29th Sep 2024 | 10 nights | Avalon | Delfin III
From its amazing archaeological treasures and gastronomic delights to its scenic beauty and melting pot of cultures, Peru offers visitors a wide array of attractions—and on this tour, you’ll experience its highlights. Begin in the cosmopolitan city of Lima with a guided sightseeing tour, a visit to the Larco Herrera Museum, and a special welcome dinner in an ornate family-owned mansion. Fly to Cusco and descend into the Sacred Valley of the Incas for guided tours of the ceremonial site of Kenko, where ancient rituals were performed, and the Temple of Sacsayhuaman, with its impressive display of stones weighing up to 300 tons. Of course, no vacation to Peru is complete without visiting astonishing Machu Picchu. Built around 1450, at the height of the Inca Empire, it is located in a gorgeous mountain setting above the Sacred Valley. Stand in awe as you witness one of the most majestic images in South America, if not the entire world!Next, fly to Iquitos, where you will embark on a journey to one of the world’s vastly unexplored regions—the mighty Amazon. Experience the Amazon wilderness where it originates in Peru—where biodiversity is at its greatest and the rainforest is untamed. Board one of the world’s most luxurious small ships—the Delfin III—and enjoy fine wine, famous Peruvian cuisine, and all-inclusive comfort while venturing deep into the Amazon jungle in search of elusive wildlife. During your time in the Amazon, take naturalist-guided panga rides through the river tributaries, swim with pink dolphins, and visit native communities—all while returning to your plush five-star yacht. Wonderful scenery, historical treasures, learning opportunities, and so much more—all are yours on this thrilling river cruise adventure to Peru!
Many people think they'll never have the opportunity, or the gear or the guts to explore the Amazon, but Delfin Amazon Cruises makes it easy -- luxurious even. No mosquito netting over the bed, no rustic jungle hut, no purifying the water before you take a sip. Sailing aboard Delfin III is more like staying at a chic, floating bed-and-breakfast than paddling upriver in a dugout canoe. If you've always wanted to see this storied jungle, this is the way to do it -- with great food, expert naturalist guides, interesting activities such as fishing for piranha and a comfortable private cabin in which you can rest and refuel.
Delfin III, a 42-passenger ship designed to navigate the Amazon and its tributaries, sails the waters of the Amazon, the Maranon and Ucayali rivers on three- and four-night cruises. Here, the 8,042-square-mile Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve holds the headwaters of the Amazon, dense terra firma (dry ground) jungle and flooded jungle plains, nearly 500 bird species, jaguars, manatee, monkeys, giant river otters and grey and pink river dolphins.
Your days start early, with 7 a.m. wake-up calls, followed by breakfast and your first excursion. Skiffs carry passengers and naturalist guides out on jungle hikes, bird-watching expeditions, even swimming in the river -- all the while scanning the water for dolphin and the trees for sloth. Along the shorelines, birds by the hundreds watch your boat pass by. You'll return for lunch and a siesta, avoiding the hottest, most humid part of the day, but you'll head back out in late afternoon to do it again. As your naturalist leads you along a jungle trail, you'll find yourself enveloped by trees and the calls of birds and insects while your guide shows you poison dart frogs, monkeys in the canopy above, termite nests and spider webs as big as hammocks. You'll walk through local villages and pick up handmade souvenirs -- animals woven from palm fibres and dyed with roots and berries, gourds carved with jungle scenes, even blowguns.
After a day of adventure, you'll be back onboard, ready for a shower, maybe a dip in the plunge pool or even a massage. Then it's time for dinner, where you'll find the jungle on your plate as local ingredients and regional specialties make their way to your table. Fish -- the highly sought after doncella or the huge paiche -- and heart of palm, purple corn, camu camu and other exotic fruits make up each delicious dish.
With a maximum of 42 passengers onboard, Delfin III never feels crowded. During the breaks between excursions, passengers hang out near the plunge pool or head indoors to the air-conditioned Canopy Lounge. Here, the bartenders shake up pisco sours with incredible speed and deliver them to whichever comfy couch or chair you've occupied. With windows all around and enough seating to give you privacy, even in a crowd, it's a lovely place to sit and take in the scenery, chat with friends old or new, or read.
