Judy Bailey to launch new Avalon Waterways ship

By: Media Release

Avalon Waterways has announced much-loved New Zealand broadcaster Judy Bailey will launch one of its revolutionary new Suite Ships on the rivers of Europe next year.

Fondly known as "the Mother of the Nation", the popular journalist and television news presenter will christen the 64-cabin Avalon Imagery II at a ceremony on the Rhine in April, becoming the first New Zealander to launch an Avalon Waterways ship.

Avalon Waterways New Zealand general manager Troy Ackerman confirmed Judy Bailey would become godmother to Avalon Imagery II and said her involvement was a fitting tribute to the growing number of New Zealanders cruising on Europe’s rivers.

"Avalon Waterways is a leading cruise operator among New Zealanders, so we’re delighted Judy Bailey will represent Kiwi travellers in christening one of our newest ships," Mr Ackerman said.

"Judy is a superb ambassador for New Zealand and her role symbolises the huge passion we have developed for river cruising."

Ms Bailey said she was proud to represent New Zealand in christening the new Avalon Imagery II.

"To be asked to be a godmother is something very different for me and a wonderful honour," Judy Bailey said. "New Zealanders are passionate travellers, so I am especially thrilled to be the first New Zealander to name an Avalon ship."

The launch, to take place at Engers on the Rhine in Germany on April 5, will be attended by travel industry guests from around New Zealand as well as international guests and dignitaries. It follows similar launches for other Avalon Waterways ships in recent years, involving godmothers from countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

Avalon Imagery II will be the latest example of Avalon Waterways’ successful Suite Ship concept, which offers two entire decks of all-suite accommodation and 30 per cent more cabin space than the industry average. Each of its suites will feature wall-to-wall panoramic windows that can be opened to turn the entire cabin into an open-air balcony, or closed to create an inviting living area.

At 110m in length, Avalon Imagery II will cater to no more than 128 passengers, providing a more intimate and spacious cruise. The ship will operate primarily on the Rhine, offering Avalon’s eight-day Romantic Rhine itinerary between Amsterdam and Basel.

Avalon Imagery II will become the 12th Suite Ship to join Avalon Waterways’ European fleet since the concept was first introduced in 2011. Avalon Waterways operates the most modern river cruise fleet in Europe, with ships averaging just over three years in age.

A journalist for more than 40 years, Judy Bailey fronted prime time news in New Zealand for 26 years and has won numerous journalism awards. Most recently she has fronted a number of television travel programs including Judy Bailey’s Australia. One of the nation’s most recognised faces, she has long been an advocate for children and holds roles with a number of charities including the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Brainwave Trust and the National Collective of Women’s Refuges. Judy was made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to broadcasting and the community in 2010.

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