European river cruise brand Avalon Waterways’ popular ‘Suite Ship’ concept – largely shaped by the feedback of Australian travellers – continues to expand across the continent with new vessels being launched by the line each year.
Unlike their ocean-going counterparts, river ships are much more restricted in how big they can get owing to the width and depth of the rivers and locks they have to navigate and the ports they visit. But while passenger numbers are more limited, the standards of luxury they can enjoy are seemingly boundless.
Front and centre in the passenger features department from Avalon Waterways is the unique design of its Panorama Suites. Unlike many of its competitors, the Avalon accommodation style in these cabins is for the bed to face the window, which is in itself more of a wall-to-wall balcony which passengers can open up in its entirety to effectively transform the entire suite into one giant balcony. The railing is right up against the side of the ship, and so without a traditional balcony, this in turn makes the cabin itself much larger.
But if privacy is what you want, you can close the window and the curtains to shut yourself away if you so choose. Also, not every cabin is a Panorama Suite, so there are still a few which offer more a more traditional design, facing a central mirror and a smaller window. If facing the window isn’t your cup of tea, there are other options too as there is a third deck of more traditional cabins which offers smaller windows and a bed which faces a mirror.
Two decks of all-suite accommodation feature on all Avalon Suite Ships, the first of which was launched in 2011 and now numbers 12 thanks to the recent launches of Avalon Passion and Avalon Imagery II. Each ship is identical or ever-so-slightly modified only to suit the rivers on which it sails. Suites also offer a marble bathroom with products from L’Occitane, a flat screen satellite television and complimentary wi-fi internet throughout the voyage.
Outside the cabin, the rest of the ship boasts attractions such as a main dining room, outdoor observation lounge, lounge and bar and at the rear, a separate lounge stocked with entertaining games and books. On the top deck, guests will find sun lounges, a hot tub or a more casual meal at the Sky Bistro.
Hop onboard the brand new Avalon Imagery II for our latest photo gallery tour.