Is sailing the Amazon aboard Delfin III for you? Those seeking a more intellectual approach to the Amazon with daily lectures on the flora and fauna might be disappointed (though your naturalist guide provides plenty of mini lectures on your excursions). Likewise, if you need constant entertainment. Delfin III has none of the typical cruise diversions of big stage productions, dance clubs and gambling halls (although the crew forms a fine band and leads a raucous, fun-for-everyone dance party with Spanish and English hits).
On a final note, the ship is lift free and not accessible to passengers in wheelchairs or with mobility issues. A twin set of stairs is the only way to travel between decks, and loading and unloading the skiffs can be, at times, an exercise in dexterity.
But if you're adventurous and are willing to step into a world foreign to your own, and can navigate boats, stairs and jungle trails to get the most out of the Amazon, you've found a great cruise on the Delfin III.
Dress aboard Delfin III is casual. On excursions, it's best to wear something that dries quickly (you'll get sweaty) and has some built-in sun protection, so long pants and long sleeves are recommended. Technical fishing and hiking shirts and pants served our group well, as did casual and workout clothing. Bring sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat, plenty of sunscreen and bug spray, as you'll need each of these. If you want, you can buy or treat your clothing with permethrin, an insect repellent available at larger sporting goods stores, though we found the mosquitoes left us alone after a dose of high-powered bug spray.
You may bring your own raingear, but the ship does provide rain ponchos and rubber boots as necessary.
In the evenings, most passengers kept it casual for dinner, with many women wearing summer dresses or loose, comfortable, cool clothing, and men wearing light linen pants or shorts with golf shirts.
When sailing on Delfin III, your cruise fare includes all excursions and meals, most non-alcoholic drinks (Sprite was an upcharge, curiously), and transfers to and from the Iquitos airport at the beginning and end of your cruise. Wine, beer and cocktails carry an added cost that you can charge to your room and pay at the end of your trip.
Tipping at the bar and spa are unnecessary at the time of service. On the last night of the cruise, you'll find comment cards and a tip envelope in your room.
Onboard, the most common currency is the Peruvian sol (S/.), though U.S. dollars ($) and credit cards are accepted.
The focus of Delfin III and other Amazon cruises isn't the entertainment factor you find on large oceangoing ships, so there's no casino, no theatre or big live music productions, and little by way of entertainment options. But that's part of the charm, simplifying things and getting you close to the amazing nature just outside the cabin. Passengers never lacked for things to do, though, and every afternoon and evening made their way to the Sun Deck and Canopy Lounge for games, to talk and have a drink, to read or to sort through photos on their phones and tablets.
Twice daily -- morning and afternoon -- the naturalist guides take passengers aboard Delfin III out on excursions to explore the Amazon and the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. Some excursions are purely water-based, while others will find you trekking through the jungle or visiting a village. All excursions are included with the cruise and there is no need for advanced reservations, but if you are going to skip an excursion, tell both the cruise director and your naturalist guide so the skiff-boarding and disembarkation process can go more smoothly.
Daytime excursions happened shortly after breakfast, then again in the afternoon, around 3 or 4 p.m. When you board the ship, you're assigned a skiff, a skiff pilot and a naturalist guide. With few exceptions, you'll stick with this crew for every excursion, which makes for a personalized experience as you get to know your naturalist and your naturalist comes to know you and your group.
Typical daytime excursions include jungle walks (on maintained, but still rustic, trails), village visits, wildlife spotting and bird-watching and can even extend to swimming, kayaking or stand up paddle boarding (although we did not find the latter two on our cruise). On wildlife spotting expeditions -- which take place on every skiff outing -- your naturalist guide will identify every bird that flies by or calls, point out sloths hanging high in the trees and spot grey and pink river dolphins. Bring your own lightweight binoculars or ask your naturalist for theirs and get a better look at sloths in the trees or birds roosting or wading the bank. Each of the naturalist guides aboard Delfin III carried powerful laser pointers, which made identifying animals like sloths (which, frankly, look like a fuzzy clump of leaves in the tree if you don't know what you're looking for), snakes (which you may see on the jungle walk), monkeys and the like.
