(1:20 p.m. EST) -- Avalon Waterways is recalibrating its European river cruise fleet in 2019, adding a new ship while retiring several older ones.
The move is being made to standardize the "suite ship" experience across the fleet. The 166-passenger ships are known for having panoramic sliding glass doors that span the length of the cabins and open up the room to views, a feature that has won them many industry awards (including Best Cabin in Cruise Critic's Editors Picks for River Cruising). Avalon Waterways also pioneered angling beds to face the water instead of the wall, a move that has been picked up by competitors.
"In 2019, there's only one point-of-view on an Avalon Waterways river cruise: The suite view," Avalon's Managing Director Pam Hoffee said in a release. "For the first time, Avalon's entire fleet will be made up of Suite Ships giving our travelers exclusive access to the industry's only Open-Air Balconies and beds facing the incredible views for which river cruising is famous."
The new ship for 2019 will be called Avalon Envision. It will sail on the Danube.
Leaving the fleet are the company's 138-passenger non-suite ships: Avalon Affinity; Avalon Felicity and Avalon Luminary. The move decreases capacity in Europe for the short-term, but the line is still growing in 2018, adding a suite ship on the Mekong River in Southeast Asia -- Avalon Saigon -- in the fall.
--By Chris Gray Faust, Managing Editor