Add Elizabeth Gilbert to the list of big-name writers christening cruise ships.
River line Avalon Waterways on Wednesday announced the “Eat Pray Love” author would name its next new vessel, the 166-passenger Avalon Envision, at a ceremony on the Danube River early next year.
“As somebody who is almost pathologically obsessed with travel and adventure, what could be more fun than being named the godmother of a beautiful riverboat? I’m honored and delighted to be part of this lovely endeavor,” Gilbert said in a statement accompanying the announcement.
The christening ceremony will take place in Budapest, Hungary on April 7, 2019.
Envision is Avalon’s latest “suite ship” – a style of vessel that features particularly spacious cabins known as Panorama Suites on two of three cabin decks. The cabins have panoramic windows that slide open seven feet to create a balcony-like effect. The suite ships’ cabins are also laid out so that the bed faces the water rather than the wall – a popular feature that is starting to be copied by other lines.
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With Envision arriving, Avalon is removing its smaller, 138-passenger Avalon Affinity and sisters Avalon Felicity and Avalon Luminary from service. Those three ships, which entered Avalon’s fleet in 2009 and 2010, were built before the line shifted its focus to suite ships.
The changes won’t have a significant impact on the line’s capacity as the cutback in total number of ships will be paired with an increase in departures per ship. But the move, notably, will result in Avalon’s entire fleet adopting the same “suite ship” design that has been at the center of the company’s growth since 2011.
The changes for 2019 will leave Avalon with 13 ships sailing in Europe and three vessels in Southeast Asia.
Avalon’s fleet in 2019 will include a new vessel debuting this month on the Mekong River that will operate voyages between Vietnam and Cambodia.
In addition to Elizabeth Gilbert, other well-known writers who have signed on to christen cruise ships include ‘Outlander’ author Diana Gabaldon. She served as the godmother for a new Avalon Waterways vessel that debuted in 2015.
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