What are Avalon’s onboard guidelines and services?
Air Conditioning and Heating
All rooms on the ships are air conditioned and heated. All ships have individual controls in the staterooms.
Choice of complimentary wine, beer or soft drinks will be included with dinner & lunch and sparkling wine with breakfast 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. In the Galápagos, wine is included with all dinners. On the Mekong, Irrawaddy and Ganges rivers, complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks, and local beer/spirits is available throughout the day and wine is included with lunch & dinner. On the Amazon River, complimentary coffee, tea, select soft drinks, and local beer/spirits are available throughout the day. Wine is included with dinner.
Clothing & Dress Code
Your comfort is our first concern. Onboard and onshore dress codes are casual. Please bring comfortable walking shoes for sightseeing. Dinner attire is casual—open-neck shirts and slacks for men; slacks, skirts, or dresses for ladies. Coats and ties may be worn if preferred. The Captain's Welcome and Farewell Dinners in Europe are dressy, but not formal. On the Mekong, Irrawaddy, Ganges, Amazon, and Galápagos, dressy attire, coats, and ties are not recommended due to the warm, humid climate.
All meals on board are prepared by accomplished chefs and consist of local food prepared for North American tastes. There is a full buffet breakfast, and in Europe a buffet lunch including choice of soups and main courses with appetizer, salad or sandwich, and dessert. Learn more about dining in Europe. On the Irrawaddy, Mekong, and Ganges, a mix of Western and local dishes is offered; in the Galápagos, you'll be able to taste some Ecuadorian specialties; and in the Amazon, you will be able to sample Peruvian specialties.
A professional, experienced, English-speaking Cruise Director accompanies every departure. Naturalists are onboard in the Amazon and Galápagos. Special Interest cruises typically include an expert specific to the cruise theme—from Wine Masters to History Experts.
Electricity on board in Treasure of Galápagos is 110v. Electricity on board the Delfin III is 220v. The bathrooms have a dual 220v/110-120v plug for shavers and small appliances. You will need an adapter or converter to use in other outlets in the stateroom for any small personal items such as a razor, curling iron, or alarm clock. For specific details on voltage requirements on land for each of the countries you are visiting, please refer to the Know Before You Go section.
All ships have hair dryers for passenger use. Please contact the reception desk if your stateroom is without one.
All Avalon ships in Europe have complimentary Wi-Fi available. On the Mekong and Irrawaddy, complimentary Wi-Fi access is available in the Panorama Lounge. The signal is not always reliable, as you will be cruising through remote areas. To access the ship's Wi-Fi Internet network you will be given a PIN number at reception to use on your laptop, tablet, or mobile device. Wi-Fi is not available in the Amazon or Galápagos.
Laundry service is available on board for a modest fee. Check the price list in your stateroom. Clothes cannot be dry cleaned on board. For safety reasons, we ask that passengers do not iron their clothes in the staterooms as this is a safety hazard. Onboard laundry service will press your clothes for a fee. Laundry service is not available in the Galápagos.
You may check out books from the ship's library free of charge. We ask that you return them before your cruise ends.
Due to the proximity to land, onshore medical services can be called rapidly. On Amazon and Galápagos ships, first-aid-trained staff is available.
News & Information
The onboard daily newsletter features information about daily activities, shore excursions, and tour departure times.
The language on board is English. All staff, crew, and tour guides speak English. All announcements and commentary will be in English.
Each ship has a shop area offering accessories, film, souvenirs, and some select personal and toiletry items. There is no shop on board the Ganges Voyager in India.
Ships provide in-room safes.
All ships have non-smoking interiors. In Europe and South America, smoking is only permitted on the Sky Deck. On the Irrawaddy. Mekong, and Ganges River cruises, smoking is permitted in a designated area on board.
Passengers celebrating special occasions, such as anniversaries or birthdays, should alert ship personnel upon boarding the ship. Special services are available (some free of charge) on Europe cruises. Celebration Packages are available for purchase in Europe.
Each stateroom includes a direct dial telephone which may be used to call between staterooms. Ship-to-shore calls are also available in Europe. Any charges are placed on your shipboard account. In the Galápagos and the Amazon, there are two satellite-linked pay phones available for use in the reception lounge. On the Mekong, Irrawaddy, and Ganges, a phone is available for emergencies if needed.
