Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
BUDAPEST — Avalon Waterways has christened its 13th Suite Ship in Europe with the ship’s godmother, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love leading the ceremony.
“We come from the water, we are made of the water, we are drawn to the water. Our lives are rivers meant to be explored and enjoyed,” said Gilbert during her blessing. “Let every curious soul who steps foot upon this vessel have a safe and blessed journey. May we all be changed for the better by what we discover along this river. And may this boat herself know that she is loved and revered, and that we are grateful to her for her strength and beauty. Onward! I christen thee the Avalon Envision.”
After reciting her blessing, Ms. Gilbert cut a rope tethered to bottle of Torley, Hungary’s most famous sparkling wine, causing the bottle to smash against the newly named ship’s bow.
Managing Director of Avalon Waterways Pam Hoffee, Captain Ralf Remus and the ship’s crew of 47, as well as 100 invited guests including journalists, travel agents, local dignitaries and tourism boards, cheered the ship’s christening in front of a crowd of local onlookers.
“From Eat Pray Love to Big Magic, as an author, Ms. Gilbert has invited her readers to envision something different; a hint of a life or journey outside their comfort zone. She has inspired transformative travel experiences,” said Hoffee. “An inspired choice as godmother of the Avalon Envision, she has helped us embrace curiosity each day in search of extraordinary; something we ask our travellers to do with Avalon. And we couldn’t be more grateful to her for blessing our new Suite Ship.”
The new Avalon Envision welcomes travellers onboard with rich gray, gold and violet décor inspired by Dutch interior designer Liane van Leeuwen, and original art in common areas and the cabins by Dutch artists.
“With the addition of the Avalon Envision, there’s only one point-of-view on an Avalon Waterways cruise – the suite view,” said Hoffee. “For the first time, our entire fleet in Europe and Southeast Asia is comprised completely of Suite Ships, each featuring our signature Panorama Suites with the industry’s only Open-Air Balcony and an inviting bed facing the ever-changing scenery on two full decks of every ship. Even seasoned travellers have never seen – or experienced – the world like this.”
Creating wider openings for the wide-eyed, Avalon Waterways’ Open-Air Balconies were designed with views in mind. A Panorama Suite highlight on all of the Suite Ships of Avalon, these wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows open 11-feet wide in Europe and 14-feet wide in Southeast Asia, wider than any other balconies in the industry. As a result, Avalon guests can enjoy 100% of their Panorama Suite, 100% of the time, says Hoffee.
Off its Suite Ships, Avalon Waterways guests can dive into new experiences and exploration, each and every day, with the new Avalon Choice program featuring everything from classic sightseeing to immersive discoveries and active adventures.
Starting this week, the new 443-foot, 166-passenger Avalon Envision will cruise the Danube River on popular itineraries including the 10-day Danube Dreams, 10-day The Legendary Danube and 12-day The Blue Danube Discovery.