THE PATH FORWARD TO “WELCOME ABOARD”
THE PATH FORWARD TO “WELCOME ABOARD”
Avalon Unveils Preliminary Plans & Protocols for Future River Cruises
LITTLETON, Colorado – May 13, 2020 – In anticipation of setting sail on the world’s waterways once more, Avalon Waterways has developed a NEW Avalon Assurance program to safeguard the health and happiness of travelers throughout their Avalon river cruise vacation.
“The world has changed but what remains certain is our steadfast commitment to our guests’ safety, comfort and peace-of-mind,” said Pam Hoffee, managing director of Avalon Waterways. “To that end, we have established a Global Health & Safety team dedicated to ensuring that the cleanliness of all operations exceeds today’s standards from start-to-finish.”
The river cruise operator’s new Avalon Assurance program currently features seven major categories and protocols that span across guest experience touch-points – all of which are being shared, explored, reviewed and renewed, accordingly. They include:
Welcome Aboard. Avalon has plans to unveil new embarkation procedures that provide travelers a safe start to their journey. Among the company’s planned changes are mandatory health screenings, including touch-free temperature checks and luggage disinfection, prior to onboarding.
Fresh Air – Inside & Out. Eighty percent (80%) of Avalon Waterways cabins are Panorama Suites, offering guests an Open-Air experience on each ship. In addition to Avalon’s Open-Air staterooms, the air in its ships is not circulated between staterooms; only within an individual stateroom and mixed with fresh, outside air.
New Technology to Ensure Cleanliness. To further advance Avalon’s new Assurance protocols, the company is also introducing new, top-of-the-line technologies including Electrostatic cleaning systems and UV disinfecting systems.
Touching Hearts, Not Hands. Avalon’s new assurance protocols will also ensure more risk-free and hands-free services onboard, such as more hand sanitizer stations throughout the ship (including all public areas); replacing buffet and self-serve stations with crew services and hourly disinfection (at a minimum) of all public areas.
Blending Cultural Proximity with Social Distance. River cruising presents guests an unparalleled opportunity to enjoy the world around them, docking in the heart of destinations. Avalon will continue to deliver this, with more space for social distancing including reducing ship capacity and alternative dining venues as well as providing guests and crew masks for use, as needed or required.
Commitment to the Cleanest Ships. Avalon has an unwavering commitment to ship cleaning procedures. Some new steps that go above-and-beyond its already stringent policies include: Deep-cleaning and disinfection of each stateroom during turnover – including soft goods; disinfection of all dining areas between meals and disinfection of shared items such as bicycles or umbrellas after each use.
Focus on Crew Health & Education. Ensuring a happy, healthy Avalon crew is also a priority. Standards include required medical screenings and certificates of health, new social distancing in crew living quarters and ongoing training in PPE use and hygiene. In addition, Avalon Waterways is reviewing excursion standards and protocols with partners across the globe.
“We will continue to review and update our Assurance initiatives as we make the pivot back to the world’s waterways. We are looking at September 1, 2020 for that,” said Hoffee. “While we place a spotlight on guest safety and well-being, we will also deliver to our travelers a wonderful vacation. An escape that invites them to take part in the joy of discovering new places, new people and new cultures – everything they already expect from an Avalon Waterways vacation.”
Avalon Waterways’ Global Health & Safety team is made-up of health and safety experts around the world, adhering to – and building upon – the standards set forth by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA).
SUITE, SAFE & SOUND
THE SMALL-SHIP, RIVER CRUISE EXPERIENCE IN-DEPTH
LITTLETON, Colorado – May 20, 2020 – In the last 10 years, river cruising has grown by 250 percent (250%), making waves in the travel industry and proving that, when it comes to bodies of water and ships, bigger is not necessarily better. Avalon Waterways has led the river cruise trend, unveiling for travelers an unforgettable fusion of distinctive sights, colorful cultures and enduring traditions while sailing aboard innovative and award-winning Suite Ships.