Each stateroom has color satellite TV and will receive some English programming. There is a shipboard information channel and a channel with entertainment videos or movies. Treasure of Galápagos provides a TV in the ship's library only. There is no television service on the Amazon or Galápagos cruises. Television service is limited on the Mekong, Irrawaddy, and Ganges.
Your Shipboard Account
For your convenience, all purchases and paid services on board are billed with a guest check and added to your personal shipboard account.
What about international currency and payment methods?
Most of the countries you will be visiting in Europe use the Euro. Exceptions are Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Romania; they all have their own currencies, but the Euro is accepted in many establishments. Many locations accept major credit cards; however in small towns they are not widely accepted. In these cases and for incidentals or small vendors, you will need some local currency. ATM machines are located on shore at some stops. Prior to your departure, confirm with your bank that your ATM or credit card and PIN number will work abroad. All purchases on board are charged to your room account. For payment of shipboard accounts, Euro and U.S. dollars are accepted as well as American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Diners Club. A fee is charged for the use of traveler's checks. Personal checks cannot be cashed on board.
In Southeast Asia:
Although, several countries have their own currency including the Riel (Cambodia), Dong (Vietnam), and Kip (Laos), U.S. dollars are widely accepted. In Thailand, local currency (Bhat) is used primarily. ATMs are available in most large cities and will dispense the local currency. In Myanmar, while U.S. dollars are accepted at most hotels and attractions, food, souvenirs, and other daily purchases usually require local currency (Kyat). ATMs are readily available in Yangon and to a lesser degree in Bagan and Mandalay. It is advised that you check with your bank to ensure your card will work; otherwise we recommend you bring all the money you’ll need from home.
The currency on board is the U.S. dollar. Shipboard accounts can be settled by credit card (Visa or MasterCard) or with cash. Traveler's checks are not accepted.
The Indian rupee is the currency used throughout the country. ATMs are available in most large cities and will dispense the local currency.
The currency on board is also the Indian rupee. Shipboard accounts can be settled by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express), or with cash. Traveler's checks are not accepted.
Ecuador uses U.S. dollars as their official currency. Credit cards are usually accepted in larger towns; in smaller towns, cash is recommended. Shipboard accounts may be settled by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express), cash, or traveler’s checks.
Peru uses Nuevo Sol (PEN) as their official currency; however, U.S. dollars are widely accepted. Credit cards are accepted in Peru, and you should have no problems using them in larger shops and restaurants. Visa and MasterCard are most accepted. Smaller shops may ask you to pay in cash or have a minimum amount required to use a credit card.
What is your price policy?
Vacation prices are per person, based on double occupancy, and do not include airfare except as noted on the itinerary pages. Single room supplements and triple room reductions are listed where applicable; not all accommodation types are available on all vacations. We encourage full deposit early to secure your space and to protect the price of your vacation. Prices are subject to increase without notice, subject to the guarantees set forth below.
Once Avalon has received your full non-refundable land/cruise deposit your vacation price is guaranteed and you are protected against any base land/cruise price increase due to currency surcharge. Any subsequent cost increases are at our expense, not including energy cost increases and/or any government tax increases.
If you purchase air through Avalon, an additional non-refundable air deposit ($300 per person for departures) is required to protect your air fare price. Please note that Avalon reserves the right to ticket passengers upon receipt of full land and air deposit. Thus any changes at your request made after receipt of your full deposit are subject to airline-imposed change fees and/or changes in airfare price. These fees are your responsibility to pay and will be required at time of request. This includes name changes or name alterations.
Air is only available to passengers traveling from the United States and is only available when booked in conjunction with a land/cruise vacation. In most cases, you’ll be offered a choice of carriers and flight schedules as well as price points to choose from when selecting your flights. Your schedule will be provided to you at the time of booking (schedules are subject to change by carriers).
Please see the Terms & Conditions for full information on our Pricing Policy.
How do I make a payment on a cruise I already booked?
If you have already made a booking and need to apply a payment, please login to access your booked cruise vacation.
