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Avalon Panorama - European River Ship from Avalon Waterways

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Avalon Panorama - Overview
Avalon Waterways' Avalon Panorama River Cruise Ship

Avalon Waterways' Avalon Panorama River Cruise Ship

Photo Courtesy of Avalon Waterways, which is part of the Globus family of travel brands
European river cruising continues to justifiably grow in popularity, and river cruise lines are meeting the demand by adding new ships. The 166-guest Avalon Panorama was launched by Avalon Waterways in May 2011, and this new ship has many features that will please river cruisers. I attended the christening ceremony and stayed onboard for a four night cruise from Mainz to Amsterdam.

The most interesting new feature is the size and configuration of the 64 Panorama "suites", which are the most prevalent type of stateroom on the Avalon Panorama. These staterooms measure 200 square feet and have sliding glass windows covering the exterior wall. When the doors are open, it's like the whole room is a French balcony. The size also allows the bed to be placed facing the river rather than running parallel to it. Lying in the bed and gazing out the huge window will be a popular activity on this ship. In addition, the larger size allows for a small table and two chairs next to the window, so guests have other places to sit in their cabin rather than just on the bed.

The Avalon Panorama has a similar interior configuration to many other European river ships, all of which have an overall size constrained by the length and width of the locks and height of the bridges of the rivers. It has a nice observation lounge with a bar done in contemporary decor. Forward of the observation lounge is an outdoor seating area with a glass partition to block the wind. The river ship also has an aft club lounge with a library and coffee set up. The dining room is forward on the Sapphire deck, and there's a small fitness center and hair salon. The outdoor sun deck has both covered and open seating, and part of the deck is slightly lower to allow passengers to remain up top when passing under some of the bridges.

The Avalon Panorama will be primarily sailing the 14-night "Magnificent Europe" itinerary between Amsterdam and Budapest during the 2011 and 2012 river cruise seasons. This is a fascinating itinerary, filled with more than a dozen diverse river ports of call like Vienna, Melk, the Wachau Valley, Rudesheim, and the Romantic Rhine river valley. In addition, she will be visiting some of the European Christmas markets in late November and December.

Let's take a detailed tour of the Avalon Panorama.

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