“Our guests know that it’s possible to cruise without a crowd, explore new cultures with ease and sail in intimate settings,” said Pam Hoffee, managing director of Avalon Waterways. “Aboard our spacious, state-of-the-art Suite Ships, travelers enjoy the company of an expert Cruise Director, appealing crew-to-passenger ratios, the personalized attention they deserve and seamless dock-and-go sightseeing with insider tips and experiences only the locals can provide. River cruising is the perfect way to see and explore the world.”
So, what makes river cruising so special? Avalon Waterways lays out eight reasons this travel style has become a preferred way to see, experience and explore the world.
Size is seismic. It matters. River cruise vessels are built to slowly ply the world’s weaving and meandering rivers. To port in storybook settings. To sail under centuries’ old bridges and squeeze between 12-meter-wide locks. Avalon Waterways’ floating “boatique” hotels hold an average of 150 guests, although some are much smaller. Suite Ships on the Mekong River, for instance, have just 18 staterooms, accommodating 36 cruisers. And, while fellow passenger numbers are low, Avalon’s onboard crew ratio is high. In fact, on every ship, the average guest-to-crew ratio is 3:1 which means travelers are privy to copious amounts of attention to detail with crew members easily and happily catering to guests needs, every moment of every day.
See not sea. There’s a (big) difference. On a river cruise, travelers are not at sea. Instead, river cruises wind and bend through the heart of fascinating countries providing a panoramic view of the Old World. Always within a few feet of shore, on a river vessel, travelers pass clifftop castles, hillside vineyards, ancient villages, and capital cities. Every day – and night – travelers have quick and easy access to ports-of-call.
Cruising focused on “to dos,” not crowds and queues. River cruise itineraries are destination-focused, with local guides who help travelers experience – and connect with – the world around them. Most river cruise itineraries also sail off-the-beaten-path, visiting small fairytale villages, quaint village squares and family-owned wineries, bakeries and restaurants, along the way. Further, queues are not news on the world’s rivers. Avalon Waterways’ excursions typically accommodate no more than 30 guests at a time, providing every traveler an immersive and authentic experience.
Fresh air and perspectives. On board Avalon’s innovative and award-winning Suite Ships, guests on two full decks are welcomed with 200-square-foot Panorama Suites, each featuring a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows that open 7-feet wide (the widest-opening windows in cruising). This wall of glass converts into an Open-Air Balcony, but that’s not all. No Avalon Waterways ship has interior-only cabins. Instead, every Deluxe Stateroom and Panorama Suite offer guests natural light and most feature beds facing the views for which river cruising is famous. Public spaces also provide guests room to move and views galore. And, Avalon’s Suite Ship Sky Decks run the length and width of each vessel (approximately 20 meters longer and 2 meters wider than a football field) with wide-open spaces, fresh air, and lounge chairs aplenty.
Warm “welcomes” along the way. Avalon works tirelessly to engage with communities visited by hiring local drivers, guides and operators for land activities. This “give back” mentality extends to the purchase of local produce, wines, beers, and even bread, further connecting our guests to people, places, and culture. As a result of our partnership approach to tourism, Avalon Waterways has been actively pursued by new towns along the world’s rivers – always promising our passengers an authentic experience.
Charting a new course in sustainability. The vibrant and beautiful natural surroundings of the world’s rivers are a benefit of river cruising. And, it is up to river cruise companies to preserve the precious environment and limit our footprint. As a result, Avalon Waterways has taken great strides to improve monitoring and measurement to reduce our environmental impact, to save water, to limit waste and to foster a sustainability culture among our crew and guests. This work includes supporting Ocean Cleanup in its unprecedented efforts to clean-up the world’s river and oceans.