Twice the Delfin III visited villages. Our first visit was to see a pond (our sailing was during the low water or dry season so the pond was small, but it grows during the high water or rainy season) filled with enormous lily pads. The second was to the village of San Francisco, where we took a tour, met with locals and helped our naturalist guide distribute goods donated by passengers. Both villages rely upon the cruise industry for economic support and set up craft stands where locals sell handmade goods and art pieces, with prices ranging from 5 to 50 S/. (Peruvian sol).
On that note, donations to villagers should be better addressed in Delfin's pre-cruise materials. There is mention of brining “some items you can give away to the locals (T-shirts, pens and paper)” but that falls short of addressing the diversity of items the villagers could use. In a conversation with two of our naturalist guides, they said sought-after items are clothing for children (from toddlers to pre-teens), shorts and pants, socks and the aforementioned T-shirts and writing tools.
There are the occasional night-time excursions. Passengers from Delfin III had the opportunity to leave the boat one night after dinner for a short skiff ride and a walk into the jungle where we met a local shaman. She told us about plant-based medicines and cures, answered questions and gave us a blessing for safe passage.
One other excursion extended from the late afternoon into full dark. On this trip, the skiffs carried passengers up tributary creeks for bird-watching and wildlife spotting, then for an hour or so of piranha fishing. While it's true that piranha have a fearsome reputation, the naturalists, pilots and other crew on each skiff make it safe and are happy to bait hooks and will always remove your catch (if you wonder why you can't remove your own fish, ask your guide to see the scars on their hand, then look at the piranha teeth, then hand them the fish). And you will catch a piranha or two. After fishing, the trip changed to a search for caiman, which, with the aid of a spotlight, you'll spot along the banks and in the river. On our skiff, we found and caught a caiman nearly 2-feet long, which gave passengers the chance to photograph and touch it. You may also see fishing bats, night herons and other nocturnal wildlife.
Cruising on Delfin III includes one final shore excursion, a trip to the Rescue and Rehabilitation Center of River Mammals. Located in Iquitos, this final stop gives you a look at private conservation efforts in a facility where rescued animals (from former pets to animals injured on the river) are rehabilitated and used for education. Manatees are their centrepiece, but they have a small collection of caiman, boa, monkeys, birds and even an ocelot.
The nature and ease of excursions changes from the dry to the rainy season. During the rainy season (December to April), the river can be as much as 20 to 30 feet higher, putting you that much closer to the wildlife and making smaller, inaccessible dry-season streams, virtual thoroughfares. In addition to higher waters on the river, you may find streams and wet places on your jungle trek. It's advised to bring some rain gear -- hat, rain jacket -- but the cruise line will provide ponchos and rubber rain boots as needed.
Most excursions are easy and accessible to those capable of climbing from the ship onto the skiff, making their way up crude earth or wooden steps and walking through the jungle at a slow pace. Accessibility is an issue on Amazon cruises in general and on the Delfin III specifically. There are no accessible cabins or aides (like elevators or chair lifts) to carry you from deck to deck, and there is little that can be done to make the jungle or villages compliant with ADA rules. Know your limits before you book.
Daytime and Evening Entertainment
Delfin III relies on its staff to serve as entertainers, and they do an excellent job. One night, a short skiff ride brought us to the origination point of the Amazon. There, the ship's trio of skiffs tied together and crew members began playing guitar and a percussion box, singing and dancing. Much of the entertainment for the rest of the cruise was like this, with the crew transformed into singers and musicians and put on a great show. The maître d' was the lead singer and guitar player, and at three lunches he and his crew mates serenaded the dining room. They appeared for a birthday and anniversary celebration at dinner. They played for us once at night, then again on the final night, putting on a show that saw nearly every crew member singing, dancing -- in costume or uniform -- and cajoling the passengers into joining in. Songs were a mix of Spanish and English, pop songs from The Beatles to contemporary Latin hits and each one was better than the last. This is the only organized entertainment aboard Delfin III, but, thankfully it's all you need.
