Intrepid Travel vs Avalon Waterways - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 5
Value — 4.7
Guide — 4.7
Activities — 4.7
Lodging — 4.7
Transportation — 4.7
Meals — 4.7
Overall — 5
Value — 4.8
Guide — 4.8
Activities — 4.8
Lodging — 4.8
Transportation — 4.8
Meals — 4.8
Recent Reviews

Loved camping with Intrepid

5.0 June 2018
LR
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Loved this trip. Camping in very nice places - usually had hot water and nice showers. Great itinerary - LOVED Namibia and the variety of the tour from the desert to the delta to the parks.

Intrepid did an incredible job

5.0 December 2017
ATFT
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Thailand Cambodia Trip. Nov 2017. For my 60th birthday I decided I wanted to take my family of 6 to Thailand and Cambodia. After my initial conversation with the Intrepid office, they pulled together a perfect 24 day custom itinerary for us. My Intrepid coordinator really listened. We set up a incredibly diverse trip, ranging from ocean front resorts to a primitive hillside village trek. From the minute we landed in Bangkok, to the day we flew home, all transfers went off with out a hitch. What really made our trip memorable was our local guides. Every single one of them were warm, professional, humorous but most importantly, had a deep knowledge of the geography, the plant life, dining, the history and government. We felt by the end of the trip, these guides had become a part of our family. The entire trip was amazing and we will definitely use Intrepid for our next adventure travel. Thanks so much.
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great tour

5.0 October 2017
k
Recommends
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 3.0
the guide was very knowledgeable - friendly - great sense of humour - looking out for the safety of the tour members - organised - thoroughly nice guy

Avalon comes through

5.0 January 2015
R
Recommends
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I had heard that Avalon had mostly new ships and that the newest river boats usually had bigger cabins, so decided to give them a try when we sailed the Danube last year. My wife and I were very happy with the choice -- the room had big windows and we enjoyed being able to eat outside, which is something you don't find on some of the older river ships, The shore excursions were good, too, and we didn't have to pay extra for them, which made it more affordable all arouind.
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Tour Avalon Waterways Company Reviews

I couldn’t have been happier

5.0 October 2018
A
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I couldn’t have been happier. We were worried when we chose a room on the lower deck (no French balcony) but it wasn’t an issue at all. If I could do an Avalon cruise each year I would!

Tour Avalon Waterways Company Reviews

Mekong River Cruise

5.0 October 2018
J
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I just came back from a Mekong River cruise - Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City, and it far exceeded my expectations! The cabin was spacious and well appointed. The crew were exceptionally helpful, friendly and kind. They went out of their way to be thoughtful! Our tour guide - Kuong was very knowledgeable and again, worked hard to make this trip a once in a life time experience. Bravo Avalon!!! Most of the passengers (including me) have travelled extensively and the general consensus was that this trip ranked at the top for all of us. I can't wait to take another Avalon boat cruise.
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Tour Avalon Waterways Company Reviews

Tours 1,123 Trips 261 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 203 $ 368
Operator Type Mixed Land & Cruise River Cruise Line
Size Global Operator Global Operator
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • River Cruises
Service Level Standard Luxury
Regions
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Rivers & Seas
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • Antarctica & the Arctic
  • South America
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Europe
Known For
  • 18 - 35
  • Solo & Singles Travel
  • Safari
  • Trekking & Camping
  • Adventure
  • Sailing
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Adventure
Headquarters Melbourne, Australia Littleton, Colorado, United States
Year Established 1989 2003
Solo Friendly No single supplement N/A
Tour Languages English N/A
Top Trips
Similar Companies
Countries
About Intrepid Travel

Intrepid Travel is all about ‘real life experiences.’ Founded back in 1989 following an “intrepid” African adventure trip, Intrepid lives up to its name by offering up some pretty big adventures -- such as an 11-day hike through Papua New Guinea -- but is broad-based enough to also lead group trips to Hawaii, complete with sipping sunset Mai Tais on Waikiki Beach.

