Hats Off To Jann Arden! Avalon Waterways Latest Godmother Is A National Treasure
by Vanessa Lee
l-r: Avalon Waterways' Captain Milos Laskovich;
Director for Canada Stéphanie Bishop;
Jann Arden's right hand man
Mom Joan; Jann Arden & Patrick Clark,
Avalon President & Managing
the Christening of Tranquility II.
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
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
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.