By Jeannine Williamson, Cruise Critic contributor
Avalon Illumination Overview
Avalon Waterways continues to grow with the launch of sister ships Avalon Illumination and Avalon Impression. With the smaller ship Avalon Poetry II, also launched in 2014, there are now eight vessels in its European Fleet.
All three incorporate Avalon's open-air balcony concept, where wall-to-wall panoramic windows open 7 feet to create a flexible living and seating space.
Avalon Illumination has 83 cabins -- 65 Panorama Suites, 16 Deluxe Staterooms and 2 Royal Suites -- across six categories. The majority of cabins measure 200 square feet and have queen-sized beds that can be configured as twins. There are king-sized beds in the two 300-square-foot Royal Suites. Cabins on the lower Indigo Deck have fixed high-level windows, and all the other suites on the Sapphire and Royal Decks have the aforementioned French balconies.
Standard cabin amenities include flat-screen TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi, bathrobes and slippers, L'Occitane bath products, in-room safes, minibars, air-conditioning and complimentary bottled water. Continental breakfast and beverage room service are available on request.
The ship has three lounges, with the covered Sky Lounge situated forward on the Sky Deck; the larger Panorama Lounge, with a bar, in the same position on the Royal Deck; and the smaller, quieter Club Lounge located aft on the Royal Deck. There is also a whirlpool and games area on the Sun Deck. Other onboard amenities include a fitness center, Internet room, hair salon and elevator.
Dining options aboard the vessel are the main restaurant on the Sapphire Deck, which operates an open-seating system, and the indoor Panorama Bistro, which serves lighter meals on the Sky Deck. In addition, lunch is served in the alfresco Sky Bistro during summer. Complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks are served with lunch and dinner. There is also a free 24-hour tea and coffee station.
Avalon Illumination will sail on a selection of itineraries on the Seine, Rhine, Main, Rhone, Saone and Dutch waterways, which range from seven to 15 nights. Fares include guided excursions, all onboard gratuities and a complimentary door-to-door home pickup service for U.K. mainland passengers living within 75 miles of their chosen international airport or Eurostar terminal. For people who live more than 75 miles away, the service is available at a supplementary cost.
HOLIDAYING overseas with friends in 2013 we decided to put together a small group (total 6 - 3 couples ages 50 - 61) to embark on our much discussed European River Cruise. After a deal of research we chose Avalon Waterways as our Cruise provider ...continue
All my friends do Viking so I liked being different and felt that Avalon was a step up. The ship was new and very pretty. Unfortunately we rafted to Tauck and Uniworld and saw a big difference in décor. For example when the US was playing ...continue
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After 3 days in Prague we were supposed to board the ship at Nuremberg for a cruise to Budapest. However, at the last minute we were advised that the river was too low and we would have to be transported by bus to Passau. As a result we missed ...continue