Cruise Critic staffers set sail every week, traveling the globe to bring you the latest cruise ship trends, port sneak peeks and onboard observations. Here’s where we are this week.
(Got questions about any of the ships we’re boarding or ports we are visiting? Ask us in the comments!)
Ship: AmaWaterways’ AmaVida
Where: The Douro River in Portugal and Spain
Who: Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief
Why There? One of Europe’s relatively off-the-track rivers, the Douro is increasingly popular for cruise lines such as Viking River, Uniworld, CroisiEurope, Vantage, and of course AmaWaterways, among others. In our Why Go There: 8 Reasons To Cruise Along the Douro River, we cite highlights such as exploring Porto’s port houses, visits to pilgrimage sites, a foray to Spain’s UNESCO World Heritage city of Salamanca, and fortified, medieval villages.
We Can’t Wait: If all the above isn’t enough of a lure, we’ll add this: The scenery along the river is said to rival if not exceed the Danube and others for sheer beauty. This particular sailing is one of AmaWaterways’ celebrated wine cruises; the special guest will be Christopher Silva, who’s president and CEO of Sonoma County’s St. Francis Winery and Vineyards. We anticipate tasting California cabs and zinfandels, along with learning much about Portugal’s famed port.
Want to come along? Join us as we report from AmaVida and the Douro along the way, Internet permitting, from our river forum. As well, this week’s Cruise Critic Live! “live chat” will feature as our special guest AmaWaterways’ Kristin Karst, who is happy to answer questions about the Douro region — or, frankly, any river cruise itinerary from Europe to Africa to Asia. Please drop by Thursday at 1 p.m. Eastern to take part. Can’t make it then? Post questions beforehand.