GREAT RIVER ES­CAPES

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - SU­SAN KUROSAWA

Avalon Water­ways has an­nounced that for­mer model turned me­dia per­son­al­ity Deb­o­rah Hut­ton will chris­ten its Avalon Il­lu­mi­na­tion in June next year; the so-called Suite Ship will cruise the Rhine and Danube rivers and will be join­ing 12 Avalon ves­sels in what the com­pany de­scribes as ‘‘the youngest fleet op­er­at­ing in Europe’’. The al­ways ef­fer­ves­cent Hut­ton says she ‘‘couldn’t be more de­lighted to be god­mother of such a mag­nif­i­cent ship’’. More: 1300 230 234; aval­on­wa­ter­ways.com.au.

Be quick and book by June 30 for a spe­cial of­fer from Ben­tours on its 12-day Ukraine River Cruis­ing, Black Sea and Dnieper Tour from Kiev to Odessa, with se­lected de­par­tures from May 11 to Oc­to­ber 1 next year; the leisurely j our­ney is aboard MS Dnieper Princess and costs from $1427 a per­son twin-share, in­clud­ing ground trans­port, ac­com­mo­da­tion, on­board meals, ac­tiv­i­ties and en­ter­tain­ment, port charges, trans­fers and most tour ex­tras. More: 1800 221 712; ben­tours.com.au.

Thanks to what Scenic Tours calls ‘‘over­whelm­ing de­mand’’, the Aus­tralian-owned com­pany will be adding its eighth and ninth Space­Ships for the 2014 cruise sea­son. The 126-pas­sen­ger Scenic Gem is be­ing cus­tom-built to sail on the Seine River in north­ern France, be­side the land­scapes that in­spired the im­pres­sion­ists. Scenic Jade will sail the Rhone, Main and Danube rivers. Scenic Tours also op­er­ates the bou­tique Scenic Tsar, which ex­clu­sively sails in Rus­sia. More: scenic­tours.com.au.

Travel In­dochina has Mekong River cruise spe­cials be­tween Ho Chi Minh City in south­ern Viet­nam and Siem Reap in Cam­bo­dia aboard the stylish 27-cabin cruiser Jayavar­man. The of­fers are valid for Au­gust 1, 5 and 29 de­par­tures; an 11- night pack­age in­cludes four nights’ ho­tel ac­com­mo­da­tion (two in each city), seven-night cruise, $US100 spa voucher per cabin, meals on board and trans­fers. Other Mekong de­par­tures on river cruis­ers are avail­able. More: trav­elin­dochina.com.

Tauck will launch two river­boats in March and June next year, bring­ing its fleet to six, and the fam­ily-owned cruise op­er­a­tor has an­nounced four new itin­er­ar­ies. Tauck chief ex­ec­u­tive Dan Ma­har says its new builds will ac­com­mo­date ‘‘far fewer guests than sim­i­larly sized ves­sels in other lines’’ and will pro­vide ‘‘the same in­ti­mate, club-like at­mos­phere our river cruise cus­tomers have come to en­joy’’. More: 1300 950 622; trav­elthe­world.com.au.

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