Credit: What's New Indonesia.

Shore thing

Author: Kaye Holland

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Explore Avalon Waterways’ exciting excursions ashore.

While it can be hard to drag yourself off an Avalon Waterways’ river cruise ship – owing to the line’s luxurious cabins and suites, all of which come with arresting views, exquisite meals prepared fresh by the line’s onboard chefs, and glass-enclosed lounges – it’s time to rediscover the world once more and create new memories.

It’s hard to believe but it’s been two years since we had the freedom to travel from country to country so it’s understandable that going back out into the world can be daunting.

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It can be hard to drag yourself off an Avalon river cruise ship. Credit: Avalon Waterways.

However, if the past couple of years have taught us anything, it’s that life is unpredictable and we need to live for the now, immerse ourselves in what makes our hearts sing, and connect with the world and each other.

-READ MORE: Cruise the Rhine with Avalon Waterways-

Happily, Avalon Waterways have gone out of their way to make passengers’ shore excursions an easy, seamless, and exciting experience. Make no mistake: regardless of what type of traveller you are, Avalon Waterways has an excursion and activity to suit you.

Three levels of excursions
Avalon understands that no two travellers are alike and, to this end, offers three levels of excursions: Classic, Discovery, and Active.

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Classic excursions tend to be more leisurely and laidback and revolve around walking tours to historical sites – where expert guides (who are actually local) will let you in on the history and heritage of an attraction.

However, if you’re after something a little more interactive, Avalon’s Discovery itineraries could be the answer. The line’s Discovery itineraries invariably feature cooking classes and painting workshops aimed at taking guests to the heart of a destination.

Cooking classes are just one of the many activities offered on shore. Credit: Avalon Waterways.

And then, for anyone up for an adrenaline-filled adventure, there are the aptly named Active excursions involving electric bikes, kayaks, and the like.

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The three categories of excursions mean passengers get to explore each destination in their own way and at their own pace, safe in the knowledge that every single excursion has been tried and tested by Avalon’s team of travel experts.

And regardless of which level of excursion, ahem, floats your boat, we can guarantee one thing: there will never be a dull moment on an Avalon excursion.

Top trips: three of the best Avalon excursions
Attempting to select our favourite Avalon excursions is akin to picking the spottiest dog in a kennel full of Dalmatians: nigh on impossible.

Do we want to borrow a bicycle from an Avalon ship for a picnic on shore? Glide through the Rhine Gorge in a kayak? Or imitate the brush strokes of Van Gogh in a little French village? The choices are endless.

Since you ask, however, we’re letting you in on three of our favourite Avalon excursions. You’re welcome.

Search for the best cruises with Avalon Waterways

Angkor Wat is arguably the most famous of all of Cambodia’s temples. Credit: Britannica

On Avalon’s ‘Fascinating Vietnam, Cambodia and the Mekong River’ cruise – which takes in three countries in 16 days – we have a soft spot for the classic excursion option.

-READ MORE: Rhine river cruise guide: Everything you need to know about cruising with Avalon Waterways-

This involves exploring Siem Reap’s most famous temples by tuk-tuk. Starting at Angkor Wat, arguably the most famous of all of Cambodia’s temples with its five trademark towers, you’ll continue your guided excursion to Angkor Thom. Here you will explore Bayon Temple with its 200 striking faces carved in 54 towers and impressive bas relief sculptures.

Angkor is a place to be savoured, not rushed, and an expertly-guided tuk-tuk tour will ensure you do just that.

Passengers embarking on Avalon’s eight-day river cruise from Arles to Chalon-sur-Saône can paint a day away at a wonderful painting workshop where you’ll learn the techniques of Vincent van Gogh. Channel the Dutch post-Impressionist painter, unleash your creativity, and learn to paint your own version of a Van Gogh classic – although you are free to go off-piste and do your own thing too!

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The workshop promises a great painting experience to enjoy with new friends when you're looking for something different to do in Arles. By the end of your workshop, you'll have your own masterpiece to take away with you, as well as a host of new painting skills and a big smile on your face.

Focus on enjoying the moment on your many excursions. Credit: Avalon Waterways

If you love getting out on the water, then a guided kayak trip down the Gorges de l'Ardèche might appeal. Offered on Avalon’s eight-day river cruise from Lyon to Port-Saint-Louis, you’ll have the chance to immerse yourself in the scenery (think spectacular canyons) in the Gorges de l’Ardèche. Enjoy the liberating freedom of life on the water, and a perspective you just won’t find on dry land.

-READ MORE: Eat, Pray, Cruise: Elizabeth Gilbert named godmother of Avalon’s newest ship-

What's more, a kayaking trip is without a doubt one of the most sustainable and responsible ways (forget about carbon footprints) of exploring your new surroundings. We approve.

Last word
All told, whichever way you wish to spend your day on an Avalon cruise, you’re sure to find a Classic, Discovery, or Active excursion that speaks to you and delivers what we all crave: an experience that will live on in our hearts and minds long after returning home.

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About Kaye Holland

Kaye is a London-based wordsmith who has written for a range of publications including The Times, The Independent, The I, Culture Trip, The Sun, and ABTA among others. In June 2022, Kaye joined the Real Response Media where she looks – together with Lucy Abbott – after the World of Cruising website. Want to get in touch? Kaye can be reached at: [email protected]