Intrepid Travel - Quick Facts

Founded in 1989

No Single Supplement (rare exceptions)

Small Groups - max 16 on most trips

Typical Age Range - 18 - 45

Travel Style - Cultural immersion, adventure, overland

Accommodation Style - Camping, Hostels, 3 /4 star hotels

Average Tour Price - $2,377

Top Regions - Asia, Africa, Europe, South America

Other Brands: Peregrine, Geckos

Commonly compared with G Adventures »

Morocco homestay with Intrepid Travel

What Makes Intrepid Travel Stand Out?

Above all else, Intrepid strives to get its travelers off the beaten path and under the surface of the local culture. To accomplish this, group sizes average just 10 travelers each, with a maximum of 16 on most trips. This allows for more use of local transportation and lodging, along with fostering cultural immersion.

Intrepid also employs local English-speaking leaders who act more as a resource for local exploration than do typical ‘guides,’ shepherding groups from one place to another.

Who Will Enjoy Traveling With Intrepid Travel?

Intrepid is one of the early pioneers of the “adventure”-style guided trip. Despite its informal beginnings and emphasis on younger, highly adventurous travelers, Intrepid has expanded to a global company with a broad range of trips to fit all ages.

Intrepid divides its small-group trips into three separate styles of travel, all priced accordingly. “Basix,” for budget travelers, keep inclusions to a minimum and offer plenty of free time, “Original” journeys which offer more included activities and more hotels, while “Comfort” trips offer the highest level of included activities and standards of accommodation, as well as roomier vehicles.

The kind of traveler who gravitates to Intrepid Travel is one who has a real sense of adventure - whether this means hard adventure, or simply going deeper off the beaten path. Interacting with locals is an important factor when you travel, as is gaining a unique cultural perspective. A sense of fun is also essential, whether it means going out at night with your tour mates or daring, ahem, encouraging each other to try strange new foods.

Top Destinations

Monk mediating in Myanmar on tour with Intrepid Travel

Originally focused on small group adventure tours to Asia, Intrepid has expanded rapidly over the years, while maintaining its classic, adventurous, and immersive style. Today Intrepid Travel offers more than 1,000 different experiences in over 100 countries, on all seven continents. Regions with the most trips include Asia, South America, Africa, and Europe.

Intrepid Travel Style

Intrepid enjoys using local, unique forms of transportation. You might find yourself traveling by felucca in Egypt, on a camel in Morocco, or in a tuk-tuk on the best Thailand tour of your life. Accommodations, which could range from guesthouses to home stays, are also locally owned, allowing a more authentic taste of the region while contributing to the local economy.

There are a few broad travel styles to choose from when deciding on an Intrepid tour:

1. Basix - Budget travelers who don’t mind, and in fact prefer, simple accommodations - camping and homestays with basic amenities, and crave a lot of free time for exploring independently will love these tours. Public transportation is used exclusively so pack light! These trips often attract a younger crowd who love the idea of throwing a backpack on, keep plenty of room for the unexpected in their schedule, and allocate their travel funds towards spontaneous bus tickets and street food instead of museum tours and 5 star restaurants.

2. Original - These trips take the backpacker spirit of local immersion, incorporating all the benefits that come with going with a planned itinerary. This style is called “Original” because it’s the type of travel that put Intrepid on the map...pun intended. Accommodations are still simple and budget minded - often homestays are used to give you a true sense of place, personality, and culture. Mostly public transportation is used.

3. Comfort - Intrepid is known for the active adventure style of travel and these trips keep that mentality, with a few more creature comforts thrown into the mix. You can expect higher end, more discerning, accommodations that include a wider variety of included amenities, transportation is mostly private, though you can still expect to use some public transport, as is the Intrepid way. More meals are included in the trip price, and more group activities - which means a bit less free time to explore on your own.

Why Choose a Tour With Intrepid Travel?

