Avalon Waterways celebrates newest suite ship


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Respected New Zealand broadcaster Judy Bailey has launched Avalon Waterways’ newest river cruise ship Avalon Imagery II at a ceremony on the Rhine in Germany.

Becoming the first New Zealander to name an Avalon vessel, the former TVNZ newsreader christened Avalon Imagery II and gave a blessing in Maori at the scenic town of Engers on Tuesday 5 April.

“May your journey be safe from launch to landing,” Judy said, translating the Maori. “I bless you with the breath of life.”

The event was hosted by Avalon’s Auckland office and involved more than 70 travel industry guests from around New Zealand, as well as international guests and dignitaries.

It follows similar launches hosted by Avalon’s other key markets in recent years, including christenings by Australian media identities Deborah Hutton in 2014 and Lisa Wilkinson in 2011.

Avalon Imagery II is the latest example of Avalon Waterways’ successful Suite Ship concept, which offers two entire decks of all-suite accommodation and 30 per cent more cabin space than the industry average. Each of its suites features wall-to-wall panoramic windows that can be opened to turn the entire cabin into an open-air balcony, or closed to create an inviting living area.

At 110 metres in length, Avalon Imagery II will cater to no more than 128 passengers, providing a more intimate and spacious cruise. The ship will operate primarily on the Rhine, offering Avalon’s eight-day Romantic Rhine itinerary between Amsterdam and Basel.

The launch of Avalon Imagery II will be followed next week by the launch of a second new ship, Avalon Passion, giving Avalon Waterways a total of 12 Suite Ships in an overall European fleet of 16 modern vessels. Avalon Waterways operates among the most modern river cruise ships in Europe, averaging just over three years in age.

A journalist for more than 40 years and known as the ‘Mother of the Nation’, Judy Bailey fronted prime time news in New Zealand for 26 years and has won numerous journalism awards. Most recently she has fronted television travel programs including Judy Bailey’s Australia. A long-time advocate for children, she holds roles with charities including the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Brainwave Trust and the National Collective of Women’s Refuges. Ms Bailey was made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to broadcasting and the community in 2010.

“E te waka tere awa, Tere ki uta, Tere ki tai, Tere ki te whai ao, Kite ao marama, Tihei mauri ora.” – Judy Bailey’s blessing in Maori

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