Enrichment opportunities were limited on our four-day cruise, with only a handful of organized educational activities taking place, with many of those on the same afternoon. In one blockbuster afternoon, our ship's chef demonstrated how to make juanes, a rice-filled, leaf-wrapped regional delicacy (that we ate the next day at lunch); the cabin stewards also gave an impressive demo on towel origami and invited guests up to try their hand at it. Another afternoon there was a film about the Amazon. A final enrichment activity came late in the cruise when our bartenders gave an informative and hilarious lesson on making a pisco sour. All of these activities were free of charge.
Given how much information our naturalist guides were providing on our twice-daily tours, lectures on the flora and fauna would have been overkill. That said, it did feel that there were missed opportunities to educate passengers on the culture, environment or history of this region of the Amazon.
There's only one lounge onboard Delfin III, and you'll find it on Deck 3. The Canopy Lounge is large and inviting, filled with comfortable, modern furniture that brings a bit of the Peruvian Amazon into the room in a chic way. The walls on either side of the lounge are floor-to-ceiling windows, providing panoramic views of the jungle and river. At the back of the room is the bar, where the bartenders put out a small spread of snacks -- potato and plantain chips, cookies -- in the afternoon and evening, and where they make cocktails -- like Peru's national drink, the pisco sour -- and coffee, pour wine and beer and chat with guests.
The bar is open daily from 6 a.m. until the last person goes to bed. The selection of spirits was small but well curated, with recognizable whiskeys, bourbons, gins and vodkas on the menu; wine was dominated by Peruvian vineyards, and beer was overwhelmingly Peruvian too. Drinks are not included and there is no drinks package offered, but everything was reasonably priced.
Every evening the Canopy Lounge is the place to be as the cruise director or one of the naturalists provides an overview of the next day and answers any questions. It's also the place to be as it is the largest gathering spot on the ship, so at times it can get loud, especially when the band -- made up entirely of crew members -- puts on a show.
This is also the place where you'll gather for movies or enrichment activities like a cooking demo, towel origami, mixology lessons or lectures.
Deck 3 holds the ship's only outdoor public areas. One is a breezeway where a collection of chairs and benches make for a shady spot to grab a drink and watch the river and jungle slip by. The other is the sun deck where a few chairs provide room for lounging and a plunge pool offers a place to cool off. Every afternoon, and even some evenings before dinner, the pool was a popular spot and many passengers grabbed a drink and enjoyed a few minutes with a book or with the scenery.
On Deck 1 at the foot of the only staircase on the ship, you'll find the cruise director's desk (where you can book your spa treatment, enquire about excursions or deal with any service issues that may arise), the paramedic's office and a small boutique carrying hats and T-shirts, playing cards, postcards, Amazonian photography and a few other souvenirs and Peruvian handicrafts.
On Deck 2, you'll find a map of the region and a pair of chalkboards, one listing the crew, the other detailing times and excursions for the day; the boards are changed nightly after dinner so you'll always have a central place to answer the “What are we doing tomorrow afternoon?” question.
The Amazon is a wild and remote place, as such, there's little by way of cell service or internet connectivity -- even Wi-Fi -- onboard. There's also no internet café or internet package available for purchase, so you'll find yourself disconnected for most of the sailing. You will find yourself with cell signals and the occasional 3G wireless connection as you pass by larger communities or near Nauta, Delfin III's port. For emergencies, the ship carries a satellite phone.
Laundry service is available onboard. On the shelf in each cabin's bathroom there is a cloth bag marked “Laundry” and a form to fill out noting the items, numbers of each and prices. Fill your bag, fill out the sheet and leave both outside your door and the cabin stewards take care of the rest, returning a stack of folded clothes to your cabin no later than the following morning.
The Delfin III has no dedicated library, but there are books, DVDs, playing cards and board games available on Deck 3 in the Canopy Lounge. Selections for all three are limited. Books included a pair of copies of birding guides, popular fiction titles and dog-eared travel guides. Games included Scrabble, Pictionary and other easy-to-learn, easy-to-play favourites.
