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Avalon Waterways
Initiatives include off-season cruising, extended journeys, immersive experiences, and emphasis on France as a top destination

Photos: Avalon Alegria


Avalon Waterways is charting an ambitious course for 2025, embracing innovative travel trends and significantly expanding its offerings in response to burgeoning guest demand.

While on board the brand new Avalon Alegria in Portugal, Pam Hoffee, President of the esteemed river cruise line, revealed the company’s strategic moves to cater to evolving traveller preferences, including off-season cruising, extended journeys, immersive experiences and a special focus on France as a premier destination.

This expansion includes adding new ships to navigate the Rhine and Danube rivers during the late autumn into December and extending sailing in France into November. The Christmas market cruises have seen capacity double since 2019, responding to the high demand for these festive journeys.

The extension also works well for the harvest season and the wine regions, in which capacity has been increased 53% since last year with 10 different itineraries. The introduction of wine-themed cruises, where guests can enjoy curated experiences by a sommelier or master of wine, highlights Avalon’s commitment to unique and enriching travel experiences. These cruises offer guests an in-depth look at Europe’s wine regions through excursions and tastings included at no extra cost. 

Acknowledging the trend toward longer vacations, Avalon has added a range of longer cruise options for 2025, with the longest option being 26 days. These include three new nine-day cruises, one in Holland and Belgium together, plus the Rhine, and the Danube. The “Magnificent Europe” sailing between Amsterdam and Budapest is a 15-day itinerary that’s becoming increasingly popular among North American travellers, covering both the Rhine and the Danube. 



Avalon is also pioneering in immersive travel experiences with its Active Discovery cruises. These cruises offer guests an array of up to 29 excursion choices, ranging from culinary workshops to adventurous caving and historical town tours. “It’s about offering a flexible and immersive cruise experience,” Hoffee stated, noting the significance of these offerings in attracting a younger demographic to river cruising. From graffiti walks and wine tastings to chocolate workshops and the sweetest discoveries on foot, bicycle, canoe or cable car, Avalon Choice excursions – included in the price of the cruise – present the most up-close and in-depth ways to devour the destination.

Turning to destination trends, Hoffee highlighted France’s allure, especially with the upcoming global spotlight on the country with the 2024 Summer Olympics. In anticipation, Avalon Waterways is repositioning the Artistry II to Bordeaux, expanding its presence in France and providing guests with diverse experiences beyond wine tasting. Avalon Waterways will add two new rivers in France for a total of five, six new cruises and 33% more capacity to meet demand.

Addressing the surge in solo travel, Avalon has coined the term “solo but never alone,” offering waived single supplements on a select number of staterooms and fostering a welcoming environment for solo travellers. “You’re on your own but never alone,” Hoffee remarked, underscoring Avalon’s commitment to providing a supportive and inclusive experience for all guests. According to a recent Wish List survey facilitated by Avalon Waterways, 13% of respondents said they’re planning to go solo on their next river cruise.

As Avalon Waterways navigates towards 2025, its focus on guest-driven trends, expanded capacity and innovative cruising experiences positions the company as a forward-thinking leader in the river cruise industry.


Source: Travelweek

Apr 02, 2024

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