As a member of the Globus family of brands, Avalon Waterways, established in 2003, is backed by 80 years of experience in planning itineraries and guiding vacations around the world.
Being part of a larger tour company seems to be a great fit for a river cruise company. While on a river cruise, it can frequently seem much like a "motor coach tour" because of all the destination-based activities. But there are two important differences - you only have to unpack once, and the ship, as your primary transportation rather than a coach, mostly travels at night while you sleep.
The Globus family of brands began as a small family company with one man and a rowboat in 1928. Antonio Mantegazza, the company's founder, used his rowboat to transport commercial goods across Lake Lugano in Switzerland. While taking frequent trips across the scenic lake, Antonio began dreaming of a different opportunity - tourism.
Over time, his entrepreneurial instinct and drive led him to acquire motorcoaches to transport tourists around the Lake Lugano area in southern Switzerland. By 1961, the company launched the Cosmos brand, featuring value-priced European touring for the cost-conscious British traveler. Beginning in 1974, under the flagship of Sergio Mantegazza, son of Antonio and current president of Globus, the company's brands began expanding their markets beyond Great Britain.
By the 1970s, Globus showed travelers more countries than any other tour operator including Africa, Australia, North and South America, Southeast Asia, Europe and the South Pacific. Also in the early '70s, Globus launched its North American company - Group Voyagers - overseeing U.S. tour operations and the American market for the Globus and Cosmos brands.
In 2003, the Globus family of brands launched Avalon Waterways, a river boat cruise company offering primarily European river cruises but also offering the Nile (Egypt), Yangtze (China) and adventure cruises in the Galapagos Islands near Ecuador.
Avalon Waterways has a young fleet of eight ships. They are so new that the average of their vessels by 2008 averaged a mere two years old. They are uniquely suited to the destination each calls home: