Cruise lines are expanding their fleets; adding premium suites, services, and accommodations; and giving older ships a facelift.
Avalon Waterways has announced that they will unveil two additional Suite Ships next year—The Avalon Tranquility II and Avalon Tapestry II—along with the three new ships being unveiled this year—the Avalon Impression and Avalon Poetry II in March and the Avalon Illumination in June.
Each suite on all 10 Suite Ships features an open-air balcony, providing travelers the largest windows available with a sliding glass door that opens 7 ft. wide with a spacious seating area.
“Eighty percent of the rooms on our Suite Ships are the 200-sq.-ft. Panorama Suites or 300-sq.-ft. Royal Suites,” says Patrick Clark, managing director, Avalon Waterways. “And our smallest stateroom in the fleet is still a very comfortable, 172 sq. ft. No other European river cruise line can say this.”
The Suite Ships also provide travelers a Sky or Panorama Bistro, for alternative dining, as well as Panorama, Sky and Observation Lounges with spots to relax and take it all in. Travelers can read under designer lighting in a corner of the Panorama Lounge, sip a cocktail after dinner at the Observation Lounge or watch the passing riverscapes while spending some time in the fitness center.
For more information, call (877) 380-1535 or visit avalonwaterways.com.
Celebrity Cruises will introduce its new Suite Class experience on its state-of-the-art ships in April 2015. Exclusive new benefits will include a suites-only restaurant, VIP lounge, complimentary premium beverages, a personal butler and more.
Suite Class guests will have access to a private restaurant reserved for all Suite Class guests. Travelers will immerse themselves in the local cuisine with menus inspired by the local destination, accompanied by wines selected by the “cellar master.” These dishes won’t be available anywhere else on board. Those staying in the Celebrity, Signature, Royal Penthouse and Reflection suites will have access to a private VIP lounge—Michael’s Club. Guests who are staying in the Royal, Penthouse and Reflection suites will have access to premium beverages, dining across all specialty restaurants, unlimited Internet access and a private bar with complimentary water, sodas and beer.
Suite guests will also receive priority check-in and embarkation; on-hand 24-hour butler service to unpack guests’ luggage or even book destination experiences; afternoon tea service in the guest’s suite; reserved theater seating; plush robes, premium bedding and a pillow menu.
“Our guests are accustomed to exceptional quality and service, and for those wishing to further indulge in the very best while on vacation we have launched Suite Class, specially designed to appeal to the most discerning vacationer,” says Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “We know that suite guests value privacy, personalized service, exclusive access and flexibility, and providing them with their own unique benefits, such as a dedicated restaurant with a dining experience like no other, is just another way that we are significantly elevating the guest’s vacation with us.”
For more information, call (800) 437-3111 or visit celebritycruises.com.
CroisiEurope, a European river cruise company, will unveil the MS Lafayette, the newest member of its Rhine fleet. The ship features a new and original route that travels through Holland, Germany, and Switzerland, including optional excursions to the Mainau Island, Mainz, the Black Forest and the Titisee, among others. The MS Lafayette will be christened on March 28.
The MS Lafayette will feature larger more spacious cabins. Each about 161 sq. ft., with floor-to-ceiling picture windows, providing panoramic views of the passing landscapes. The ship accommodates 84 passengers in 42 rooms and features a dining room, lounge and deck. Cabins are equipped with a wide-screen TV, safe, hair dryer, mini bar, individual air-conditioning and heating controls.
For more information, call (800) 768-7232 or visit croisieuroperivercruises.com.
European Waterways announced the opening of a new base of operation in Burgundy, France. They have also upgraded its fleet this past winter, which included renovating the interiors and exteriors of several barges, upgrading spa pools and sun decks, replacing carpets and furniture, and installing new air conditioning systems where needed.
“We are committed to keeping our vessels in tip-top shape, constantly working on upgrades and improvements in order to ensure the best possible experience for our guests,” says Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways. “Our modern new facility will provide us with more control over the entire renovation and maintenance process, ultimately enhancing our product and ensuring that every vessel is as comfortable, stylish, and structurally sound as possible.”
The renovations made to a few barges included new air conditioning systems on Renaissance, which cruises Burgundy and the Upper Loire, and Panache, which cruises Alsace-Lorraine and Holland. A new sundeck canopy was installed on Enchante, which tours Canal du Midi. Luxury barges Anjodi and L’Art de Vivre received on-deck spa pools. Other hotel barges received new saloon seating, cabin and bathroom interior upgrades, and furnishings, including new carpets in the cabins on L’Impressionniste and L’Art de Vivre. La Bella Vita in Italy received new lighting in the saloon and bar areas.
For more information, call (877) 879-8808 or visit gobarging.com.