We just returned from the Douro River Cruise with Uniworld and we would give this cruise 5 stars if we could! First of all, we flew into Lisbon and spent 3 nights in the Tiara Hotel, which we thought was beautiful. The local coordinator Petra and her assistant Isabell were our guides for Lisbon and from Lisbon to the ship. We opted to take the optional tour to Sintra the second day and would highly recommend it. We learned the first night that our ship was unable to reach Porto for us to board because the lock the ship had to travel through to get there was having a "small problem", so the day from Lisbon to the ship we were on the bus an hour longer than it would have been and that was a long day, but Uniworld gave everyone on board $250 credit for any future river cruise through 2016 for any inconvenience. The cabins are small because the locks are smaller that the other European rivers. The ships can only travel from port to port during the day and that provides a great opportunity to see the beautiful countryside. The ride to Salamanca was 2 hours each way, but again - the scenery is beautiful. The Flamenco show was terrific. Another highlight was dinner at Quinta Da Avessada.
Uniworld is "all inclusive" and they mean what they say. You are not charged for any alcohol you order during the day, for lunch or for dinner. After dinner, when you go to the lounge to listen to the music, they meet you at the door with a nice glass of Port.
If there are any negatives to speak of - the small cabins would be one (but again that is due to the size of the locks). We had a "French Balcony" which is not a "French Balcony" but a patio door. The dining room in the evenings when everyone is having dinner is extremely noisy due to the low ceilings. Breakfast and lunch buffets were very good with many choices, but the evening meals did not live up to Uniworld's standards. Plus one evening after a long day of touring - the meal was another buffet. Our opinion is that all evening meals should be sit down meals.
The Douro is now our new favorite river in Europe. Portugal is beautiful, the people are lovely and we would highly recommend this river cruise. Our thoughts were that after the word gets out - this itinerary will be high on everyone's Bucket List.
This is our 4th river cruise and second one with Uniworld.