways FlexDining program

In 2019, the company introduced the so-called FlexDining on all boats in the fleet.

  • Dining is open seating / not fixed at all shipboard venues.
  • FlexDining allows passengers to enjoy more dining time flexibility at all onboard breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
  • At all the ship's dining venues (Main Restaurant, Panorama Bistro, Sky Grill) were added healthy food options with the new "Avalon Fresh" menu (introduced in 2017). The "Avalon Fresh" dining option is a partnership between Avalon Waterways and the German chefs Leo and Karl Wrenkh. The new menu offers healthy food made with freshest ingredients from local farms and suppliers,
  • In the restaurants fleetwide were added more 2-top tables for couples.
  • At Sky Deck (Sun Deck) was added bar service plus night snacks (upon request).
  • Complimentary picnic lunches are provided on all shore excursions and tours in ports of call.

Avalon's FlexDining allows all passengers to choose dining venue and times, an alfresco lunch (Sky Grill), less formal Panorama Bistro, 4-course dinner in the dining room restaurant.

(Coronavirus crisis) passenger shipping pause 2020-2021

Due to the COVID pandemic, Avalon Waterways suspended its entire fleet's passenger shipping operations (all riverboats) canceling all voyages with pre-scheduled departures in the period March 14, 2020, through late-July 2021.

Operations were planned to resume on October 1, 2020, but the fleet's pause was eventually extended through 2021 July (Europe and Asia).

All affected Avalon river cruise and cruisetour bookings received a full (100%) monetary refund, including on prepurchased through Avalon Waterways packages and services.

Itinerary of Avalon Waterways

Here are the shortcuts to all the Avalon Waterways river cruise line ships. The company operates a young fleet of mostly European riverboats aimed at North American, Australian and New Zealand passengers in their 50s or older. Avalon river cruises deals as itineraries and destinations extend to Egypt’s Nile River and China’s Yangtze River - from Hong Kong and Tibet to Ulaanbaatar. Avalon Waterways also operate the Galapagos Islands destination. In this section, you will find all their ships, itinerary information, complete sailing schedules with dates and prices to compare.

As an alternative to owning river cruise ships, Avalon leases them. The company makes partnerships with cruise ship companies that have operational ships in a particular destination and brand 1 or more boats as Avalon Waterways. The line charters these boats for up to 5 years, with the option to refurbish them or give them back to the owner. This way Avalon easily maintain one of the youngest and most modern fleets on this market. In the list below, the newest Avalon "Suite Ships" are starred (*). All "Suite Ships" are scheduled to sail on Danube, Main and Rhine river cruises in Europe.

IMPORTANT: In 2019, the Avalon fleet left the 138-passenger riverboats Affinity, Felicity, Luminary and Creativity. These vessels are currently chartered by "Gate 1 Travel".

  • Avalon Angkor (2012) - Mekong River - Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia. Since 2015 the ship operates as "Angkor Pandaw".
  • Avalon Artistry 2 (2013*) - Rhine River - Holland, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Switzerland
  • Avalon Envision (2019) - Danube River - Danube River - Holland, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia
  • Avalon Expression (2013*) - Danube River - The Holland, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Switzerland, Slovakia
  • Avalon Illumination (2014*) - the Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers - Holland, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey
  • Avalon Imagery (2016*) - the Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers
  • Avalon Impression (2014*) - Danube River - Holland, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia
  • Avalon Myanmar (2015) - Irrawaddy river - Burma
  • Avalon Panorama (2011*) - the Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers - The Holland, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia
  • Avalon Passion (2016*) - the Danube, Main, Rhine, Holland, Black Sea
  • Avalon Poetry 2 (2014*) - the Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers - Holland, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Switzerland
  • Avalon Siem Reap (2015) - Mekong River - Cambodia and Vietnam
  • Avalon Tapestry 2 (2015*) - France (on Seine River leaving from Paris)
  • Avalon Tranquility 2 (2015*) - Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers
  • Avalon View (2020*) - Rhine and Danube
  • Avalon Visionary (2012*) - Danube and Rhine Rivers - Holland, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Switzerland
  • Avalon Vista (2012*) - the Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers - The Holland, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia
  • Century Legend and Century Paragon offer the Yangtze River cruises in China. Both ships are privately-owned and operated by Viking under a charter. These riverboats are also chartered by other major European lines, like AmaWaterways, Viking and Uniworld.
  • American Queen steamboat (launched 1996) offers Mississippi River cruises in the USA. The riverboat is operated under charter - via a partnership with the "American Queen Steamboat Company".
  • Aria houseboat (launched 2010) offers Amazon River cruises in Peru (South America). The boat is chartered from Aqua Expeditions.
  • Kasr Ibrim (launched 1997) offers Lake Nasser cruises on the Nile River in Egypt. The ship is operated under a charter.
  • Sonesta St George (launched 2011) offers Nile River) cruises in Egypt, and is also operated under a charter.

In 2019, Avalon Waterways added 6 new options, including the company's first "Ganges River Cruise" in India. With the new itineraries are also introduced all-suite newbuild riverboats (with open-air, floor-ceiling balconies) and new shore excursions and onboard activities.

Avalon Waterways itinerary options are categorized into 3 classifications (CLASSIC, ACTIVE, DISCOVERY) allowing customers to tailor their cruise according to personal preferences, special interests, and activity level. The DISCOVERY programs target specific interests (like painting workshops and cooking classes) themed on the region's culture. ACTIVE programs target more energetic passengers and include options like guided jogging tours, cycling, hiking, paddling. CLASSIC programs are based on lectures (history- and culture-themed) and walking tours guided by professional local experts.

Avalon river cruise tracker

Our Avalon cruise ship tracker is a function integrated into all Avalon river cruise review pages. At page-bottom on each page, you'll find a map with the boat's current location (AIS position). All the real-time tracking data is provided by VesselFinder. It's all about convenience - you will find where is your Avalon Waterways ship cruising today and right now along its current itinerary - in real-time!

Enjoy the luxury travel cruising on your Avalon Waterways vacations!

Note: You can see the CruiseMapper's list of all river cruise ships and riverboats in the "itinerary" section of our River Cruises hub. All river passenger shipping line companies and their fleets are listed there.

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