We sat down with Patrick Ludvigsen of Avalon Waterways to get the inside scoop on river cruising. Avalon is a luxury river cruise line that offers itineraries in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa—read on for some must-know insights from Patrick:
How long have you been working with Avalon?
Five years now.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
Working with travel agents on my accounts, and continuing to educate them on our products and promotions. Cruising is great too, but I can’t do it all the time!
Do you have a favorite Avalon itinerary?
I really enjoy the Danube cruise, it’s my favorite right now. It’s very diverse; you see a lot of castles, cathedrals, abbeys, and vineyards, and you sail through multiple countries. The Mekong itinerary through Southeast Asia would be number two.
Why do you think someone should choose a river cruise experience over an ocean cruise?
Ocean cruising is great, but river cruising gives you a more inclusive environment—you’re not nickled and dimed on board! Plus, an ocean cruiser can’t get you to the heart of a destination like a smaller river cruise ship can. Our river cruises have somewhere between 128 to 160 passengers, compared to 4,000. Being on an ocean cruise can feel like going to the mall on Christmas Eve!
How does Avalon distinguish itself from other river cruise lines?
In a couple different ways: we have the youngest fleet, the largest cabins, and really great itineraries. Plus, Avalon is part of the Globus family of brands, which encompasses land tours. That means you’re easily able to tack on additional packages to the river cruise itself before or after the trip.
Airfare to your river cruising destination can be pricey, even though we can get the best deal for you. So the longer you can stay on vacation, the more it drives down the per-day cost of your air. So I’d definitely recommend coming early or staying late!
Do you have any advice for vacationers thinking of trying a river cruise for the first time?
Yes, absolutely—see a travel professional. They’re familiar with all of the brands, and they can figure out which product is best for you. Depending on your personality and preferences, they’ll give you a number of different opportunities and help make the decision that’s best for you.
Also, for deals, it’s important to stay flexible. So many people come into a travel agency and say, “This is the week I want to go.” But you might get the best deal if you went the week prior! If you come in with a parameter of dates, your agent can explore better discounts and deals for you.
Thank you for sharing your insights, Patrick! If you’re interested in learning more about a river cruising experience on Avalon, get in touch with us today!