Avalon Waterways Fleet (19)
Avalon operates 16 ships in Europe and offers cruises on seven more vessels in the Galapagos, Amazon, Mekong Delta, and on China's Yangtze and the Mississippi River. In 2015, the company will add two more ships in Europe and a new ship on Myanmar's Irrawaddy River and also on the Mekong Delta, which features Cambodia and Vietnam.
Avalon's original ships -- Artistry, Poetry, Tapestry, Tranquility and Imagery -- have been retired and are no longer in the fleet.
Launched in spring 2008, 138-passenger Scenery, the smallest ship in the Avalon fleet, was the first in the line's Scenery class. Four additional ships have since launched, including Affinity, Creativity, Felicity and Luminary.
Each of these European river ships offers four decks, including a sky deck for sunning and relaxing. Cabins, all outsides, measure 172 square feet and are among the largest on any of the river ships; junior suites are 258 square feet. Between 70 percent and 90 percent of the cabins have French balconies and sliding-glass doors with protective railings; remaining cabins have picture windows. Cabins come equipped with individual climate controls, flat-screen TV's, radios, telephones, mini-bars, safes and hair dryers. All the ships offer Internet access.
Avalon's newest class of ships, its Suite class, was introduced in 2011 with Avalon Panorama, an all-suite vessel. The ship's signature feature is its more-spacious-than-average staterooms, which measure 200 square feet and offer walls of glass that retract almost completely to turn the cabins into what the line calls "open-air" balconies. The addition of slightly curved walls allows for one of the largest bathrooms in standard-class accommodations on any European riverboat. Though these all-suite cabins are spacious, they are not true two-room suites.
Public gathering spaces include a sky deck, a large indoor lounge, a smaller indoor club lounge and an outdoor covered-seating area in the front of the ship, perfect for open-air sightseeing on rainy days. Interior design is contemporary chic, with lots of dark espresso woods highlighted with colorful modern art and deep orange rugs and furniture.
In 2012, Avalon introduced two more suite ships -- Visionary and Vista -- and in 2013 debuted Artistry II and Expression. In 2014, Avalon launched three more Suite Ships –- Poetry II and Impression in March and Illumination in June. And, the company has announced two more Suite Ship newbuilds in 2015: Tapestry II and Tranquility II.
Beyond Europe, Avalon also owns and operates the Avalon Angkor on the Mekong. This 32-passenger ship debuted in 2012. The ship's small size means it can navigate the shallow waterways on itineraries between Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City and Cambodia's Siem Reap.
In 2015, for the first time, Avalon Waterways is introducing two new, 36-guest Suite Ships on the Mekong and the river cruise line's newest destination, the Irrawaddy River. Both new "suite ships" -- the Avalon Siem Reap and Avalon Myanmar -- will deliver cruisers an intimate experience. Aboard these vessels, travelers will be welcomed by 18 well-appointed Avalon Suites with 245-square-feet of living space. And, while other ships may offer guests tiny balconies, these new ships introduce travelers in Asia to Avalon's innovative, signature Open-Air Balconies featuring floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall panoramic windows measuring 14-feet-wide with retractable screen systems and doors that slide open a full 9-feet, creating the feeling of sitting outside.
Avalon also charters spaces on ships in China, South America and the United States. In China, it offers Yangtze River trips aboard Century Paragon and Century Legend. Each has 156 cabins, 40 suites and seven decks. All cabins have private balconies, and each ship is equipped with a library, pool, gym, cinema and business center that provides Internet access.
In the Galapagos Islands near Ecuador, Avalon passengers sail on 46-cabin Santa Cruz. The ship boasts a hot tub, observation platform for dolphin- and whale-watching, and a well-stocked library. All cabins are outside and offer air-conditioning, private bathrooms, hair dryers and safes.
And, in 2014, Avalon began offering cruises on the Amazon River aboard the MV Aria, operated by Aqua Expeditions.
In the United States, Avalon is working with American Queen Steamboat Company to offer paddlewheeling cruises along the Mississippi and other tributaries.