Avalon Expression joined the Avalon Waterways fleet of luxury river ships in 2013. This small and intimate ship sets sail with a maximum of 166 passengers on board and boasts two decks of stylish suites which feature unique open-air balconies and panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows. The attentive crew are on hand to ensure you make the most of your time on board and there are spacious public areas where you can relax, take in the views, and get to know your fellow guests. The exquisite destination-inspired dining experiences, excellent leisure facilities, and a varied list of ports of call also add flavour to your cruising experience.
Start each day with a tempting breakfast in the spacious, open-seating Dining Room with sparkling wine and a made-to-order egg station to add to your choices. The lunch buffet here offers a range of international cuisines and includes carving and pasta stations. A welcome dinner is served on your first evening and a five-course farewell dinner on your final night. Each evening, you can enjoy a four-course dinner with a variety of choices served to your table. Alternatively, savour a light lunch and dinner in the Panorama Bistro or choose from the menu in the Sky Bistro on the Sky Deck. Breakfast room service is also available and you can unwind with afternoon tea looking out at the breath-taking views.
Relax and take in the ever-changing vistas in the Observation Lounge or enjoy some quiet time with a cappuccino in the Club Lounge. Panorama Lounge bar serves premium spirits while the Sky Deck offers cocktails with a view; Happy Hour takes place every evening and includes featured drink specials. The Captain's reception with sparkling wine and canapés is a particular highlight of your cruise. There is a self-serve beverage station with complimentary tea, hot chocolate, and premium coffee round-the-clock. Complimentary wine, beer, soft drinks, tea, and coffee are also available with lunch and dinner.
There is something to entertain you both day and night on Avalon Expression. Relax on a premium lounge chair or take a dip in the whirlpool on the Sun Deck. Up the tempo with a game of large chess or a workout in the Fitness Centre. Lose yourself in a book in the Library and surf the Web at the Internet corner. The customs, cultures, and tastes of your destinations are brought to life with on-board local artisans, experts, and lectures. Time in port includes a choice of leisurely, traditional, and independent sightseeing options or you can explore independently at your own pace. After dinner, socialise with new-found friends in the lounges or take your seat for occasional entertainment and live music from visiting local entertainers.
Day 1: UK - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Fly from your chosen UK airport to Amsterdam and be transferred to your river cruise ship, Avalon Expression for your seven-night cruise.
Your day in Amsterdam is free to explore at your leisure. During tulip season, you may take a Guided Optional Excursion to Keukenhof gardens—with more than seven million tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths, as well as other bulbs, planted each year.
Outside of tulip season, join a Guided Optional Excursion to Zaanse Schans to see historic windmills and charming Dutch houses.
OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN AMSTERDAM
Day 2: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Join a Guided Optional Culinary Walk through Amsterdam to sample savory and sweet Dutch specialties, or a Guided Optional Excursion to Muiderslot Castle—Holland’s most beautiful, best-kept medieval castle. You may choose to spend some free time this afternoon visiting one of Amsterdam’s many fascinating museums or galleries.
AFTERNOON/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO COLOGNE
Day 3: Cologne, Germany
Don’t miss the chance to enjoy free time over a glass of Kölsch pale lager—locally brewed for over 100 years! Take a Guided City Walk of Cologne—with its soaring twin-steepled Gothic cathedral, OR Choose a Guided Walking Tour of Cologne’s important Jewish heritage sites. Later local musicians will join us on board for live entertainment.
OVERNIGHT SAILING TO KOBLENZ
Day 4: Koblenz (Rhine Gorge) & Rudesheim, Germany
Travel Through 2,000 Years of Monumental History. Take a Guided City Walk amid ancient fortress walls, towers, squares, and monuments. Relax on the Sky Deck for an afternoon cruise through the Rhine Gorge to Rüdesheim. Sail past the legendary rock of The Lorelei—where the siren of mythology sang songs to lure ill-fated sailors. Eat, Drink, and Be Merry in Wine Country. Take a Guided Tour of the incredible Mechanical Music Museum for a one-of-a-kind instrumental experience. Based on your departure date, enjoy either a Coffee Tasting or a Wine Tasting. Enjoy live entertainment on board your ship this evening.
OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN RÜDESHEIM
Day 5: Mainz, Germany
Printing Halls, Castle Walls, and the World’s Biggest Barrel of Wine. Enjoy a Guided City Walk, including a visit to the Gutenberg Museum to see the captivating history of printing. Enjoy a Guided Tour to Heidelberg Castle to see the ruins of the magnificent Renaissance treasure towering above the city, and its famed Great Vat, the “World’s Largest Wine Barrel,” OR:Join your Avalon Adventure Host for an afternoon Hike up Philosophers’ Way for an inspiring view of the city below.
EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO STRASBOURG
Day 6: Strasbourg, France
Gothic Giants, Military Marvels, and Varietal Vintages. Join a City Sightseeing Tour, including Strasbourg’s Gothic, stained-glass cathedral with its celebrated ancient murals and astronomical clock, as well as the magical La Petite France District. You may also choose to join a Guided Optional Excursion to the historic Maginot Line—an impressive installation of pre-WWII defensive fortifications designed to protect the eastern border of France, or visit Alsace’s wine country.
EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO BREISACH
Day 7: Breisach, Germany (for The Black Forest)
History, Artistry, and the Beautiful Black Forest. Visit the charming village of Colmar on a Guided Tour of its half-timbered medieval and early renaissance buildings, OR: Join a full-day Guided Tour to the magical Black Forest to experience the Vogtsbauernhof open-air-museum, visit an authentic water mill, and see a traditional Bavarian butter-making demonstration. Follow your visit to Colmar with a free afternoon in Breisach. Take a bike from the ship, or walk among the pastel-painted houses above the Rhine.
EVENING CRUISE TO BASEL
Day 8: Basel, Switzerland to UK
Today your cruise comes to an end. Disembark and be transferred to the airport for your return flight back to the UK.