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Cruise in France with Avalon Waterways

clock 22nd August 2018 | comment0 Comments

Fortunately, our very own Jack Lee from the sales team had the opportunity to experience a river cruise with Avalon Waterways, here’s what he thought of the trip.

 

 

Arrival

The arrival into Paris was quick, and we were greeted by the transport team who led us to the transfer from the airport to the river cruise port, which was about 45 minutes. Upon arrival to the ship, the first noticeable thing would be that there are only 3 decks. The ship holds 120 passengers in total, the entrance might look small but there is ample space for everyone. The gangway is small, and the ship is not located in a big port. Instead, you are seconds away from getting into Paris city centre when walking from the ship.

Cabins

Once checked in, we were able to go to our cabins and get to see them for the first time. The French Balcony is a very nice sized room; to the left when you open the door is the bathroom with a shower. On the right-hand side is a large mirror, which makes the room seem even bigger, and a large dressing table. The beds are set up as twins, but these can be made into a double if you wanted to. The balcony doors are floor to ceiling and can be opened half way.

 

 

Dining

Avalon Waterway’s dining is set every night at 7pm with around five exquisite courses. If you arrive any later than scheduled you may miss a course, which you aren’t able to request again. Having said this, there are always extra appetisers supplied for passengers in the evening. Drinks like wine, beers and soft drinks are included at dinner and lunch times, but other than dining and lunchtime you will have to purchase drinks.

Onboard Activities

There are many ways to enjoy yourself on the vessel, and when in port you are able to use one of the six onboard bikes to cycle around independently. If you stay on the ship, there is evening entertainment every day, which is held in the main public lounge. On the top deck, there are plenty of sun loungers that you can relax on. There is also a hot tub, which can be very relaxing even in the heat. There is no swimming pool onboard.

 

 

Excursions

Passengers usually get together at the nightly cruise director speech, at which you’d find out about the excursions available on the next day. Most are included in your sailing but you can purchase some extra special excursions.

The excursions are great; there was one in particular that really stood out for me – the trip to the landing beaches of World War II. We started at Pegasus Bridge where the British invasion happened, walked around a beautiful museum where you learn about the battle that took place there. Next was the crematorium, where the sheer amount of people who lost their lives in the war really hits you. This was such a beautiful and thought-provoking place, as you walk around seeing name after name. Then we went to an area where the British army had come onto the beaches, it was amazing to see some of the man-made piers/platforms. The final part of the tour was a visit to the Canadian landing beaches. Here we went to a museum and watched a video after a tour. The film shows some original footage, and the touching moment of the film comes at the end when it shows the fallen soldiers walking behind you on the beach just outside where you take a walk yourself.

 

 

Would a river cruise be for you? The option to have almost all your excursions included is amazing, as is the quality of food and intimate style of the ship. Take a look at our range of Avalon Waterways cruises to see where you could explore on a river cruise.



Historic Cruise Excursions in Normandy France

clock 7th November 2017 | comment0 Comments

European countries generally have a very varied and interesting history, and France is of course no exception. For many people, a cruise in France means relaxing in warm weather, seeing some picturesque scenery, and indulging in delectable French treats such as delicious wine and incredible cheeses and pastries. While this is undoubtedly a fantastic way to experience France, it is also worth considering the wide variety of optional - and often complimentary - historic excursions, which are available on many itineraries.

One brilliant, excursion-rich region is Normandy. A natural first port of call after leaving the UK, many cruises to France include a stop here. Ports include Cherbourg and La Harve, and both are in close proximity to a number of important sites that you could have the chance to visit;

 

  • The landing beaches of World War II. See the infamous sites where British, Canadian, and American troops arrived to invade on D-Day.
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  • Normandy cemeteries. This opportunity is pensive and moving, as you see the extent of the loss of life caused by war.
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  • Pegasus Bridge. This played an integral part in the events that make up D-Day; it's where British troops were sent to prevent Germans from accessing and attacking the allied forces.
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    Many cruise lines will offer excursions to these locations, complete with informative guides who will explain the significance they had during the war. But in addition to these, Normandy offers several opportunities to learn about earlier French history.

    Bayeux

    One fascinating spot is the commune of Bayeux - home to the famous Bayeux Tapestry. This medieval location still boasts cobbled streets, traditional beamed-housing, and the 1077 Cathedrale Notre-Dame. Not to mention the stunning tapestry itself. This important, 69 metre long record of the Norman conquest of England is on display at the Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux, and is an absolute must if you are in the area.

    Cherbourg

    The port of Cherbourg has played a major role in the history of France. In the Contentin peninsular, this area of France has several harbours which you can visit for another snippet of a bygone era. Over the years, there have been Celts, Romans, and Saxons in Cherbourg, but it is the Viking invasion that is most well-known. Its history is indicative of its strategic position, which has led to Cherbourg being fortified and repaired a number of times. Unsurprisingly, the city was heavily damaged in World War II, but once again it survived and continues to thrive today.

