Last updated: 11:35 AM ET, Thu April 14 2016

U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Coach Christens Avalon Passion

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Avalon Waterways | Claudette Covey | April 14, 2016

U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Coach Christens Avalon Passion

LINZ, AUSTRIA - In a stylish yet down-to-earth ceremony here, Jill Ellis, the head coach of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, christened Avalon Waterways’ newest ship, the Avalon Passion.

“I was truly humbled when the request came in shortly after the World Cup,” she said. “This was a challenge. I was actually an English major in college, but I’ve never written a blessing – so here we go.”

With that, Ellis delivered her blessing. “May the lives of everyone touched by you be forever enriched, and may you feel the warmth of friendship and love on your decks. Travel safely on your journey and God Speed. I christen this ship, Avalon Passion,” she said, cutting the rope, and releasing a bottle of Moët & Chandon Champagne that smashed against the bow.

Avalon was selected Ellis as godmother because she epitomizes how passion coupled with hard work can “make dreams come true,” said Patrick Clark, managing director of Avalon Waterways. “As someone who has shown great passion … verve and vibrancy in cultivating women’s soccer, she is the perfect godmother to bless the Avalon Passion,” he said.

The Avalon Passion, one of the line’s Panorama-class ships, is the 18th vessel in the Avalon fleet. Last week a sister ship, the Avalon Imagery II, was christened in Engers, Germany, by Judy Bailey, a New Zealand broadcaster.

“Any business that wants to succeed has to provide new services and benefits for its customers, and it’s no different with Avalon,” said Clark. “It’s important that we bring new design ideas, new ships, new amenities and new services to our guests if we’re going to satisfy them – because if we don’t we will soon be yesterday’s choice for a river cruise vacation.”

Panorama-class accommodations average 200 square feet, which Avalon says is 30 percent larger than the industry average. Suites feature wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows that open a width of seven feet, with beds facing those windows.

The Avalon Passion will operate on a range of Danube River itineraries, including new eight-night “Active Discovery” cruises between Budapest and Linz that incorporate all-inclusive excursions including such activities as such hiking, cycling and canoeing.

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