Avalon Waterways - Frequently Asked Avalon Waterways River Cruise Questions

  • For more detailed information on Cruising (nautical terms, and much more), visit this link: Avalon Cruising FAQ's
  • For more detailed information on Traveling Requirements and more (passport information,Avalon Travel Protection,etc;) visit this link: Avalon Travel FAQ's
What do I need to know while on board? What do I get before I go on my cruise?
What are single room supplements? Can I stay extra nights before and after my vacation?
How does Avalon choose hotels? What about young travelers?
What is Travel Protection? While cruising onboard Avalon ships in Europe, what type of Internet service is available and what is the cost?
Are Avalon Waterways river cruises handicap accessible? How does Avalon support sustainable travel and protect the environment?

What do you need to know while on board?

Air Conditioning and Heating
All rooms on the ships are air conditioned and heated. All ships have individual controls in the staterooms.

Choice of of complimentary wine, beer or soft drinks will be included with dinner on Avalon Europe river cruises. In Europe, China and the Galápagos, coffee and tea are available free of charge throughout the day from "early riser" breakfast through dinner. In Egypt, sodas are included at lunch and dinner. On the Yangtze wine is included with all dinners. On the Mekong complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks, local beer/spirits is available throughout the day and wine is included with dinner.

Dress aboard and on shore is casual. Please bring comfortable walking shoes for sightseeing. Dinner attire is casual—open-neck shirts, slacks, dresses. Coats and ties may be worn. The Captain's Welcome and Farewell Dinners are dressy, but not formal. On the Mekong coats and ties are not recommended due to the warm humid climate.

Cruise Director
A professional, experienced, English-speaking Cruise Director accompanies every departure.

All meals on board are prepared by accomplished chefs and consist of local food adjusted 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. On the Yangtze, a mix of Western and Chinese dishes is offered; in the Galápagos, you'll be able to taste some Ecuadorian specialties. In Egypt the cuisine is a mix of Western and Eastern dishes. Dinner is a multi-course meal with a choice of entrées.

Currency and Credit Cards

In Europe:
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 Diner's Club. A fee is charged for the use of traveler's checks. Personal checks cannot be cashed on board.

In China:
U.S. dollars are widely accepted on shore. The local currency is the Yuan. ATM machines will dispense yuan or they can be purchased on board the ship using U.S. dollars. The currency on board is the yuan. Shipboard accounts can be settled in cash, traveler's checks or most major credit cards.

In Southeast Asia:
Although, each country has its own currency including the Riel (Cambodia), Dong (Vietnam), Bhat (Thailand), and Kip (Laos), U.S. dollars are widely accepted in each country. ATMs are available in most large cities and will dispense the local currency. The currency on board is the U.S. dollar. Shipboard accounts can be settled by credit card (Visa or Mastercard) or with cash. Traveller's cheques are not accepted.

In Ecuador:
Ecuador uses US Dollars as their official currency. Credit cards are usually accepted in larger towns. In smaller towns cash is recommended. Shipboard accounts can be settled by credit card, cash or travelers checks.

In Egypt:
The official currency in the Egyptian pound, but Euros and US Dollars are widely accepted. In small towns it is recommended to carry small amounts of local currency, but vendors in tourist areas are likely to accept US Dollars. Credit cards are usually accepted in larger towns. ATMs are available in most larger cities. Shipboard accounts can be settled by credit card or with cash. Travelers checks are not accepted.

Dining in Europe
When it comes to dining, you'll savor your destination in more ways than one. Whether you're planning a busy day of sightseeing or a relaxing day on board, start each day with the breakfast that's right for you! Sumptuous breakfast buffets feature menu items that are conveniently color coded to indicate foods that are low calorie, low fat/low calorie, high fiber, low cholesterol, and high energy. Meanwhile, tantalizing lunch buffets will please your palate, and each onboard sit-down dinner features an inviting selection of appetizers, soups, entrees (including vegetarian choices), desserts, and complimentary coffee, tea, and regional wines. From the rouladen of Germany to the fine wines of France, Avalon's professional chefs will delight your tastebuds with regional specialties as well as Western favorites (complimentary wine, beer or soft drinks will be included with dinner on Avalon Europe river cruises). And for those times when a quiet breakfast sounds appealing, room service of Continental breakfast is available in all staterooms and suites on Avalon Waterways European ships.

Electricity on board 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. In the Galápagos, electrical outlets are 110v with American type outlets.

Gratuities on board and on land are not included in the cruise price. Tipping is a personal way to show your satisfaction for good service and is always appreciated. It is recommended that tips be paid in cash. Alternatively you may choose to prepay gratuities for the Cruise Director and ships' crew (except for Egypt cruises).

Hair Dryers
All ships have hair dryers for passenger use; please ask at the Avalon reception desk if one is not in your stateroom.

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, Avalon asks that passengers do not iron their clothes in the staterooms as this is a safety hazard; the laundry service will do pressing for a fee.