On Deck 1 you'll find the paramedic's office. There is a full-time paramedic onboard and he travels with one of the skiffs on each excursion, dutifully carrying his medical bag with him whether you stay in the boat or head out for a jungle hike. His services are limited, but effective. He carries some common over-the-counter medicines for everything from pain to stomach issues, and has a small cache of medications that can help with more serious issues. On our sailing, one of our fellow passengers had injured her back prior to the cruise, and the paramedic was able to help with anti-inflammatory and pain medication and kept an eye on her throughout the trip. He was also in our skiff during our piranha fishing activity and jokingly showed us a stack of bandages (and a few piranha bite scars on his hand) before we got started. Due to the limited store of medication onboard, we recommend visiting your doctor or seeing a travel clinic for personalized recommendations for medications and vaccinations before your trip. That said, it's always a good idea to travel with a few essentials -- Imodium or Pepto-Bismol, Rolaids or Tums, even an antibiotic -- as well as your normal medications.
On Deck 3 you'll find both The Rainforest Spa and a small gym. In The Rainforest Spa, a small, but well-appointed room with floor-to-ceiling windows, they offer a half-dozen treatments ranging from manicures and pedicures to reflexology and Amazonian Foot Therapy, as well as a facial treatment using Amazonian ingredients and the Delfin Amazon Ritual Massage, which combines reflexology, Swedish massage and stretching in a 45-minute treatment. Treatments are bargain priced. Appointment times are flexible and the therapist understands when your excursion skiff arrives 10 minutes late and you're rushing to your appointment.
Robes are available in your cabin and you can wear your robe to and from your treatment. The Rainforest Spa can be a bit bright as well, what with the wall of windows that, even when shaded, allow in a considerable amount of light.
Across the hall from The Rainforest Spa, there is a small gym. Here you'll find a treadmill, elliptical machine, a few free weights, as well as towels and water. It's small, very small, but the giant window gives you a tremendous view while you burn off a few calories on the treadmill or elliptical. There's no charge for the fitness centre.
Mealtime aboard Delfin III was a surprise hit. Going into an expedition cruise like this, we held low expectations for the culinary offerings, but at every meal the kitchen team and service staff delivered great food that showcased local and regional ingredients, traditional dishes, and catered to a range of palates and dietary needs. Dishes were flavourful and creative, introduced unexpected ways to use ingredients like hearts of palm and surprising condiments (like the pepper-infused lime juice on the table at every meal) and were beautifully plated.
All meals are served on Deck 2 in the eponymously named Dining Room. A lovely space with large windows on three walls and a semi-open kitchen, there's ample seating in the Dining Room. During breakfast and lunch, the room feels airy and open, thanks to the light pouring in through the windows, but at dinner, with night falling outside, the lighting creates a more intimate atmosphere. Seating is open and unassigned, which means you're free to mingle with other guests and share a meal with them.
Breakfast is the only buffet meal served onboard. A typical breakfast spread included scrambled eggs, bacon and “local bacon” (salt cured, thick-cut ham), a pair of local sausages, fried green plantains or yucca, fruit and juice, as well as an assortment of pastries and breads, cold cereal and granola with milk or yogurt, and a selection of cheeses and meats. You could also order eggs -- fried, poached, Benedict or in omelette form -- or pancakes from the kitchen. Coffee and tea are also available.
Lunch and dinner are three-course affairs with a set menu. There were no options for the courses at either meal, unless you had dietary needs. On our sailing, traveling companions included vegetarians, pescatarians and non-fish eaters and the kitchen had no issue providing delicious meals that were as flavourful and filling as the standard offerings. If you have dietary issues, please let the ship know as soon as you book so they have time to make accommodations. Due to the remote nature of the cruise, it's difficult to make on-the-fly menu changes and accommodations.
When you enter the dining room, a chalkboard displayed the days' menu -- an appetizer, main and dessert -- usually in Spanish and English. As each course was served, the maître d' would explain the dish, the ingredients and the cultural significance. Lunch and dinner both began with a bread service, followed by appetizers. Appetizers included a spicy ceviche, causa (a buttery mashed potato terrine), heart of palm souffle, doncella (a highly prized local fish) carpaccio and fish consommé. The main course was a hearty, but never over-filling, dish; we were served grilled chicken with creamed purple potatoes, osso buco, paiche (another local fish) with grilled vegetables, and lomo saltado (a stir-fried beef dish). Between the main course and dessert, servers delivered a palate cleansing sorbet made from lime or various Amazonian fruits. Desserts included rice pudding with purple corn compote, cheesecake with local fruits, white cacao mousse, plantain flambe with camu camu (a tart local fruit), aguaje (the fruit of the largest palm tree in the region) mousse, and, if you're lucky enough to have a birthday onboard, cake.
