It’s a new ship on a new itinerary, sailing with Avalon Waterways’ first onboard pool. And Pam Hoffee is excited about all three elements.
The new all-suite Avalon Alegria will join the fleet in 2024, sailing the line’s first-ever itineraries on the Douro River in Portugal.
“Avalon is growing, and we’re excited to channel this growth into Portugal,” the Avalon Waterways president told TRO. “The destination has shown strong growth in recent years through Globus and Cosmos, and now we can round out our offering with this distinctive cruise. Bringing Avalon’s SuiteShips to Portugal will offer cruisers an elevated experience, enjoying the amazing scenery, engaging ports, and warm hospitality of Portugal on a new level.”
The Avalon Alegria is being custom-built for the Douro. “While it maintains our well-known Panorama Suite design, with Open-Air Balconies, panoramic windows, and beds facing the view, it’s a smaller ship for a more intimate experience,” Hoffee said.
With 14 Deluxe Staterooms and 37 Panorama Suites, accommodating just 102 guests and 33 crew members, “capacity is 40% smaller than other Avalon SuiteShips, at about half of the guests you’d find on the average European river cruise on the Danube or the Rhine. It features a Sky Deck pool to take advantage of the climate (our first ship with a pool), and the décor is tailored for the region. Also, like our other Avalon cruises, the cuisine and wine will be from the region.”
The ship will sail eight-day round-trip itineraries from Porto, offering excursions such as a bike ride along the coast from Porto Ribiera to the sea, a regional wine-tasting, or classes in baking traditional Portuguese pastries.
“Overall, Avalon off to a great start for 2023, on pace with sales pre-Pandemic, and we’re expecting that this itinerary for 2024 will be very popular,” Hoffee said.