Avalon Waterways is taking a new tack on their river cruise sailings with a unique new program called Avalon Choice, offering 2013 river cruisers the freedom to personalize their cruise from beginning to end.
“With Avalon Choice, we’re not just designing our ships and cruises with our travelers in mind,” says Patrick Clark, managing director of Avalon Waterways. “We are developing them for our cruisers to design and customize themselves. In short, we’re elevating Avalon beyond the ordinary river cruise experience by helping our travelers create an extraordinary small ship cruise vacation.”
The program goes into effect at the same time the company’s two new suite ships—the Avalon Expression and the Avalon Artistry II—hit the water in 2013. “Now, and only with Avalon, at every turn, cruisers will enjoy the luxury of choice,” Clark promises. “From deciding what and where to eat, to selecting room configuration and cruising style; from choosing on-land discoveries and onboard enrichments, to making online, pre-sail customizations via MyAvalon. In 2013, with Avalon, every experience—and every nuance—is up to our cruisers.”
On shore excursions, for example, cruisers can—for the first time—choose from three tour types: the new Essential Sightseeing, giving travelers a basic orientation with the must-sees, then time to explore on their own; Traditional Sightseeing, offering cruisers the on-shore sightseeing they’ve always enjoyed; and Leisurely Sightseeing, taking things slower, allowing cruisers to take it all in. There’s active options, as well. In addition to offering guided bike excursions in several European ports, Avalon is also providing Nordic walking sticks for active guests looking for the opportunity to do some hiking or trekking.
If passengers want, they can also select an alternative sightseeing experience with help from Avalon’s new onboard Guest Services team, allowing them to focus on special interests. Say, for example, they want to attend an opera or a concert while in a port city, the Guest Services team will secure tickets, make reservations for an on-shore dinner or point out attractions that apply to their specific interests and arrange transport, if necessary.
With the introduction of Avalon Choice Dining at every meal, cruisers have the ability to choose from a variety of dining experiences throughout each day, whether it be experiencing the local culture through cuisine at special culinary events, a la carte dining, and even multiple venues on board and off.
“In addition to enjoying breakfast, lunch and 4- or 5-course dinners in an elegant dining room surrounded by panoramic windows,” Clark explains, “Avalon travelers can now take pleasure in a light dinner with local specialties and regional wines in the new, charming Panorama Bistro. This is in addition to the already popular al fresco lunches at the outdoor Sky Bistro. And for those travelers lounging in their rooms, continental breakfast is available via room service.”
Also new for 2013, in some cities, Avalon’s Guest Services team will offer travelers on-shore dining options, encouraging them to enjoy the local culture, through food, off-ship. Avalon also offers travelers a menu of special culinary events on the cruise itself. They can toast the start of their grand river cruise at a 5-course welcome dinner, meet the ship’s captain at a Captain’s Reception with complimentary sparkling wine and canapes, and even return to the ship after a full day of sightseeing to relax with afternoon tea. Foodies will also have access to “tastings,” sampling the destinations’ famous delicacies, plus, still another new perk for 2013, local chefs will come on board to offer travelers local dishes.