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Cruise Ship Information
The Avalon Artistry II was launched in 2013, and this new river ship from Avalon Waterways is another in its series of "Suite Ships". The Avalon Artistry II has 37 crew members, is 361 feet long, and has 52 suites and 12 cabins. Therefore, it is smaller than its sister ship the Avalon Expression, which was also launched in 2013, and the first "Suite Ship", the Avalon Panorama, launched in 2011. However, the spacious Panorama Suites are the same size--a generous 200 square feet--and feature amazing views of the river scenery. The riverboat sails the Rhine, Moselle, Main, and Danube Rivers in Europe.
 
The 128-passenger Avalon Artistry II features 52 suites, at least 200 square ft. in size. Itineraries focus on the Rhine River with sailings from Zurich to Amsterdam and Amsterdam to Basel, Germany.
 
Atmosphere on board 
 The Avalon Artistry II delivers an intimate setting, along with two full decks of suites featuring Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows that transform the living space into a unique Open-Air Balcony. With 200 square feet, Panorama Suites are more than 30% larger than the industry standard, giving you the rare opportunity to wake each morning to the enchanting scenery and fresh breezes. Onboard amenities include a complimentary Internet Corner and Wi-Fi access, an expanded Fitness Center, and a spacious Sky Deck with premium lounge chairs, shade system, whirlpool, and the delightful Sky Bistro.
 
Food & Dining
128-passenger Avalon Artistry  provided fresh The food on board was very good and reflected the region we were sailing through, but was not limited to it. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style with choices in many different categories. The soups were excellent. Dinners were 5 courses, with at least two choices for every course. Wine, beer, and soft drinks were included with meals. We had an opportunity to try many different foods while on board. The dining room was open seating so we met many different people or sat with our own group as the spirit moved us. Dining room service at dinner was sometimes spotty, but everyone was friendly. Cookies, coffee, fruit and juices were always available in the club lounge. There was a happy hour every day, cake in the afternoon, and an 11 pm snack. Room service available featuring Continental breakfast and beverages
 
Family with Kids/Teens
Children under the age of eight typically are too young to fully enjoy a cruise vacation. Because of this and for the safety and enjoyment of all passengers, Avalon Waterways do not accept children under eight years of age. In addition, please note that there are no special arrangements or activities for children on their ships
 
Past Passenger Programs
Avalon Waterways Past Passenger Program is called the Journeys Club. Journeys Club is the frequent travelers club for the Globus family of brands. Through it, Avalon will reward their frequent travelers with attractive perks. Cruisers must enroll in the club to receive benefits including exclusive promotions, special perks, and customized service.
 
Fitness And Spa
 Each ship is equipped with a small fitness center including a few workout machines, dumbbells, a television and a small area to stretch. Should more than three guests decide to use the facility at the same time, crowd control is required.  On the ‘Suite Ships’ the gym is slightly larger.  There is a whirlpool onboard each ship.  No spa or masseuse services are available however a hairstylist is available with a small salon for services by appointment only.
 
Entertainment
Touring the galley and bridge, watching a movie or listening to a lecture are some of the entertainment options after dinner.  Art demonstrations and beer and wine tastings are popular too. Many riverboats are reduced to offering folklore-ish, over-supplied, costumed, local talent for evening entertainment as the audience will have left town the following morning however Avalon does try to make a palpable effort in this arena.
 
Nightly entertainment was provided by a keyboard player. Lots of dancing music! Local entertainers came on board twice during the trip and provided quality entertainment. One night, the crew performed a not-to-be-missed variety show.
 
Staterooms
Here's what you can expect onboard:
Featuring two decks of suites with wall-to-wall panoramic windows that are capable of transforming into what the line calls an Open Air Balcony™, this 361-foot long vessel transports guests in 52 suites and 12 staterooms along some of the most impressive waterways in Europe in style.
There are six different categories of staterooms aboard the new Avalon Artistry II.
 
Located on Indigo Deck, Category D and E staterooms start at 172 square feet, and feature two half-height windows located near the ceiling of the stateroom. These staterooms also feature a full bathroom complete with a glass door enclosed shower, a writing desk, vanity, and of Avalon’s deluxe beds with premium mattress covers, Egyptian linens, European-style duvets, and a choice of firm or soft pillows.
 
Categories A, B and P measure 200 square feet, and are located on the Sapphire and Royal decks. These “Panorama Suites” feature wall-to-wall windows that retract to create an open-air balcony capable of seating up to six fully-grown adults. The suites feature all the amenities of the above categories but with the addition of a coffee table and sitting area.
 
