Book a river cruise – fly for just $299

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Avalon Waterways, which offers river cruises in sleek, new vessels on three continents, currently has an amazing sale:  book from a selection of departures this year in Europe or Southeast Asia and pay just $299 for your airfare from a major Canadian gateway– including all taxes!  This is a savings of hundreds of dollars and is available only until April  7.  Check out all the details at:

And speaking of river cruises…would you like some insider tips?  If you’re intrigued by this popular “new” way to see the world, here are some great insights from the people at Avalon:

Even die-hard big ship cruise fans are discovering the charms of sailing along at a leisurely pace in a smaller ship, where you’re never more than a few moments from your stateroom and the scenery is always close to hand. Plus the inclusions are surprisingly generous!

“It’s definitely about having a more intimate experience,” says Stéphanie Bishop of Avalon Waterways,which offers small ship cruising mainly in Europe and also in South America and Asia, including its new Myanmar (Burma) cruises on the Irrawaddy River.  How intimate is intimate? Avalon’s custom-built European ships, for example, accommodate a maximum of just 166 passengers and only 36 passengers sail aboard their new vessels in Southeast Asia.

Passengers also love the fact that there’s no chance of sea-sickness, as you’re sailing along very calm waters.  There are no fixed seatings for dinners; and with Avalon you also have the choice of booking a themed cruise.  From Christmas markets to culinary, wellness to wine – even beer and golf! – it’s a great way to meet like-minded folks.

Staterooms are surprisingly spacious, with the majority of Avalon’s  European ships  featuring their signature 200 square foot Panorama Suites — more than 30% larger than the industry standard. Each Panorama suite boasts a 3.3 m wide window wall, which opens over 2 meters to allow the sights and sounds of Europe into your stateroom.  Add a luxurious bed facing the window, a comfy sitting area, free movies on the flat-screen TV and marble bathrooms with L’Occitane amenities and you’ll see why travellers love sailing with Avalon!

Other on-board facilities include a stylish main restaurant and a casual Bistro for dinner, plus the Sky Deck for al-fresco lunches; a spacious bar/lounge; library with free self-serve coffee and tea; and small gym and beauty salon.

Like all European river cruise ships, there are space limitations.  This means no big theatres or glittering casinos: evening entertainment is of the light variety, often featuring musicians or dancers who come on board for the evening.  Plus there are always lively and fun port talks from the Cruise Director, giving insider tips about tomorrow’s port of call.

Another significant difference between Avalon and big-ship cruising are the included shore excursions. At each stop you have your choice of three styles of  sightseeing:  a comprehensive tour with a local guide, usually on foot; a must-see highlights tour, leaving you with free time to explore on your own;  or a leisurely paced tour.  Additionally, there are often optional excursions at an extra cost that you can pre-purchase  before your cruise in Canadian dollars.

This year Avalon is offering 30 itineraries in Europe — five of which start at 8 days’ duration (A Taste of the Danube (from Budapest to Vienna), Tulip Time and Tulips of Northern Holland  in Holland,  The Romantic Rhine and Paris to Normandy’s Landing Beaches) – and the longest is a 24 day North Sea – Black Sea journey from Amsterdam to Bucharest.

And the company even opened the books on its sailings for next year which are already selling briskly!

For more information and a free brochure visit;  call 1-800-268-3636; or see your travel agent.