Avalon Alegria christened on the Douro

Avalon Waterways' 15th Suite Ship readies for service

Avalon Waterways christened its 15th Suite Ship in Europe last Thursday, 28 March 2024, in Pinhão, Portugal. American actress and comedian, Cheri Oteri, officially christened the new ship, Avalon Alegria, as Godmother on the Douro River.

“Today, I name this goddess of Portugal’s Douro River, the Avalon Alegria! Not only is she the newest, happiest ship in Portugal, she is one of the most sustainable vessels in Europe,” Oteri said during her blessing at the ceremony.

After reciting her blessing, Oteri cut a rope tethered to locally produced Cuvée – Marques de Marialva Cuvée Primitivo – causing the bottle to smash against the newly named ship’s bow. Pam Hoffee, President of Avalon Waterways, Captain Alberto Moreira and the ship’s crew of 33 – as well as guests, travel advisors, the ship’s builder and local dignitaries – cheered the ship’s christening.

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“In our search for the best godmother for the Avalon Alegria – our first ship in Portugal with a name that means “happiness” – we knew Cheri Oteri would be the perfect choice,” said Hoffee.

“As a difference-making entertainer – and one of the ground-breaking women who inspired modern comedy in America – Cheri has brought so much inspiration and joy into our lives. We are thrilled she chose to travel to Portugal to honor us the godmother of our newest, ‘happiest’ ship in Europe. It’s a joy to celebrate Cheri and her accomplishments as part of the Alegria‘s christening.”

The 102-passenger Avalon Alegria – with 14 Deluxe Staterooms and 37 Panorama Suites, built exclusively to sail the Douro River – is the first Suite Ship from Avalon Waterways to set sail in Portugal.

The ship features a mix of light and dark woods, accented by rich copper and taupe hues, vibrant tones of green

mixed with cool blues in public spaces and touches of muted yellow throughout the new, Suite Ship’s Panorama Suites and Deluxe Staterooms. The colour palate onboard was inspired by Douro Valley landscapes, brought to life by Dutch interior designer Liane van Leeuwen. Original works of art in Alegria’s public areas were created by Dutch artist Sofia Fisher while four, specially lit artistic showcases celebrating the tradition of Portuguese Azulejos, were made in Porto by Gazete.

“Today, the Avalon Alegria joins an entire fleet of Suite Ships in Europe and Southeast Asia,” said Hoffee. “Each features our boutique-hotel inspired Panorama Suites, the industry’s only Open-Air Balconies with the widest-opening windows in cruising and decadent Comfort Collection beds that face the ever-changing scenery. Glass balcony panels on the Avalon Alegria provide an extra, exciting cruising outlook with completely unobstructed views, as does our first Sky Deck pool, inviting guests to enjoy panoramic views, soaking-in the vineyard-lined vistas of Portugal. Even seasoned travelers have never seen – or experienced – the world like this.”

“We’ve waited a long time for the perfect opportunity to add Portugal to our robust vacation portfolio and that day has finally arrived,” said Hoffee. “Inviting our guests to sail the Douro for the first time, we’re bringing the Suite Ships of Avalon, the grandest views in cruising and whim-powered itineraries to Southwestern Europe. We’re thrilled to officially set sail on the Douro!”

The first official guests aboard Avalon Alegria will depart on the Vida Portugal: Vineyards & Villages Along the Douro cruise on 3 April 2024.

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