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Cruise Ship Information
 
Avalon Luminary was built in 2010 along with her sister, Avalon Felicity. At 361 feet in length, she carries 138 guests. Luminary is fifth river ship in Avalon Waterway's "Scenery class" (Avalon Scenery debuted in 2008 as the first in the series). Like its sister ships, the 138-passenger new-build features an all-outside cabin setup, with standard cabins measuring 172 square feet and junior suites at 258 square feet. A number of Luminary's cabins have "French balconies," sliding glass doors with a protective railing (though you can't step out). Onboard, passengers will find a sun deck with small pool, a "Sky Grill" for outdoor dining, two lounges, an open-seating dining room and a fitness center. The ship also boasts some of river cruising's most modern touches, including flat-screen televisions in the cabins and an elevator for general passenger use.
 
On an interesting technical note, the ship is outfitted with Avalon's Silent Drive System (SDS), a pod-propulsion system that the company says allows for a much smoother and quieter cruise. Luminary sails traditional river cruise itineraries along Europe's great riverways, including the Rhine, Danube and their tributaries.
 
 
Atmosphere on board  

Like her sisters, Avalon Luminary offers a host of amenities designed to ensure your stay aboard her is pleasurable.Throughout the ship you’ll find wall-to-wall panoramic windows so you never miss the incredible scenery passing by. A main lounge, aft-facing Club Lounge, and an elegantly appointed restaurant round out the mix.
 
The ship is also fully equipped with Wi-Fi access and a dedicated Internet center, as well as a fitness center, and an outside viewing deck, the Sky Deck featuring premium lounge chairs and a whirlpool. Every evening Avalon provided a talk on the next day’s visit, along with a Daily Event Sheet for that port, including map and town highlights.  So each day we set out and were amply prepared. Our itinerary was perfect and  we enjoyed every town and village we stopped at. Our included shore excursions were a delight.  Almost all were walking tours – the guide would meet us as we stepped off the river vessel and we would be divided into 3-4 groups and provided a transmitter with earpiece, called a “Whisper” to hang around our necks.  The device picked up the narration of our tour guide, automatically tuning into their specific “talking” channel, allowing us to wander around and easily hear their words.   The local guides were knowledgeable and obviously very experienced.  My favorite cities and tours were probably Heidelberg and Strasbourg.  The visit to Heidelberg Castle was approximately 45 minutes; we saw an 18th century wine cask holding 49,000 gallons of wine!  Afterwards we had a short walking tour of the town and then explored on our own.  Strasburg lies on the border of France and Germany and was a magnificent city, rich in history. The architecture of the new and the old was very interesting and blended together nicely.
 
Refreshingly different in many ways yet still traditional in the river cruise experience the Globus river cruise division of Avalon will exceeded your expectations. The Avalon Luminary is indeed a beautiful and charming ship; however what makes her truly special is the caring and attentive staff and crew.  The vision of Avalon has been perfectly orchestrated and refined into a relaxing and elegant vessel with a heart of gold.
 
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.
 
JOURNEY CLUB MEMBERS – If you have traveled with any of the Globus Family of brands; Globus, Cosmos, Monograms or Avalon, you maybe eligible for an additional 5% discount on the base price of the cruise, which is $225.00/person Cancellation Insurance and pre-cruise hotel nights in Amsterdam or post-cruise hotel nights in Vienna are available - rates furnished upon request. Flights will be available January 2015.
 
Fitness And Spa
Stay fit onboard your Avalon Luminary cruise vacation and take advantage of the state-of-the-art fitness center, Sky Deck whirlpool and Hair salon (manicures available). Avalon also provide walking tours, guided bike excursions in Amsterdam, Breisach and Durnstein.
 
Food & Dining
Dining was open seating with buffet for breakfast and lunch. There are freshly prepared eggs/omelets for breakfast and a carving station at lunchtime in addition to the other buffet items. Dinners were served open seating with a 5-course meal each evening. Main courses usually varied from beef, fish and a pasta or vegetarian offering along with 3 always available items - salmon, steak and chicken. Meals to be very good with very nice presentation. The wait staff varied in its efficiency depending upon who served a specific table. Alternatively a "light" breakfast and lunch are also served in the main lounge.
 
Food and beverages onboard overall were enjoyable. Each evening Avalon throws a Happy Hour with 2-for-1 beverages.  The complimentary free-flowing wine at dinner was appreciated and decent.  Each evening we had a choice of red & white, or both! The meals got better and better as the cruise progressed.  Fish selections were not as appealing and tasty as we are used to but the red meat entrees, on the other hand were very good.
 
