One of the reasons I love cruising is because of the quality of the food & drink on board, not to mention the world-class service. This goes just as much for river cruising, where there is a true focus on creating a personalised and curated experience, helped by the more intimate setting of the river ship environment.
In this blog we’ll explore the food & drink found on board Avalon Waterways. The foodie experience of Avalon I was told about a lot before boarding, so I had high expectations of what was going to be on offer. Spoiler: It did not disappoint.
Food & Drink
For me, a meal is part of the adventure on travel. This is something that I’ve found to be fully embraced on river cruising. Whether it’s using fresh and local ingredients, or drawing on the inspiration of local cuisine, food really is part of the journey on board.
On Avalon, I found there isn’t really many parts of the day when food isn’t being served and it’s all included within the cruise. There’s not one, but three kinds of breakfasts serves on board at various times from 6am to 930am. Whether that’s a full meal served in the main restaurant, including freshly cooked eggs your way, daily fresh bread, or a selection of continental and hot dishes. Or perhaps you just fancy something a little lighter, then head up to the Panorama Bistro. Similarly, at lunchtime, you can choose for a buffet lunch in the restaurant or something a little lighter in the bistro or al-fresco in the Sky Bistro on the top deck. Barbeque anyone?
Feeling peckish in the afternoon? Head to the Club Lounge to grab one of the delicious pastries on offer at all times of the day. Or indulge in daily afternoon tea in the Panorama Lounge.
At dinner, head to the restaurant for an elegant experience that draws on regional dishes. This single-seating, sit-down meal typically features an appetizer, soup, entrée, dessert, and coffee or tea. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it all. If you’re not in the mood for a full sit-down meal, you can head up to the Panorama Bistro on certain nights where a dinner buffet operates. This typically includes the same dishes which are on offer downstairs, but in a more casual, self-service setting. Avalon also cater for a range of dietary requirements.
Overall, I was really impressed with the quality of food found on board. It was some of the best food I’ve had on any cruise ship.
Similarly to other river lines, complimentary regional wines, beer and soft drinks are offered during lunch and dinner. I found the wines offered on board to be particularly exceptional and all locally sourced. Complimentary Lavazza coffee is also served both in the Club and Panorama Lounge all day. Speaking of drinks, the Panorama Lounge has a fully-stocked bar with a selection of both premium spirits, soft drinks, local wines and beers.
One thing we found we love about river cruising is that as you tend to be docked overnight in destinations you have the opportunity to head out in the evening and explore the local cuisine. In fact, on this trip we did that a number of times and it really enriched the whole experience. I’ll talk about it more in another blog, but the food on this trip was truly exceptional. Take a look below at some of the delights we found along the way.
Intimate service with a smile
Cruising isn’t just about the environment you find yourself in – what brings the experience to life is that people you share it with, both the guests and the staff on board. With high crew to guest ratios, Avalon’s experience is truly personal, with a genuine family feel to everything.
From the moment you leave your house your holiday experience starts with a complimentary personalised transfer to the airport and helpful members of staff along every part of your journey until you reach your ship. When on board all the fun, friendly and helpful staff, whether that be the Captain, the Cruise Director, Hotel services or waiting staff go out of their way to make your holiday enjoyable and more importantly memorable. As with everything, it was the little things that really enriched the experience, whether it be staff remembering your preferences or what kind of drink you enjoy.
One thing that stood out for me this entire cruise were the engaging, fun and insightful local guides in every port. It was honestly so enjoyable to spend time with them and learn about the region. You’ll be able to read more about this in a later blog post.
Our cruise was also one of the first Active & Discovery cruises by Avalon. This is a new concept which aims to provide action-packed experiences, enrichment and interactive discoveries. As part of this, there is a dedicated adventure guide on board who was exceptional, with amazing local knowledge and insight into all the activities on offer.
Are you feeling a little hungry? Let me know your thoughts about the food and service on board Avalon Waterways in the comments below and on social media.
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