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In addition to announcing two new Suite Ships in Europe for 2013, Avalon Waterways is also offering five new itineraries.
“In 2013, we’re not only providing our cruisers more choices on our ship, we’re giving them more off-the-beaten-path cruises to choose from in northern Holland, Austria, Central Europe and Germany,” said Patrick Clark, managing director. “And, in Asia, we’re adding an exciting new cruise along China’s mighty Yangtze River, aboard two new ships.”
New Europe itineraries
Many cruisers have explored Netherlands’ tulips in southern Holland, but in 2013, Avalon is encouraging them to try the new eight-day Tulips of Northern Holland vacation.
“Every year, our traditional Tulip Time Cruise sells out,” said Clark. “Now, we’re giving our travelers who love the beauty and history of Holland’s tulips a chance to combine some well-known sights with off-the-beaten-path experiences.”
Originating in Amsterdam, the cruise explores the countryside with its colorful tulip fields before cruising to Friesland, famous for its black and white cows, its own language, many windmills, thatched roofs and distinctive culture. Avalon guests sail across the Ijsselmeer and take a walking tour of the small town of Hoorn. The amazing schoolteacher Eise Eisinga's planetarium in Franeker, the world’s oldest from 1774 is not to be missed. Passengers also visit the ZuiderZee Museum in Enkhuizen, the Batavia shipyard in Lelystad and a windmill outside the fishing village of Volendam, with more excursion choices in Arnhem and Rotterdam. Onboard, they sample local Dutch cheeses and taste the extremely potent Genever gin as part of Avalon’s new complimentary Culture & Cruise program.
For cruisers interested in Central and Eastern Europe, Avalon also has the new nine-day Austrian Highlights & Bavaria route, which visits Vienna, as well as charming small towns such as Melk, with its magnificent abbey; Durnstein, beneath the ruins of the castle where King Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned in 1192; and Grein’s quaint historical theater, before heading to Bavaria. In Germany, visits include the Bavarian capital of Munich, the famous town of Oberammergau and the fairytale castles of Neuschwanstein and Linderhof. Onboard, a local chef prepares regional specialties and travelers will enjoy a wine tasting from the Wachau valley.
The 13-day Highlights of Germany from Munich to Basel visits King Ludwig’s most famous castles: Neuschwanstein, the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle, and Linderhof. Guests will also enjoy a beer tasting in Nuremberg and sample a variety of beers on board, and explore medieval Regensburg and UNESCO World Heritage sites in Bamberg and Wurzberg.
With both 10- and 12-day options, the new Capitals of Central Europe cruise focuses on Prague, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest, as well as the many small towns that dot the landscape along the way. Besides he major cities there is a choice of excursions in Krems that includes Austrian wine tastings, a visit to Austria’s oldest theater still offering regular performances in the resort town of Grein and time in the magnificent monastery at Melk. Onboard, cruisers can attend a Slovak folk music performance.
For the next cruise season, Avalon Waterways is also introducing two new ships in Asia – the Century Legend and Century Paragon – and adding a fourth itinerary (a Small Group Discovery vacation), the 15-day Enchanting China & the Yangtze River.
Travelers will visit sights in Beijing, Xian, Lijiang, Shanghai and Hong Kong, including sites such as the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Sacred Way of the Ming Tombs, the Terracotta Warriors, the Yu Yuan Gardens and Stanley Market. Avalon is also offering immersive experiences such as attending a special cloisonne and lacquer workshop, a noodle-making demonstration, a calligraphy class, a rickshaw ride through Beijing’s hutongs and a sampan ride on Hong Kong’s harbor.
“In 2013, our travelers can choose from a four- to 24-day cruise as well as a cruise-only voyage or an extensive cruise-plus-land journey,” Clark said. “We have put together more than 100 cruise package possibilities on the greatest waterways in the world with hundreds of guaranteed departures to fit cruisers’ interests.”