Avalon Imagery II is one of two "suite ships" to join Avalon Waterways' fleet in Europe in 2016, although the 361-foot vessel is slightly smaller than Passion, the other newbuild, so it can access smaller ports and towns in Europe. The 128-passenger ship will sail the Rhine in 2016 and 2017. Here's what you can expect on Avalon Imagery II:
Fifty 200-square-foot Panorama Suites -- or two decks' worth -- have wall-to-wall panoramic windows, which open seven feet to create an open-air balcony of sorts. Two 300-square-foot Royal Suites will offer an even wider view. The remaining 12 cabins are 172 square feet and have picture windows.
Avalon advertises the fact that its cabins are configured so the beds face the floor-to-ceiling windows. It's a clever idea and one that does set the line apart; who doesn't want to wake up to a view? Note that this is only a feature of the suites.
Cabin amenities include a 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, duvets and Egyptian cotton linens. Royal suite occupants also get usage of ensuite complimentary iPads.
Avalon Imagery II has four decks, including a sky deck for sunning and relaxing by the whirlpool. The sky deck also boasts an open-air bistro, the Sky Bistro. There are multiple lounges, an open-seating dining room, an alternative restaurant with lighter fare, an Internet corner, a hairdresser and manicurist, and a small fitness center. Wi-Fi is free throughout the ship. Smoking is not permitted in interior areas. An onboard elevator is available for passenger use, as are Nordic walking sticks.
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In addition to meals and accommodations, sightseeing excursions led by local guides, onboard lectures, piano entertainment, and wine with dinners are included in the fare. Avalon Waterways appeals to mostly English-speaking passengers in the 55-plus range.