Ship-Shape Suite Ships. The world has changed but what remains certain is Avalon Waterways’ steadfast commitment to guest safety, comfort and peace-of-mind. To that end, the company has developed a new Avalon Assurance program, with help from its Global Health & Safety team, dedicated to ensuring that the cleanliness of all operations exceeds today’s standards from start-to-finish. The river cruise operator’s new Avalon Assurance program currently features seven major categories and protocols that span across guest experience touch-points – all of which are being shared, explored, reviewed and renewed, accordingly. Details can be found at http://www.avalonwaterways.com/avalon-assurance/.
Not Everything in the World Goes as Planned … That’s why Avalon Waterways is prepared to offer the highest standards in the lowest situations.
“Avalon Waterways understands that our value and our service is measured by what we do when things go wrong even more than when everything runs as planned,” said Hoffee. “We are there for our guests, offering refunds for missed services, alternative sightseeing or the opportunity to rebook and try again another time. We are a long-term business, prepared to tackle short-term obstacles. Our hope is that travelers choose to explore the world with time and time again.”
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ABOUT AVALON WATERWAYS
Travelers wanting to see the world need only cruise down its legendary rivers. For those interested in seeing more of the world, there’s Avalon Waterways®. Our entire fleet of Suite Ships® proudly present Avalon Waterways’ unique Open-Air BalconySM—cruising’s only bed with a view, more space and 24/7 access to open-air cruising. When travelers pair panoramic scenes with the widest-ranging excursion choices in river cruising, they’re in for an experience as wide open as the view.
On an Avalon cruise, schedules give way to whims, leaving travelers the freedom to do exactly as they please, when they please. Whether enjoying a guided walking tour of one of Europe’s great cities, joining a cooking class or paddling a canoe, our Avalon Choice® selections of Classic, Discovery and Active excursions offer a wide range of possibilities. When travelers prefer to explore on their own, Avalon helps with recommendations, information and the gear they need, thanks to Adventure Hosts, an Adventure Center and AvalonGO mobile app. And when it’s time to refuel, Avalon’s FlexDining® program gives guests the choices they crave.
MAKING EUROPE DREAMS COME TRUE
SHORT & SUITE ITINERARIES CATER TO NEW WAVE OF CRUISERS
LITTLETON, Colorado – May 5, 2020 – There was a time when Americans took an average of 20 vacation days per year. That time has passed. In fact, according to a recent Global Travel Insights survey, 80 percent (80%) of North American travelers plan trips of seven days or less. Catering to that trend, Avalon Waterways is the only river cruise company inviting travelers to dip their toes in river cruising with selection of 4-, 5- and 6-day “Short & Suite” itineraries, priced from $874.
“On a river cruise, travelers are not at sea. Instead, river cruises wind and bend through the heart of fascinating countries, providing panoramic views of the Old World,” said Pam Hoffee, managing director of Avalon Waterways. “In 2021, Avalon Waterways is the only company offering travelers the chance to test river cruise waters with six ways to cruise six days or less. On these unique itineraries, travelers will see and explore clifftop castles, hillside vineyards, ancient villages and capital cities along the world’s most popular rivers, the Danube and Rhine.”
Avalon Waterways’ 4-day A Taste of the Danube itinerary visits three (3) capitals and three (3) countries in just three (3) nights, giving first-time river cruisers an incredible opportunity to sample river cruising and several Blue Danube delights without breaking the bank.
The company’s 6-day Danube Symphony vacation sails down the most beautiful stretch of the Danube River, including the Wachau Valley (a world heritage site) with its vineyard-clad hillsides and picturesque villages.
A Taste of the Rhine is a 5-day cruise featuring immersive opportunities to explore must-see sites along the Rhine River including: Taking a culinary walk through Amsterdam, enjoying a guided tour of Cologne, participating in wine-tasting in Boppard, spending free time in Rudesheim and of course, cruising through the picturesque, castle-dotted Rhine Gorge.
