Review: Avalon Envision
Avalon Envision will sail eastbound and westbound on the Danube between Budapest and Nuremberg
Location: Avalon Envision will sail eastbound and westbound on the Danube between Budapest and Nuremberg offering ‘Classic’ itineraries.
First impressions: Avalon Waterways’ newest vessel differs little in core design from the line’s first all-suite ship, Avalon Panorama, which launched in 2011. The much-loved Panorama Suites still do all the talking; these bright, airy cabins forgo a balcony in favour of more space (200sq ft of it,in fact) and a view-facing bed. In place of a traditional balcony is Avalon’s trademark trick: a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling glass window that slides open to an impressive 7ft. Avalon Envisiondoes, of course, also benefit from an updated look and feel. Dutch-inspired interiors see shades of grey, mustard and violet combined with sleek metals, cream upholstery and dark wood.
The facts: The 166-passenger Avalon Envision features two decks of 65 Panorama Suites, as well as 16 Deluxe Staterooms and two Royal Suites. At the top of the ship, the SkyDeck is large enough to accommodate all passengers and boasts a whirlpool, Sky Grill restaurant, games area featuring a giant chess board, and a fleet of bikes. Downstairs, the ship’s central hub, the Panorama Lounge, hosts drinks, entertainment and afternoon tea. Guests can also make use of the smaller Club Lounge, with its books, board games and refreshments, and a small gym. A new interactive kiosk makes light work of signing on and off the ship; and a dedicated adventure host and desk caters to more-active clients.
Cuisine: Evening meals are a multi-course affair in the glass-walled Panorama Dining Room, where a mix of local and international dishes are washed down by Hungarian wine. For a more informal, buffet-style experience, head to the Panorama Bistro or, if the weather permits, the Sky Grill. Avalon Fresh, the line’s healthy food programme designed by Austrian chefs the Wrenkh Brothers, provides healthy, vegetarian and vegan options at every mealtime, while Avalon’s FlexDining approach means there’s no longer just one sitting for dinner.
Wow: Avalon’s Panorama Suites are its biggest draw; ‘letting the outside in’ might sound like marketing jargon but it’s a seriously apt description of this accommodation. The suites are also home to unassuming yet smart touches, like colour-coded, his-and-her towels; a powerful bathroom ring light; gorgeous L’Occitane products and slightly bigger showers.
Book it: A week’s sailing on Avalon Envision from Prague to Budapest, on September 29, 2019, costs from £2,669 per person. Avaloncruises.co.uk