I’m back from a week-long trip aboard the inaugural sailing of the Avalon Impression. The Impression was christened in dual ceremony with the line’s other, slightly smaller new build, Poetry II.

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A little perspective. I sailed on the inaugural voyage of the first Avalon ship 10 years ago and while I have fond memories of that journey, the Globus team (parent of Avalon) has created a product that rivals anything plying Europe’s rivers.

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What difference does a decade make? Well, the footprint of the ships isn’t dissimilar. Unlike the behemoth’s that ply the Caribbean, there’s only so big you can make these vessels. Where they have stepped up their game is with the ship’s soft goods.

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The staterooms are nothing short of amazing. Thoughtful design with floor to ceiling windows, French balconies providing sweeping views of the countryside, complimented by modern, well-appointed bathrooms that include a very unlikely large sized shower – you wouldn’t think you’re on a ship.

The two lounges, dining room, fitness and beauty salon are top drawer. Tastefully appointed, eye-pleasing color schemes and unique touches like fresh-cut flowers provide a soothing ambiance which compliments the surrounding scenery.

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And once you get off the ship, the prowess of Globus really shines. Knowledgeable local guides bring history to life with brisk walking tours of European masterpiece cities and villages, while coach drivers and transportation outshines anything I’ve seen yet in the lower 48.

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I’ll have more on Avalon in June’s Leisure Group Travel. In the meantime, hope you enjoyed my Twitter recap of a pre-trip to Amsterdam and shipboard life. For more details and images, hit us up on Twitter.