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On Avalon Waterways’ Suite Ships, you can really watch the world go by. With their signature cabin beds turned toward window and balcony views, the riverboats perfectly frame the surrounding scenery. I initially sailed on the cruise line onboard the 2012-launched Avalon Visionary, and recently on the brand-new Avalon Envision, which has been christened with the same scenic emphasis.
All Suite Ships in Europe currently come outfitted with Panorama Suites, and Envision’s will be familiar to anyone who has traveled on its sister vessels. The larger-than-average cabins angle beds to face windows that slide to become open-air balconies, placing the foot of the bed right at the railing. Not to mention, the bedding can be tailored to client preference on a four-level scale from plush to firm. The orientation also affords more padding around the other furnishings at the rail: a sofa, a chair and a convenient height-adjustable table.
The bathroom benefits from all the angles as well. Spacious shower enclosures make it easy to bathe unencumbered and dry off with equal clearance from the toilet and sink basin. Color-coded white and brown towels remain a favorite among passengers looking to differentiate between roommates.
Meanwhile, the ship’s two Royal Suites are 50 percent larger with two sets of balconies and a grander master bathroom, plus a separate seating area and an additional half bath. Smaller Avalon Deluxe Staterooms feature fixed head-height windows and beds that are placed traditionally parallel to the windows, but configurations are still comfortable.
The Envision may be longer than the Visionary, but deck plans are nearly identical from one Suite Ship to the next. Bookending the suites and staterooms are Panorama Lounge and the dining room at the bow, and Club Lounge at the stern. Both bright lounges serve as observation venues with floor-to-ceiling windows surrounding them, as does the welcoming restaurant (serving hearty and healthy cuisine) with its own expansive glass. At the top of the ship are Sky Grill for alfresco meals, Sky Deck for relaxing in a whirlpool and more.
Never is it more important than now to leave your home and to go face to face, not on the internet, but in the flesh, and meet people who are not the same as you.
From Visionary to Envision, there have been subtle changes to the interior design. The newest riverboat sports contemporary circular motifs unlike its boxier predecessor; however, in keeping with the line’s boutique hotel aesthetic, both are modern, light and not particularly nautical. Also new for Envision is its acclaimed godmother Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the popular travelogue, “Eat, Pray, Love.”
Her words at the christening ceremony embody the Avalon spirit:
“Never is it more important than now to travel,” Gilbert said. “Never is it more important than now to leave your home and to go face to face, not on the internet, but in the flesh, and meet people who are not the same as you. I have never been afraid of the world. But I am afraid of people who are afraid of the world. And if you are a traveler, you are not afraid of the world, which means you are my kind of people, and that’s what we need more of.”
Ultimately, that means getting off the ship and exploring the globe. That’s why the line is building beyond the view with streamlined complimentary shore excursions, classifying them by Avalon Choice: either Classic (city overviews), Discovery (interactive experiences) or Active (energetic tours).
Come 2020, there will be even more selections thanks to YourWay programing’s pre- and post-cruise extensions in partnership with Avalon sister brands Monograms and Globus. Next year will also see the launch of another new Suite Ship: Avalon View.
The DetailsAvalon Waterways www.avalonwaterways.com