Avalon Myanmar renderingFor 2015, Avalon Waterways is introducing two new 36-passenger Suite Ships -- one on the Mekong and another on the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar, a new destination for Avalon.

Avalon has partnered with Haimark Ltd., which is overseeing the construction of the vessels.

Both all-suite ships, the Avalon Siem Reap and Avalon Myanmar, will house 18 staterooms at 245 square feet each. Cabins will all feature Avalon's signature open-air balcony concept, consisting of a wall-to-wall, panoramic sliding glass door that when opened effectively transforms the room into an open-air balcony. The staterooms will also have a sitting area and will feature Avalon's Comfort Collection beds.

While offering similar amenities as Avalon's Suite Ships in Europe, the ships are being built to reflect the character and traditions of the destinations they will be sailing through.

The smaller size of the vessels is intended to enable them to navigate more of the rivers. The Avalon Myanmar is small enough to cruise the Upper Irrawaddy throughout the season, which is not always possible with a larger ship, and the Avalon Siem Reap is one of the only vessels that will be able to sail all the way from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to Siem Reap in Cambodia (vessels often dock a couple hours' drive outside of Ho Chi Minh City).

This will be Avalon's first foray into Myanmar, where the company is introducing a 14-day itinerary, Golden Myanmar & the Alluring Irrawaddy, that includes a 10-night cruise from Began to Bhamo as well as hotel stays in Yangon.

Avalon entered the Mekong market in partnership with Pandaw River Expeditions in 2012, and has been leasing the 32-passenger Angkor Pandaw since then and through the end of the 2014 season. The Avalon Siem Reap will replace the Angkor Pandaw on the Mekong in 2015. Avalon offers several itineraries through Vietnam and Cambodia on the Mekong River.

Follow Michelle Baran on Twitter @mbtravelweekly.

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