Each day, cultural lectures and evening entertainment tailored around the current port are available. Often, the cruise director will narrate passing sights as the ship is sailing.
Included in the price of the cruise, shore excursions come in different intensity and duration levels from a few hours to a full day in some instances. This allows a mix of both active and low-key tours while also giving travelers more to explore on their own should they wish. A few specialty excursions are available for an additional price.
* May require additional fees
Many tours involve coach rides to various locations. The cruise director can advise travelers on concerns over mobility or stamina issues for each tour. All shore excursions, including the optional ones with an additional charge, can be booked in advance via the MyAvalon online booking tool. This is especially helpful for the most popular shore excursions that can book up quickly.
Daytime and Evening Entertainment
A pianist performs each evening, and on occasion, local entertainers board the ship.
Depending upon the destination, lectures and discussions about the local culture and history are often given in the Panorama Lounge.
Panorama Lounge (Deck 3): The Panorama Lounge bar is the focal point of social activity. It is open all day and remains open until the last passenger leaves in the evening. Cruisers can charge drinks to their room tab.
A small bar by the whirlpool on the Panorama Deck is sometimes available. Each evening, it is abuzz with activity, especially since Avalon introduced a line of cocktails crafted by the talented bartenders from London's Savoy Hotel. There's the Rusty Nail, a smoky-sweet concoction of Drambuie and whiskey, and Rollin' on the River, which takes its inspiration from the fruity favorite "Sex on the Beach." Like the tour options, the cocktail menu is cleverly divided into active and discovery options.
In a split-level configuration, the Panorama Deck on the top of the ship has seating for every passenger on the ship (166 lounge chairs that can recline). A shaded section is popular while the ship is sailing, and the whirlpool is a great spot from which to watch the scenery. A large-scale chess and backgammon game area is in the aft section, and there is a small putting green.
Reception is staffed 24 hours a day, and the new Adventure Host station provides passengers access to active excursions, fitness classes and bicycles during the sailing. The Club Lounge at the back of the ship provides cookies and doughnuts, Lavazza coffee and flavored water at any time. It is also a place where cruisers can relax with board games, a library of books and impressive views.
Wireless internet throughout the ship is free. It works well but is best when the ship is in port. When passing through locks, the signal can struggle. There are two internet stations for passengers to use, and reception is happy to print boarding passes or other documents upon request.
An elevator makes all decks, except the top Panorama Deck, easily accessible. New security features include all doors being accessible only with the swipe of a key. Two new electronic kiosks in the reception area are used for scanning cruisers into and out of the ship. They also provide menu and itinerary information and are an important part of the ship's focus on reducing the use of paper. Over the past year, they have contributed to an 80 percent reduction in paper usage.
The entire ship is nonsmoking, with the exception of a balcony in the aft of the ship. Avalon Envision has also done away with plastic straws, stirrers and lids.
A fitness center with modern equipment is available at all hours. The Adventure Host program also offers fitness classes and free pedal bike rentals. The jogging track on the Panorama Deck is especially popular, but there are no spa treatments. Instead, the staff can recommend onshore spas.
While multigenerational cruises are becoming more popular, the minimum age to sail is 8. This makes Avalon more attractive to families especially during certain holiday periods of the year.