We are on the Avalon Poetry II which has a capacity of 128 passengers with 37 crew, it is 110 mtrs long and just under 12 mtrs wide. On this voyage there are 48 of us, including 5 Kiwis and 15 Aussies as such, we are pretty well looked after! The standard of the finishing in the staterooms (bedrooms) is first class with most things thought of. Our staterooms have huge sliding doors allowing us to be in our room and watch the world go by if we wish (and we have at times). The upkeep of the boat is meticulous with everything looking brand new, even though its not (the vessel is about three years old). It has three accommodation decks with a huge upper deck with lounge chairs & a Jacuzzi. There is a lounge at the back on the third floor where one can have continuous cappuccinos and bickies and in the front section there is the restaurant on the 1st floor, reception and lounge on the second floor (where you can also help yourself to coffees). There is a fitness centre on the 1st floor also. Ship Stats: Holds Passengers 128, Crew: 37
The day starts around 6:30 am for the early risers and runs through until 10 am for the stragglers (normally including us :-) ) . There are then normally morning excursions for those who want to do them and also a guided tour of the local village. Lunch on board for those who want it is 12 pm to 1:30 pm and more off-boat activities in the afternoon. There is normally a cruise briefing at 6:45pm and dinner from 7 pm till around 9 pm. On some evenings there is 'special' entertainment (such as last night when we had three Flamenco/Spanish guitarists and a Flamenco dancer). Gino is the on board entertainment and plays the piano during the happy hour (5:45 - 6:45) and after dinner.
The food has been first class. Breakfast has an array as good as any 5 star hotel, and lunch has far too much to offer and showing restraint is definitely an issue! Dinners are deliciously good and you also have the opportunity to do a'bistro night' also, which is effectively a degustation and is excellent.
Most cruising is done at night but there is also some morning cruising as well. This allows us to see how these boats manouvre through the locks - up to 23 metres on this river which requires some pretty good work by the skipper.
The boat has a few bikes on board which you can use and we have taken advantage of these and its a great way to see the countryside which we would miss a lot of otherwise.
Overall we have decided its a great way to travel!