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By Martha Chapman

Book by May 31 this year and save up to 15%. Avalon Waterways is adding an exciting and action-packed Active Discovery on the Danube cruise to its impressive list of special interest cruises to be launched next year.


"Our Active Discovery itineraries give cruisers the opportunity to bike, hike and canoe along the Danube," said Patrick Clark, managing director of Avalon Waterways. "They can also explore an ice cave, take an archery lesson, descend into an underground salt mine or ascend up a mountain during a guided climb. This is European vacation focused on enjoying every moment of the journey." The 9 day vacation, which includes two full days in Vienna, sails from Linz to Budapest or vice versa.

Some Active Discovery on the Danube highlights include:
- Engelhartszell-Schlögen Oxbow-Linz: Active – hiking tour to retrace the WWII smugglers route plus guided hike on the Danube Trail. Discovery - beer tasting at abbey brewery, Linz music theatre program or pub-crawl.

- Linz-Mauthausen-Grein-Spitz: Active – biking along the Roman Limes. Discovery – Mauthausen concentration camp visit and Q&A with a count at Clam Castle.

- Spitz-Krems-Vienna-Wachau Valley: Active - canoe tour down the Danube, biking from Spitz to Durnstein or hiking the vineyards of Vienna. Discovery – meet with an apricot orchard farmer, chef cooking local produce or enjoy a wine-tasting

Vienna: Active – Sightseeing by bike or run. Discovery –Spanish Horse Riding School, Belvedere Palace, Viennese cooking class and/or private entry to the Museum of Fine Arts.

For 2017, Avalon is also bringing back an array of extremely popular themed itineraries – cruises that sell out every year, including:
Palates will applaud travellers choosing these itineraries where a Master of Wine will teach them the ropes at onboard tastings that may include wine and cheese, wine and chocolate and a special food-and-wine paired dinner. Departures include: Burgundy & Provence for Wine Lovers (October 22 & 26); Grand France for Wine Lovers (October 17 & 21); Rhine & Rhone Revealed for Wine Lovers (October 21); The Legendary Danube for Wine Lovers (October 28); The Blue Danube Discovery for Wine Lovers (October 29).

On these special cruises, travellers will enter a food-lover's paradise in the land of haute cuisine – France! Departures include: A Culinary Experience from Paris to Normandy (April 25); A Culinary Experience on the Grand France (April 17).

Indulge in Hefeweizen and Witbier (wheat beer) ... Dunkeles and Dubbel (dark beer) ... Lambic (wild-yeast beer) ... Krystal (filtered beer) and so many others when visiting historic breweries and regional pubs. Departures include: Holland & Belgium with Tulips in Early Spring for Beer Enthusiasts (April 6); The Blue Danube Discovery for Beer Enthusiasts (July 16).

Passengers will get their blood pumping and toes tapping on these memorable jazz-focused departures featuring the Vienne Jazz Festival: Sounds of Jazz from Burgundy & Provence (June 26); Sounds of Jazz on the Grand France (June 26).

Performances from local musicians, lectures from experts and concerts galore await music-lovers on this departure: Magnificent Europe for Music Admirers (October 17).

These cruises really make an impression: Art & Impressionism Discovery from Paris to Normandy (August 8); Art & Impressionism Discovery on the Grand France (August 8).

WWII History:
Perfect for history buffs, this cruise features destinations important to WWII and the museums and exhibits that honor it: Paris to Normandy for WWII Historians (July 11); Grand France for WWII Historians (July 11).

Jewish Heritage:
Step back in Jewish History on this departure featuring a renowned Jewish Heritage expert who will cruise with you: The Blue Danube Discovery & Jewish Heritage (August 13).

DEAL ALERT: Those booking a 2017 Avalon European river cruise by May 31 this year can have the single-supplement waived on Europe and Southeast Asia river cruises (number of staterooms are limited); a 5 percent discount on China and South America; 10 per cent off all Europe and Southeast Asia cruises; and 15 per cent off all Paris to Normandy cruises.
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Since we launched our very first ship in 2004, Avalon Waterways has invited you – our traveler – to be our muse. Thanks to you, we let imagination and a relentless desire to create a smart use of space, be our guide. The result? An incomparable river cruise experience, including one-of-a-kind Panorama Suites℠ – with innovative Open-Air Balconies® and beds facing the views – on the industry's only Suite Ships®: Unequaled vessels that feature two full decks of 200- and 300-square-foot suites.

On the spectacular ships of Avalon, "included" is one of our favorite words. Spacious outside staterooms with plenty of room to relax – included. Special touches like regional wines and beer at every onboard dinner – included. Complimentary Wi-Fi – included. The most shore excursions, led by Certified Local Guides – included. VIP entrance into must-see sites – included. Unique Local FavoritesSM designed to bring your destination to life – included. In addition to everything that is included, we also give you the freedom of Avalon Choice® – a different approach to river cruising that invites travelers to personalize their trip.

Whether looking for a romantic mini-break, an in-depth 24-day exploration or something in between, with Avalon Waterways, you can choose the river cruise that reveals the very best of Europe, Asia, or South America– your way!