Formerly featured only during the holiday season, the 6-day Heart of Germany itinerary features stops along the Main River and Main-Danube Canal including a guided hike through a picturesque Bavarian village, spending time in Würzburg with its towering fortress and Baroque Bishop’s residence; enjoying Bavarian wines in Itzingen, partaking in an onboard beer-tasting near Volkach, and taking in the sites of Bamberg, a Bavarian oasis built on seven hills. The cruise concludes in Nuremberg.
Two additional “short & suite” itineraries are “Christmas Cruises.” They are: 5-day Christmastime in Alsace & Germany and 6-day Festive Season in the Heart of Germany.
For those travelers who want more time on land in popular European destinations, before or after their cruise, Avalon Waterways’ Your Way options make it possible for guests to add: 1) An Avalon Waterways land extension; 2) A Monograms independent vacation package or 3) A Globus escorted touring vacation for the perfect getaway.
“With our Your Way program, we’re making it easier for travelers to extend their river cruise vacation with land itineraries that are perfectly suited to their preferences and budget,” said Hoffee. “In addition, with our exclusive onboard Avalon Choice menu on each and every river cruise itinerary, our guests have their pick of the widest array of included excursions, from classic sightseeing to immersive discoveries and active adventures.”
All cruise itineraries – short and long – sail on Avalon Waterways’ signature Suite Ships which provide guest two full decks of 200-square-foot, one-of-a-kind Panorama Suites featuring the industry’s only Open-Air Balconies and beds facing the incredible views for which river cruising is famous.
LET YOUR MIND WANDER & HEART SOAR …
Avalon Unveils New Active & Discovery Experiences for 2021
LITTLETON, Colorado – April 28, 2020 – Whether travelers prefer to paddle, pedal, paint, puree or ponder their way through Europe, on Avalon’s Active & Discovery cruises, every day is an adventure and every adventure is up to them. And, in 2021, Avalon Waterways’ has announced that this exclusive series of customizable cruises is growing by 19 percent (19%) with more departures and a new itinerary.
“Untethered and full of included options, our innovative Active & Discovery vacations feature extraordinary activities that give travelers the choice they crave,” said Pam Hoffee, managing director of Avalon Waterways. “On these one-of-a-kind cruises, each day, travelers can choose from a selection of included ‘Active,’ ‘Discovery’ and ‘Classic’ excursions – an average of 23 of them – giving our guests unparalleled opportunities to customize their vacation.”
In addition to offering these popular itineraries on the Danube, Rhine and Rhone Rivers, in 2021, Avalon is adding a NEW Active & Discovery in Holland & Belgium cruise to its robust offerings. On this 8-day vacation, some excursions travelers can look forward to include:
Guided mountain bike tour of the outskirts of Ghent
Hike through the Sonian Forest near Brussels
Architectural bike tour through historic buildings and hypermodern skyscrapers in Rotterdam
The Dutch countryside by bike, pedaling past polders, dykes, windmills and centuries-old villages, near Amsterdam
Guided visit of a family-owned, Netherlands oyster farm that’s been active since 1906 … While there, enjoy a taste of oysters and lobster
Guided tour of Graffiti Street in Ghent and become a street artist yourself
Belgian chocolate-making workshop
Delft tile pottery workshop in a characteristic painter’s room in Rotterdam
Guided walking tour through the winding cobblestones and canals of Middelburg
Central Grote Markt tour – A destination lined with 16th-century guildhall houses in Antwerp
Guided canal cruise through Amsterdam
“Priced from $2,349, our Active & Discovery vacations include more excursions – at the same cost – as other river cruise itineraries,” said Hoffee. “They are the perfect choice for travelers who have a diverse set of interests; those who want to customize their vacation; those returning to a river for a new experience and multi-generational travelers with different passions and pace levels. There’s nothing else like them on Europe’s rivers.”
All cruise itineraries sail on Avalon Waterways’ signature Suite Ships which provide guests two full decks of 200-square-foot, one-of-a-kind Panorama Suites featuring the industry’s only Open-Air Balconies and beds facing the incredible views for which river cruising is famous.