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Avalon Waterways has announced a 30 percent increase in theme cruises next year, as it sees strong growth in what the line calls "passion travel." From golf, culinary and wellness to beer tasting, Jewish heritage and World War I history, cruises are designed to feed special interests among guests, all with no additional charge.
On the Oct. 13, 2014, departure of Austrian Highlights & Bavaria, travelers will have the chance to enjoy onboard beer tastings, visit historic breweries and learn about European beer-brewing techniques via onboard lectures.
A July 7, 2014, sailing on the same itinerary takes golf-lovers to outings on courses throughout the cruise (non-golfers will have the opportunity to experience regular included excursions, although some may want to go along to the golf courses just to experience the clubhouses). A local golf expert will join guests onboard and will arrange tee times at three select courses along the way. Roundtrip transportation to the golf courses is included (greens fees, carts, caddies and equipment are extra). Although the final courses have not been selected, the company is looking at luxury courses in very picturesque locations, several with extraordinary clubhouses as well as challenging golf. These include: The Golf Club Schloss Schonborn, Schloss Ebreichsdorf Golf Club or Colony Golf Club in the midst of the old Auen forest in Vienna, Golf Club Swarco in Durnstein-Melk, Golf Club St. Florian in Grein-Linz, Golf Resort Bad Griesbach in Linz-Passau and Golf Club Eichenried and/or Golf Club Tegernseer in Munich, framed by the Alps and looking out over a lake.
In addition, next year Avalon is appealing to health-focused travelers with a new wellness cruise on a Danube departure July 7, 2014. Mornings start with yoga and stretching, and there will be lectures on healthy lifestyle and healthy dining options.
Marking the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI, Avalon will give travelers two opportunities to learn more about the Great War that claimed the lives of more than 9 million, on either the July 14 departure of Grand France or the July 22 departure of Paris to Normandy’s Landing Beaches.
Other theme cruises carried over from previous years center on art and Impressionism, wine, culinary, European history and culture, Jewish heritage, classical and jazz music as well as festive holidays.
“Our special-interest cruises sell out quickly year after year,” said Patrick Clark, managing director at Avalon Waterways. “Travelers interested in exploring their passions along Europe’s waterways for 2014 should book early.”
Bookings for any 2014 European itinerary made by June 25 earn $500 per couple in savings.