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Science, Photography, and Trip Reviews

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Globus Avalon Ships
Small-Ship Cruising


European River Cruises, Tranquility, Tapestry

Cities, Villages, Rivers, & Water Locks

Sightseeing, Dining, & Music

Front view of Ship Avalon Tranquility.

Front view of Ship Avalon Tranquility.

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River Cruise Budapest to Prague

The river cruise on the Avalon Waterways Tapestry began in Budapest where we spent two nights. For a stretch of 58 miles (93 kilometers) west the Danube River was the dividing line between Hungary to the south and Slovakia to the north. Next we cruised through Austria, then into Germany. The seven-night cruise ended in Nuremberg. We were then taken by motor coach to Prague where we spent two nights. The description of the ship and onboard activities are described here.

Side view of Ship Avalon Tranquility.

Side view of Ship Avalon Tranquility.

River Cruise Prague to Paris

We were on a Globus Avalon small-ship river cruise tour that started in Prague where we spent two nights. From Prague we were taken by notor coach to Nuremberg, Germany to board the Avalon Waterways Tranquility for our seven-night cruise through Germany. The description of the ship and onboard activities is described here. For a summary of the daily excursions in each of the towns visited as well as some beautiful scenes viewed from the ship while cruising go to Germany. The tour ended in Paris where we spent two nights.

Sky Deck on the Ship Avalon Tapestry.

Sky Deck on the Ship Avalon Tapestry.

Cruising in small ships

Globus Avalon offers small-ship cruising in China, Egypt, Europe, and the Galapagos Islands. Here we discuss cruising the rivers of Europe. By comparison with many ocean-going cruise ships the ships on the rivers are really small. Instead of maybe one thousand, several thousand, or more than five thousand cruisers now found on the big ships, fewer than two hundred cruisers were on our ships. The people came from English speaking countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand England, and Scotland. It was a delight being able to make new friends and share ideas with people from the different corners of our planet.

Passing under an Ancient Roman bridge.

Passing under an Ancient Roman bridge.

The rivers in Europe connect the old cities which go back to medieval times and some even further back to Roman and Grecian times. The reasons for this are easy to understand because the rivers provided easy transportation and commerce between the old cities. It is quite fascinating and very interesting to tour the old cities as well as to shop for souvenirs. Unlike the open ocean, where often there is little to see, the rivers showcase beautiful natural scenery as well as charming villages and sometimes structures like Ancient Roman bridges or medieval castles. There is always something to see on the riverbanks.

Beautiful village scene on the Rhine River.

Beautiful village scene on the Rhine River.


Castle on the Rhine River.

Castle on the Rhine River see from ship.

A river cruise is similar to a motor coach tour with the important difference that your room, restaurant, and other facilities move with you.

One of many beautiful scenes cruising thr rivers.

One of many nice scenes cruising the rivers.

Avalon Ships

The Avalon Tapestry and the Avalon Tranquility are sister ships and are very similar in design. The Avalon Tapestry first sailed in 2006 and the Avalon Tranquility a year later. There are three decks and the ships are 443 feet (135 meters) long. Staterooms are all on the outside and with great views. There are eighty staterooms and two Jr. suites on the Tapestry and eighty-one staterooms and four Jr. suites on the Tranquility. In addition to staterooms on the ships you find the reception, foyer, restaurant, lobby, hairdresser, bar, lounge, fitness center, and sky deck with deck chairs. The staterooms include a bed, toilet, sink, shower, closet, writing desk, and sliding glass doors (except the few on the lower deck). The Jr. suites also include a sofa. The Tranquility also has an outside viewing deck.

Dining room on the Ship Avalon Tranquility.

Dining room on the Ship Avalon Tranquility.

Dining on the Ship Avalon Tapestry.

Dining on the Ship Avalon Tapestry.

Dining

The food served is of high quality. There are both regional specialties and Western favorites offered. For breakfast and lunch there are tasty buffets with lots of choices. Dinner is served at tables with open seating. The meals include a selection of appetizers, soups, entrees (vegetarian choice offered), and deserts. Coffee and tea are complementary with all meals. Regional wines, both red and white, are complementary with dinners. When cruising the rivers many vineyards are seen.

