Preparing for your first river cruise? You asked and we’ve answered. Read on for some tips for first-time river cruisers with Avalon Waterways.  

What currency should I travel with?  

Travel essentials
Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

If you’re cruising with us in Europe, we recommend travelling with Euros (EU). Bear in mind that some European countries have their own currency (for example, the forint in Hungary), however Euros and United States dollars (USD) can be easily exchanged for the local dollar on shore. Smaller denominations of Euros also come in handy for public bathrooms, market purchases, and tipping Local Guides and crew if they have gone above and beyond your expectations.  

If you’re cruising with us in Southeast Asia, we recommend travelling with Vietnam dong (VND), Cambodian riel (KHR) and USD. This is widely accepted by locals and can be exchanged for local currency.  

Of course, you will have an onboard ship account which you can charge items like additional drinks, laundry and excursions to. This will be settled at the end of your cruise with our Reception team and can be paid for with a credit card.  

What is the dress code? 

Sailing onboard Avalon
Photo by travelbycarolyn on Instagram

In line with Avalon Waterways’ relaxed luxury ethos, we don’t require you to dress to the nines (unless you want to!). Smart casual attire is acceptable throughout your cruise, and we understand that you may be even more casual at lunch time after returning from an excursion. Each cruise includes a special welcome reception and farewell dinner so you may like to dress up a little for these occasions.  

What power sockets are in my room?  

All rooms take the European power plug (Type C) with two round prongs. You will also have a USB charging point in your room.  

Should I prebook my excursions? 

Kayaking at the Pont du Gard
An Active excursion – kayaking underneath the Pont du Gard
Photo by 3dsandyb on Instagram

To avoid missing out on your preferred excursions, we recommend prebooking. This can be done in your MyAccount customer portal 90 days prior to your cruise departure date. You can prebook both your included excursions (ranging from Classic to Active to Discovery) and your optional extras.  

What time is dinner each night? 

Dinner on Avalon
Photo by gustobychefmassimo on Instagram

We don’t require you to book an allocated dinner slot each night – just come on down to the Panorama Dining Room after your daily port talk, from 7pm, and we’ll have a table ready for you. If you prefer to dine in the Panorama Bistro, no worries! This begins about 15 minutes after the Panorama Dining Room opens.  

What time is check out?  

We kindly ask that you check out of your room by 9am on your final day with us. However, you are welcome to stay onboard in the Panorama Lounge until approximately midday if you have onward travel arrangements. 

What is the difference between the Royal and Sapphire Decks?  

The view from a Panorama Suite
Photo by travel_by_trish on Instagram

The Royal Deck is our upper-most floor of cabins, featuring two Royal Suites and the rest as Panorama Suites. You are on the same floor as the Club Lounge, one floor below the Sky Deck, and one floor above Reception and the Panorama Lounge.  

The Sapphire Deck is our middle-floor of cabins, featuring all Panorama Suites that are closer to the water. This floor is in the middle of the Panorama Dining Room, Fitness Centre and Reception.  

Overall, there is no ‘wrong’ deck to choose from; it just comes down to personal preference. 

What can I use the AvalonGO app for?  

Person using mobile phone
Photo by John Tuesday on Unsplash

Our handy AvalonGO app is full of great information for you before, during and after your cruise. You can download it from the Apple Store or Google Play Store. Some of our favourite features of the app include: 

  • Daily itineraries and menus  
  • Hotel and transfer information (if you have booked this with us) 
  • Keep a journal of your travels (you can even save this as a PDF and email it to yourself) 
  • Onshore recommendations 
  • GPS directions available without needing WiFi  

Is there anything in particular I should pack for my cruise? 

More often than not, you will just need to pack what you normally would for whatever season you’re travelling in. A hat and raincoat are always a good idea! 

Angkor temple
Clothing that covers your shoulders and knees is essential for Southeast Asia
Photo by tansx on Instagram

If you are cruising on the Mekong, please pack a loose, or light, long-sleeved top and pants/shorts that fall below the knee for entering temples. Closed-toe shoes are also the most comfortable for excursions. Upon your return to your ship, our crew will take your shoes away to clean them. They will then be delivered either back to your room or you can collect them from the Reception area. 

If you are planning on partaking in a kayaking excursion in Europe, a dry bag will keep your valuables safe whilst on the water. 


We hope these tips for first-time river cruisers are useful for planning your trip with us! Visit our website for more information, and for the full range of Avalon Waterways river cruises.  

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