Taking In The Avalon View
Opening new gifts is always a thrill and being on hand as a new ship is unwrapped is as exciting as it gets. From our plane’s touchdown in Vienna, Austria to takeoff in Budapest, Hungary the four day christening event of the new Avalon View from Avalon Waterways was cause for celebration.
With TV celebrity Meredith Vieira on hand to serve as godmother, the vessel was formally revealed in a gala pier-side celebration in Bratislava, Slovakia. After two years of anticipation, with free flowing champagne in our hands and the traditional bottle smash on her bow, Avalon View finally waltzed her way onto the Blue Danube.
The first vision of the vessel in Vienna is striking with wall to wall, floor to ceiling windows proffering unobstructed sight lines that lend credence to the vessel’s name. The sleek exterior aesthetic extends into the contemporary design of the entrance atrium and the exceptionally spacious Panorama Lounge with a blue, beige and silver color scheme painting a warm and trendy ambiance.
There are several benefits in river cruising but the concept of included shore excursions ranks high on the list. Avalon has committed to a diverse and all encompassing shore excursion program with their Active & Discovery initiative that offers every style of shore side engagement. An Avalon Adventure Host is on hand to assist with arranging excursions, bikes and active gear and the small gymnasium is available for keeping that figure in control while the upper deck features a walking track, hot tub and the alfresco Sky Grill for outdoor leisure time.
Vienna serves as an introduction to this active lifestyle concept with an E-bike excursion through the streets of Vienna or an ubiquitous carriage ride, discovering the beautiful buildings that line the avenues and boulevards of the city. Offering more than just sightseeing, guests are invited into the famed Spanish Riding School plus an exclusive walk through the stable area.
Sailing eastward, arrival in Bratislava, Slovakia signals an opportunity to enjoy hiking through hillside vineyards, sampling the fruit of the vine at its source or once again E-bike tours that cater to the desire for energetic exploration. If castles are more to your liking a gentle stroll through the city explores the historic old town and its captivating sights. This fascinating inaugural cruise finished up with a curtain call visit to Budapest, Hungary.
In addition to the shorter 4 day sampler-type cruises, the ship also offers longer 6 day itineraries that include visits to the Benedictine Abbey In Melk and the cruising the scenic Wachau Valley. Extended time and overnight stays in ports of call permit a wider array of excursion opportunities and with more excursion options there are fewer people on each tour.
There’s Nothing Suiter
As the View plies the scenic waterways of Europe, gazing out through your personal window to the world becomes an inherent component of the cruise. To enhance this unique experience, Avalon has turned room design on its heels with beds that actually face an 11 foot wide, floor to ceiling retractable window. Imagine lying in bed enjoying a cappuccino as quaint villages vineyards and historic cities pass by. These two hundred square feet Panorama Suites are the perfect accommodation for a well deserved river holiday.
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The vessel’s main restaurant is cleverly placed at water level for a unique visionary perspective as the vessel is underway. Regardless of where you are seated you can watch as the vessel cruises the river or passes through the fascinating locks that make the river navigable. Another opportunity to witness the sights is a comfortable lounge at the aft of the ship with a coffee machine, juice and snacks available 24 hours a day.
The appeal of the Danube is undeniable and cruising the waterway aboard a vessel like this embellishes the cruise experience. There’s a first time for everything and riding the waves with Avalon for the first time, certainly won’t be the last. The small ship, big experience theme is carried out flawlessly and with eyes wide open, the View is clearly an asset the respected brand can be proud of.