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Deborah Hutton backs Avalon’s big French expansion

April 11, 2014 Headline News, River Cruising No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59With river cruising roaring ahead, Avalon Waterways will double its presence in France next year, introducing two new ships and a new French itinerary as part of its newly released 2015 season of river cruises.

At the launch of the Avalon Waterways 2015 program in Sydney (from left): Avalon Waterways Marketing Manager Australasia Christian Schweitzer, Avalon Waterways Ambassador for Australasia Deborah Hutton, and Avalon Waterways Managing Director Australasia Stewart Williams.

At the launch of the Avalon Waterways 2015 program in Sydney (from left): Avalon Waterways Marketing Manager Australasia Christian Schweitzer, Avalon Waterways Ambassador for Australasia Deborah Hutton, and Avalon Waterways Managing Director Australasia Stewart Williams.

Speaking at a function in Sydney to launch the 2015 season, Avalon Waterways managing director Australasia Stewart Williams said Avalon had sold 94% of its cabins in 2013. So far this year, bookings were running 11% up on the same time last year. Williams predicted the river cruise market would continue double-digit growth for the next five years.

Early booking discounts are available to mark the release of Avalon’s new 2015 brochure, including savings of AUD 1000 per couple on inaugural French departures and dozens of other European cruises.

Williams said Avalon pricing was competitive because the line had chosen not to go fully inclusive. The reason for that was because, while visiting France, people liked to break away and explore, see the markets, try local food. France was a great destination and a great product, Williams said, selling out long in advance.

Avalon will extend its revolutionary Suite Ship concept to France for the first time in 2015, deploying two of its newest vessels, Avalon Poetry II and Avalon Tapestry II, on the Rhône and Seine rivers.  They will join existing ships Avalon Scenery and Avalon Creativity to provide twice the capacity of previous years.

Avalon Waterways Ambassador for Australasia Deborah Hutton at the Champagne function in Sydney this week to launch the line's new French program.

Avalon Waterways Ambassador for Australasia Deborah Hutton at the Champagne function in Sydney this week to launch the line’s 2015  program.

With the expanded French offering comes a new dual-river itinerary, the 16-day Rhine & Rhône Revealed, combining a cruise on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel with a cruise through France on the Rhône from Beaune to the Côte d’Azur.  Priced from $8290 per person twin share (including discount), it allows travellers to enjoy two of Avalon’s most popular rivers in a single itinerary.

Avalon’s 2015 season will involve the biggest selection of Suite Ships yet offered, each with two entire decks of all-suite accommodation and 30% more cabin area than the average competitor.  Two new ships launching in 2015 – the Avalon Tapestry II and Avalon Tranquility II – will give Avalon a total of 10 Suite Ships in an overall European fleet of 15 modern vessels.

Beyond Europe, Williams said, Avalon would introduce a brand new ship on the Irrawaddy in 2015, allowing its first itineraries in Myanmar. The new 36-cabin Avalon Myanmar will be small enough to cruise the spectacular upper Irrawaddy throughout its season, allowing a 14-day itinerary that includes Yangon and the extraordinary temples of Bagan, priced from $7501 per person twin share.

Avalon will introduce a similar new ship on the Mekong, Avalon Siem Reap, operating its Vietnam and Cambodia itineraries between Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap.  Other international itineraries returning in 2015 include cruises on the Yangtze, Amazon and among the Galápagos Islands.

Among Avalon’s 2015 early booking deals, are on sale now for a limited time, are savings of AUD 1000 per couple on inaugural French cruises aboard the Avalon Poetry II and Avalon Tapestry II.  Priced from $3833 per person twin share for the eight-day Paris to Normandy’s Landing Beaches.  On sale to June 30, 2014, or until sold out.

Written by : Peter Needham

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