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Avalon Passion Review

Find a Avalon Passion Cruise from £659

Avalon Passion
4.5 / 5.0
48 reviews

Waterview beds, French balconies running the room length and well-designed bathrooms
European plugs are annoying for North Americans; inclusions slightly weak for price point
Bottom Line
Healthy menus and a boutique feel equal a modern but comfortable take on river cruising




Passenger to Crew


Shore Excursions
Sails To
Sails From
Avalon Waterways Cruise Deals
Chris Gray Faust
Cruise Critic Managing Editor

Avalon Passion Overview

With more choices than ever available for European river cruising, lines are being challenged to come up with activities and concepts that set them apart from the rest of the pack. With its newest "Suite Ship," the 166-passenger Passion, Avalon rises to the occasion with an experience that's modern, but still familiar and relaxing.

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One of the major differences you'll see on Avalon, as opposed to other lines, is that the beds face the windows, not the wall. And after a week onboard, we're sold on the concept. There is something refreshing about waking up to a nice view, instead of a mirror. In the ship's Panorama Suites, French balconies come with a glass sliding door that opens up nearly the length of the room, allowing in plenty of fresh air. The marble bathrooms are among the best we've seen on the rivers, well-designed and actually comfortable. All in all, you'll feel like you're in a boutique hotel instead of a river ship. One small quibble: the plugs are all European, forcing North Americans to bring clumsy converters.

The public spaces are also spacious and light, with walls of windows and cozy corners. We were particularly drawn to the Club Lounge at the back of the ship, a glass-enclosed room with tables, chairs and sofa, as well as always available coffee, tea and snacks. The Panorama Lounge, which serves as the ship's main gathering spot, is also divided up into smaller areas that are perfect for small group conversation or reading a book. At night, there's a musician and dance floor and the line has capability for karaoke, if the passengers are so inclined.  

For its shore excursions, Avalon draws upon the expertise of its land-tour arm, Globus, and the local guides were generally better than average. As on most river cruises, the line hands out headsets for tours so you can hear the commentary while still being able to wander around. The ship is also adding bikes that passengers can use for free in port.

We weren't as impressed with the onboard service as we were with the ship itself, however. While the service is nice enough, it's not the kind of ship where the bartenders and waiters -- or even the cruise director -- go out of their way to know your name. While we applaud the line's commitment to a quieter ship (very few announcements are made), we found ourselves worrying about missing activities. And we wonder why the line doesn't include wine and beer with lunch as its competitors do. (We've been told this will change in 2017.)

But our complaints, overall, are minor. Avalon passengers tend to return to the line again and again for the ship's size and moderate cost, about middle of the road in the river cruise market. Add in the commitment that the line is making to healthy cuisine -- a pair of notable Austrian chefs will develop full vegetarian and vegan menus for all Avalon ships in 2017 -- and you get an experience that feels like it would appeal to a younger demographic than you find on other river cruise lines.

Top Avalon Passion Itineraries

Avalon Passion
3 night festive season on a taste of the danube (westbound)

Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna

3 Night Festive Season on A Taste of the Danube (Westbound)

Avalon Passion

View All Avalon Passion Itineraries (9)

Fellow Passengers

Avalon Passion's passengers fall squarely into baby boomer territory, with the majority of cruisers around sixty-something. The Denver company's base is primarily American, although you'll also find Australians and people from other English-speaking countries. Many have traveled with other tour companies within the Globus family of brands (of which Avalon is one).

Avalon Passion Dress Code

Casual rules the day, with most passengers donning jeans or other sturdy clothes for tours and excursions. Bring your walking shoes for Europe's cobblestoned streets; passengers who plan to participate in the line's more active excursions may also want to bring shoes for hiking or biking. At night, passengers wear country club casual, with women wearing blouses with pants or skirts, and men wearing collared shirts, even at the Captain's welcome and farewell dinners. 

Avalon Passion Inclusions

Avalon cruises include a choice of at least one shore excursion per day, WiFi onboard, soda at lunch (beer and wine will be added at lunch in 2017) and wine, beer and soda with dinner. In 2017, all Avalon ships will have bikes that passengers can use for free. Tips are not included; the recommended amount is 12 euros per person, per day for the staff and 3 euros per person, per day for the cruise director. Starting in 2017, the fares will include tips for local guides and drivers. You can pay with cash or credit card at the end of your cruise or you can pre-pay online before you board. The onboard currency is the euro.

