By Carolyn Scott-Hamilton

Originally posted to

Have you ever thought of doing a river cruise? If so, I highly recommend it! It’s a wonderful and relaxing way to see smaller port cities than with traditional ocean cruises while also seeing some terrific inland locales across the globe. And who would I choose to cruise with? Avalon Waterways!

While there are a plethora of river cruise companies to choose from, let me tell you about the Avalon Waterways Difference as I just had the good fortune of cruising with them in Europe on one of their unique and signature Active & Discovery cruises!

The Stateroom

Avalon Stateroom

Let’s start with one of the things that makes Avalon so unique. The stateroom. While it may seem status quo to have your bed facing the window, guess what? It’s not!! And Avalon cracked the code of sheer river cruise luxury by making sure all beds face the glorious scenery.

With floor to ceiling, wall to wall, sliding glass doors, your Avalon stateroom becomes your cruising balcony. Enjoy fresh breezes and stunning landscapes from the comfort of your insanely comfortable bed.

Oh yes, Avalon has its own proprietary bed called the Comfort Collection in addition to a pillow and mattress menu to suit your tastes while onboard!

Still not convinced? OK, let’s talk excursions!

The Excursions

Vineyard Excursions

Most cruises offer one basic excursion or land tour when in port with the more “interesting” excursions costing guests extra. But not Avalon!

Avalon offers up a wide variety of INCLUDED excursions at every port to suit every type of guest. From traditional historic sight tours to cooking classes for the more culinary-focused guest, one-of-a-kind activities to plenty of DIY time, Avalon knows how to make every guest happy.

As previously mentioned, I was lucky enough to experience Avalon’s Active & Discovery cruise up the Danube this summer. While Avalon is offering Active & Discovery options on most of their cruises, this particular one is geared more toward the active traveller with several active options offered daily.

From biking and hiking to running and kayaking and more in some of the most beautiful places in the world, Avalon as really cornered the market on seeing the world in a whole new way.

So it’s really up to you, canoe one day, sightsee the next. Drink wine in a castle or go for a killer bike ride, you can do it all with Avalon!

The Ports of Call

Avalon Ports of Call

With Avalon, you get the best of both worlds. Large city ports as well as smaller, less “touristy” destinations, giving you a well-rounded view of the route. What I love about that is that travellers don’t feel so overwhelmed to pack so much into big-city ports of call, allowing time to relax and soak in time on the ship as well as off. It’s a wonderful balance and makes the experience that much more enjoyable.

The Service

Avalon Vegan Dining Option

Being a special diet traveller, I’m always curious to see how cruise lines handle that. And Avalon knocked it out of the park. The restaurant manager found me on my first day so that she and the staff knew me by face and name so that they could accommodate my dietary needs seamlessly. And they sure did!

Every day they surprised me with a fun dish as well as including me in many of the appetizers as they made vegan versions of what the rest of the guests were enjoying at mealtime. So thoughtful!

Additionally, the ship staff from housekeeping to front desk is top-notch. So friendly, helpful and always ready to cater to guests’ needs, Avalon really makes every person feel special. Plus, I adored our cruise director!


One of the things I seek out on every trip is sustainability. From hotels and restaurants to cruises, it’s so important to me to see companies making efforts to achieve a greener future.

Of course, Avalon is ahead of the game by already offering bamboo straws on all cruises and soon, they will be completely getting rid of single-use plastics on board. In fact, in just a short while, all ships will be retrofitted with water bottle filling stations! I friggin’ love it!

Not to mention they have cut paper use by 80%!

Are you interested in experiencing the Avalon Difference for yourself? Check out our wide range of river cruises throughout Europe, Asia, South America and Africa here.

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