Matt, from our Sales team in Australia, recently experienced our 8-day Avalon Waterways Danube Dreams river cruise in November last year. As a first-time river cruiser, Matt’s expectations were exceeded. Read on to find out what a river cruise newbie didn’t expect.  

I’d heard all about the staple novelties of river cruising like unpacking once, having great service and being wined and dined well. Yes, this was delivered in spades but there were also some things that I had absolutely no idea about on an Avalon river cruise that I would love to share.  

You can dock in the heart of the city 

Ship docked in Budapest

I’ve done my fair share of ocean cruises, so I already knew that it’s a convenient way to get around. However, it has its limitations as you can only get so close to a destination whilst on a mammoth ship. I learnt that the rivers of Europe used to be the highways to get around which means that towns and cities were built around the river. In the case of some, like Budapest, the river runs right through its centre. It was incredible to simply step off and be in the centre of a city or town in less than 5 minutes.  

It was way less sedentary than I expected 

View over city

With my Avalon cruise, I had full control of the activity throttle. I loved that one moment you could be watching the world go by from your bed, and the very next – cycling or hiking through world-famous sites. I especially liked that there were many immersive Discovery excursions included in the upfront price, such as an Austrian farm experience and underground wine cellar tasting. 

Food and beverages match the destination 

Dinner onboard

In my previous experience of cruising, you would usually have standard Western menus and house wines each night. With Avalon, you are treated to regional cuisine that changes as you sail from country to country. So regional, in fact, that the menu is even in the local language at times converted back to English (whilst still having a classic offering as well). The wine list also developed throughout the cruise, from the Rieslings of Germany to the Gruner Veltliners of Austria. My taste buds were taken on just as much of an adventure during this river cruise. 

I was present in every moment of the holiday 

View of Danube River

This is probably overlooked in travel. But for all the great things that travel can be, it can also be stressful, tiring and a lot of planning. This river cruise allowed me to switch off and enjoy the destination without having to think or worry about anything – no taxis, flights, schedules or figuring out how to get from A to B. I didn’t once have to think about how tomorrow would work as I was taken care of, meaning I was completely in the moment to just enjoy the experience. 

There was a dance floor 

Panorama Lounge

I had always imagined river cruising as the kind of holiday which had someone crooning in the corner hunched over a piano as the entertainment. My experience had everything from live bands, acoustic performers, local cultural performances and even an epic dance off organised by the Cruise Director. 

With over 70 cruises to choose from, book your dream river cruise with Avalon Waterways today. 


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