Choice of complimentary wine, beer or soft drinks will be included with dinner on Avalon Europe river cruises. In Europe, Asia and South America, coffee and tea are available free of charge throughout the day from "early riser" breakfast through dinner. On the Yangtze wine is included with all dinners. On the Mekong and Irrawaddy river complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks, local beer/spirits is available throughout the day and wine is included with dinner. Avalon can cater for vegetarians and all special diets as long as it is made clear at the time of booking and also mentioned again to the cruise director on the day of embarkation; we also offer a healthy option with all buffets.
 
Entertainment
Partake in onboard lectures, activities, and various nightly entertainment when you sail onboard Avalon Luminary. When you get to your port-of-call, take advantage of choice of excursions – leisurely, traditional or essential sightseeing options and have access to complimentary maps and use of Nordic walking sticks as well as headsets for all guided shore excursions in Europe.
 
Educate yourself while sailing onboard Avalon Affinity by attending various lectures as well as other culturally-enriching experiences. Look forward to various onboard experiences with local chefs, entertainers, and artisans. Spend an afternoon on the Sky Deck for breathtaking scenery that you pass by along the waterways. Next, grab your beverage of choice, and mingle and unwind with like-minded travelers in the lounges and bar.
 
Every cruise includes two or three evenings of onboard entertainment, at least one show performed by the crew and nightly piano music. On certain cruises their may be guest speakers, local musicians performing folklore shows or classical recitals. A resident Pianist will also perform nightly. There is a selection of board game and a small library available onboard.
 
 
Staterooms
Avalon Luminary features five different stateroom categories. Located on Indigo Deck, Category E staterooms measure 172 square feet and feature two windows located near the ceiling of the stateroom. They also feature a full bathroom with a glass door enclosed shower, a writing desk, vanity, and 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 also measure 172 square feet, and are located on the Sapphire and Royal decks. These staterooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows and a French balcony.

Rounding out the accommodations are Avalon Luminary’s 258-square foot Avalon Suites. Located side-by-side on Royal Deck, these four suites pull out all the stops, featuring all the amenities of the previous categories but with more space, a large sitting area, and a larger bathroom.
All guests have access to a welcome 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.
 
The Royal Deck, category P, cabin 301 river cruise cabin was approximately mejures 172 sq ft. with ample closet and drawer space for the two of us (women) to hang our clothes and store our personal items.  Suitcases also easily fit under the beds for storage. A converter is needed for any electrical appliances (the Front desk did have some converters to loan, with no fee); the bathroom does have a hair dryer.  Due to the locations on the river, signals for the TV were sometimes down and the TV was a little hard to use, but upon asking we were provided with better instructions.  Also, laundry service is provided for a fee, there are no facilities to do your own laundry or to iron your clothes.
 
Side Note:  the first day you will have a safety briefing, which will be followed by an actual drill the next morning – ours was at 9 am. We were a little surprised at the drill as this is not common on large cruise vessels.
 
The least expensive cabin and the standard cabin with a French balcony are the same size. If you are ambivalent about the sliding door until once you start sleeping with the door open, divine and worth paying more for. The suites are lovely and compare to a land based room. Spacious and comfortable certainly worth the step up if it is in your price point.  
 
 
Tipping
Gratuities are not included in the price of the cruise and are entirely discretionary. If it is a wish to reward good service we recommend 3 euro per passenger per day for the cruise director and 12 euro passenger per day for the crew, which will be divided amongst all of the ships personnel. Gratuities envelopes will be left in staterooms the day before the cruise ends, and a designated box for envelopes will be in the reception area when passengers are leaving the ship. It is also customary to acknowledge good performance by a local guide with a tip of 1 euro per tour.
 
Fellow Passengers
American/Canadian/UK/Australians and New Zealanders. 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
Cruising on the Avalon Luminary is the ideal way to experience the majesty, extensive history and fascinating culture of some of Europe's oldest cities along the Rhine, Main, Danube and Moselle rivers.
 
River boat cruise with Avalon, Tulips of Northern Holland. If you've never done a river boat cruise, this is one of the best ways to travel. The food, the wine, and most of the tours with excellent guides are included.  You get to see the most fortunate that most of the tulip fields were in bloom and with river boats, you have the opportunity to visit many small towns and villages. Avalon's newest boats are all suites and feature specialized dining. All in all, we would encourage anyone to give this mode of travel a try and we feel you will find it most enjoyable.