Actress Cheri Oteri Christens the Avalon Alegria in Portugal

Avalon Ship Christening

Avalon Waterways christened its 15th Suite Ship in Pinhão, Portugal, on Thursday, March 28, with actress Cheri Oteri as the ship’s godmother.

“Today, I name this goddess of Portugal’s Douro River, the Avalon Alegria! Not only is she the newest, happiest ship in Portugal, she is one of the most sustainable vessels in Europe,” said Oteri, during her blessing. “May her sunny disposition carry this ship, her captain, crew and guests, far as they set sail responsibly, together, through scenic landscapes, sloping vineyards and sleepy villages. Shine brightly on the ‘river of gold,’ Avalon Alegria!”

After giving her blessing, the actress cut the rope causing the bottle to smash against the ship’s bow. Present were President of Avalon Waterways Pam Hoffee, Captain Alberto Moreira and the ship’s crew of 33, as well as approximately 65 guests including journalists, travel advisors, the ship’s builder and local dignitaries.

“In our search for the best godmother for the Avalon Alegria – our first ship in Portugal with a name that means “happiness” – we knew Cheri Oteri would be the perfect choice,” said Hoffee. “As a difference-making entertainer – and one of the ground-breaking women who inspired modern comedy in America – Cheri has brought so much inspiration and joy into our lives. We are thrilled she chose to travel to Portugal to honor us the godmother of our newest, ‘happiest’ ship in Europe. It’s a joy to celebrate Cheri and her accomplishments as part of the Alegria’s christening.”

The 102-passenger Avalon Alegria is the first Suite Ship from Avalon Waterways to set sail in Portugal.  The colors onboard were inspired by Douro Valley landscapes and brought to life by Dutch interior designer Liane van Leeuwen. Original works of art in the ship’s public areas were created by Dutch artist Sofia Fisher while four, specially lit artistic showcases celebrating the tradition of Portuguese Azulejos, were made in Porto by Gazete.  

“Today, the Avalon Alegria joins an entire fleet of Suite Ships in Europe and Southeast Asia,” added Hoffee. “Each features our boutique-hotel-inspired Panorama Suites, the industry’s only Open-Air Balconies with the widest-opening windows in cruising and decadent Comfort Collection beds that face the ever-changing scenery. Glass balcony panels on the Avalon Alegria provide an extra, exciting cruising outlook with completely unobstructed views, as does our first Sky Deck pool, inviting guests to enjoy panoramic views, soaking-in the vineyard-lined vistas of Portugal. Even seasoned travelers have never seen – or experienced – the world like this.

“We’ve waited a long time for the perfect opportunity to add Portugal to our robust vacation portfolio and that day has finally arrived. Inviting our guests to sail the Douro for the first time, we’re bringing the Suite Ships of Avalon, the grandest views in cruising and whim-powered itineraries to Southwestern Europe. We’re thrilled to officially set sail on the Douro!”

The Avalon Alegria will embark on its inaugural cruise Vida Portugal: Vineyards and Villages Along the Douro on April 3, 2024.

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