Suite Tranquility II
Avalon Waterways 15th Panorama Suite Ship

with Suzanne Christie

Avalon Tranquility II

Avalon Waterways' Tranquility II Captain
Milos Laskovich; Managing Director for
Canada Stéphanie Bishop & Jann Arden with
Patrick Clark, President & Managing Director
celebrating the Christening of Tranquility II.

My spacious Stateroom.

Chef Michael



CruiseShipCenters Josee Mathieu and
Renata Grant flank Tranquility II godmother
Jann Arden

The Lounge

Globus family of brands Kim Clarke &
Patrice Geske with Jann Arden

With the rise in popularity of river cruising showing no sign of abating and the advent of ever more ships and brands plying the rivers of Europe, it is critical for lines to highlight their identity with distinct points of differentiation.

According to the Canadian trade guests invited to celebrate the Christening of Avalon Waterways 15th Panorama Suite ship Tranquility II in Strasbourg last week, the Globus family of brands have aced it.

The ship is a beauty - sleek, contemporary and very functional. What all the professional travel agents agreed on is that the 200 sq. ft. Panorama suites with beds facing floor to ceiling windows is the key factor that differentiates Avalon. This unique feature makes a huge difference in cruise enjoyment and saleability.

Josee Mathieu Owner/Manager of 3 Cruise Ship Centres in Ottawa told me her favourite pastime on our inaugural cruise was relaxing in her stateroom on the super comfortable bed with the sun streaming in her open windows as we floated past the gorgeous Rhine castles, wineries and bobbing swans. Of course on Avalon you also have the option of enjoying room service or your 'brought onboard' drinks and snacks. Another point of differentiation with Avalon.

Renata Grant, Owner of CruiseShipCenters Rosedale says that not only was her large stateroom very comfortable, she found the lounge particularly inviting. Its layout is conducive to enjoying a drink or chat with your partner or taking in the nightly entertainment with all your cruise mates. "It is so inviting," and having the entertainers and dance floor in the centre of the room gives everyone an excellent vantage point.

Burghardt Lell who heads up Operations for Avalon Waterways has no concerns about the Rhine's ability to handle the dramatic increases in river cruise capacity and traffic. Although in the past decade the number of river cruisers has grown from an annual total of about 100,000 to approximately 600,000 pax from English speaking countries alone, cruise lines and ports are making adaptations to mitigate crowding, lock and docking capacity. Lines have begun varying their embarkation days as well as their durations. And due to river cruising's importance to the local economies, towns and cities along the rivers are eager to help manage docking facilities to enable the purchase of local food and other goods.

This ties in nicely with the small ships' very limited storage capacity and the ongoing culinary revolution which increasingly demands complex and creative meal presentations as well as locally sourced ingredients and wines. We had the opportunity to tour Tranquility II's compact galley with Executive Chef Michael who demonstrated how it is possible to deliver 126 perfectly plated multi-course dinners every evening. It is a carefully orchestrated performance and despite having the secrets revealed of how it is all managed, it remains a bit of a mystery to me.

In addition to formal dining in the Restaurant, several times each week it is also possible for 20 guests to enjoy a private dining experience in the Lounge Bistro.

According to Avalon Waterways President Patrick Clarke, Tranquility II is virtually sold out for its 2015 maiden season on the Rhine with its load factor currently at about 97%. A significant portion of which is made up of full ship charters and groups. Booking patterns have taken an interesting “top to bottom" turn with the ship's 2 Royal Suites selling out 1 st as opposed to the recent past where the least expensive cabins always sold out most quickly.

While 2014 was a record year for Avalon Waterways, 2015 has already exceeded that and Canada, in particular, is out in front notching record growth in bookings.

Ellie MacPherson, Senior Vice President of Strategic Meetings + Incentives (a division of Vision Travel) says the ship is ideal for the CME market with the large and flexible layout of the Panorama Lounge as well as the smaller Club Lounge.

Connie Day of Muskoka Travel Service in Bracebridge has a group booked on Tranquility II for September. The combination of before and or after Globus tours or Monograms add ons work well for her clients and she loves the 200 sq. ft panorama suites.

Most definitely, the highlight of the all-Canadian Christening Cruise celebration last week was godmother extraordinaire Jann Arden who mingled with guests, performed her duties with grace and obviously enjoyed the river cruising experience. The quick witted singer/songwriter is also a natural comedian whose commentary would have made even Ivanna Gabbalot blush.

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