When can I purchase optional excursions?
You can learn about the optional excursions available on your Avalon vacation, including cruises with Monograms extensions, by visiting AvalonWaterways.com/MyAvalon. A complete listing will also be available in your travel documents. These are available to purchase in advance online from 90-4 days prior to departure. We recommend you book early to avoid excursions selling out. When adding a Globus tour to your cruise, you may purchase the Globus excursions online 90-4 days prior to the start of the Globus departure by going online to GlobusJourneys.com/MyGlobus.
NOTE: Optional activities and excursions are subject to change and may not be available as described; please visit our website for up-to-date information, including Terms & Conditions and details regarding payment.
Can I save if I book as a group?
Book your vacation as a group of 16 or more to save. Receive valuable rebates when forming your own group for travel on river cruises: one person travels free in a group of 16. These group rebates do not apply to any international or intra-vacation flights. Free land and cruise arrangements are credited at the twin rate; single room and stateroom supplements must be paid in full.
View Group Information
What are single room supplements?
For single travelers who prefer the privacy of their own room and stateroom, single accommodation can, of course, be requested. Call for single room supplements.
Why am I asked to give my passport name, gender, and date of birth when booking a flight?
Due to increased travel security around the world, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requires airlines to collect information in accordance with the Secure Flight Program enacted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. If a passenger’s name on an airline reservation does not match the name exactly as it appears on his or her passport or other government-issued ID used at the time of travel, boarding may not be allowed. It is also important that this information be provided correctly at the time of booking, as any changes to your air booking, which includes correct spelling, could be subject to a change fee, penalties, higher fares, new schedule, and/or cancellation.
Why am I asked to provide my airline ticket number for flights booked independently of Avalon?
Avalon utilizes bulk contracts for our air services, which includes intra-vacation air offered on many of our vacations. Depending on the destination, our contracts require us to provide the international ticket number in order to issue the intra-vacation air tickets. If this information is not obtained, either the intra-vacation air or the entire vacation will be cancelled.
Why is my contact information collected when I book?
There may be times when unforeseen events beyond our control impact travel schedules and potentially disrupt your vacation. These include, but are not limited to, severe weather conditions, acts of nature, and government travel advisories. Under such circumstances, it is critical that Avalon be able to contact you immediately and reliably—including nights, weekends, and holidays—to make sure you are informed of any possible changes to your travel.
Additionally, the care and safety of our guests is our highest priority. There may be a need to contact you during your trip or to contact your designated family member or friend in the event of unforeseen circumstances while you are traveling. Therefore, in addition to pre-trip contact information, we also require an emergency contact name and number, as well as an on-trip phone number for all travelers.
Do I need a passport and a visa?
When traveling outside the United States, a passport is required for U.S. citizens. Some countries also require a visa. Please refer to the Know Before You Go documents for the countries you are visiting for more information.
When will I receive my travel documents?
Avalon will send you a set of travel documents, which includes a copy of your itinerary and, where applicable, information on your hotels and optional excursions. Travel documents, including applicable eTicket receipts, itineraries, and other information are sent approximately 2-3 weeks prior to departure, provided full payment has been received. View Know Before You Go travel tips
How does Avalon choose hotels?
Avalon is proud to be associated with some of the finest establishments worldwide. Many of them belong to famous chains such as Westin, InterContinental, and Hilton-- Deluxe, Superior First-Class & First-Class hotels nearly everywhere we travel.
The specific hotels we have selected for you are listed separately for each vacation. The vast majority of them are rated Deluxe (D), Moderate Deluxe (MD), Superior First-Class (SF), or First-Class (F) establishments. A small few overnight destinations do not offer hotels in these categories, in which case we choose the best available (BA) hotels available.
Avalon hotel ratings follow the standards set by the independent Hotel & Travel Index and by national tourist boards. The specific rating for each contract hotel is determined by our quality controllers.
We reserve the right to substitute hotels listed on the itinerary pages with hotels of equivalent standard. With your Avalon travel documents, you'll receive a list of hotel addresses, telephone numbers, and fax numbers for your vacation.
Can I stay extra nights before and after my vacation?
