Most river ships have similar layout and design of their public spaces, but it is the Panoramic Suites that makes all the difference for guests when they sail the Avalon Suite Ships. Avalon introduced this innovative design in 2011 and in just a few years started sailing in Europe with all their ships featuring the panoramic open air balconies. What separates this design are three key features: The Panoramic French Balcony windows that open with a 7 ft wide opening, the bed faces the window, and the slightly angled wall allows for a full size bathroom. We weren’t sure sure if we would be able to enjoy the open air balconies in October, but as it turned out, we had the windows open almost when ever we were in the room. The standard Panoramic Suites are 200 Sq Feet of indoor outdoor space.
For guests wanting a little more space to enjoy the cruise, Avalon offers two 300 sq ft Royal Suites on each of the European suite ships. These rooms feature a larger living space, a full size shower and double sink bath with adjoining powder room, giving complete privacy to guests in each area.
Finally, for guest who needs to keep their river cruise budget friendly or maybe those who might just be “Single Occupants”, the Deluxe staterooms are still a great option at 172 square feet. Those rooms are actually 22 sq feet larger than some of the French balcony cabins on leading competitors. The windows and bath are noticeably smaller but guests who have these rooms might simply enjoy the views from the public areas of the ship rather than their own room.
The public rooms on the ship included the Panorama Lounge which serves as an entertainment, lecture, music and dining lounge. It features a full service bar and 24 hour beverage center. Below that deck is the main dining room. The after section of the ship features the club lounge where guests can help them self to coffee, tea, mineral water and other beverages 24/7. This space is a great spot for smaller groups to gather to enjoy a semi-private function. The top deck of the ship is covered in outdoor nautical carpeting to soundproof the rooms below and features a walking track, hot tub, life size chess, backgammon and the weather permitting al fresco grill.
The dining room will be covered in depth in my accompanying food and dining review, but I included a couple of photos we took as well as a pictures of crew recognition night. We did do a staff recognition in the dining room on the last night, so this gives me chance to mention the service.
Our Cruise Manager was excellent, an American who has been with Avalon for years. She knew everything there was to know about this river and kept us well informed on both the sites and logistics of the cruise. The hotel and hospitality staff were gracious and welcoming. They were kind enough to provide me a tour of the unoccupied Royal Suite and one of the unoccupied Deluxe Staterooms.
The adventure host, who led the fitness classes and walks, was very friendly and even shared with us information about his home country of Bulgaria to which we are going with another group on Avalon in 2022. Our rooms were always spotless so I commend housekeeping on that aspect. The tours we took gave us a perfect balance of the highlights of the city and time to explore on our own. Avalon is truly at the top of its class when it comes to river cruising.