Sail away with Avalon Waterways in 2023. Credit: Avalon Waterways

Avoid the crowds, take a river cruise with Avalon Waterways

Author: Steve Newman

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Forget the long queues for the dining room and tiny cabins. We take a look at how Avalon Waterways is combining style and space to come up with a winning combination.

I’ve always been a small ship man. To me, anything with over 600 people on board is just too many. So it’s good to see that many river cruise lines are cutting the numbers of passengers as they realise that quality is far more important than quantity.

One of the reasons why Avalon Waterways has become one the most popular brands for river cruising is their attention to passenger comfort and wellbeing. By minimising the number of guests on their ships and increasing their crew numbers, they’re able to offer excellent service.

Avalon’s policy of smaller ships and more memorable experiences means passengers are able to fully soak up the excursions on offer, minus the crowds.

Case in point? Avalon Passion – who travels along the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers with itineraries that are from anywhere from 10 to 24 days long – only accommodates a maximum of 166 passengers, together with a staff of 47 crew who are onboard to cater to guests every whim.

Avalon Waterways have adapted this policy on all of their cruises across the rivers of the globe. So let’s see how they’re doing this…

Sweet dreams are guaranteed onboard Avalon Passion. Credit: Avalon Waterways

Suite dreams
Avalon’s Suite Ships may be the same size as other river ships but they only carry half the passengers that some of the other companies do.

The suites are generously large which means you have more room to move around in and, because of their size, there are fewer passengers – ensuring you’ll never feel crowded anywhere on board.

The Suite Ships feature one-of-a-kind Panorama Suites: with extremely wide opening wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows, the whole cabin becomes an open–air balcony. Meanwhile the line’s Comfort Collection beds actually face the view, so you can stretch out and relax as you float sedately along.

Avalon Waterways’
offers a 10-night Blue Danube Discovery Cruise. Departing from Budapest, you’ll call at cities such as Melk, Passau, Vienna and the medieval walled city of Regensburg – the only German city not bombed during WWI – before ending up in Prague where you’ll enjoy two nights

Experience the Danube onboard Riviera Radiance. Credit: Shutterstock

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The spice of life
Sailing the Mekong, Saigon carries only 36 passengers in a style that offers modern Suite ship Panorama windows and other facilities with colonial opulence and the mysteries of the East.

The same size as ships that carry twice her number, why not chat with new friends in Saigon’s open air observation lounge or enjoy some ‘me time’ on deck?

Avalon offers a 13-day Fascinating Cambodia and the Mekong River cruise that includes stops at Siem Reap – the gateway to incredible Angkor Wat – Phnom Penh, Cambodia's on-the-pulse capital – and Ho Chi Minh City, aka one of Asia’s most evocative cities, among others.

Alternatively, if you’ve always wanted to visit India, Avalon’s Colourful India and the Ganges River cruise, departing from Delhi and sailing to Kolkata, could be the one for you. This 13-day cruise onboard the pioneering Ganges Voyager lets you immerse yourself into this fascinating country. Expect no more than 56 guests and a signature Suite experience with air conditioned and open air lounges.

Don't miss the spiritual city of Varanasi on the Ganges.

Prime Amazon and Machu Picchu
If a river cruise on the upper reaches of the Amazon in Peru appeals, then the all-suite Delfin III – one of the newest luxury vessels cruising Peru's Amazon with capacity for just 44 passengers – could well be what you’re looking for.

This is where Avalon Waterways small passenger number policy really pays off as you explore deep into the river’s small tributaries, flooded forests, and jungle villages affording opportunities to meet the locals.

Top up the tan on the open-air sun deck, take a cooling dip in the plunge pool, or even a cooking class in the indoor lounge. Failing that, just relax as the sun slowly sinks – and enjoy one the world’s vastly unexplored regions with the sound of the rainforest all around.

Avalon offers an 11-day From the Inca Empire to The Peruvian Amazon cruise onboard the plush, five-star Delfin 111. And, when it comes to excursions, once again the company’s policy of smaller ships and bigger experiences comes to the fore with destinations such as Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley, Cusco, and Lima all included.

The Amazon remains a cruise of a lifetime. Credit: Shutterstock

Not quite the ship of the desert!
The wonders of Ancient Egypt are soon to be seen all in one place in the brand new Grand Egyptian Museum opening in Giza this autumn – and a visit is included in Avalon’s The Taste of Egypt with Jordan Cruise onboard MS Farah. To explore the Nile is one of life’s great experiences and MS Farah certainly lets you do that in the sophisticated, luxury and style of a bygone age.

With only 116 Passengers and oversized French balconies, she is one of the most elite ships sailing on the Nile.

This 14-day The Taste of Egypt with Jordan Cruise encompasses a fascinating light show at the Pyramids as well as an unforgettable visit to Petra aka the Rose Red City – so called because of the colour of the stone from which it is carved.

In Egypt, history is ever present. Credit: Shutterstock/Ulrike Lemmin-Woolfrey

Last word
If you’re looking for a high-quality cruise with a small number of guests to eliminate the overcrowding of other cruise ships as well as large well designed cabins to spread out in, then an Avalon Waterways’ cruise won’t disappoint.

Save £1,100 per person on 2023 cruises. Plus return flights for £99 per person.
Save up to £1,100 per person on Avalon’s most popular cruises on selected dates. We've rounded up a selection of our guests' favourite itineraries, so you can travel and see Magnificent Europe at its best, get a Taste of the Danube or explore French treasures in Burgundy & Provence. Avalon is also offering return flights for £99 per person on selected sailings. Find your ideal itinerary and get ready to relax on one of Europe's majestic rivers. Book before October 31, 2022 to save.

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