River Goddesses … er, Godmothers
An Olympic athlete, a famed educator and a river cruise company's entire lineup of female cruise directors will serve as godmothers for river boats in 2014. Avalon Waterways' Poetry II will be christened by Olympic Gold medal-winning rower Katherine J. Grainger, while Avalon Impression's inaugural will be presided over by J. Mara DelliPriscoli, the founder of the Educational Travel Conference and president of Travel Learning Connections, Inc. Both boats will be christened in Holland on March 22. Tauck, on the other hand, is sticking close to home with the choice of its four female cruise directors to collectively serve as the godmother for its new boat, ms Inspire, which will be christened April 3 in Switzerland.
Un Paddlewheel? Oui.
French cruise line CroisiEurope is reverting to what it calls the "ancient technique" of the paddlewheel for its Loire Princesse riverboat, set to sail the Loire Valley in France in 2015. The Loire Princesse is currently under construction at the STX shipyard in France; it will be 295 feet long, have 48 outside cabins over three decks -- with balconies on all cabins on the third deck -- and hold 96 passengers. A statement from the line said the ship design "was inspired by an ancient technique -- the paddlewheel -- and is reworking it using today's technology to create a new and unique type of craft. This will be the first time that a cruise vessel with cabins has ever cruised along the Loire."
A Flagship Itinerary
Costa Cruises' new flagship, Costa Diadema, will visit the port cities of Trieste, Dubrovnik, Corfu and Naples before ending in Genoa on its first ever cruise departing November 1. The ship will then begin a series of seven-day Western Mediterranean cruises.
An outbreak of Zika fever in French Polynesia has caused the Center for Disease Control to issue health alerts for several South Pacific islands regarding the mosquito-borne illness. Both Tahiti, which includes the popular ports Moorea and Papeete, and New Caledonia fall under the advisory. Currently, no cruise lines have changed their itineraries.
-- By Dori Saltzman, News Editor, Jamey Bergman, River Section Editor, UK and Chris Gray Faust, Destinations Editor