Oftentimes it’s the little things that make the biggest differences. Having just returned from a sailing on Avalon View, it was some of these little things that stood out.
Every European river ship offers gorgeous views form glass-enclosed lounges and the highest cabin categories. Most offer multiple shore excursions, ranging from easy to active. And, we’ve never been on a river cruise that didn’t have excellent food.
In order to differentiate themselves, the cruise lines operating on Europe’s rivers need to look for smaller ways to stand out from their competition.
Here are five “small” differences that stood out to us during our Avalon Waterways sailing that we believe your clients would want to know about.
His & Hers Towels
Stateroom and suite bathrooms on every Avalon ship come with white and brown towels, specifically so that couples are never confused as to who’s towel is who’s. It’s a small thing to be sure – mixing up towels isn’t going to make or break a vacations – but it’s a nuisance your clients won’t have to deal with. (Having a choice of a brown towel is also great for women who sometimes worry about getting makeup or hair dye on the white towels.)
Four Levels of Mattress Firmness
Most cruise ships – ocean and river – have only one mattress firmness to offer their guests. Those who find it too hard can ask for a topper to make it softer, but what if that’s too soft? For your picky-sleeper-clients, the firmness of the bed can be a big deal. Too hard or too soft, and they’ll never get a good night’s sleep… which could affect their entire experience.
On Avalon View, guests can choose from one of four firmness levels. Two of the four are achieved by flipping the mattress. One side is firm, the other less so. For the remaining two, mattress toppers provide softer options. Your clients can also choose from a selection of pillows, but that’s not too unusual in the upscale cruising sector. More than two mattress firmness options? That’s a differentiator.
Room for Everyone
River cruise operators count on some people staying in their cabins after dinner, or dining earlier or later when designing their spaces onboard. In other words, there’s not enough space in the dining room or main lounge for every passenger onboard when the ship’s at full capacity. Generally speaking, it’s fine at meals. But during presentations or port talks in the lounge, it’s often standing room only.
On all Avalon ships, there’s enough seating for 166 passengers, the full complement for each ship.
Rooms with a View
On the second day of every Avalon sailing, guests come back to their room to find their beds have been moved. Instead of facing the wall-to-wall window of glass, the beds now face, well, a wall. The most common response from guests is “Why would you do that?” Which is exactly, Avalon’s response. Why would you give passengers lounging in bed a view of a wall when you could give them expansive over-water views? (The beds are moved back later that day!)
Avalon View is the first ship in the fleet to replace the chrome railings that line the wall of windows in Panorama Suites with clear glass panels for truly uninterrupted views.
Local Bread & Wine
In order to provide a more immersive experience – and to support the economies of the local areas through which they sail – Avalon purchases local bread in every port it visits and wines from every country through which its ships pass.