Yesterday, on a beautiful, sunny day in Bratislava – surrounded by vineyards and the Little Carpathian mountains – Avalon Waterways christened its 14th Suite Ship in Europe. Acting as the ship’s godmother, Meredith Vieira – 15-time Emmy Award-winning host, executive producer and anchor – led the christening ceremony.

“Today we thank those with a vision of what could be and the hands to craft it so. Such beauty as this magnificent vessel now begins its river journey. Around every bend lies a new sight to behold, a new experience to savour, a new friend with whom to share it.” said Meredith Vieira, during her blessing. “May all aboard her travel safely with eyes wide open to the wonders that await. And what a fitting name: I now christen thee, the Avalon View. Take a little time to enjoy it.”

After reciting her blessing, Vieira cut a rope tethered to the locally produced sparkling wine – Johann Hubert Exclusive – causing the bottle to smash against the newly named ship’s bow. Managing Director of Avalon Waterways Pam Hoffee, Captain Ambrose Manolache and the ship’s crew of 47 – as well as 75 invited guests that included journalists, travel agents, local dignitaries and tourism boards – cheered the ship’s christening.

“As a difference-making broadcast journalist, executive producer and television host, Meredith Vieira has given us a unique, up-close-and-personal view into her life – and the lives of countless others – with unparalleled storytelling, compassionate interviews and an extraordinary ability to connect with those she meets,” said Pam Hoffee. “We are thrilled to celebrate Meredith, and her many accomplishments, today as she honoured us as godmother, christening the Avalon View.”

The new Avalon View welcomes travellers aboard with a warm mix of light and dark woods, accented by rich taupe, brown and red décor in public spaces and touches of blue throughout the Suite Ship’s Suites and Deluxe Staterooms, inspired by Dutch interior designer Liane van Leeuwen. Original art in common areas is by Dutch artist Eelco Maan and cabin paintings were created by another Dutch artist, Sofie Fisher.

“Today, the Avalon View 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. New glass balcony panels on the Avalon View provide an extra, exciting cruising outlook with completely unobstructed views. Even seasoned travellers have never seen – or experienced – the world like this.”

Creating wider openings for wide-eyed wonder, Avalon Waterways’ Open-Air Balconies were designed with views in mind. A Panorama Suite highlight on all of the Suite Ships of Avalon, the wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows open 11-feet wide in Europe and 14-feet wide in Southeast Asia… wider than any other balconies in the industry. They blur the line between outside and in while forming a comfortable and spacious seating area without compromising room space. As a result, Avalon guests can enjoy 100 per cent of their Panorama Suite, 100 per cent of the time.

“Off our Suite Ships, we invite guests to dive into new experiences and exploration, each and every day, with industry-changing Active & Discovery itineraries and our Avalon Choice program, available on every Avalon cruise,” said Hoffee.

Avalon Choice offers the widest array of included excursions (up to 28 of them) in river cruising: from classic sightseeing to immersive discoveries and active adventures.

“Avalon Waterways has redefined cruising by going against the current and away from the ordinary,” said Hoffee. “Delivering unparalleled experiences and boundless exploration, we place our guests in the captain’s seat to navigate their journey and fuel their passions as they cruise down the world’s most beautiful waterways. The Avalon View’s debut is the perfect kick-off to the 2022 cruising season – a season in which Avalon Waterways’ is thrilled to lead a new wave in cruising.”

Beginning this week through the 2022 cruise season, the new 443-foot, 166-passenger Avalon View will sail the Danube River on several itineraries including Taste of the Danube, Danube Symphony, Active & Discovery on the Danube and Gone Girl! (a storyteller series cruise with celebrity host, Gillian Flynn).