Theme Cruises

Theme Cruises

Pack Your Passions

Wherever you go, there you are! So why leave yourself behind when you travel? Avalon offers fantastic special interest European river cruises that are suited to your passions and pursuits. Do you love gardens and nature? Walk with us through the biggest garden in Europe during tulip season in Holland. Appreciate a fine wine or a hearty ale? Join us on an adventure in regional vintages from Paris to Provence, or raise a stein of frothy brew from Amsterdam to Budapest. If you are a history buff, an Avalon theme cruise is the epic page-turner you have been looking for! Consider a culinary or Christmas market cruise to indulge in traditional culture, cuisine, and everything in between!


Active & Discovery River Cruises

Avalon believes you should have a choice in how you explore each destination. Our Active & Discovery river cruises invite you aboard to explore the world your way. Discover local culture, cuisine, and everything in between—from classic sightseeing to culinary classes to kayak excursions—with the perfect Avalon Choice® selections for your preference and pace. Whether you like to paddle, pedal, or paint, you’ll enjoy each locale just as you please with your choice of active pursuits and cultural discoveries. Explore by boat, bike, or hike, or watch the world go by from an outdoor café. Stir up a dish passed down through the centuries or try a new stroke in the style of great artists in a painting class. Warm up with a jog through Amsterdam or just chill over a glass of wine. Enjoy favorite pastimes while discovering the Old World in a new way!

Active & Discovery River Cruises  Learn More

Oberammergau 2022 River Cruises

An opportunity that arises once every ten years is an opportunity not to be missed. A theatrical tradition since 1634, the world-famous Oberammergau Passion Play is a much-anticipated reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ – from His entry into Jerusalem to the Resurrection – performed only once a decade in the quaint Bavarian village of Oberammergau, Germany.

Our 2022 river cruise has been uniquely designed to include the Passion Play experience, as well as the service and views that you have come to expect from Avalon Waterways. On these special vacations, guests enjoy preferred seating at the Passion Play, accommodations in Oberammergau and a dedicated onsite office to help guests make the most of their stay in this charming city.

The 42nd Oberammergau Passion Play performances are postponed until 2022.

Oberammergau River Cruises

Photography River Cruises

Photography enthusiasts and aspiring shutterbugs are in for the assignment of a lifetime on a Danube River cruise through the Balkans. Begin in the "Pearl of the Danube" in Budapest, and cruise through beautiful landscapes to photograph the picturesque architecture, archaeology, and dramatic natural beauty of the Balkan states. You'll cruise in the company of seasoned photographers from international backgrounds.

Photography River Cruises

Wine River Cruises

A jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and thou! Avalon has the wine and menus, so all we need is you to join us on a wine-lovers cruise! Whether you have a nose for the perfect Burgundy, or if everything you know about wine could fit in a thimbleful of Chardonnay, you’re invited to join us to sniff, swirl, and sip your way through Europe’s legendary and picturesque vineyards. Enter the hallowed halls of the ancient cellars where winemakers still press the perfect grape into the nectar of the gods. Cruise with a certified Master of Wine who gives a new meaning to the phrase “wine and dine.” Learn to perfectly pair wines with dinner, cheeses, and chocolates with a choice of itinerary destinations ranging from Prague to Provence, from Burgundy to Budapest. Sample regional vintages and visit legendary cellars along the Danube, Rhône, and Saône Rivers. In vino veritas!

Wine River Cruises

Culinary River Cruises

Join Avalon for a culinary adventure in haute cuisine and simple favorites served throughout the birthplace of French cooking—France! The rich landscapes of Burgundy and Provence are a food-lover’s paradise. Sample the best wines and cuisine in the gastronomic capital of Lyon and enjoy the picturesque village of Viviers. A pastry demonstration, a chocolate, cheese-and-wine tasting, and a food-and-wine-pairing dinner hosted by your Master of Wine create the perfect recipe for culture, cuisine, and everything in between. Bon Appétit!