Chef at buffet breakfast on the Ship Avalon Tapestry.

Chef at buffet breakfast on the Ship Avalon Tapestry.


Bar on the Ship Avalon Tranquility.

Bar on the Ship Avalon Tranquility.

Sightseeing

When sightseeing the sights that most people want to see are included as part of the cruise package. Often we were divided into small groups, each with its own guide. All of the guides are local to the cities, cathedrals, castles, or any other sights. The guides all spoke fluent English and headsets were worn so that there was never any difficulty in hearing what was said. It is a great way to both learn a lot and see fascinating sights. Optional tours, which not everyone wants to take, are also offered at additional cost. Many people skip the optional tours and instead have free time to explore on their own.

Onboard the ship

Lounge on the Ship Avalon tranquility.

Lounge on the Ship Avalon Tranquility.


Musician entertaining in the lounge.

Musician entertaining in the lounge on the Avalon Tranquility.

Onboard the ship there were numerous lectures about what we were going to see as well as interesting remarks about the different regions we visited and their history. Some of the talks were given by speakers that joined the ships for a few hours. But most of the talks were given by our Cruise Directors, Barbara Bocz on the Tranquility and Andrzej Sanakiewicz on the Tapestry. In fact, all of the day-to-day organizing is done by the cruise directors. Barbara and Andrzej were both outstanding. This is typical of Globus guides or tour/cruise directors. There was also nightly piano music and dancing in the lounges.

Ship cruise director Barbara Bocz.

Cruise director Barbara Bocz on the Avalon Tranquility.


Cruise Director Andrzej Sanakiewicz on the Avalon Tapestry.

Cruise Director Andrzej Sanakiewicz on the Avalon Tapestry.

On one night the crew on each ship puts on a skit, which is enjoyed by all. It should be noted that Globus Avalon was awarded the prestigious Conde Nast Traveler Gold List 2009 award.

Crew members during the ship skit night.

Crew members during the ship skit night.

Water locks

When rivers flow on sloping terrain water locks are built at different places along the rivers so that for each stretch between the locks the water is level. This makes ship travel on the sloping rivers possible. When going down river, such as between Nuremberg and Trier in Germany, the locks are used to lower a ship to each new water level. Going the reverse direction upstream a ship is raised in water level at each lock.

Entering a water lock.

Entering a water lock.

In the first of the sequence of three pictures of a water lock the ship waits for the green light before entering the lock. Once in the lock the open gate is closed so that both gates in front and back of the ship are closed. The second picture shows the ship being lowered in water depth. Water flows out due to gravity and may go into holding tanks. Finally, in the last lock picture the ship is ready to continue at the reduced water level of the next section of the river, and the gate in front is opened. Some gates swing out or in, and others go up and down. For a ship going in the opposite direction water flows into the lock to raise the ship to the higher level of the next section of the river. Water flows due to gravity; no pump is needed.

Lowering in water depth to the water level of the river ahead.

Lowering in water depth to the water level of the river ahead.


Moving forward at the lower water level out of the lock.

Moving forward at the lower water level and leaving the lock.

River Cruise Budapest to Prague

The river cruise on the Avalon Waterways Tapestry began in Budapest where we spent two nights. For a stretch of 58 miles (93 kilometers) west the Danube River was the dividing line between Hungary to the south and Slovakia to the north. Next we cruised through Austria, then into Germany. The seven-night cruise ended in Nuremberg. We were then taken by motor coach to Prague where we spent two nights. The description of the ship and onboard activities are described here.

River Cruise Prague to Paris

We were on a Globus Avalon small-ship river cruise tour that started in Prague where we spent two nights. From Prague we were taken by notor coach to Nuremberg, Germany to board the Avalon Waterways Tranquility for our seven-night cruise through Germany. The description of the ship and onboard activities is described here. For a summary of the daily excursions in each of the towns visited as well as some beautiful scenes viewed from the ship while cruising go to Germany. The tour ended in Paris where we spent two nights.

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Photos by Sunny Breeding. We sell images and prints.