    Rouen

    Once the capital city of Normandy, Rouen remains an important location, that is steeped in history. Travel the route of the Vikings along the Seine on a river cruise, and explore the place either individually or on an excursion. Since the Viking incursion, Rouen has seen some major historic events, including the famous burning of Joan of Arc by British conquerors. Also having suffered major destruction during the war, there are important sites and memorials here that are both interesting and thought-provoking.

    Those curious about France's past, or even those who are interested in World War II, may not have realised just how much a cruise in this area can offer. Whether you're a history buff or not, a trip around Normandy will undoubtedly leave you feeling fascinated and enlightened after each excursion.



    Get to Know Princess Cruises with Phillip Schofield

    clock 27th September 2017 | comment0 Comments

    Updated March 2019

     

    In April 2017 Phillip Schofield became the very first UK brand ambassador for Princess Cruises, and since then has been exploring just about everything that the cruise line has to offer.

    With behind-the-scenes access and time spent with the Princess Cruises crew, Phillip has a unique insight into the industry and has become thoroughly acquainted with the wonderful world of cruising. Interestingly enough, before this Phillip had never been on a cruise before, and so Princess quickly remedied this by sending him and his wife to the Mediterranean onboard Royal Princess.

    First Impressions as a New-to-Cruise Guest

    With no experience of cruising whatsoever, it's interesting to find out what Phillip made of both Princess Cruises, and cruising in general. First-time cruisers are often unsure of what to expect, and perhaps have some misconceptions about things like food, the embarkation and disembarkation process, and atmosphere onboard. After cruising with Princess, Phillip commented on just how easy it was to board the ship, how opulant Royal Princess itself is, and about how easy and convenient it was to see so many different destinations whilst being accomodated in just one place. Find out more about his trip in this interesting Q&A video:

     

     

    The cruise included an excursion in Barcelona, during which a local guide showed them all around some of the lesser-known areas. This meant that Phillip and his wife could see and explore places they were not aware of, in a city they thought they were familiar with.

     

     

    The cruise made another stop in Marseille, where they had a tour of a vineyard, and of course, took part in some wine-tasting. As a real wine and food enthusiast, Phillip was hugely impressed with some of the treats that were available onboard. He was given a tour of the galley, and took part in food-tasting with the Executive Chef, and enjoyed a personal wine session during which he could blend wine according to his own preference.

    Since this fantastic first cruise, Phillip and his family have been treated to another fabulous adventure onboard Regal Princess, this time to the beautiful Baltics. Watch as they explore the sights of Oslo, and make use of the fabulous range of facilities onboard the ship during their sea day.


    Finding out all about what a cruise with Princess Cruises can entail has been a real educational journey for Phillip, who has become a firm fan of cruising. With a travel-bucket list that includes the likes of the Fjords, Canada, Alaska, and South America, it is likely that he will enjoy everything that Princess Cruises has to offer again and again while journeying to these fantastic destinations.

    Have a look at our Princess Cruises holidays, and find out more about the adventures you can have with them.



    River Cruising the Wine Capital of the World

    clock 16th July 2015 | comment0 Comments
    Iglu Cruise sent Marketeer Chloe on a relaxing 5* river cruise along the Dordogne River in France. Read all about her experience onboard the Viking Forseti, the excellent service she received from Viking River Cruises and the delightful destination of Bordeaux. Read on to find out why a river cruise to the wine capital of the world is a must and an unforgettable experience. [More]


    River cruising with Avalon Waterways

    clock 8th July 2015 | comment0 Comments

    Updated February 2017

     

    Iglu’s Marketing Manager, Natalie, went on her first river cruise adventure with Avalon Waterways. Here’s what she thought of her first river experience onboard the luxurious Avalon Tapestry II:

    I have only been on ocean cruise line's before so I was looking forward to experiencing a River Cruise and was lucky enough to be invited on Avalon’s newest ship to the fleet, Avalon Tapestry II.

    On the deck on Avalon Tapestry II

    I was meeting the ship halfway through its 7 night Paris to Normandy Landing Beaches itinerary.

     

    Day 1

    I met the ship in the picturesque town of Rouen after taking the Eurostar to Lille. As I approached the ship I was instantly struck by how luxurious the ship was. It is decked out with luxury sun loungers and tastefully decorated with plants on the top deck. I was greeted with a glass of Champagne into an airy reception area and couldn’t wait to see my cabin. It didn’t disappoint with a modern bathroom and a full supply of L’Occitane bath products. The layout of the bedroom was fantastic with the beds facing the French windows. The layout might not sound exciting but Avalon is the first river cruise line to point the beds towards the window. I could already picture myself waking up in the morning and watching the world go by.

