New short itineraries for travellers wanting to ‘dip their toes’ into river cruising are among a series of innovations being introduced by Avalon Waterways.
Traditionally, most river cruises start at eight days – aside from special interest Christmas Market and Dutch bulb field sailings – however Avalon is now launching a choice of four, five and six-day cruises for passengers that want to get a taste of the Rhine and Danube, the two most popular waterways for river cruising and ideal for first-timers.
Starting in 2020 on Avalon’s fleet of all-suite vessels, the shorter cruises include A Taste of the Danube, a four-night itinerary taking in Budapest, Bratislava, Melk, Durnstein and Vienna and priced from £840 per person. Other options include the five-day Taste of the Rhine, including a culinary walk through Amsterdam, a guided tour of Cologne, participating wine-tasting in Boppard and cruising through the picturesque, castle-dotted Rhine Gorge.
Formerly a Christmas cruise, the new six-day Heart of Germany sailing is making a year-round appearance next year. The itinerary features stops along the Main River and Main-Danube Canal with the chance to sample Bavarian wines in Itzingen, enjoy an on board beer-tasting and visit Bamberg, built on seven hills and with charming buildings dating back to 11th century.
Giles Hawke, Avalon’s CEO, said: “A Taste of the Danube and the shorter cruises are ideal itineraries for travellers who are new to cruise and would like a taster experience before committing to a longer itinerary.”
Additionally, for new-to-cruise guests or seasoned river cruisers that want to mix and match a river cruise with a land-based stay, the line is inviting people to chart their own course, at their own pace, with the new Your Way programme.
For 2020 departures, guests can book their cruise and then add on land extensions featuring options such as guided sightseeing tours.
“We are making it easier for travellers to extend their river cruise holiday with hotel extensions,” added Janet Parton, Avalon’s Sales Director UK and Ireland. “Be it before or after their cruise, Your Way offers perfectly suited land stays, matching guests’ preferences and budget. Details such as ship-to-hotel transfers and hotel accommodation, sightseeing in the world’s most fascinating cities is now easier and more flexible than ever.”
Once on board the ships, the flexibility continues with a choice of excursions ranging from classic sightseeing tours to active adventures including cycling, kayaking, hiking and guided jogging tours. Independent passengers can also use the AvalonGO app to explore destinations by themselves. The app includes maps and information on attractions, cafés and bars.
Avalon Waterways offers 60 river cruises across Europe, South America and Asia. Customers have the options to book a cruise-only holiday or whole package including flights and private home pick up for guests living within 100 miles of their departure airport.
For more information visit: www.avaloncruises.co.uk
Known as the ‘River Cruise Queen’, Jeannine Williamson is an award-winning travel writer, cruise expert and our cruise correspondent, who has clocked up thousands of nautical miles.
Photographs courtesy of Avalon Waterways