Sample of many spices in Middle Eastern market

Intrepid is a good choice if you don’t mind foregoing some creature comforts for a truly authentic, local experience. If you enjoy meeting locals when traveling, sampling new and exciting foods, and traveling in mixed-aged groups of 10-16 people, Intrepid could be a good fit for you.

It’s important to note, sometimes “ample free time” can be a blessing and a curse. It sounds great on paper, but if you’re looking to maximize your dollar and your vacation time, be sure you understand the implications of having a lot of free time during your itinerary.

For some travelers this is an absolute requirement, but for others it can be tough to branch off and explore independently - you also need to make sure you allocate enough travel money for independent meals. The tour leaders are great resources of information for how to spend your free time, but if you like having a full day scheduled from breakfast to dinner, Intrepid may not be the best company for you.

Lastly, if sustainable and responsible travel is important to you, Intrepid has poured millions of dollars into local economies, and has a very strong emphasis on responsible travel. So you can feel good knowing that your money helps support some of the innkeepers, vendors, and communities that you’ll meet along the way.

About Avalon Waterways

Part of the Globus family of travel brands since 2003, Avalon Waterways has proven to be one of the more innovative of the many river cruise companies now in operation.

Its newest “Suite” ships feature “open-air balconies” with floor-to-ceiling windows that open up to serve as indoor-outdoor seating areas, which don’t cut into cabin space as do normal balconies -- meaning you have more room to move around. Bathrooms are also roomy.

What Makes Avalon Waterways Stand Out?

While global in scale, Avalon Waterways is best known for offering high-end cruises on brand new ships on European rivers. The oldest of the 15 Europe-based ships dates from just 2008, which makes it the youngest fleet of any size on European rivers.

Newer ships generally mean that staterooms are larger and amenities are enhanced.

Who Will Enjoy Traveling with Avalon Waterways?

While the majority of river cruise travelers are in the 50-plus range, more and more middle aged couples have been enjoying river cruises as well. Avalon is a good place to start, particularly for the more exotic destinations like the Mekong in Asia or the Amazon in South America.

Travelers seeking a luxury minded cruise experience, without an overly pomp and circumstance feel, will love cruising the world’s rivers with Avalon.

If you’re wary of river cruising as an extension of the “floating hotel”, Avalon makes sure that a focus on the region itself is felt onboard as well as through the port excursions. Local ingredients are used to make traditional dishes, and beer, wine, and spirits of the area are also showcased.

Casual and comfortable, combining a relaxed atmosphere with a fine dining calibur food and wine, Avalon presents a quiet elegance without being stuffy.

Travelers who like choice will appreciate Avalon’s numerous options when it comes to port excursion activities. Starting in 2019 and unlike many cruises, a majority of these excursions will be included in the price.  

Top Destinations

Avalon is well known for their Europe cruises, but they travel all over the world as well.  They have five ships in Asia (sailing the Yangtze, Mekong and Irrawaddy rivers), and one ship each in the United States (the American Queen, which sails the Mississippi) and South America (the Aria, which plies the Amazon). Avalon runs small-ship cruises through the Galapagos Islands as well.

Avalon Waterways Travel Style

The comfort of their passengers is top of mind for Avalon. Whether this means the spacious viewing deck or numerous excursions available to satisfy different interests.

There is a sense of casual elegance that Avalon portrays. The culture on board is professional while still friendly, and the furnishings are not overly opulent.

Another thing that makes Avalon stand out is their attention to staying active and healthy. They have been a frontrunner in river cruises providing bikes and other ways to be active in each port stop.

Why Choose a Cruise with Avalon Waterways?

Avalon Cruises are comfortable, fun, and active. This is the perfect choice of cruise company for older affluent travelers seeking top notch river cruise experiences around the world.

Considering the spaciousness and innovativeness of its cabins, the fact that shore excursions and multiple dining options are included in the rates, and a chance to take advantage of some attractive early-booking discounts, Avalon can offer excellent value.

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