(1:22 p.m. EDT) -- Avalon Waterways' newest river cruise ship will embody the spirit of wanderlust, with the blessing of "Eat Pray Love" author Elizabeth Gilbert. The line today revealed Gilbert, best known for her New York Times best-selling book-turned-movie, will serve as godmother of Avalon Envision, due to launch in spring 2019.
"As somebody who is almost pathologically obsessed with travel and adventure," said Gilbert, “what could be more fun than being named the godmother of a beautiful riverboat? I'm honored and delighted to be part of this lovely endeavor."
Gilbert will attend the ship's christening ceremony, a longstanding tradition for all new cruise ships, on April 7 in Budapest, Hungary.
"From 'Eat Pray Love to 'Big Magic,' as an author, Ms. Gilbert has invited her readers to envision something different; a hint of a life or journey outside their comfort zone," said Pam Hoffee, managing director of Avalon Waterways. "An inspired choice as godmother of the Avalon Envision, she has helped us embrace curiosity each day in search of extraordinary. This is something we ask our travelers to do on their journeys across the world with Avalon."
The new 166-passenger Suite Ship will feature a navy-blue hull and elegant decor; 200-square-foot suites with expansive balconies and balcony-facing beds (an Avalon staple); a top-deck whirlpool and Sky Lounge; and an onboard Adventure Center with bicycles, active gear, Nordic walking sticks, maps and other outdoor items available for use.
Itineraries will focus on Europe's Danube River, sailing between Budapest and Nuremberg, Germany, with shore excursions available in varying activity levels. Most shore excursions, along with other extras such as regional wine and beer at lunch and dinner, and transfers, are included in the cost of the cruise.
--By Gina Kramer, Editor