The 166-passenger Avalon Passion is one of two new ships that river line Avalon Wateways is unveiling in Europe in 2016. Like other river ships designed to sail in Europe, the length and width of the Avalon Passion is limited by the size of the locks on the region’s waterways. The ship measures 443 feet long and 38 feet wide — the maximum amount possible for ships cruising the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers. The Avalon Passion is the latest in Avalon Waterways’ new Panorama class of vessels that feature unusually large (for the industry) cabins and more panoramic views. Here, the vessel’s main lobby, where passengers first arrive after boarding. The Avalon Passion’s main lobby is home to a reception desk that is staffed around the clock. As on most river ships, a central stairway leads from the Avalon Passion’s main lobby to three cabin decks as well as the main dining room (on the lowest level of the ship). As is typical on river ships, the Avalon Passion has one large, central lounge overlooking the front of the ship that serves as a central gathering place for passengers during the day and into the evening. The stylish, semi-circular bar in the lounge is quiet during the day but often bustling at night. As with other areas on the Avalon Passion, the lounge is filled with contemporary furniture. The room is home to nightly port talks and other activities. Founded in 2004, 12-year-old Avalon Waterways is known for a young fleet of ships with a stylish, contemporary design. A notable feature of the Avalon Passion’s lounge are its wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows. At the front of the lounge is a seating area that doubles as an alternative dining area for the ship. A light buffet lunch often is served at the front of the lounge. Another view of the outside seating area at the front of the ship. Just outside the lounge, at the very front of the ship, is an outdoor seating area — one that is larger than on many river ships. A large dance floor is located at the center of the lounge. The bar serves German lager Veltins on tap. The lounge is home to a self-serve coffee machine that’s available around the clock. The bar is stocked with a wide range of liquors available at an extra charge. Pricing is in euro. A second, smaller sitting room called the Club Lounge is located at the back of the Avalon Passion. Like the main lounge, it offers panoramic views of passing scenery from wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows. The Avalon Passion’s Club Lounge also harbors a small breakfast nook for early and late risers as an alternative to breakfast in the main restaurant. The breakfast nook in the Club Lounge features a self-serve WMF coffee machine, which is in constant use. Cookies and muffins often are available in the Club Lounge. The Club Lounge is home to a small library nook and wide-screen TV (sometimes used during lectures). A range of games can be found in the library nook in the Club Lounge. A small deck just off the Club Lounge overlooks the wake of the ship. It’s one of the few places on the ship where smoking is permitted. As is typical on river ships, the Avalon Passion has one large main restaurant that can accommodate all 166 passengers in one seating. The Avalon Passion’s Restaurant serves up four- to six- course dinners nightly. It’s open buffet-style for breakfast and lunch. Barbells of various weights are stacked in a nook in the fitness center. The Avalon Passion also is home to a small fitness center with a treadmill, a stationary bike and free weights. Like other Panorama class vessels launched by Avalon since 2011, Avalon Passion features a large number of Panorama Suites that offer 200 square feet of living space about 30% more than the standard river ship cabin. Nearly 80% of Avalon Passion’s 83 cabins are Panorama Suites. They are unusual in the industry not just for their large size but for their floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall panoramic windows that stretch 11 feet wide and open up seven-feet wide. When open, the windows give passengers the feel of being on an open-air balcony. Panorama Suites have a small seating area near the floor-to-ceiling windows. Panorama Suites have built-in storage areas near the doorway. The built-in storage areas in Panorama Suites include shelving for clothes anda personal safe. The built-in storage area also has room for hanging clothes. All cabins on the ship feature a mini bar stocked with sodas and alcoholic drinks, available for an extra charge. Bottled water, however, is complimentary. Cabin bathrooms on the Avalon Passion are spacious (for a river ship), rich with marble and boast luxurious amenities. Here, the bathroom of a Panorama Suite. The bathrooms on the Avalon Passion feature upscale L’Occitane toiletries in large bottles. The tile-lined shower of a Panorama Suite. One of the little touches in Avalon cabins are bathroom towels in two colors, so couples will know who’s is who’s. Despite catering heavily to the U.S. market, the Avalon ships only offer European-style outlets in cabins. If you’re coming from the USA, be sure to bring an adapter. The furniture in Avalon Passion cabins is clean-lined and contemporary. Here, a bedside table in a Panorama Suite. The Avalon Passion also features two Royal Suites, which at 300 square feet are 50% larger than Panorama Suites. Like Panorama Suites, the two Royal Suites have wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows that can be opened wide, creating the feel of being on a balcony. A seating area in a Royal Suite. The shower in the bathroom of a Royal Suite. The main bathroom in a Royal Suite is similar to the ones on Panorama Suites but larger. Royal Suites also feature a second, smaller bathroom that contains a sink and toilet. Royal Suites also feature a modest desk area. Located on the lowest of three cabin decks, the Avalon Deluxe Staterooms are partially below the ship’s waterline and do not have wall-to-wall windows. A third category of cabins on the Avalon Passion are its 17 Avalon Deluxe Staterooms, which measure 172 square feet. While smaller than Panorama Suites, the cabins still are larger than many others on river ships in Europe. The bathroom in Avalon Deluxe Staterooms is smaller than in Panorama Suites, but still elegantly appointed. The bathroom shower in an Avalon Deluxe Stateroom. While relatively small, Avalon Deluxe Stateroom bathrooms have ample storage space including a cabinet that hides a hair dryer. Bathrooms in Avalon Passion cabins feature fragrance diffusers from Italy’s Millefiori. Passengers board the Avalon Passion via a ramp that travels with the ship. Among little touches on the Avalon Passion are the umbrellas at the ready for passenger use on rainy days. In addition to stairs connecting its three levels, the Avalon Passion has a small elevator. Machines that spray hand sanitizer are located outside the restaurant. Avalon Passion was built at the Den Breejen shipyard in The Netherlands. The Avalon Passion’s ceremonial bell is located on its top deck just in front of the wheelhouse. The deck-top area of the Avalon Passion includes an open-air bistro, a relative rarity on river ships. It’s open for lunches on some days during cruises, weather depending. The top deck of the Avalon Passion also offers lounge chairs and a hot tub, though there is no pool. Four large umbrella-like coverings line the top deck of the Avalon Passion for shade on sunny days. They can be disassembled when the ship crosses under low bridges. When crossing under low bridges, the lounge chairs and other deck-top structures are laid flat so the ship can clear unimpeded. A built-into-the-floor-covering chess board is one of several amusements on the top deck of the Avalon Passion. The top deck of the Avalon Passion also features a giant backgammon game. Like other river ships designed to sail in Europe, the length and width of the Avalon Passion is limited by the size of the locks on the region’s waterways. The ship measures 443 feet long and 38 feet wide — the maximum amount possible for ships cruising the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers. A life buoy at the ready atop the Avalon Passion.