You may check out books from the ship's library free of charge. Avalon asks that you return them before your cruise ends.

Medical Services
Due to the proximity to land, medical services can be called from shore rapidly. In the Galápagos, there is a physician on board.

The onboard daily newsletter features information about daily activities, shore excursions and tour departure times.

Onboard Language
The language on board is English. All staff, crew and tour guides speak English. All announcements and commentary will be in English.

Onboard Shop
Each ship has a shop area offering accessories, film, souvenirs and some select personal and toiletry items.

Ships have in-room safes. In the Galápagos, valuables may be stored in the ship's safe free of charge.

In Europe and in the Galápagos, all ships have non-smoking interiors. Smoking is only permitted on the Sky Deck. On vessels in Egypt and China smoking is limited to certain areas of the ship. On the Mekong smoking is only permitted on the Sun Deck.

Special Occasions
Passengers celebrating special occasions, such as anniversaries or birthdays, should alert Avalon ship personnel upon boarding the ship. Special services are available (some free of charge) on Europe cruises.

Each stateroom has a direct dial telephone which may be used to call between staterooms. Ship-to-shore calls are also available. Any charges are placed on your shipboard account. In the Galápagos and on the Kasr Ibrim on Lake Nasser in Egypt, there are two satellite-linked pay phones available for use in the reception lounge. On the Mekong 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. A TV is found in the ship's library in the Galápagos only. There is no televion service on Lake Nasser or on the Mekong.

Your Shipboard Account
For your convenience, all purchases and paid services on board are billed with a guest check and added to your personal Avalon shipboard account.

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Before you go

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 any air tickets, itineraries, and other information, are sent by Avalon approximately two to three weeks prior to departure provided full payment has been received. *Please note: Make sure your address is one that can receive packages.

Single room supplement & guaranteed shares

For single travelers who prefer the privacy of their own room and stateroom, single accommodation can, of course, be requested. On European and Southeast Asia river cruises: Guaranteed shares are available in select categories. If you are traveling alone but prefer to share a cabin, Avalon will try to match you up with a single traveler of the same gender.

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Extra nights before & after your vacation

If you'd like to add extra hotel nights, Avalon will try to make arrangements for you at their contracted rates. Rates are per person, per night, and include 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 accommodation will be reserved at a hotel of equivalent standard. When this is the case, the transfer to and from the included hotel is at Avalon's expense. During particularly busy periods, hotel space in certain cities can become so tight that Avalon may be unable to sell extra nights.

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Deluxe, Superior First-Class & First-Class hotels nearly everywhere

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.

The specific hotels Avalon River Cruises have selected for you are listed separately for each vacation. The vast majority of them are Deluxe (D), Superior First-Class (SF), or First-Class (F) establishments. In a few overnight places, where there is no hotel in these categories, Avalon will choose the best available (BA) hotels.

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 Avalon's quality controllers.

Avalon Waterways reserves the right to substitute hotels listed on the itinerary pages with hotels of equivalent standard. Within your Avalon travel documents you'll receive a list of hotel addresses, telephone numbers, and fax numbers for your vacation.

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Young travelers

In Avalon vacations many years of cruising experience, they 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, Avalon Waterways does not accept children under eight years of age. In addition, please note that there are no special arrangements or activities for children on their ships.

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Travel Protection

Avalon offers comprehensive protection for your travel investment. In addition to excellent trip coverage and cancellation protection, an extra benefit is also available that allows for cancellation up to 24 hours prior to of departure (or prior business day, whichever is farther out) for any reason. In the event the reason for the cancellation is not covered under the plan inclusions, the cancellation penalty as retained by Avalon will be reimbursed in the form of Travel Certificates, minus the travel protection payment, valid for travel within 2 years from the original cancelled vacation start date. The cancel for any reason benefit does not cover independently purchased air or Instant Purchase Air arranged by Avalon.
View more about Avalon Waterways Travel Protection.

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Internet access on Avalon ships in Europe

All Avalon ships in Europe have complimentary 3G WI-FI available for in-room use, as well as public computers with Internet connections in the Internet Corner. To access the ship's Wi-Fi network you will be given a PIN number at the Avalon reception desk to use on your laptop to access the Internet.

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Are Avalon Waterways river cruises handicap accessible?

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 Avalon Waterways cannot provide individual assistance to travelers in many situations, and most of their transportation services are not equipped with wheelchair ramps, Avalon recommends that you view their terms and conditions for details.
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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, Avalon has implemented policies to support this mission and are working carefully to enhance their products with this mission and their values combined. Avalon is committed to complying with all relevant legislation and/or regulations.

Avalon maintains a policy of "Leave Only Footprints and Take Only Photos". Their staff and major service providers strive to ensure that no removal of any natural or cultural artifacts or materials to ensure Avalon's environment looks and functions the same before and after your visit. Avalon's river cruise directors educate passengers on their "do no harm" code of conduct to ensure that the passengers comply.

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