If you'd like to add extra hotel nights, we will try to make arrangements for you at our contracted rates. Rates are per person, per night, and include a room with private bath, breakfast, service charges and taxes. Extra hotel nights are only available immediately prior to or after your vacation and are not available on some cruise-only vacations. If your vacation includes a hotel stay, every effort will be made to reserve extra nights at the hotel where your vacation stays. If space at the hotel is not available, alternative accommodations will be reserved at a hotel of equivalent standard. When this is the case, the transfer to and from the included hotel is at our expense. During particularly busy periods, hotel space in certain cities can become so limited that we may be unable to sell extra nights.
How do Monograms & Globus vacations differ from Avalon?
Avalon is a cruise vacation with a Cruise Director and Globus is an inclusive escorted tour with a Tour Director, both of which follow a set itinerary. Monograms vacations are designed for independent travel, including a package added to your cruise, with stays in major cities and destinations that include hotel accommodation with breakfast, sightseeing with VIP access, transportation between cities, and the services of a Monograms professional Local Host.
What about young travelers and children?
In our many years of cruising experience, we have found that 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, we do not accept children under eight years of age. In addition, please note that there are no special arrangements or activities for children on our ships.
Are Avalon river cruises handicap accessible?
p>Avalon Waterways makes reasonable attempts to accommodate the special needs of disabled and mobility impaired travelers but is not responsible in the event it is unable to do so. Because we cannot provide individual assistance to travelers in many situations, and most of our transportation services are not equipped with wheelchair ramps, we recommend that you view our terms and conditions
for details and contact us
to learn more.
What size can my suitcase be?
Your single bag should have dimensions not exceeding 30"x21"x11" and a weight not exceeding 50 lbs. (22 kg). We regret that we are unable to accept a second suitcase or any luggage exceeding these limits on any Avalon vacation outside of Europe. Some vacations have more restrictive regulations than these listed above, such as cruises on the Mekong and Irrawaddy. Please refer to your travel documents for more information.
Please note that air carriers, cruise lines, and other forms of transportation may have other restrictions and requirements, including weight, and we recommend that you contact the suppliers directly for additional information. Some airlines also charge fees for checked baggage, and these fees are not included in our vacation or airfare package price. Check with your airline directly for baggage information and regulations. Avalon is not responsible for additional baggage fees imposed by air carriers.
How does Avalon support sustainable travel and protect the environment?
Avalon is committed to minimizing its impact on the environment and to reducing its dependence on non-renewable resources. In this endeavor, we have implemented policies to support this mission and are working carefully to enhance our products with this mission and our values combined. We are committed to complying with all relevant legislation and/or regulations.
Avalon maintains a policy of "Leave Only Footprints and Take Only Photos." Our staff and major service providers strive to ensure that no removal of any natural or cultural artifacts or materials occurs to ensure each environment looks and functions the same before and after our visit. Our cruise directors educate passengers on our "do no harm" code of conduct to ensure passenger compliance.
Where can I find the docking location for my cruise ship?
Avalon Waterways strives to bring you the best docking locations along Europe’s rivers. In many cities, this includes multiple docking sites. Docking positions at each port are assigned by local authorities, and may vary depending upon the number of ships in port on any given day. This can sometimes result in double-docking with more than one ship assigned to the same dock and the ships “rafted” together, temporarily obstructing some views from on board the ships. Exact docking locations will be available 24-72 hours prior to embarkation.
Before your cruise’s docking location is available, you can download a map of all possible docking sites for your embarkation city at AvalonWaterwaysPorts.com. Once your ship’s docking assignment is available, you can download a map that shows only that specific location, including address.
Additionally, you can view all possible docking locations for all cities by downloading this PDF of all embarkation cities.
How does Avalon handle itinerary disruptions?
Mother Nature (water levels and weather conditions), as well as man-made conditions (maintenance or repair of locks that all ships must pass through), as well as logistical obstacles due to labor strikes or natural elements can create unforeseen disruptions to river navigation.
Avalon’s extraordinary expertise in river cruising keeps us prepared for all such unlikely disruptions or delays—with your comfort and convenience always our paramount priority.
