I’m currently cruising on the Ijsselmeer Lake in the Netherlands en route to Volendam, where the christening of Avalon Waterways’ newest ship, the Avalon Creativity, will take place in a few hours.
I’ve been on board for 24 hours, having departed lovely Amsterdam yesterday afternoon, and already feel at home on the brand new vessel.
The 140-passenger ship (since it hasn’t yet been christened, it is still “the ship” for now) while similar to other Avalon ships, also has its own unique look and feel.
The lobby is much more open and airy with a big round sky light and an open layout with a business center and couches off to one side guiding one seamlessly into the well-lit lounge. It makes coming on board a brighter, more social experience than on other ships.
The staterooms remind me of contemporary business hotel rooms, at the same time comfortable and functional, with soft beige, brown and white hues. I’m a big fan of the river cruising bedding wars, which have resulted in each ship new ship upping the one before it in terms of thread counts and bed comfort, and this ship is no exception.
The bathroom is probably my favorite feature of the cabin, impressively large, with slate tiling, sleek cabinets, a comfortable standing shower and ample storage space (for those of us who actually like to fully unpack — hey, why not? There’s no packing and unpacking on a river cruise.).
Having toured the full spectrum of cabins, from the lower deck cabins that have smaller windows (I’m convinced I could climb up into the window cubby holes and do some romantic river reading in there), to the upper two decks, on which all the cabins have floor-to-ceiling sliding doors. Undoubtedly the two 258-square-foot suites on board, complete with sitting areas and large walk-in bathrooms are great spaces. But, honestly, there isn’t a bad cabin on board.
In keeping with the Avalon aesthetic, the restaurant has a certain casual chic air to it (though we’ll see how it transforms into a formal dining setting for tonight’s gala dinner).
But, thus far my favorite feature on board, and a new one to me on a river cruise, is the grilling and outdoor seating area on the sky deck. Suitable for up to 40 people (for which cruisers will have to sign up when the sailings are full), the covered, patio-style seating serves a casual, grilled lunch, a lovely alternative the indoor restaurant — it’s almost a shame not to dine al fresco when gliding along in a river cruise ship.
Today’s lunch menu: grilled sausages and steak, corn on the cob, baked potatoes and salad, with ice cream sundaes for dessert.