    Before I got too comfortable I unpacked and went to explore the rest of the ship. I was just in time for the daily afternoon tea. Delicious finger sandwiches and a choice of two gateaux’s were on offer. It would be rude not to sample so I tried both. As this was an educational trip I thought I better check my emails and there was no excuse not to as the ship has free wi-fi throughout. Fortunately there were not many emails to check so I had some time to relax in the sun on the top deck before the next round of delicious food at dinner.

     

    Avalon Waterways Trip

    Avalon Waterways Holiday

    Heavenly cocktails and delicious food


    The dining room is tastefully decorated and I was pleasantly surprised that although the ship is small compared to ocean cruise lines, you do not smell the cooking throughout the ship. I chose the red snapper for my main course tonight and enjoyed the free flowing wine which is included lunch and dinner.

    As this was my first night onboard I stayed up to watch the entertainment for a while before getting an early night so I would be ready to get up bright and early for the Van Gogh excursion the following day.

     

    Day 2

    I woke up feeling revitalised after a good nights sleep in the comfortable bed. I was delighted with the buffet breakfast and enjoyed smoked salmon and eggs. If salmon and eggs is not your cup of tea, they have a fantastic selection of food to choose from including freshly made pastries, cereals and much more.

     

    Cruising with Avalon Waterways

    A cruise onboard Avalon Waterways

    Glorious views of the riverbank through France


    I had the choice of two free excursions and decided to go on the tour of the town Van Gogh spent his last few months of his life in the picturesque town of Auvers-sur-Oise. Before you set off on the tour you pick up a complimentary water and a headset so you can listen to the tour guide.

    I am not an art expert and it really didn’t matter as the tour guide William was really engaging. He brought the history to life and it was very special to see the places and subjects Van Gogh had painted. I particularly enjoyed walking through the fields Van Gogh painted known as Wheat Field with Crows.

    After the tour we were taken back on the coach in time for lunch and were greeted with freshly made iced tea. We had booked the grill lunch which was hosted on the Sky Deck. They host these lunches several times on the cruise itinerary but you must put your name down to reserve a space. Lunch was delicious and I enjoyed fresh salad and steak.

    In the afternoon there was an optional excursion to the Palace of Versailles. However, as I only had 3 days on the ship I decided to experience what it was like whilst sailing as we were going to set sail to Paris. I am sure the Palace is beautiful but I was so pleased I stayed onboard. The engine is so quiet, the experience is tranquil and the journey along the Seine was stunning. I was surprised by how unpopulated the river banks were. Every now and then you would spot a stunning Chateau along the banks. I would have happily sailed along the river for days absorbing the view. We picked up the guests who took the afternoon tour and then sailed into Paris. The dinner was served as we sailed towards the Eiffel Tower.

     

    My River Cruise with Avalon Waterways

    Avalon Waterways Cruise

    Excursions in France and more sublime views from the ship


    Tonight was the Captain's farewell dinner as the following night guests were going to Moulin Rouge in Paris so it was a day earlier. Before dinner, we were all given a glass of champagne and the Captain came and said goodbye to everyone. Once again the meal was fantastic and my favourite dish was the lobster. Also having been on several ocean cruise lines I was delighted to see that the famous baked alaska was on the menu ,so it is not just the big ocean lines who have this tradition.

    As the ship was staying in Paris I went for a stroll around the city before coming back to a refreshing cocktail on board.

     

    Day 3

    It was our last night on the ship and I went on the complimentary walking tour in Paris. If you didn’t want to walk there is a bus tour which is also included. After the tour I arrived back and sampled the light lunch which is also on offer every day on the Sky Deck. We had free time in the afternoon as the optional trip was to the Moulin Rouge in the evening. I decided to head back into Paris and hit the shops on the Champ Elysees.

    As I was not going to the Moulin Rouge I booked a place in the bistro dining experience. This was hosted in the Sky Lounge and there are 20 places available so you need to book. They offer a 7 course tasting menu and once again I was extremely impressed with the standard of the food.

    This evening we were sailing to another port in Paris close to the business district so I sat on the deck and enjoyed a refreshing cocktail as the ship gently sailed past the glittering sights of Paris before heading back to my room where I enjoyed the view for a little bit longer before falling into a relaxing sleep.

     

    River Cruising with Avalon Waterways

    Crepes and cocktails! A match made in heaven

     

    The Verdict 

    What I really love about river cruising is the relaxed pace, you can do as much or as little as you want. Even if you participate on all the tours you are looked after so well and come back to such a beautiful ship you don’t feel exhausted. I came back from my cruise feeling refreshed and invigorated. My only complaint is next time I want to go for a bit longer.

     

    View Avalon Waterways Cruise Deals | Find out more about River Cruising.



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