The Avalon Expression
sailed its christening
cruise in early May.
Choice eats on Avalon Expression
By Donna Tunney
For passengers seeking a lighter yet equally so- phisticated alternative to the main restaurant, Ava- lon Waterways has introduced a four-course, tapas-style
dining venue, the Panorama Bistro, onboard its new Avalon Expression river cruise ship.
three times per seven-day cruise, weather
“Ocean cruise customers have driven
some of these dining decisions,” said
Clark, noting that specialty restaurants
abound on blue-water ships and are popular with customers.
In addition to the two alternative dining options, Avalon Choice includes new
options for the line’s shore excursions.
While there’s been no change to Avalon’s
policy of including a guided tour in each
port of call, it has broadened the pace and
scope of the tours.
Fresh from the Netherlands’ Den
Breejen Shipyard and sailing its christening cruise in early May, the Avalon
Expression debuted the bistro concept
to a group of journalists onboard for the
ship’s maiden voyage. The main course
consisted of a beef roulade, a thin, rolled
flank steak seasoned and baked to perfection, which sat on a small dinner plate
alongside a broiled sea scallop and an artfully plated helping of alpine spaetzle.
The Panorama Bistro is part of the river cruise line’s Avalon Choice program, an
effort to offer passengers a greater array
of experiences. The program, which was
announced last year, is being rolled out
across Avalon’s Panorama-class ships.
The Panorama Bistro is an elegant experience providing four courses of tapas-style dishes in the forward section of the
ship’s main lounge.
The venue is available to a maximum
of 24 people, seated at six tables for four,
and is offered two to three times per each
‘People were telling us that it would be great to have a
lighter, small-plate option in a bistro-style setting.’
— Patrick Clark, Avalon Waterways
“We now offer three categories: a lei-
surely tour, offered at a slower pace; a
traditional tour, which is a standard walk-
ing tour; and an essential tour,” Clark
explained. “The essential is a more brisk
pace, where we take the group to the
city’s or the village’s highlights and then
provide maps so they can go off on their
A fourth category, called an alterna-
tive option, is offered on a limited basis in
some cities. “In Amsterdam, for example,
we’ll offer an off-the-beaten-track art tour.
“We will be expanding our alternative
tours in the future, but you can really
only create these in the larger cities,” said