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Exotic locales mark 2012 river cruising


Courtesy Avalon Waterways

Avalon Waterways
Avalon Waterways is adding two more all-suite ships to its European fleet, expanding its Egyptian cruise options and moving into the booming Asian market this year.

Joining the Avalon Panorama, the industry’s first Suite Ship that debuted last year, will be the 164-passenger Avalon Vista and the 128-passenger Avalon Visionary. The ships feature two full decks of suites with wall-to-wall windows that transform into an open-air balcony when open.

Three new Egyptian itineraries include Lake Nasser, a new waterway for Avalon, aboard the newly chartered MS Kasr Ibrim. Avalon is also chartering the five-star MS Mayfair for Egypt.

The new Egypt itineraries are the nine-day Highlights of Egypt, the 12-day The Pyramids, Lake Nasser and Nile Highlights and the 13-day Egypt and the Nile in Depth, all roundtrip from Cairo.

“We have great confidence in the draw of Egypt,” said Patrick Clark, Avalon managing director.
Clark said Avalon is also responding to the growing demand for Asian river cruises with the new Avalon Angkor, which will sail on a new 14-day Fascinating Vietnam, Cambodia and the Mekong River cruise.

The brass-and-teak decorated Avalon Angkor, named for Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, will visit such sites as Phnom Penh, Prek Bang Kong’s silk weaving area, Khmer Houses in Prek Bang Kong and rice paddy fields in Kampong Tralach.

“As more travelers adopt river cruising as their preferred travel style, they want to broaden their experiences,” said Clark. “Our new Mekong and Nile river as well as Lake Nasser vacations give them the exotic and enriching getaways they desire.”

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Vantage Deluxe World Travel

Vantage’s new 442-foot-long, 176-passenger Discovery II will set sail in March with more cabins, larger suites and a lounge and dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows.

The ship is the first step in Vantage’s program to modernize its European river cruise fleet over the next two years. The River Explorer II, the same size as the Discovery II, and the boutique 138-passenger River Navigator II, designed to navigate small rivers in Europe, will launch in March 2013. The River Odyssey II is slated to sail in March 2014.

“We’ve worked with our customers and experts to better understand what would best met their needs,” said Scott Weiler, senior vice president of marketing services for Vantage. “We incorporated large spacious cabins throughout the ships, a retractable roof on the rear lounge of the Discovery II and spaces for al-fresco dining.”

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