Ports of Call Large and Small


More Canadians are discovering the charms of European river cruising. And just as the small size of the ship is a drawing card for lots of travellers, so is the diversity of the ports of call.

Anyone familiar with ocean or big ship cruising knows that disembarkation at your ports of call can be quite a procedure. Of course the cruise lines have it down to an art, but it can still take some time to allow sometimes thousands of passengers to get off in an orderly manner.

It’s quite a different picture with Avalon Waterways, who’s sleek and spacious suite ships accommodate a maximum of 166 passengers.

One of the delights of river cruising is that on arrival in port you can simply stroll off the ship and into your destination. It may be a medieval village or the legendary charms of Vienna or Amsterdam, but it takes only moments – and conversely, re-embarkation is as simple as strolling on board. Which all makes for more time ashore doing what you want to do.

Avalon has hand-picked each port of call, from the “biggies” – including Amsterdam, Vienna, Budapest, Paris and Cologne – to some of the most charming small towns along Europe’s renowned rivers. These include Germany’s Regensburg, a fairy tale town with three claims to fame: an enchanting music box museum; a sweet pedestrian-only street lined with shops selling traditional Christmas tree ornaments; and the traditional local coffee – one of the prettiest, richest coffees you’ll ever enjoy, complete with brandy and lashings of whipped cream.

Or in Holland you can marvel at the centuries-old invention that is the windmill – enjoying a comeback today. The town of Kinderdijk is home to 19 windmills, each more picturesque than the last.

Stops in the large cities are undeniably fascinating too. Avalon will host you to a variety of walking tours featuring a local guide; guided cycling tours or hikes; visits to Baroque palaces or impressive cathedrals; and of course there’s always free time for shopping!

Avalon can also accommodate you if you’d rather explore ashore independently. The AvalonGO app is full of sightseeing and dining ideas, as well as maps. And the crew will even provide you with a free picnic to take on shore if you wish.

It is this combination of large cities and small towns which make a European river cruise with Avalon so diverse and memorable. All with having to unpack only once. And when you are with Avalon, some of the most memorable sightseeing will be from your spacious Panorama Suite, the stylish cabin type which comprises two thirds of the Avalon fleet. With 200 square feet of comfort and a window wall which opens a full six feet to bring in the sights and sounds of Europe, you can always soak up the atmosphere in comfort. Add Avalon’s legendary window-facing beds and you can stretch out, relax and enjoy the passing scenery, whether it’s centuries-old vineyards, dazzling skyscrapers, or indeed picturesque windmills.

Find out more about Avalon Waterways at avalonwaterways.ca; call 800-268-3636; or see your travel agent.