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On May 6 Avalon Waterways christened its fifth Suite Ship. The 166-passenger Avalon Expression was named in Koblenz, Germany, by godmother Patricia Schultz, author of international bestselling books “1,000 Places to See Before You Die.”
“May the sun warm your decks and the hearts of those who call you home,” Schultz said in her christening speech. “May you sail through waters calm and serene, and explore Europe’s beautiful corners and historic sites. May you echo with the love and laughter of guests, and new friendships, and may everyone feel like family by the time you return them home, safe and sound. They will talk of you, your Captain and crew for years to come — and of the days filled with adventure and happiness that you promised and delivered. I name this ship Expression. May God bless and protect you and all who sail with you forever more.”
Schultz cut a rope tethered to Veuve Clicquot Champagne, which broke against the newly named ship’s bow as Captain Andre Harscher, managing director Patrick Clark and her crew of 44 looked on.
“Ms. Schultz has inspired thousands of people driven by wanderlust to travel the world,” said Patrick Clark. “She is the perfect godmother for the Expression — a suite ship that will soon deliver travelers to the heart of Europe, encouraging them to explore and experience each destination while enjoying panoramic views day and night, along the way.”
Suites on the Avalon Expression feature a large seating area adjacent to a wall-to-wall panoramic window. When opened, this 10-foot by seven-foot, floor-to-ceiling window turns the suite into an open-air balcony that can be enjoyed any hour of the day, all year, adding comfort to the overall guest experience.
The Suite Ships also feature a club, main lounge and dining room with sweeping views, hair salon, a Sky Deck whirlpool and an open-air bistro for outdoor, grilled lunches. In addition, the design of the fitness rooms onboard the Panorama, Visionary, Vista, Artistry II and Expression has been expanded, with additional equipment and room to renew.
The ship will offer itineraries including The Legendary Danube, The Blue Danube Discovery and Magnificent Europe, nearly sold out for 2013.
In South America, Avalon is launching a new 11-day cruise and tour itinerary for 2014 on the Amazon, Yarapa, Yanalipa and Ucayali Rivers onboard the 32-passenger Aria: From the Inca Empire to the Peruvian Amazon. Built in 2011, the Aria has 16, 250-square-foot suites and carries 24 cruise ship staff, including a cruise director and four naturalists.
Like Avalon’s European Suite Ships, the Aria’s design is centered around the view of the region: Each suite features an extra-large picture window with beds facing South America’s passing landscapes.
Guests will arrive in Lima for VIP sightseeing including the Larco Museum and a special welcome dinner in an ornate family owned mansion in the heart of the city before flying to Cusco to explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas with guided tours of Cusco, Kenko and Sacsayhuaman, built in the early 12th century with some stones weighing more than 350 tons. They then continue to Machu Picchu, built around 1450 at the height of the Inca Empire in a dramatic mountain setting.
On day seven, they will fly to Iquitos to board the Aria for a three-night cruise, with opportunities for naturalist-guided panga rides through the river tributaries, swimming with pink dolphins; piranha fishing; a dolphin, bird and monkey expedition; and visits to a Magdalena village, the Yanalipa Flooded Forest and more.