Our dedicated ground team, fleet of comfortable motorcoaches, long-term relationships with quality hotels, and a global tour operations network allow us to quickly address any changes (other than minor deviations stated in our “Terms and Conditions”) that require alternative plans during your cruise. Avalon’s 100% Suite Ship® fleet will often make it possible to transfer our guests to a sister ship—when water level disruptions are unchanged after 48 hours—for seamless accommodations and expedited continuation of your journey. Each circumstance is assessed as unique, based on our more than 90 years of experience in travel touring. With real-time updates via social media, we provide complete transparency and valuable information for our guests.
Before, during, and after your Avalon Waterways cruise, we are dedicated to your safety, comfort, and convenience. With our contact-information policy at the time of your booking, to swift resolution protocols during your cruise, to ease of post-cruise communication with travelers’ services, your satisfaction and comfort remain our commitment to you.
What is travel protection?
Travel Protection offers comprehensive protection for your travel investment. In addition to excellent trip coverage and cancellation protection, the plan also includes a Cancel for Any Reason Waiver Benefit that allows for cancellations up to 24 hours prior to departure (or prior business day, whichever is farther out) for any reason. In the event cancellation is for a non-covered reason under Travel Protection, the cancellation penalty retained by Avalon Waterways, minus the travel protection payment, will be reimbursed under the Cancel for Any Reason Waiver Benefit, in the form of Travel Certificates valid for travel within two years from the original cancelled vacation start date. This Cancel for Any Reason Waiver Benefit does not cover Instant Purchase Air or independently purchased air.
View more about Travel Protection.
What are some nautical terms?
AFT toward the stern of the boat
ASTERN in back of the boat
BILGE the interior of the hull below the floor boards
BITTER END the last part of a rope or chain; the inboard end of the anchor rope
BOW the forward part of a ship
BRIDGE the location from which a vessel is steered and its speed controlled
BULKHEAD a vertical partition separating compartments
BUOY an anchored float used for marking a position or a hazard on the water and for mooring
CLEAT a fitting to which lines are made fast
COURSE the direction in which a ship is steered
CURRENT the horizontal movement of water
DISPLACEMENT the weight of water displaced by a floating vessel
DRAFT the depth of water a boat draws
FATHOM six feet
FLOOD an incoming current
GALLEY the kitchen area of a ship
GUNWHALE the upper edge of a ship's sides
HELM the wheel or tiller controlling the rudder
HULL the main body of a vessel
KEEL the center line of a boat running fore and aft
KNOT a measure of speed equal to one nautical mile (6,076 feet) per hour
LEEWARD the direction away from the wind
NAUTICAL MILE one minute of latitude; approximately 6,076 feet—about 1/8 longer than the statute mile of 5,280 feet
PORT the left side of a ship looking forward; a harbor
SCUPPERS drain holes on deck, in the toe rail, or in bulwarks or in the deck itself
SOUNDING a measurement of the depth of water
STARBOARD the right side of a ship when looking forward
TRIM fore and aft balance of a boat
WINDWARD toward the direction from which the wind is coming
YAW to swing or steer off course
What are some origins of nautical terms?
What are the origins of river cruising nautical terms?
OVER THE BARREL
The most common method of punishment aboard ship was flogging. The unfortunate sailor was tied to a grating, a mast, or over the barrel of a deck cannon.
TO KNOW THE ROPES
There were miles of cordage in the rigging of a square rigged ship. The only way to keep track of and to know the function of all of these lines was to know where they were located. It took an experienced seaman to know the ropes.
Thin and worn sails were often treated with oil or wax to renew their effectiveness. This was called "dressing down." An officer or sailor who was reprimanded received a "dressing down."
The bottom portion of a sail is called the foot. If it is not secured, it is "footloose" and dances randomly in the wind.
In 1740 British Admiral Vernon (whose nickname was "Old Grogram" for the cloak of grogram which he wore) ordered that the sailors' daily ration of rum be diluted with water. The men called the mixture "grog." A sailor who drank too much grog was "groggy."
The poop is the stern section of a ship. To be "pooped" is to be swamped by a high, flowing sea.
AS THE CROW FLIES
When lost or unsure of their position in coastal waters, ships would release a caged crow. The crow would fly straight toward the nearest land, thus giving the vessel some sort of navigational fix. The tallest lookout platform on a ship came to be known as the "crow's nest."
