Avalon Alegria christened in Portugal by Cheri Oteri

The American actor and comedian performed godmother duties onboard Avalon Waterways’ 15th European suite ship

Avalon Alegria christened in Portugal by Cheri Oteri

Avalon Waterways

Captain Alberto Moreira, Cheri Oteri, and Pam Hoffee at the christening ceremony on the Douro River

By Laura Hyde |

Avalon Waterways has christened its 15th European suite ship, Avalon Alegria, on the Douro River in Pinhão, Portugal.  

During the onboard ceremony, actor, comedian and godmother, Cheri Oteri cut a rope to smash a bottle of locally produced Cuvée – Marques de Marialva Cuvée Primitivo – against the ship’s bow in accordance with maritime tradition. 

“Today, I name this goddess of Portugal’s Douro River, the Avalon Alegria,” she said. “Not only is she the newest, happiest ship in Portugal, she is one of the most sustainable vessels in Europe. May her sunny disposition carry this ship, her captain, crew and guests far as they set sail responsibly, together, through scenic landscapes, sloping vineyards and sleepy villages. Shine brightly on the ‘river of gold’, Avalon Alegria!” 

 Avalon Waterways Avalon Alegria christening

Oteri christened the ship during a ceremony held on the Douro River in Portugal

Oteri, who is widely known for the rise of female entertainers on Saturday Night Live, was joined at the christening ceremony by Pam Hoffee, president of Avalon Waterways, and Captain Alberto Moreira, as well as the ship’s 33 crew members and approximately 65 invited guests. They included journalists, travel advisors, representatives from the shipyard and local dignitaries. 

“In our search for the best godmother for the Avalon Alegria – our first ship in Portugal with a name that means ‘happiness’ – we knew Cheri Oteri would be the perfect choice,” said Hoffee. “As a difference-making entertainer – and one of the ground-breaking women who inspired modern comedy in America – Cheri has brought so much inspiration and joy into our lives. We are thrilled she chose to travel to Portugal to honour us as the godmother of our newest, ‘happiest’ ship in Europe. It’s a joy to celebrate Cheri and her accomplishments as part of the Alegria’s christening.” 

 Avalon Waterways Avalon Alegria christening

Avalon Alegria is the first suite ship from Avalon Waterways to set sail in Portugal

Avalon Alegria is a 262-foot, 102-passenger ship with 14 deluxe staterooms and 37 panorama suites, built exclusively to sail the Douro River. It is the first suite ship from Avalon Waterways to set sail in Portugal.  

“We’ve waited a long time for the perfect opportunity to add Portugal to our robust vacation portfolio and that day has finally arrived,” said Hoffee. “Inviting our guests to sail the Douro for the first time, we’re bringing the suite ships of Avalon, the grandest views in cruising and whim-powered itineraries to Southwestern Europe. We’re thrilled to officially set sail on the Douro.” 

 Avalon Waterways Avalon Alegria christening

The onboard pool area with Sky Grill in the background

The ship will welcome its first guests onboard to sail the ‘Vida Portugal: Vineyards & Villages Along the Douro’ itinerary on 3 April 2024. 

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