Avalon Creativity, the line's eighth new-build, debuted in 2009. Inside and out, the lines are clean and contemporary, though a bit stark for some. It's much like the lobby of a major Swiss bank: beautiful carpeting and marble, wood paneling and inlays, a bit short on art. Gracefully spiraling stairways and a vest-pocket elevator link the interior decks at midship. Ample glass keeps the interior bright and airy during daylight hours.
Avalon Creativity cruises along France's Seine River, offering overnights in Paris before heading down this beautiful tributary to Monet country, stopping in places that range from the cathedral cities of Rouen and Normandy (for its military history) to Monet's Giverny.
Expedition cruising and river cruising share one aspect: each "stalks" its prey -- whether wildlife, as in the former, or art, culture and history for the latter. In either case, the "horizon" is never more than spitting distance away, so lots of viewing space is a must, and Creativity has floor-to-ceiling glass walls in 90 percent of its cabins.
Central to the concept of all these vessels is shore touring, and on Avalon Creativity, Globus' pedigree shines through. Invariably, the guides who shepherded our daily tours spoke virtually unaccented, nearly perfect English. As well, onboard enrichment was truly a highlight of our trip, with a wine- and pate-tasting, and a lovely classical concert being among the most memorable events.