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Avalon Passion Ratings

Public Rooms4.04.8
Fitness Recreation3.03.8
Value For Money4.04.6

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More about Avalon Passion

Where does Avalon Passion sail from?

Avalon Passion departs from Budapest and Amsterdam

How much does it cost to go on Avalon Passion?

Cruises on Avalon Passion start from £659 per person.

Awards and Recognition

Avalon Passion Member Reviews

Avalon Passion
Sail Date: Aug 2019
Avalon service was excellent. The weather was great - mostly 70s until the final day. Food was well prepared and good selection (picky eater, lots of allergies).... Read More
Avalon Passion
Sail Date: Oct 2019
I plan on keeping in touch with a few of my fellow passengers and will consider going with Avalon again on a different ship.... Read More
Avalon Passion
Sail Date: Apr 2019
Avalon also offers a "gentle" walkers plan too. I can highly recommend Avalon we had such a lovely time and learned so much!... Read More
Avalon Passion
Sail Date: Apr 2019
We are already booked for spring 2020 to cruise the Rhine River with Avalon!... Read More

Avalon Waterways Fleet

Avalon Imagery II
75 reviews

Suite ship Avalon Imagery II debuted in 2017 and with only 128 passengers, is small enough to access lesser-known ports and towns on the Rhine.

Avalon Imagery Cruises to Europe View All Avalon Imagery Cruises
Avalon Creativity
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Avalon Creativity is part of Avalon's Scenery-class of 140-passenger ships, and cruises along France's Seine River.

Avalon Panorama
5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Avalon Panorama offers 17 172-square-foot deluxe cabins outfitted with standard windows that offer limited views (read: no open-air balconies) and two 300-square-foot Royal Suites with panoramic windows.

Avalon Vista

The 166-passenger Avalon Vista is a "Suite Ship." Vista also features all the classic riverboat accouterments, including a top-deck whirlpool, bow-to-stern Wi-Fi and spacious sun deck dotted with loungers.

Avalon Visionary
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Avalon Visionary, is one of Avalon Waterways' "Suite Ships." It is the sister ship to Imagery II, Tapestry II, Tranquillity II, Poetry II and Artisty II.

Avalon Artistry II

The 128-passenger Avalon Artistry II will join the Avalon Waterways fleet of river cruise ships in 2013. One of the lines Suite Ships, Avalon Artistry II features 52 suites, at least 200 square ft.

Avalon Expression

This four-deck river boat features 66 suites, a sky deck with a whirlpool and open-air bistro, multiple lounges, a small fitness center and free Wi-Fi.

Avalon Poetry II
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

The 128-passenger Avalon Poetry II is one of the smallest of Avalon Waterways' suite ships, a full 82 feet shorter than most of the ships in its class.

Avalon Illumination
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Avalon Waterways' 164-passenger Avalon Illumination, part of the line's "suite ship" class, offers roomy cabins, multiple lounges and contemporary chic design.

Avalon Impression

Avalon Impression has 83 cabins, three lounges, a whirlpool and games area on the Sun Deck, a fitness center, hair salon and two dining venues.

Avalon Myanmar
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

A cruise on Avalon Myanmar is as much about the itinerary as the boat itself, which was purpose built to sail the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar (Burma).

Avalon Siem Reap
5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

A delightfully intimate experience -- only 36 passengers -- that gets cruisers into the heart of Cambodia and Vietnam

Avalon Tapestry II
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Launched in 2015, the 128-passenger Avalon Tapestry II is one of Avalon Waterways' "Suite Ships," a term that reflects the company's pride in its all-suite accommodation.

Avalon Tranquility II

One of Avalon Waterways' all-suite ships, Avalon Tranquility II features two full decks of suites with wall-to-wall sliding windows that create an open-air balcony with seating for six.

Avalon Passion
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

With its newest "Suite Ship," the 166-passenger Passion, Avalon rises to the occasion with an experience that's modern, but still familiar and relaxing.

Avalon Saigon
5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Avalon's second ship on the Mekong River has the line's signature award-winning cabins on a smaller vessel.

Avalon Envision
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

The latest in Avalon's successful line of Suite Ships, Avalon Envision features two decks of Panorama Suites and plenty of active options on Europe's rivers.

Avalon View

Set to debut in 2020, Avalon View is Avalon Waterways’ newest Suite Ship. Sister to 2019’s Avalon Envision, it will primarily cruise itineraries along Europe’s Rhine River.

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