Cruise News – June 6, 2014
Avalon Waterways Launches New River Ship
If can imagine waking up and opening your wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling glass doors for an open-air view of a Viennese village straight out of a fairy tale, then you get why Avalon Waterways’ “Suite Ships” have been so successful. The river cruise line this week launched its eighth new river ship in Europe in three years.
The top market for Avalon is the United States, with Australia as No. 2, which is why the line paid tribute to the Aussies in the Vienna christening of the 166-passenger Avalon Illumination.
Deborah Hutton and Patrick Clark
Before the ship set sail on an inaugural cruise on the Danube, Australian TV personality Deborah Hutton cut a rope, sending a bottle of Austrian sparking wine smashing against the ship’s hull. Australian travel agents and media were in attendance – along with Austrian tourism officials and a few select U.S. media (including Porthole). There was even waltzing involved in the celebration.
The smart, contemporary design on the Suite Ships includes two full decks of Panorama Suites with sliding doors forming what Avalon calls an “Open-Air Balcony.” The cabins are also 30 percent larger than the industry standard, according to Avalon officials.
Other notable features include a fitness center, beauty salon, and whirlpool on the sun deck. The best indoor hangout is the aft library, with river views on three sides and a 24-hour coffee and cappuccino machine.
Two more Suite Ships for Europe are on order for next year. The line will also launch two slightly smaller ships in 2015 on the Mekong and Irrawaddy.
Patrick Clark, Avalon Waterways’ managing director hinted there will be more.
“All of us at Avalon feel really good about the future,” he said at the christening. “We are confident the river cruise style will continue to grow.”
New Norwegian Hawaii Package
Explore Hawaii by land and sea with Norwegian Cruise Line’s first extensive Hawaiian package. Included is round-trip air from major U.S. cities; a 2-night, pre-cruise hotel stay at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort in Honolulu; airport transfers; and a 7-day cruise on Pride of America visiting ports in the Big Island, Maui, and Kauai. You also get three complimentary specialty restaurant dinners for two and other perks including 20 complimentary photos and chocolate-covered strawberries once on board. Fares for the “Hawai’i Celebration” package, available through June 30, are from $1,999 per person.
Lanai Staterooms, New Bar Coming to Volendam
Holland America Line’s Volendam will soon be getting a makeover. In December, 21 outside staterooms will be converted to lanai accommodations, which will feature sliding glass doors that open onto the ship’s wraparound promenade and reserved deck chairs. The 1,432-passenger ship is also getting Holland America’s contemporary Mix bar area, which combines themed specialty bars Martinis, Champagne, and Spirits & Ales. Bathrooms will be updated in suites and some staterooms, too.
- Oceania Cruises this week received its one-millionth booking. The upscale line launched a little more than a decade ago with three, 684-passenger ships, and later added the 1,250-passenger Marina and Riviera.
Crystal Cruises is launching a microbrew-themed cruise for beer lovers this November 5. The Crystal Serenity sailing from New York to Miami will feature brewery tours in New York and Charleston, beer cocktail lessons from Art of the Drink TV‘s Anthony Caporale, cooking with beer with Jon Ashton, and tastings led by writer Stephen Beaumont and cicerone (think wine sommelier, but for beer) Victoria Tonini.
- Carnival Corp. has announced a $2.5 million donation to support The Nature Conservancy’s global marine protection efforts.