CUT AND RUN
If a captain of a smaller ship encountered a large enemy vessel, he might decide that discretion was the better part of valor. He would order the crew to cut the lashings on all the sails and run away before the wind. This term also meant to cut the anchor cable and sail off in a hurry.
TOE THE LINE
When called to line up at attention, the ship's crew would form up with their toes touching a seam in the deck planking.
UNDER THE WEATHER
If a crewman is standing watch on the weather side of the bow, he will be subject to the constant beating of the ocean spray. He will be "under the weather."
What should I know about locks and canals?
The diverse and fascinating geography of the European Continent has blessed it with magnificent and varied natural sights. Mountain ranges such as the Swiss Alps, the French Vosges, Germany's Fichtelgebirge and Black Forest region have given birth to the great rivers of Europe which have provided most important transportation links since ancient times.
Before the advent of highways and road transportation, the rivers were the only efficient method of carrying goods from one place to another. Those most important trading centers located on a river soon grew into some of Europe's most important cities—Budapest and Vienna on the Danube, Strasbourg and Cologne on the Rhine, Mainz and Frankfurt on the Main, Coblenz and Trier on the Moselle, to name but a few!
The challenge facing the early navigators was how to tame the rivers and make them navigable along their entire lengths. One of the answers was the invention and development of the lock—a device used for raising and lowering boats, ships and other watercraft between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal waterways. Locks employ a fixed chamber in which water levels can be varied to accommodate a vessel. Normally, water levels on each side of a navigation lock are different, so a lock has to work like an elevator. This is accomplished by using two sets of gates to enclose a chamber.
The lock starts with one set of gates open, and the water level in the chamber is the same as the water in the channel on that side. A vessel enters through the open gates. Once the vessel is moored inside the lock chamber, the lock operator closes the lock gates behind the vessel. With the vessel securely tied up and the gates closed, the lock operator can then open the valves at the opposite end of the lock. To adjust the water level in the lock chamber to match the water level of the waterway on the opposite end, water is allowed to enter into the chamber from the high-water side, or drained out of the chamber to the low-water side, thus raising or lowering the ship.
Once the water levels are equalized, the gates at that end are opened and the vessel can continue on its way.
The Main-Danube Canal
The Rhine-Main-Danube Canal runs between the German towns of Bamberg and Kelheim via the historic city of Nuremberg, transporting thousands of river cruise ship passengers every year between the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers.
Connecting the Rhine River with the Danube via its tributary, the Main, was a dream of Charles the Great, or Charlemagne, who began the first attempt at construction of the "Fossa Carolina" more than 12 centuries ago. While his construction effort failed, parts of the canal are still visible in southern areas of central Franconia. King Ludwig I of Bavaria built the first fully functioning Main-Danube Canal in only 10 years of construction from 1836-1846. Yet, the Ludwig-Main-Danube Canal as it was called, with its 101 water locks was rather narrow and its practical use for shipping was highly limited. Its operation came to an end in 1945, partly due to damage from the war.
The planning of the present canal dates back to 1922. A project of this magnitude caused a lively debate over the environmental and economic consequences of its construction. Economic planners gravely overestimated its potential, while environmentalists largely underestimated the positive aspects of its construction for the biotope—and the fact that the canal actually provides 1.25 million cubic meters of water to the dry Northern Bavarian region every year.
It was not until September 1992 that the present-day Main-Danube Canal was opened for traffic. It stretches for a length of 106 miles from Bamberg, in Germany, via Nuremberg to Regensburg.
The canal reaches its apex 1,332 ft. above sea level. 16 water locks facilitate safe passage of vessels. 11 water locks were needed to overcome the ascent of 574 ft. between the Main in Bamberg and the apex and 5 additional locks facilitate descent from the apex. The canal is 180 ft. wide and 13 ft. deep. All traffic water locks are 40 ft. wide and 623 ft. long.
Thanks to the canal, it is now possible to navigate from the Rhine Delta at Rotterdam, Holland, to the Danube Delta at the Black Sea—a stretch of 2,200 miles.