GREAT RIVER ESCAPES
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.