Royal Suites measure 300 square feet and are located side-by-side on Royal Deck. These suites pull out all the stops, with all the amenities of the previous categories but with more space, larger sitting areas, and segmented bathrooms that feature separate toilets, showers, and vanity areas with dual sinks. 
 
Complimentary iPads are included for guest’ use in these suites, along with complimentary Wi-Fi.
All guests have access to a full-featured list of amenities, including nightly turn-down service, spacious three-door closets, flat-screen TV with movie channels, bathrobes and slippers, complimentary bottled water and L’Occitane toiletries.
 
Panorama cabins on the Royal Deck are best. The view from the floor to ceiling, wall to wall doors that can be opened to the outside is outstanding. Royal Suites, as the most significant advantage is 100 square feet of additional cabin space. That is not worth the significant additional cost. Deluxe staterooms on the Indigo (bottom) deck unless cost is your primary concern. There is less space, and very little view. The view from the staterooms is one of the main reasons to go on river cruises.
 
Cabins, all outside, measure 172 square ft.; Panorama suites are 200 square ft. and Royal suites are 300 square ft. Both Panorama and Royal suites feature wall-to-wall windows that retract to create an open-air balcony; remaining cabins have picture windows.
Cabin amenities include flat-screen satellite TV, radio, mini-bar, safe and hair dryers. Beds can be configured into two twins or one queen and come with choice of firm or soft pillows and duvets and Egyptian cotton linens. Royal suite occupants also get usage of in-suite complimentary iPads.
 
Avalon Artistry II has four decks, including a sky deck for sunning and relaxing by the whirlpool. The sky deck also boasts an open-air bistro. There are multiple lounges, an open-seating dining room, an Internet corner, a hairdresser and manicurist and an expanded fitness center. Smoking is not permitted in interior areas. An onboard elevator is available for guest use.In addition to meals and accommodations, sightseeing excursions led by local guides, onboard lectures and piano entertainment, and wine with dinners are included in the fare. Avalon Waterways appeals to mostly English speaking passengers in the 55-plus range.
 
Tipping
Gratuities are included in cruise fares for services during meals and land stays (including porter tips for one piece of luggage per person). Gratuities for the Cruise Director, local hosts, local guides, driver and ship's crew are not included and are discretionary. Avalon recommends $5 to $7 per person, per day, for the Cruise Director; $3 to $5 per person, per day, for the local guide; and $5 to $7 per person, per day, for the crew. All transactions aboard the riverboat are in U.S. dollars.
 
Fellow Passengers
Avalon Waterways appeals to English-speaking passengers in the 55-plus age range, though Southeast Asia river trips tend to draw a younger, more energetic group of cruisers who are well-traveled and relatively mobile. Though strenuous hikes are few and short -- Avalon provides transportation for those who do not feel up to them -- daily walks to villages, religious sites and markets require significant energy, as do walks in Angkor Wat and its associated ruins. An Avalon passenger is typically near retirement age or retired. They enjoy experiencing and learning about new places and seeing new sights. They have an interest for history and culture. An Avalon passenger enjoys relaxed, quiet environments with fine food and wine on offer.
 
Our recommendation
Avalon Choice’ provides three options operated through Avalon’s parent company, Globus.   These shore excursions are classified as ‘Traditional’ for the standard must-sees, ‘Leisure’ for those who prefer a more casual pace and ‘Essential’ for those who wish to squeeze as many sights in as possible.  Quietvox transmitters and ear phones are utilized for tours.  Guided bike tours are offered in several ports.
 
One tour option in each category is included complimentary at every port, typically a walking or driving tour while additional offerings come at a supplementary cost.  Additional tours can be pre-arranged online prior to departure and are paid in US dollars.  If you join a tour onboard you will be charged the cost of the tour in Euros.  A visit to Versailles is 62 Euro per person, The Louvre is 49 Euro per person and Moulin Rouge is 167 Euro per person.
 

Since 2013, Avalon’s onboard guest services customizing tours for passengers. Tried and failed in the past, it will be interesting to see how well Avalon can handle the complexities of last-minute itinerary planning.  As the best professional guides throughout the world are always booked far in advance, we do not recommend waiting until you are onboard to make private tour arrangements. A new concept which allows its river cruise guests to personalize their voyage from start to finish.