• Two new river cruise ships have just been christened on Portugal’s Douro River by Hollywood actresses. Sharon Stone christened AMAWaterways’ newest vessel, the AmaVida, and Audie MacDowell did the honors for Uniworld Boutique River Cruises’ new Queen Isabel. Both ships entered service last month.
• Another new river ship, the Avalon Artistry II, debuted in Holland last week, and Avalon Waterways will christen still another river ship, the Avalon Expression, next month.
• Princess Cruises will base its 2,670-passenger Sapphire Princess in Singapore for four months in 2014-15 to make 15 roundtrip sailings of various durations, calling at a total of 16 ports. The extended stay in Singapore will be a first for a premium cruise line, according to CEO Alan Buckelew.
• Lindblad Expeditions has acquired an Australian small-ship operator, Orion Expedition Cruises, and will rename that line’s 102-passenger Orion in March of 2014 as the National Geographic Orion. The ship will continue to be based in Sydney.
HERE AND THERE
Country music fans: The Norwegian Pearl will host a Country Cruising sailing from Miami on Jan. 12 featuring Tracy Atkins, Montgomery Gentry, Wynonna, Neal McCoy, Love and Theft, Craig Morgan, Lonestar and others. Prices for the seven-night cruise start at $979. 800-248-7471, www.countrycruising.com. … Passengers traveling alone on Crystal ships will get a good deal on 26 voyages from June to December, paying a supplement of only 10 percent to occupy a double-occupancy stateroom, a much lower rate than usual. … Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 will mark its 200th Atlantic crossing with special activities during its July 5 sailing. … Following the success of its first “Signature Sailings” last year, Oceania Cruises is expanding the program this year to eight special sailings that will feature celebrity chefs, wine and culinary experts, guest lecturers, musical artists and bridge tournaments.