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All About Avalon Waterways, and a Dynamic Immersion in Culture On their New Ship, Expression
An Excerpt from Barbara Ramsey Orr’s Cruise Diary-
An Active Discovery on Avalon Waterways
…On a cruise from Amsterdam to Frankfurt, on Avalon’s new Expression, I had the opportunity to sample the innovative in-depth experiential activities, designed for the passenger who is relatively active and seeks a more dynamic immersion in the cultures of the places visited.
My first adventure was a food focused walking tour of the Joordan neighbourhood in Amsterdam. The day was chilly, it rained intermittently, but the places we visited made up for the weather. A cosy local cheese shop gave us the chance to try several of the traditional Dutch cheeses, and a visit to an artisanal chocolate shop was a sweet treat.
There was tea in a small Dutch hotel, the chance to try ‘olie bollen’, a delicious doughnut-like dessert in a small cafe, and the questionable delights of raw herring.
They are eaten by holding the fish by its tail, dipping it in onions and letting the raw fish slide into your mouth. Amsterdammers love it – I’m not a fan!
But the little shop was cool, the neighbourhood was full of character and the raw fish thing is one of those indigenous experiences you should try at least once.
While in Amsterdam, we also had the opportunity to connect with our inner Van Gogh through a painting class.
Our experience levels ranged from ‘complete amateur’ to ‘pretty accomplished’, but everyone enjoyed the short class, and the chance to paint a still life to take home as a memory.
We did a walking tour of the trendy Belgian Quarter of Cologne, Germany, an area of the city that most river cruise visitors seldom visit.
It was a chance to see beyond the glorious cathedral that dominates the city, and to explore a difference face of Cologne…
All About Avalon Waterways
Avalon Waterways is a relatively young (2004) line; the boats that sail Europe’s waterways are the industry’s youngest, with staterooms among the largest. Avalon’s greatest concentration is in Europe.
Chartered ships: the Century Legend and the Century Paragon, which cruise China’s Yangtze River. These boats are considerably larger than those sailing in Europe and include such features as a pool and gym.
The small (32 passengers) Avalon Angkor cruises the Mekong Delta; unlike larger vessels which must employ a bus add-on, the boat is able to travel from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to Siem Reap in Cambodia.
In Egypt, the MS Mayfair cruises the Nile River; the MS Kas Ibrim sails along Lake Nassar. The Santa Cruz operates luxury natural history cruises in the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador).
Avalon Waterways is best for:
Mature adults who desire an elegant, quiet and intimate atmosphere; Seasoned travelers who are destination oriented and who want a cruise that focuses on history and culture.
The ships of Avalon Waterways:
Avalon’s vessels are known for rich, modern decor, spacious staterooms (172-300 square feet), generous closets, luxurious marble bathrooms (with glass-enclosed showers, high-end fixtures and L’Occitane toiletries) premium bedding (choice of pillows) and flat-screen TVs (with movie channels). The Panorama suites have wall-to-wall glass that retracts to create a true open-air balcony.
Panoramic windows are located throughout the common areas, allowing for excellent scenery-watching. Also available: a fitness center, whirlpool, an Internet center, Wi-Fi access and a Sky Deck for lounging, either in sun or shade.
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Photos by iStock, Viking Cruises