Two other meals were served during our transfers to and from the ship and the Iquitos airport. These were bagged lunches that included a chicken wrap or sandwich, an apple or orange and a cookie. Juice and finger foods were provided upon our arrival at the Delfin III's dock in Nauta.
Between lunch and dinner, there were snacks available on Deck 3 at the bar in the Canopy Lounge. Snacks included crackers and cookies, as well as potato or plantain chips. Other than this, food service was limited to mealtimes and the chocolates left in the room when the stewards performed nightly turn-down service.
Mealtimes stay pretty consistent throughout the cruise, but can move up or back a little depending on the day's excursions. Breakfast was served between 7 and 7:30 a.m. and stayed open for 90 minutes. Lunch began anytime from noon to 12:30 p.m. Dinner began between 7 and 8 p.m. The daily schedule outside the Dining Room listed all mealtimes and your guides made note of the next meal before you returned to the ship for your excursion.
Room service is not typically available and is reserved for ill passengers who wish to stay in their room during mealtimes.
Cabins on Delfin III are roomy and quite comfortable. While the smallest rooms are 237 square feet, most rooms are 253 square feet. The Owner's Suite -- a whopping 597 square feet -- is palatial by comparison, thanks in part to the room's position at the bow and the floor-to-ceiling windows making up the entire front wall of the cabin. Every cabin onboard has these same floor-to-ceiling windows -- outfitted with shades and gauzy drapes -- which make the cabins feel much larger and provide fantastic views as you sail.
All cabins come with a king bed that can be reconfigured into a pair of oversized twin beds. A desk in the cabin gives passengers room for a laptop or camera gear or to serve as a defacto charging station. A speaker phone, which allows the cruise director to make announcements, sits on the desk as well. A seating area gives you somewhere to lounge other than the bed or the public areas. Beside the bed are a pair of wall-mounted shelves (with outlets handy) and gooseneck lamps.
Cabin design is modern and clean, with natural touches to remind you you're in the Amazon. The desk and bedside shelves are wood, with a broad, pronounced grain that stands out against the walls. The headboard -- a rich brown faux leather -- and oversized art photograph hanging over the bed brought in more natural touches, as did the inset panels above the bed, which were rough fabric that added the right touch to the room in terms of colour, texture, and sound dampening. On the remaining wall, painted artefacts resembling spears or totems hung in a sextet.
Under-bed storage allows you to stow your larger luggage, while the built-in closet and shelving gave just enough room for a pair of people to store a week's worth of clothes. A safe in each cabin (locked and opened by a four to six-digit pin set by the passenger) provided a secure area to store valuables and currency, and since rooms only lock from the inside, this is a nice touch. In terms of security, the ship has cameras and discreet guards who keep an eye on all things onboard.
Each cabin is also outfitted with a hair dryer, iron and ironing board, and laundry bag, and, most importantly, an individual climate control unit. It was easy to adjust the temperature and fan to a comfortable setting. There's no need to keep your unit running all day; after three or four minutes running, the room was as cool or warm as you needed it to be.
Bathrooms were spacious as well, with a long countertop and single sink, with storage shelf below. On the counter there were the usual soap and lotion, as well as a glass pitcher of water, a pair of water glasses and a refillable, Delfin-branded water bottle (fill it and take it on your excursions, you'll need the hydration). Cabin stewards, in addition to picking up, making the bed and performing turn-down service, filled the pitcher as many times as needed.
Because Delfin is sensitive to the Amazon's environment, and because the ship's sewage system can only handle so much paper, Delfin requests that you put all used toilet tissue into the waste bin and not to flush it down the toilet. Given the frequency of the cabin stewards' visits, smell or hygiene was not an issue. There are small paper bags available for feminine hygiene products, which should be placed in the bag, then tossed into the waste bin.