Culinary River Cruises

Beer River Cruises

Hefeweizen and Witbier (wheat beer)…Dunkles and Dubbel (dark beer)…Lambic (wild-yeast beer)…Krystal (filtered beer)…and so many others. A visit to Europe is even better when it includes a discovery of the regional beers! Visit historic breweries, attend special beer tastings, learn about European beer-brewing techniques during fascinating onboard lectures and workshops, and enjoy a special dinner hosted by your onboard beer expert. Try a Belgian brew, an Amsterdam ale, and a German Kölsch for starters. Prost!

Beer River Cruises

History River Cruises

Embark on our WWII Remembrance & History cruise from Paris to Normandy. Cruise on the Seine River in the company of a knowledgeable history expert who brings to life the people and places that changed history. Join included excursions to northern France to walk in the footsteps of heroes on the landing beaches of Normandy. Stand on the site of the largest amphibious landing in history, and visit memorials to the Allied forces who fought and sacrificed there. Walk through Rouen or take a full-day excursion in the Vimy Ridge and Arras region. In Paris, visit Les Invalides with its Museum of the Order of the Liberation. On the Danube, visit the lavish halls of the legendary Habsburg royal family. Step into the world of Austro-Hungarian monarchs as you walk through gilded halls inhabited by the dynasty, and see its palaces and priceless artifacts in Vienna and Budapest.

History River Cruises

Jewish Heritage River Cruises

Travel through remarkable Jewish history on a Danube River cruise. Meet renowned experts on board who provide fascinating lectures and background history about the significant places and events in Jewish heritage. Visit the world’s second-largest synagogue in Budapest, Regensburg’s Document Neupfarrplatz museum, and Prague’s Jewish Museum and cemetery. Travel to the site of one of Czechoslovakia’s largest concentration camps in Terezín and visit a poignant memorial to hear moving historical accounts. You may also choose a Romantic Rhine Jewish Heritage cruise, with a number of compelling sites and cultural experiences, such as a Jewish walking tour of Cologne and a visit to the Jewish quarter in Strasbourg. Visit Amsterdam, the city where Anne Frank once lived and wrote her famous diary.

Jewish Heritage River Cruises

Christmas River Cruises

Experience the holiday season the European way! Enjoy the jolly atmosphere on your festively decorated Suite Ship as you delight in the sights, smells, and tastes of local traditions of Christmas markets in several ports of call. Locals and visitors alike flock to the charming market stalls, adorned with beautiful lights and offering everything from warm mulled wines, sweets, and hearty regional delicacies to an array of crafts, gifts, and holiday décor. Unwrap the magic of the Old World this holiday season!

Festive Time River Cruises

Diana Gabaldon River Cruise

Join your exclusive host and author of the No. 1 New York Times-bestselling OUTLANDER series, Diana Gabaldon, for a week on the Rhine River. With 35 million copies in print in 43 countries and 39 languages, Ms. Gabaldon's OUTLANDER series has added to the storytelling tapestry of our lives while also inspiring travel with her literature. Her award-winning series on STARZ has brought to life the backdrops of Scotland, North America, France, Germany as well as dozens of destinations across the globe. Join us on this special river cruise with Diana Gabaldon, an inspiring storyteller sharing an inspired cruise–and daily excursions–with an intimate group of her fans.

Romantic Rhine Author Cruise with Diana Gabaldon

Garden & Nature River Cruises

If you are passionate about gardening, or are a nature lover, don’t miss discovering the most beautiful gardens and parks throughout Holland and Belgium—famous for their inspirational horticultural art. The gardens of Keukenhof near Lisse offer 70 acres of parkland with exquisite lakes, sculpture gardens, and greenhouses to explore. Visit the FloraHolland Flower Auction near Amsterdam—the largest in the world—and experience the wonder of Holland and Belgium during tulip season. Hear gardening tips from an onboard botanical expert, and feel your love of nature grow with every row of blooming color!

Garden & Nature River Cruises

Jann Arden River Cruise

Cruise through Europe in the company of award-winning Canadian entertainer, Jann Arden! You will enjoy a separate photo op with Jann, a CD-signing session, and a private concert on board. As godmother of an Avalon ship and a fan of river cruising, Jann looks forward to being a part of this very special sailing, available to only 160 lucky passengers!

Jann Arden River Cruise