A look ahead at 2014 launches and christenings

By Michelle Baran

InsightOK, I’ll be honest: This end-of-year insight in which I summarize the christenings and launches for the following year has become an invaluable tool for me in planning my year ahead, and that’s largely why I’ve maintained this tradition over the past few years.

But my hope, of course, is that it can and does serve as a useful tool for all you travel planners out there, as well. Happy 2014!

March 17: Viking Cruises will hold a christening ceremony in Avignon, France, for the 14 Viking Longships that are launching next year. Viking has not said which or how many of the Longships will be in Avignon for the ceremony, but the three 2014 Viking Longships that are slated to sail in that region are the Viking Buri, Viking Heimdal and Viking Hermod.

March 26: Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection will inaugurate the 159-passenger S.S. Catherine in Lyon, France, marking Uniworld's first expansion of its European fleet since 2011, when the vessel’s sister ship the S.S. Antoinette set sail.MichelleBaran

April 5: The 223-passenger American Empress (formerly the Empress of the North) will be rechristened in Portland, Ore., and will sail on the Columbia and Snake rivers, after having been refurbished by the American Queen Steamboat Co.

April 15: Emerald Waterways, the first new river cruise line to launch since Scenic Cruises came onto the scene in 2008, will kick off with the launch of two newbuilds in Europe, the 182-passenger Emerald Star and the 182-passenger Emerald Sky. Emerald Waterways is aiming to be a more value-oriented alternative to existing river cruise lines.

April 4: AmaWaterways will introduce the 164-passenger AmaReina in Europe. The vessel, along with the AmaSonata launching in July, will be sister ships to the 164-passenger AmaCerto, which launched in 2012.

July: Pandaw River Expeditions is launching two new 40-passenger vessels in Myanmar, the Kindat Pandaw and the Kalaw Pandaw.

July 22: AmaWaterways will introduce the 164-passenger AmaSonata in Europe.

September: Haimark Ltd. is introducing the 56-passenger Irrawaddy Explorer in Myanmar; as well as the 68-passenger Mekong Navigator that will sail in Vietnam and Cambodia.

November: AmaWaterways is introducing the all-suite AmaPura on Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River.

Late 2014: Sanctuary Retreats, a division of Abercrombie & Kent, is launching the 48-passenger, all-suite Sanctuary Ananda in Myanmar.

Also in 2014:

• Tauck is launching two newbuilds in Europe, the 130-passenger Inspire and Savor, that will each have 57% more suites than the company’s existing vessels.

• Avalon Waterways is introducing three new river cruise vessels in Europe in 2014 — the 128-passenger Avalon Poetry II; the 166-passenger Avalon Illumination; and the 166-passenger Avalon Impression.

This article has been updated with the launch dates of AmaWaterways' AmaReina and AmaSonata.

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