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More river cruise lines are bringing activity managers on board to coordinate the growing number of options for active guests. We speak to Avalon Waterways’ Adventure Host to find out how they keep guests active.

Avalon Waterways introduced Adventure Hosts on their ships last year, to help guests decide what activities they’d like to do and also lead some of the active shore excursions.

Valeriu Sarbu, the Adventure Host aboard Avalon Expression has many years of experience as a wellness coach on the rivers before joining Avalon. He shares what the most popular activity among guests is, how he tailors excursions for guests, insider tips on how to get to the best sights and more.

He is the one to approach when guests are unsure if the active excursion will suit them. “I always try to give guests as much information as possible and show them pictures to make them enthusiastic. Usually they decide to come then!” says Mr Sarbu.

Read below to learn what Mr Sarbu does as an Adventure Host with Avalon Waterways.

  1. What do you do as an Adventure Host?

I provide morning exercises such as stretching, yoga, powerband exercises etc and support our guests with any questions they may have. I lead outdoor activities such as power walking, hiking, discovering new places, and so on. Many guests like to go on fast-paced walks through the cities and bike tours. I also assist them in the gym with any kind of exercises and give them personal training tips. 

  1. Do you find that more passengers are interested in staying active on their cruise?

I do think the guests want to be more active with many guests taking advantage of the onboard stretching/yoga classes that we offer each day. The cruises offers various active / discovery and classic choices that guests can choose from, so there’s something for every fitness level and interest.

  1. Do you also encourage other passengers to do the same? Do you have a favourite activity to introduce to passengers?

On the first day, I try to meet up with guests and tell them about all the activities they can do, both on board and on shore. I usually show them pictures of activities and their reactions are usually very positive and they generally join for a lot of the offered activities.

The Heidelberg Hike is my absolute favourite, but I also enjoy taking the guests to the Cologne cathedral, it’s a beautiful spot with over 500 steps to the top. I also like the bike ride from Kehl to Strasbourg, it’s a great ride with beautiful views. 

  1. Where have you sailed to as an Adventure Host and do you have any insider knowledge about those destinations that you would to like to share?

This was my first season on the Rhine, so it was a fantastic opportunity to get to know all the different destinations we stop at. I really believe that Heidelberg is an absolute highlight that the guests should not miss. If I have a very fit group, we take the long hike of 7.5 miles through the forest, which is amazing. Otherwise we do a shorter hike from the castle to the city, so the guests see all the highlights of Heidelberg.

  1. Have you received any interesting active excursion requests/made any special arrangements or tailored active excursions for guests?

We get a lot of questions for private bike tours and we can always organize an exclusive tour for guests with a professional, local guide. Sometimes I will go, but only if there are no other guests and no other tours planned as, being an Adventure Host I am there to be available for all guests on the cruise.

  1. What are some common questions you receive from guests (about active excursions or activities on board)?

The most common questions are: “How long is the tour”, “how fast do we walk”, “how many steps are involved”, “is it difficult”, “do you think I can do it”. The last question is always hard to answer as I do not know the physical condition of the guest, so I’m always honest with the fitness level required, and ask them lots of questions so that they can decide themselves if they can do it or not.

  1. What advice do you have for guests who are considering active excursions but are unsure?

Ask questions! We have excursions for all fitness levels so if guests don’t feel like doing a cycling tour, they can do a leisurely guided stroll through the destination instead. I always try to give guests as much information as possible and show them pictures to make them enthusiastic. Usually they decide to come then!