Avalon Waterways has launched its newest Suite Ship on the banks of the Seine outside Paris, bringing new levels of space and comfort to the rivers of France.
Avalon Tapestry II was christened yesterday by best-selling US author Diana Gabaldon at the picturesque village of Les Andelys, marking the debut of Avalon’s successful Suite Ship concept in France.
Tapestry II will be backed in France by a second Suite Ship, Avalon Poetry II, which has been relocated from the Rhine to the Rhône to begin French itineraries from Friday.
Together, the Suite Ships represent a doubling of Avalon’s operations in France, joining existing ships Avalon Creativity on the Seine and Avalon Scenery on the Rhône.
Diana Gabaldon, the author of the New York Times No 1 best-selling Outlander series, cut a ribbon to release a bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne against the hull of Tapestry II at a riverside ceremony yesterday afternoon.
“God bless this bonny ship and all who sail in her,” Ms Gabaldon said.
“Rivers are the lifeblood of a country, carrying the commerce and history of its people,” she said. “We who are chosen to join this great adventure are blessed to be part of the flood of life.”
Avalon Tapestry II is the first of two new Suite Ships to debut in Europe this year. The second, Avalon Tranquility II, will be christened by Canadian musician Jann Arden at a ceremony in Strasbourg on 2 April.
This year’s new ships will give Avalon a total of 10 Suite Ships in an overall European fleet of 15 deluxe vessels. With an average age of about three years, Avalon’s ships make up the most modern river cruise fleet in Europe.