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Expert Review of Avalon Waterways

Ships: Avalon has 23 ships, and none date back before 2008.
Routes: In Europe, you can sail the Danube, Rhine, Main, Moselle, Seine, and Rhône rivers. U.S. cruises sail the Mississippi River. In South America, you can cruise the Amazon River or around the Galapagos Islands. And Asia routes sail the Yangtze, Mekong, and Irrawaddy rivers.

Best For:

Those who want to see a region without renting a car and schlepping their own bags from hotel to hotel, as well as those looking for a comfortable, casual way to explore with plenty of hand-holding.

Not For:

Those who’d rather make their own plans and determine every aspect of what they see on their vacation or for those who have the freedom to change their route at whim.

We Love:

avalon waterways netherlands canal ship review

One of Amsterdam's 1,281 bridges.
Photo by Avalon Waterways

  • The line’s Avalon Choice® program gives passengers more control over their vacation plans than they get on most other lines by offering the option of setting up custom tours in advance.
  • Unlike on many river cruise lines, the European ships in this fleet have small gyms and small beauty salons onboard.
  • European ships also have a hot tub on deck and serve a grilled lunch on some afternoons, which is a lovely way to take in the scenery on, say, the Danube.
  • Newer ships have two serve-yourself espresso machines, so you can treat yourself to a jet lag-fighting cappuccino whenever you need one.
  • Cabins are modern and sleek, with marble bathrooms and down-filled duvets.
  • No need to fight for a space on deck when you’re sailing past castles or into, say, Budapest: Newer ships have a whole wall of windows, which open up to let in fresh air and make you feel closer to the scenery.

We Could Live Without

  • The complimentary Wi-Fi is, like on similar lines, slow and unreliable.
  • Large group walking tours are led by guides with colored signs who speak into microphones. Passengers listen through headsets, which, while efficient and considerate of other travelers, don’t diminish the feeling of being herded through a city. Whether or not you’re bothered by this depends on how comfortable you are traveling in a group.
  • While complimentary, these tours don’t always allow time for ample independent exploration.

Avalon Choice is a registered trademark of Avalon Waterways Inc.

Avalon Waterways Cruiser Reviews

Destinations and Excursions

4.7

Average Rating

Cabin / Stateroom

4.7

Average Rating

Ship Quality

4.6

Average Rating

Service and Staff

4.6

Average Rating

Food and Dining

4.3

Average Rating

Onboard Activities

4.1

Average Rating

Entertainment

4.0

Average Rating

Children's Programs

2.3

Average Rating

Embarkation and Debarkation

4.0

Average Rating

What Cruisers Say

  • Cruiser956 says ...

    The Red Light District tour in Amsterdam was a bit disappointing. Too rushed and not enough information Read Full Review
  • nschuler says ...

    Small space but well organized with room for everything. Clean with nice extras. Read Full Review
  • eddieh1087 says ...

    Our balcony suite was beautiful. The room smelled like a fresh countryside, everything was clean and neat. It was the most comfortable bed I've slept in and very welcome after the long excursions. Read Full Review

Avalon Waterways Ships

American Queen 830

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Aria

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Avalon Affinity

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Avalon Angkor

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Avalon Artistry II

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Avalon Creativity

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Avalon Expression

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Avalon Felicity

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Avalon Illumination

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Avalon Imagery

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Avalon Imagery II

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Avalon Impression

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Avalon Luminary

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Avalon Myanmar

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Avalon Panorama

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Avalon Passion

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Avalon Poetry II

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Avalon Saigon

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Avalon Scenery

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Avalon Siem Reap

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Avalon Tapestry

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Avalon Tapestry II

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Avalon Tranquility

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Avalon Tranquility II

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Avalon Visionary

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Avalon Vista

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Delfin III

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Isabela II

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MS Kasr Ibrim

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Royal Lotus

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Ship Size:

  • XL: 4,000 + passengers
  • L: 2,000 to 4,000 passengers
  • M: 500 to 2,000 passengers
  • S: Less than 500 passengers

Price:

  • $$$$: $1500 and up
  • $$$: Up to $1500
  • $$: Up to $1000
  • $: Up to $500

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