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Aboard a European River Cruise Ship - the Avalon Imagery

[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 6/30/2010 - www.Littleviews.com ]

The pictures contained on this page provide material related to a blog entry on June 29, 2010, entitled "On Board a European River Cruise Ship," currently posted on our European River Cruise Blog.


>>  Expect life aboard a European river cruise ship to be a combination of hotel convenience, transportation (in this case, a boat), location-location-location (continuous views of shore), relaxation (sun deck, bow, cabin, lounge, and common rooms), excursions (guided shore tours), and social networking (you'll meet approximately 150 other passengers without once visiting FaceBook).

Magnificant Europe River Cruise aboard the Avalon Imagery - June 2010

European river cruise ships do not look like ocean going vessels or yachts. Many are at least a standard city block long, with staterooms (cabins) located on only three levels. The lowest is marked by port holes (small windows) seen just above the water line. The cabins on the remaining two levels feature large windows.

The picture above is the ship we sailed during our Magnificent Europe tour; the Avalon Imagery. Its sun deck, filled with deck chairs and tables, extends almost half the ship's length.

From time to time, everything on the sun deck, including the pilot house, roof, and windshields, must be flattened in order to pass under low bridges and overhead lock gates. The picture below shows how the Avalon Imagery looks when everything above roof level is collapsed.

Magnificant Europe River Cruise aboard the Avalon Imagery - June 2010

The ship is more enjoyable, of course, when its sun deck fully expanded, like pictured below.

Magnificant Europe River Cruise aboard the Avalon Imagery - June 2010

My husband and I (along with other passengers) visited the captain in his pilot house just when our ship approached a lock with a low, overhead gate. During that maneuver, the pilot house was lowered with us in it. When fully extended (up), it was easy to see over the sun deck, but when retracted (down), we "saw" by watching four TV monitors that showed the front, sides, and back of the ship. Once we cleared the gate, the pilot house was again raised.

The picture below shows you what the retractable pilot house looks like. Not all European river cruise ships are designed with retractable pilot houses, but they all use various schemes to control ship height.

Magnificant Europe River Cruise aboard the Avalon Imagery - June 2010

Many multi-day, European river cruises feature daily shore leaves at culturally significant cities, towns, or villages. On our particular cruise, when we returned from an excursion, we were often met by Avalon Waterway's staff who offered us cool drinks. Pictured below is Valentina Zografova, from Bulgaria, who greets cruisers and serves in the ship's lounge and restaurant.

Magnificant Europe River Cruise aboard the Avalon Imagery - June 2010

The Avalon Imagery's reception area is the first room seen when entering the ship. It contains a large, hotel-style reception desk, a seating area, and a large screen TV that is used for viewing important events, such as soccer games.

Magnificant Europe River Cruise aboard the Avalon Imagery - June 2010

Between the brochure rack and chairs seen in the above picture is a hallway that leads to mid-level staterooms. Directly opposite that hallway are stairways that lead to a lounge on the upper level (pictured below), and a restaurant on the lower level (pictured later in this article).

Magnificant Europe River Cruise aboard the Avalon Imagery - June 2010

Outside the lounge, by the boat's bow, is one of the many outside seating areas. My husband and I spent hours there enjoying vistas, watching sparkling currents, and smelling the forest-fresh, river air.

Magnificant Europe River Cruise aboard the Avalon Imagery - June 2010

The top floor (just above the reception area) provides seating, as well as a hallway leading to more staterooms. Our cruise director's desk was also located in this area.

Magnificant Europe River Cruise aboard the Avalon Imagery - June 2010

As previously mentioned, a staircase leads from the reception level down to the ship's restaurant, the entrance of which you see below.

Magnificant Europe River Cruise aboard the Avalon Imagery - June 2010

Tables in the ship's dining area are always dressed in starched linens, a luxury we rarely (if ever) experience at home. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet-style, while dinner is formally served by the ship's staff.

Magnificant Europe River Cruise aboard the Avalon Imagery - June 2010

The food on our cruise was always tasty, and, of course, conversations between the ship's guests were stimulating and a lot of fun. We admit, however, that the passing scenery sometimes made it difficult to concentrate.

Magnificant Europe River Cruise aboard the Avalon Imagery - June 2010

For those of you who have sailed on private boats (cabin cruisers or yachts) as well as on commercial ships, I am sure you know what to look for in terms of interior quality:

    Freedom from noise! Freedom from vibrations! Stable, non-tipping decks! Fresh-smelling cabins and bedding! Tidy hallways! Clean walls, from floor to ceiling! Non-sticky rugs, stairways, and railings! Beds that feel like beds (not mats)! Full bathrooms (with plenty of storage areas)! And large staterooms (with even more storage areas)!

When aboard the Avalon Imagery, we found all those things, plus an attentive staff, beautiful decorating, great food, and fantastic views. . .

Questions? Ask Karen at Karen@littleviews.com

Article by Karen Little. Photos by Karen and Philip Little. First published on 6/30/2010. All rights reserved by www.LittleviewsTravel.com.







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