The shower -- glass fronted and frosted with an image of the jungle -- is roomy and equipped with organic soap, shampoo and conditioner. There are times when water pressure leaves something to be desired or when hot water is at a premium, but if you avoid those busy moments -- immediately after returning from an excursion, as soon as the morning wake-up call comes across the speaker phone -- you won't have issues.
You won't want for charging stations in the cabins as there are several outlets located beside the bed and by the desk.
Bed and bath linens were both soft and well laundered, as was the robe in the cabin. The cabin stewards replace towels as frequently as you like, but you'll often find a couple of extra towels in the shape of towel origami on your bed when you return from an excursion. These towel sculptures run the gamut from the expected -- frog, elephant, swan -- to the surprising -- a monkey hanging from a coat hanger -- to the truly unusual -- our favourite, a man made out of towels found lounging on our bed.
Suites: Located on Deck 1, there are eight suites, the standard room aboard Delfin III. Spacious at 237 square feet, and equipped with a king (or dual twin) bed, they are the least expensive cabin option onboard.
Corner Suite: The two Corner Suites, located on Deck 1, come in at 253 square feet and feature large windows giving big, 90-degree views of the scenery. In addition to the standard amenities, they include one complimentary 30-minute spa treatment per guest, a stocked mini-bar, a scented bath upon request and complimentary laundry (up to 10 pieces twice per cruise).
Upper Suites: Located on Deck 2, the 10 Upper Suites are large at 253 square feet, but other than the extra space, have the same features and amenities as the suites on Deck 1.
Owner's Suite: A true Owner's Suite (Delfin's co-owner was onboard for most of our sailing), this 597 square foot room included one complimentary 30-minute spa treatment per guest, a stocked mini-bar, a scented bath upon request and complimentary laundry (up to 10 pieces twice per cruise) and 180-degrees of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the bow of the ship. The bathtub had a slice of this big view, as did the seating area, but the bed had a commanding position in the centre of the room, giving the most panoramic view of any cabin onboard.
English-speaking travellers who want to sail the world by river, exploring at their own pace.
Families with young children or travellers who depend on wheelchairs.
Avalon caters to English-speaking travellers from North America, the U.K. and Australia/New Zealand. The average age of passengers is mid-50s to 60s, but the mix varies by itinerary, and on four- and five-night cruises, you'll find more 40-something travellers and others trying out river cruises for the first time. Children ages 8 and older are welcome onboard, but there is no formal youth program.
No, not really. You can't wear shorts at dinner, but, other than that the dress code is casual. At dinner you'll see mostly open-neck shirts and slacks for men; slacks, skirts or dresses for women. Some people op to dress up a bit nicer, though still relatively casual, for the welcome and farewell dinners (only on Europe river cruises).
Exactly what is included varies somewhat with the itineraries. In Europe, Asia and South America, coffee and tea are available free of charge all day long. In Europe a choice of complimentary wine, beer or soft drinks is included with lunch and dinner, and sparkling wine with breakfast. On the Mekong, Ganges and Amazon rivers, select soft drinks and local beer/spirits are available throughout the day and wine is included with lunch and dinner. Wi-Fi is free (except in the Amazon or Galapagos, where it's not available), as is dining (including breakfast in bed and picnic lunches to take on shore) and all onboard entertainment and enrichment. Most shore excursions are complimentary, including the line's Active Adventure options. You'll pay extra for gratuities, salon or spa treatments, laundry, onboard shop purchases and some special excursions.
Shore excursions are at the heart of activities on any Avalon sailing. Options can range from active excursions, such as canoeing the Danube or jogging through Amsterdam, to cultural experiences, like following the life of an Austrian worker or taking part in an Amsterdam painting class. Passengers who prefer to explore on their own can use the AvalonGO app loaded with a list of nearby attractions and hours of operation, historical facts, maps and directions as well as local cafes, restaurants, bars and entertainment options. Onboard, most passengers attend enrichment sessions, and the Local Favourites program brings regional performances onboard, as well as classes: tai chi or Mandarin lessons on the Yangtze, culinary demonstrations in France, etc.
Inclusions may differ depending on region. Please check with our team.