Winter has set in for everyone in the Northern Hemisphere on Mother Earth. And for the traveler, visions of the next great journey away from inherent cabin fever are surely arising now. Discover Europe! Your sixth travel sense may be saying, and what better way than traversing most of it, in comfort, and style. Is this a sales pitch? Well no, we don’t work for Avalon Waterways, we just know travel. Read on, this is good stuff.
Are you ready? I know you are ready. If you really are, watch the video below full screen, then come back and let’s take a trip together.
You fly Atlanta to Frankfurt, or London , maybe Paris, rent a car, venture out on a tour, you know the routine. Face it, seeing Europe or any new place, any old way, is just exhilarating. And hectic too. What if you could have the luxury of a Caribbean cruise ship, a leisurely float on to and past dozens of marvelous places, with the rapture of tubing your local tributary? You can, you know.
The image below is for map people. But if all of you can imagine.
Not enthralling enough for you? Let us elaborate in pictures and notes below. This will be fun.
Avalon Panorama, launched in 2011, is arguably the most elegant river craft cruising along Europe’s waterways. And for those unfamiliar, Europe has its wonderful waterways from our Mosel here, to the Rhine, and the unbelievable Danube, of course. Once you are aboard, get situated in a 200 square foot cabin, then maybe enjoy a game of chess while you wait for departure.
Oh, you’re more of a checkers person, eh? Oh heck, just catch the news and relax, the passage is two weeks after all. Or, just enjoy the ship, one of a kind it is. There are two decks of nothing but suites with panoramic views of the river-scape. Those castles and the country folk you’ll gather in, in unbelievable comfort, I know you get the picture. The list of ship amenities is actually enough to another article, but here are a few:
- Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows
- Sky Deck with premium lounge chairs
- Sky Deck with shade awnings
- Sky Deck Whirlpool
- Wi-Fi access
- Expanded fitness center
- Non-smoking interior
- Elegant, contemporary design throughout
- Outside Viewing Deck
Let me take a short, deep breath here. Let’s get a drink on the Sky Deck, shall we?
Okay, now that we had a refreshing break, back to some of those amenities…
- Headsets for all guided shore excursions in Europe
- English-speaking crew
- Sightseeing with a Certified Local Guide
- Cruise Director
- Onboard lectures, activities & nightly entertainment
- Revolutionary engineering
- Room service available featuring Continental breakfast and beverages
- Internet Corner
- Hair salon (manicures available)
- Lounges and upscale bar serving premium spirits
- Self-serve beverage station with complimentary tea, hot chocolate & premium coffees
Wow! This is getting tedious, maybe we had better grab a bite of lunch. The Sky Bistro is a nice spot for hanging out on deck and enjoy your special other.
Okay, now back to those amenities….
- Relax and enjoy onboard movie nights
- Complimentary use of iPad mobile digital devices
- 2013 – Biking excursions available in Amsterdam and Durnstein
- Alternate dining experience with local specialties and lighter fare in the Panorama Bistro
- Avalon Choice cruising experience
- Behind-the-scenes ship tour
- Choice of excursions – Leisurely, Traditional or Essential Sightseeing options
- Complimentary maps and use of Nordic walking sticks
- Culture & Cruise onboard experiences with local chefs, entertainers, artisans and experts
- Expanded “on-demand” in-room entertainment (Okay, you gotta be kidding me)
- Guest Services is available to recommend, reserve and further personalize your cruise
- Panorama Bistro
- Sky Deck Game Area
Am I done? Okay, I think I am done. Night has fallen, we’re in Cologne now. You knew about this city, right? See Kölner Dom there at the center of the photo below? It is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe and Germany’s most visited landmark. 20,000 people each day visit what some consider the most beautiful church on Earth. But we’ll leave the tour info to Avalon’s cruise director.
An elegant gourmet dinner, more entertainment, a shore excursion, and then more and more landscapes: the Rhine Gorge,
Rüdesheim, Miltenberg, wonderful Würzburg and its unbelievable 100 churches – Würzburg Residenz, Bamberg and its authentic medieval character, the Main Danube Canal, and then on to Nuremberg – still one of the cultural hubs of civilization itself.
Weary again, we settle back into our stateroom. Gentle lapping sounds from beneath our panoramic balcony, a nice Rhine wine in hand… Oh, sorry, I got immersed there. Regensburg, Passau and St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and the rarest of Austrian jewels, Melk lays ahead of us.
You had no idea of Melk, did you? If you can think on a journey like this for a moment. Someone else is handling the traffic, while you are situated in what amounts to a living and interactive motion picture, a reel of places and people you only dreamed of, rolling by at a leisurely pace. A sort of slow motion memory machine, if you will. Ah, but I digress now into the ethereal.
Is it time for breakfast yet?
And on to Dürnstein, then Vienna. The “bright city”, in any language including Celtic, is just this. A place somehow secluded in space and time – seat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, there is literally no place on Earth like this.
We cannot transit Vienna’s gifts here, save discovering it via the Avalon Panorama. Bratislava is waiting.
Slovakia’s capital, seven thousand years past human beings first settled this fertile bit of land along the mighty Danube. From the so-called Lineal Pottery Culture to the now, Bratislava is still something of a mystery to be discovered, a treasure trove of the most amazing baroque architecture. While we need to hurry along to waiting Budapest, excursions into Slovakia will no doubt light your memories for a lifetime.
Buda and Pest. Legends are legends for a reason. The seventh largest city in the EU is a lot more about being a cultural center than it is a metropolis, it always has been. Any aspect of this city one studies reveals the weight of the place, the people, the historic significance of this spot along the Danube. Perhaps the best way to gauge the place though, a novel way, might be to study who has wanted to own the city. The Romans, the Huns, the Mongols, Matthias Corvinus, the Ottomans, the Habsburg no less, the Austrians, the Romanians, the Germans, the Soviets and Romanians again, and that is the condensed version of conflict here.
But Budapest is not a conflictual place, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage tourism magnet. It’s also a marvelous place to live too. Be careful, you may find yourself searching out real estate during your guided visits into this Bohemian lullaby.
Breakfast in Budapest, after your guided excursion yesterday, and the city is all yours – or you fly away only to return later. And you will return. There’s the lower part of the Danube, the Danube Delta, the Black Sea, so much more of the world of East Europe to unveil. But for this revelation, we need to give you the low down on prices and contacts.
Are you going to book the Deluxe Stateroom, the Panorama, or the Royal Suite for your adventure down the Danube? Yes I already know I sold you, on the idea at least. Deluxe stateroom accommodations run $5,199.00 per person, the Panorama suites on Panorama are $6,797.00, and the real royal treatment has a royal price-tag of $8,597.00. I never said “cheap” did I? Look at it this way, you just traversed most of Europe, on essentially three vacations, and wined and dined your way while somebody else drove. And you never had to load and unload your luggage at every stop.
There’s plenty of options all along the way too, but you had better inquire with Avalon Waterways along those line. For this writer, I probably should have gotten at least waiter’s pay for this one, that’s 1350…. no, 60, no… 1363 words for your information, opps 1368.
Seriously, cruising Europe’s rivers is something you and your’s should explore. We love our little excursions from here in Rhineland Pfalz. But wait! How could I have forgotten the most fantastic part of this Avalon Waterways cruise, the most spectacular attraction actually? Europe’s second largest river, the 1,785 miles of the Danube passes not only many of Europe and the world’s most fabulous cities, but landscapes those who have not seen it can scarcely imagine. This river is a marvel, you have to travel it if only for seeing it alone.
Photo credit: Feature image – courtesy © photocreo – Fotolia.com, The Danube image is from Ervín Pospíšil.