Today I am going to share a photo tour of the beautiful Avalon Waterways, Avalon Envision with a review of my thoughts of the ship. When I am planning a cruise I really do like to know everything about a ship. Have an idea of the layout, food options and cabins. For me it manages expectations, I like to know what to expect. However I am also sharing as I want people to see, not only how beautiful these ships are, but also what a wonderful, enriched experience river cruising is.
We have just returned from a glorious week sailing the Danube River on Avalon Envision. Now if you haven’t river cruised before you may have a certain opinion of what to expect. However this was my second river cruise, and I can tell you that all opinions I had previously harboured about the whole River Cruise experience were wrong. But that’s a post for another day!
But what I will tell you is if you choose wisely, river cruise ships are super modern and opulent. Dining options are incredible, as are the choice of tours. It really is a wonderful way to explore cities, villages and towns in luxury, whilst getting to explore and engage in communities. So grab a cuppa and let me take you on a photo tour of Avalon Envision.
Photo Tour Of Avalon Envision
A little about Avalon Envision
Avalon envision was built in 2018, has a total of 16 staterooms and 67 suites ( 2 of those are Royal Suites) and a crew of 47. She is spread over 4 decks and 443 feet long. She has 4 floors, 1 of those being a sun deck.
Reception On Avalon Envision
The reception area is located in the centre of the ship and here you will find the cruise director and reception staff. It really is the hub of the ship, it’s also where you go to get on and off ship, to get off you scan your key card, and rescan on entry. It’s such an easy process, yet feels secure too.
Port Day Speaker Packs Can Be Found In Reception
On port day, the speaker packs can be found here. Every cruiser gets an earset in their cabin for use during the cruise duration. This on port day you head to reception with your headset and grab a fully charged speaker pack to plug your headset into for your chosen tour. It’s a fantastic system which works so well, I just adore the fact that you get to explore a city or town with an expert in your ear telling you all you need to know.
You will find that there are usually 2 tours a day with lunch back on board in between. However if the ship has an evening in port you can expect at times, 3 tours a day.
The Headsets And Speaker Packs Are Thoroughly Cleaned And Sterilised
At the end of the tour you return the speaker pack which is cleaned and prepared for the next day. I also have to tell you the earpieces are not uncomfortable! As a rule I can’t bear ear plugs or speakers, but these are soft and fit around you ear, with a foam speaker insert.
The headsets are sent off to be sterilised and repackaged at the end of the cruise. I love that they are sterilised and recycled. This is all part of the River Cruise Industries commitment to reduce wastage.
The main stairwell can be also be found in reception, this takes you to all floors, the club lounge, restaurant, gym and all staterooms and suites. You will find the bar and lounge on the main deck (deck 3) just past the reception. There is also a lift in reception for getting from deck to deck. (Although I am not sure if this goes to the sundeck)
The Bar And Lounge
The main bar is where it all happens! In the past and indeed if booking an Ocean Cruise, I look for more bars and restaurants. However with River Cruising its more a quality over quantity kind of space. The bar lounge area is multi functional and as such works in a chameleon like manner from day to night.
During the day there are cozy snug areas and tables, this affords you the opportunity to grab a coffee, water or juice from the free coffee bar and work if needed. Or indeed just grab a book and chill.
Because of the layout of the ship no area is ever over crowded, you can sit in little groups, grab a corner sofa and enjoy coffee or drinks with friends or alone for a little quiet time.
Lunch And Afternoon Tea Is Served In The Lounge
During the day a light lunch is also served in the lounge. This like in the main dining room includes local beer and wine. Additionally afternoon tea is served in the lounge, and if like me you are gluten free then the wonderful chefs even prepare a gluten free version, with cake!
However if you enjoy a view? Head to the front of the lounge, this is particularly beautiful on a cruising day where you can enjoy a little peace, but also watch the river pass you by.
Outside, you will also find a covered area, this is a glorious place to chill for a little peace. Or indeed to catch a little sun without heading up to the top deck which is particularly useful on a windy day as it’s a little shielded.
The Club Lounge On Avalon Envision
The club lounge was one of my favorite area on Avalon Envision. It’s worth considering when booking a suite that if you are on deck 3 nearer to the aft of the ship, then this is the perfect place to grab a late night or morning cup of coffee. I loved waking up and grabbing a coffee to sit and enjoy as we watched the world go by from our stateroom Juliet balcony.
The Club Lounge Offers A Full Stock Of Hot Drinks, Waters And Juice
The club lounge has a full self service coffee bar, which had a choice of coffee’s from the coffee machine, juice. It also offers on tap cold water with choices of plain, flavoured and sparkling and a huge selection of tea.
