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Avalon Waterways is hitting hard on the element both baby boomers and millennials value highly: choice. Next year will see four moves to cater to different travel styles: FlexDining; an expanded Avalon Choice; Active Discovery cruises on the Rhine, Danube and Rhone rivers; and a new app for guests who like to explore ports of call on their own.
“Our new FlexDining program invites Avalon guests to enjoy more flexibility at breakfast, lunch and dinner,” said Pam Hoffee, managing director of Avalon Waterways. “In addition to providing guests with multiple dining venues such as the Panorama Bistro and the Sky Grill to bringing healthy food options to the plate with Avalon Fresh, FlexDining offers our guests the opportunity to enjoy open dining times, more two-top tables for couples, bar service on the Sky Deck and daily night fare, on request, at the bar. We even provide complimentary picnic lunches to those interested in taking their dining experience off the ship.”
The line will also launch its Avalon Choice program on all itineraries. Experiences are grouped into Classic, Discovery and Active options. The Classic choice encompasses traditional tours and experiences with guides; the Discovery style involves interaction with activities and a taste of local lifestyle; and the Active choice provides energetic ways of enjoying the ports of call.
A guest electing to take the Classic tour of Amsterdam could have a guided tour of major sites, while the Active traveler could see the city on a jogging tour and the Discovery guest might take a painting class.
In addition, 2019 will bring the line’s eight- and nine-day Active Discovery Cruises on the Rhine, Danube and Rhone rivers. These itineraries include more day sailing and time in atypical ports of call.
“On the Rhine River, for instance, travelers will not only spend time in popular destinations such as Cologne and Amsterdam, they will also explore Xanten, Eltville, Duisburg and Wiesbaden,” Hoffee said. “On the Danube, there’s always Budapest and Vienna but on these special Active Discovery itineraries, travelers can also experience off-the-beaten-path places such as Engelhartszell, Spitz and Visegrad. Our Active Discovery cruises invite travelers to explore popular rivers of Europe in an entirely new way.”
For those who prefer to explore independently, the new AvalonGo app that will launch next year provides maps, directions, open hours and background for a list of attractions in ports, along with cafes, restaurants, bars and entertainment venues.
Guests may choose one kind of shore option in one port and switch to another in the next; regardless, the value of choice is impressive. An experiment conducted by Daniel Mochon of Tulane University indicated that when people were shown two DVD players, 32 percent indicated that they would buy one of the brands, and 34 percent said that they would buy the other. But when subjects were shown just one DVD player, only about 10 percent said that they would buy it. He concluded that consumers may be unwilling to choose unless they can consider alternatives.
Avalon is clearly addressing this; the only problem will be deciding whether to take a ghost tour or visit a crocodile farm.
The DetailsAvalon Waterwayswww.avalonwaterways.com