On Friday, May 11, 2012, Avalon Waterways unveiled and christened not one, but two Suite Ships in Enkhuizen, Holland.
TRAVELSAVERS’ Nicole Mazza served as the godmother of the Avalon Visionary while Canadian travel industry insider Vanessa Lee, acted as godmother to the Avalon Vista.
Docked parallel to one another on either side of a pier in the North Holland marina of Enkhuizen, guests gathered to witness two godmothers bless two Suite Ships, for the first time. The order of this unique, dual christening was determined by coin toss. The Avalon Visionary won the honor of leading the ceremony.
Nicole Mazza addressed the crowd first to bless the Avalon Visionary. In her blessing, she said, “May all who sail this new vessel find joy and enrichment on board. May the rivers rise to meet the sky and carry all in comfort and ease. May gentle breezes flow across her bow as she sails the great rivers of Europe. I christen you Avalon Visionary. May God bless you, your passengers and your crew. May there always be a swift current beneath your hull to guide you safely with beauty and grace.”
The Avalon Vista followed with Vanessa Lee saying the following words: “ As we christen this ship, I trust that she will be guided by strong and worthy hands and the steadfast knowledge and skill of her Captain and crew. I hope she will be a true vessel of encouragement and promote harmony, understanding, grace and camaraderie, thereby enriching the lives of those who sail with her. May the men and women who conceived of her, built her and those to whom she is now entrusted be recognized for their work and inspire others. And may she stay on the truest of courses, sail safely to each of her destinations and always be a stellar presence on the rivers of Europe. ??I name this ship Avalon Vista. May God bless and protect her and all who sail in her for ever more.“
After reciting their respective speeches, Lee and Mazza swung the ropes tethered to two separate bottles of Moët & Chandon Champagne while more than 150 guests – including Enkhuizen’s Mayor Baas, Visionary and Vista Captains Laskovich and Schoustra, as well as key executives from Avalon offices worldwide, travel agents and media from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and United States – watched them shatter against the newly painted exteriors of each vessel.
After the christening, guests were invited aboard the Avalon Vista for a Champagne reception with entertainment from de Swingers and five-course Captain’s dinner. They were then invited onto two decks of the Avalon Visionary for five elaborate dessert spreads, ranging from cheese and wine offerings and homemade ice cream to such indulgences as chocolate mousse, tiramisu and crème brûlée. An impressive, 15-minute fireworks celebration followed culminating in a sparkling display that featured the names of both christened ships. The evening ended late with guests dancing to two bands – Back in the Groove and Tanya’s Chill – on board both ships, still docked side-by-side.
The Avalon Visionary and Avalon Vista mark the company’s 2nd and 3rd Suite Ships in just 12 months. Post-christening, the Avalon Visionary will introduce Panorama Suites to the Rhine River in 2012, sailing the 8-day Romantic Rhine cruise (starting at $1,849) as well as several Christmastime cruises. The Avalon Vista will sail the 11-day Legendary Danube cruise (starting at $1,839) and 13-day Blue Danube Discovery (priced from $2,249) as well as the 15-day Magnificent Europe vacation. For more information, visit www.avalonwaterways.com or call 1.877.380.1535.
MORE ABOUT THE SUITE SHIPS
“With two full decks of suites, nothing showcases the best of river cruising like our Suite Ships,” said Patrick Clark managing director of Avalon Waterways. “Each Suite has been thoughtfully designed to enhance the European cruise experience. From bed and bathroom positioning to storage and sound-proof insulation, we provide cruisers a renewed feeling of freedom, space and comfort not found with other cruise lines.”
The suites on these ships feature a large seating area adjacent to a Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Window. When opened, this 10’ x 7’ floor-to-ceiling window transforms the entire suite into the category’s only Open-Air BalconySM. With a focus on bringing the beauty of Europe inside, Avalon’s Open-Air Balconies can be enjoyed any hour of the day, all year, adding comfort to the overall guest experience.
Some enhancements, including flowers in each stateroom and premium L’Occitane products and fragrant sticks are subtle. Other offerings, such as marble bathrooms, Avalon-branded deluxe bedding (Comfort Collection by AvalonSM) and the perfect balance of warm interiors and natural lighting are distinct and unexpected.
Mirroring the on board cruise experience found on all of Avalon’s ships, the Suite Ships also feature a club, main lounge and dining room with sweeping views, hair salon, Sky Deck fun pool and Open-Air Bistro for outdoor, grilled lunches. In addition, the fitness rooms aboard the Panorama, Visionary and Vista are more expansive, featuring additional equipment and room.
“Like the very rivers we travel, Avalon is continually moving forward, making improvements and embracing the world beyond,” said Clark. “And it’s this approach – our drive to exceed guest expectations by pushing the boundaries of the river cruise experience – that makes us not only the most contemporary cruise line on Europe’s waters, but also the most consistent.”