We believe that watching centuries of history slowly passing you by as you relax onboard your river cruise suite is an adventure in itself…. But, what if elevating your heart rate a few extra beats a minute is more your speed?
It’s time you met your Avalon Adventure Host. Now available on every Suite Ship in Europe, in addition to included active excursions, your Adventure Host holds the gear, maps and guidance for optional and free-time pursuits onboard and onshore. With a visit to the Adventure Centre, guests can check out a bike for a scenic ride through town, grab a map and Nordic walking sticks and hike to a hillside vineyard or castle, or join a jog or active walk through the great cities or the great outdoors. Whether you’re looking for an optional kayaking excursion or a complimentary yoga class on the Sky Deck, your Adventure Host can make it happen.
We recently spent some time aboard the Avalon Impression, where we met Hristo Stamenov. As one of Avalon’s new Adventure Hosts’, Hristo spends his time helping travellers explore heart-pumping discoveries on and off the ship. We asked him a few questions about himself and his new role as part of the Avalon crew. Here’s what he had to say …
Q: Is the Avalon Impression your “home” ship?
H: I spend my time as a “relief” Adventure Host for Avalon Waterways, which means I shuffle between ships that sail on the Rhine, Danube and Moselle Rivers.
Q: How did you become an Adventure Host with Avalon Waterways?
H: I have been a personal trainer since 2011 and have spent time working on ocean cruise ships as well as river cruises, encouraging guests to stay active on their vacations. My experience includes weights, aerobics, Pilates, yoga, band work as well as strength and conditioning exercises.
Q: What onboard Adventure Host activity is a favourite among Avalon guests?
H: Yoga is a favourite on every itinerary, at any time of day.
Q: What is the average class size?
H: At the beginning of the week, the average class size is five to seven guests. Those guests become regulars and often inspire others to join my hosted activities as their vacation progresses. My busiest classes are always towards the end of each cruise.
Q: What activities do you enjoy most with guests?
H: I enjoy taking guests on guided hikes – to nearby hills and parks. I also guide walks through local green space and help guests enjoy regional biking outings. Biking has become an absolute favourite among guests. They check-out our complimentary bikes when there aren’t competing excursions or they want a day to explore on their own, at leisure.
Onboard fitness classes are also a lot of fun. I offer a diverse range of activities at the beginning of the week to gauge what guests enjoy and add activity options based on their likes or dislikes.
Q: How many activities a day do you plan?
H: Our schedule is fluid, based on each day’s offerings, sailing and meal times. There’s always one activity planned a day; often two and sometimes even three. Of course, guests can check-out bikes, take walks or hikes any time we’re docked. We have 16 bikes and 16 sets of Nordic walking sticks on board each ship that are complimentary for guest use.
Q: Do you have some favourite areas for hiking or biking along Europe’s picturesque rivers?
H: Personally, I love hiking near the Moselle River. It’s really beautiful with vineyards, hills, castles and views. Rudesheim provides similar scenery. Vienna and the Wachau Valley – as well as the parks near Linz – are my favourites for biking. There are wonderful bike paths that make it easy for experienced and amateur bikers alike.
Hristo encourages travellers to remember to bring comfortable, fitness attire so they can enjoy the offerings Avalon’s Adventure Hosts provide them – on the ship and off.