Avalon Sailing A Sure New Course

With Nina Slawek

Patrice Geske, Terri Burke & Stephanie Bishop

Times are good at Avalon Waterways, the river cruise company division of the Globus family of brands. And to share some of the good news, the company’s new Managing Director, Orlando-based Terri Burke, spent some time with the travel trade media this week.

“I started as a travel agent in Washington state, California, Alaska and Florida, went on to work for Holland America and Norwegian….and eventually the Globus family of brands,” says Burke, who has been with the company six years, six months of which have been at the helm of Avalon.

Outlining the trends for 2017 (which includes sales into 2018), she commented that the cruise line is up “double digits”, with their Romantic Rhine itinerary as well as Christmas-market sailings selling extremely well in Europe and the Mekong being the Asian success story. Specialty cruises in Europe are a big trend with Avalon, with the variety offered including jazz, culinary, wine, beer, history and art. There’s no surcharge for the themed cruises and passengers can partake as much or as little in the activities offered. “We like to say we really own the themed cruise space,” says Burke.

“People are living a much more active lifestyle,” says Stéphanie Bishop, the managing director for the Globus family of brands in Canada, explaining the rationale for introducing Active Discovery cruises which will be inaugurated on the Danube this year. There will be three optional activities each day, from jogging and hiking to visiting a salt mine or walking in the steps of the World War II smugglers’ route – all included in the cruise price. Active Discovery cruises are already planned for 2018 on the Rhine.

Avalon is also shifting upping its game on food with more locally-sourced produce, a vegan option and European wine and beer now included with lunch as well as dinner.

When asked if recent events in Europe have negatively impacted bookings, Burke said that bookings remain steady though the company has refined its behind-the-scenes security operations.

Lastly she cited the Globus family of companies as a great opportunity to cross-sell and add, for example, a Monograms independent stay or tour or perhaps a Globus guided tour to provide a seamless multi-style holiday.

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