You will also find a selection cakes, cookies and donuts, which are all replenished throughout the day. And notably, individually bagged to ensure they are covered and fresh.
If you are traveling with friends the Club Lounge a great place to grab a board game, there are dozens in the drawers. There is also a selection of books to read if you have left yours at home. Yes river cruising is soooo busy, but sometimes it’s great to bail out of a days activities and just enjoy being on the river.
Additionally, if quiet time is your thing, there is a secluded deck just off the Club lounge offering uninterrupted wake views, this really is the perfect place on a ship of any size.
The Restaurant And Dining On Avalon Envision
River cruising is all about the food, you have to do all the activities to balance the food intake! Cruising on Avalon Envision is like sailing in the best restaurant. The quality of the food options is wonderful and all so tempting.
When I boarded I made reception aware that I was gluten free, and every night my options were explained to me. The chefs ensured they provided gluten free bread, burger buns for the BBQ on deck and gluten free afternoon tea and cake. I honestly couldn’t fault them. There was one mishap where I ate a cake by mistake, but it was part my fault as I really should have checked first, but I was giddy!
That incident aside, everything was clearly labelled and explained. And as someone who suffers with an intolerance it really is my duty to always double check.
Dinner Is A Set Time Every Night
You can go in a little later, however if you do just be aware you may not get all 3 courses. But I must add the staff are very accommodating and patient, nothing is too much trouble. Also, if the menu isn’t to your taste on a particular evening there is always a set favourite option, comprising of grilled chicken, steak and salmon. Here is an example menu, but I will share more about the food and drink at a later date.
It’s the little touches that make Avalon Waterways and River Cruising special. I cannot see at all without my glasses, I guess there are many 40 somethings like this? If you forget your glasses for dinner, there are spare sets in varied prescriptions to loan so you can at least read the menu.
The Sun Deck On Avalon Envision
The sundeck can be accessed via six points throughout the ship, 3 at each side, and it is actually very quiet when you compare it to ocean cruising. Thus making it a wonderful place to take a book, when you consider maximum capacity is 166, and people are on and off exploring all day. There are morning tours and afternoon, with passengers often back on board for lunch. You will never fight for deck space, there is plenty.
You will find several different areas on the sun deck, there is the obligatory giant board game, but these are handy on a sailing day. A BBQ area, viewing area front and back and lounging area. All this space results in a feeling of real spaciousness.
Nowhere ever feels crowded, this is a real plus against Ocean cruising, where the volume of people to space just seems less.
A hot tub also graces the top deck, we didn’t use it, there just wasn’t time. Although this was a valuable lesson learnt as next time I will make time.
The Wifi Onboard Avalon Envision
The Wifi is excellent onboard, there are times of low or no coverage but this is minimal. But that comes with sailing down the Danube, through remote towns and villages. However, despite that it was still very good when service was available. As someone who is always on the internet it was not something I found frustrating.
What’s Included On An Avalon River Cruise
- Full Board, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (dinner is a’la carte) breakfast and lunch buffet service
- Complimentary wine, beer, or soft drinks with lunch and dinner
- Afternoon Tea
- Cookies and snacks in the club lounge
- Specialty coffees, espresso drinks and flavored and infused water available throughout each day in the main bar and club lounge
- Welcome & farewell drinks
- Vegetarian options at every meal, as well as vegan and allergy-free selections
- Happy hour every evening including featured drink specials
- Complimentary Continental breakfast, room service
- Use of sports equipment, gym and bikes
- Port tours, (There are some paid options, but mostly included)
- Earphones for port trips with a lanyard
My Thoughts On River Cruising With Avalon Waterways?
This is my second river cruise, both were just incredible it really is a wonderful way to travel. Nights are quieter, saying that we spend hours chatting to friends in the restaurant and in the bar after. So they weren’t as quiet as you would imagine. We met some amazing people.
You can’t get bored it’s impossible, there is a full packed daytime activity schedule. If anything I found myself getting up early so I didn’t miss out on the amazing tours. Apart from 2 mornings when I took the decision to stay onboard, work and enjoy river life. And do you know quite honestly I was shattered!
Getting to stop in amazing towns, cities and villages is just wonderful. River networks throughout the work offer you access to some truly unique experiences. River cruising is something I will do many many times in my life, I want to sail all the rivers. And Avalon is a wonderful, warm, modern cruise line, we felt so very welcome and had so much fun.
Thank you to the lovely Keiran and Phil from Magical Traveller for the photos they bailed us out with, you guys are the best company. And thanks to the gorgeous Lloyd, Leiza and Martina from Avalon Waterways for hosting us, we had the best time.
We were invited onto Avalon Envision as guests on a press trip, but all opinions are our own.