Hats Off To Jann Arden!
Avalon Waterways Latest Godmother Is A National Treasure

by Vanessa Lee

l-r: Avalon Waterways' Captain Milos Laskovich;
Managing Director for Canada Stéphanie Bishop;
Jann Arden's right hand man Chris Brunton;
Jann's Mom Joan; Jann Arden & Patrick Clark,
Avalon President & Managing Director
celebrating the Christening of Tranquility II.

A Godmother moment

Some of my favourite bar staff on Avalon

Room Service on Avalon - Something I LOVE!

Open Jaw's Suzanne Christie and I made sure
to get our personally autographed copies of
Jann Arden's latest CD Everything Almost

You have to really love a Godmother who takes the role seriously, engages with staff, crew and guests equally AND wears a fabulous hat! The multi- talented singer, musician, author and broadcaster (and dare I say it, comedienne) Jann Arden successfully christened the Avalon Tranquility II last week in Strasbourg, France. The sun popped out of a grey and rainy day, the Godmother took it all in stride (although did admit to being a wee bit nervous) and swung that champagne bottle at the ship where it exploded in a shower of glass much to the delight of the mostly Canadian onlookers, including myself, who were cheering her on with great gusto!

You also have to admire a river cruise line who chooses such a Godmother as it is truly a testament to both their commitment to the Canadian marketplace and also to finding such a great ambassador for their company. We heard during some of the media events and also in some of the speeches, how well Canada is performing for Avalon Waterways. Canadians lead their global counterparts in producing lots of clients to sail Avalon's 15 ships most of which are operating on European rivers.

I always feel an Avalon ship is a home away from home for me. I usually know some of the staff who are happy to see me again, know my cocktails of choice – (a vodka tonic pre-dinner and perhaps a side car as a nightcap), that I prefer not to order my dessert along with my meal and also my preference for red wine over white. These may be small things but those are the ones that make the difference to one's onboard experience. A genuine smile and guaranteed warm welcome are among the most important things one can receive. And frankly they make me feel truly special.

I also really enjoy and love the layout and design of the Panorama Suite ships which are so comfortable and also comforting to me. A few changes have occurred since I last sailed in late 2013. Small design enhancements have ensured an improved reception area with more space. Changes to the Lounge and Bar have also been made – all for the better. And the relatively new Panorama Bistro dining experience has been enhanced and is a great casual meal option on several evenings per week. Small and lighter bites, with paired wines are offered to just 20 guests in the forward part of the Lounge and if you're sailing gently down a river as the sun sets, the views can be spectacular. There is no cost for this dinner but reservations are a must.

But, it is definitely the large, 200 sq. ft. accommodations that are the stars on this ship. So spacious and that great bed facing the window! The suites are roomy, have great cupboard and storage space and lovely bathrooms and room to move around in. So many river ships have smaller rooms and I have to say that Avalon's are some of the best staterooms afloat – no need for a balcony either (which frankly are somewhat overrated on river ships).

And back to Jann who is an absolute national treasure, a warm and kind woman who takes time for everyone and who mingled and mixed with delight during the 4 day cruise taking photos with all, signing autographs and being kind to everyone. And best of all she brought along her Mother, Joan who took great pride in watching her daughter create another milestone in a life full of them.

Jann is a self-effacing, modest, multi –award winner, has an incredible amount of achievements to her name and yet is really not very comfortable in the limelight other than when performing on a stage. She is the real McCoy who went to The Bay to buy her rather spiffy and elegant outfit topped off by a spectacular hat – ensuring a complete Canadian moment!

Well done Jann and well done to all my lovely friends at Avalon – thank you for affording me the opportunity to sail with you again.

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