Avalon Visionary, is one of Avalon Waterways' five "Suite Ships" in the line's 22-strong fleet. It is the sister ship to Imagery II, Tapestry II, Tranquillity II, Poetry II and Artisty II. Launched in 2012, the 361-foot-long, 36-foot-wide vessel carries 128 passengers and sails on various itineraries on the Rhine and Danube.
Although smaller than the 443-foot-long ships that sail the same rivers and carry more passengers, Avalon Visionary is big on style, boasting dark-wood finishes with pops of color and fun art throughout. Of the ship's 64 cabins, 52 are one-room suites, and they're about 15-percent larger than the industry average. Cabins are comfortably furnished, with the line's trademark "Comfort Collection Beds" offering memory foam mattress toppers and plush pillows and duvets. Surprisingly spacious bathrooms offer marble countertops, glass shower doors and L'Occitane bath products. However, the biggest sell for these cabins is arguably the 11-foot-by-7-foot panoramic sliding-glass doors that turn the accommodations into rooms with open-air balconies.
Breakfast and lunch are both served buffet-style, and the quality of available fare is very high. Dinners are superb, and whether you're adventurous or prefer to stick to the "always available" menu, you'll find something tasty.
Overall, a cruise on this ship feels like a boutique hotel experience, thanks to its swanky decor and impeccable service.
Cruises on Visionary are port-intensive, so they're great for anyone who enjoys European history and sightseeing. And, unlike sailings on ocean ships, voyages include the majority of shore excursions in their pricing. But it's important to note that, since river cruising focuses on the culture and history of the ports visited, there isn't much to do onboard, and the number and duration of shore excursions offered daily may leave you feeling a little more tired than you might after other vacations. Although, of course, passengers can pick and choose whether they want to go on all the included excursions or relax onboard. You will, however, be apt to feel enriched, enlightened and well traveled.