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Avalon Waterways News: River Cruise Line Christens New Ship in Portugal

Colleen McDaniel

Last updated
Apr 16, 2024

Read time
2 min read

Comedian Cheri Oteri Christens Avalon Alegria

Avalon Alegria godmother Cheri Oteri reacts to the crew watching from the ship ahead of the ship's christening. (Photo: Colleen McDaniel)

(March 28, 2024) -- Actress and comedian Cheri Oteri christened Avalon Waterways' newest ship, Avalon Alegria in Pinhão, Portugal.

The former Saturday Night Live cast member, the ship's godmother, officially welcomed the ship to the fleet with a ceremony attended by cruise line executives, travel agents and media including Cruise Critic.

Oteri was selected as godmother because she embodies "happiness," the translation of the Portuguese word "alegria," the ship's name. The new godmother certainly represents that; she spent the short week sailing the new ship with guests and crew, mingling onboard and on shore excursions. (This is a rarity among godparents, who often show up for a ceremony and then quickly disappear.)

The event began in the ship's Panorama Lounge, decorated with flowers to celebrate the occasion.

Avalon Waterways President Pam Hoffee speaks ahead of Avalon Alegria's christening as godmother Cheri Oteri looks on. (Photo: Colleen McDaniel)

Avalon Waterways President Pam Hoffee kicked off the christening by talking about the great relationship the line has forged with Oteri.

In a nod to Oteri's arguably most-memorable SNL character, Spartan cheerleader Ariana to Will Ferrell's Craig, Hoffee called out: "Who's that Spartan christening this ship?"

Oteri, escorted on cue into the room by the ship's captain, responded, naturally (and unrehearsed), with, "It's me! It's me!" -- as Ariana does in the Spartan Spirit skits.

Hoffee thanked all the people who went into making the ship a reality, from partners to employees and, of course, guests.

Guests of Avalon Alegria brave the rain to watch the ship's christening. (Photo: Colleen McDaniel)

The procession then moved outside, where, despite the rain, the mood was sunny.

Oteri welcomed the ship to Avalon, saying, "Shine brightly on the river of Douro, Avalon Alegria."

Taking scissors from a silver platter, she cut a ribbon that sent a bottle of Champagne soaring, smashing successfully against the ship's hull. The comedian danced in celebration.

Following the naming, the event moved inside, where Oteri posed for photos with each passenger.

The newest ship brings the Avalon Waterways fleet to 19. The 262-foot, 102-passenger Avalon Alegria is the first of the line's "Suite Ships" to sail in Portugal. The Douro River is a popular itinerary in Portugal, especially for passengers who want to enjoy the region's famous port wine.

Publish date March 28, 2024
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