Avalon Waterways has announced the launch of its first-ever river vessel in Portugal. The 102-passenger "Suite Ship" launches in 2024 to sail on the Douro. Purpose-built to sail on the "River of Gold", Avalon Alegria will be a smaller version of the line's mainstream European ships and feature all the same amenities and excursion options.
Avalon Alegria is one of Avalon Waterways' "Suite Ships" with Panorama Suites featuring wide wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows that drop down to create what the line describes as an inside "open-air balcony". This design offers more cabin space than staterooms with walk-out verandas that might be little used.
Additionally, in a break from the norm, beds in these suites are all river-facing so passengers can make the most of the passing views while resting.
Avalon Alegria has 37 Panorama Suites, which measure 200 square feet and are located on the uppermost Royal and Sapphire Decks. There are 14 Deluxe Staterooms, ranging in size from 172 to 180 square feet, which are situated on the lower Indigo Deck. These cabins have fixed windows which do not open.
Public areas include an observation lounge, situated forward on the uppermost Royal Deck. This area also includes the casual Panorama Bistro, one of the three dining venues. The main dining room is located on the middle Sapphire Deck and the Sky Grill, on the sun deck, offers al fresco dining in fine weather. The ship also has a smaller Club Lounge situated aft on the Royal Deck.
There is an elevator to all floors except for the sun deck which is accessed by stairs.
Avalon Waterways was one of the pioneers of active river cruising and offering passengers a choice of included and optional excursions. This philosophy has been extended to its new Douro itineraries which will feature the line's signature Classic -- included in the fare --Discovery and Active shore tours.
Shore tours in Porto include a guided bike ride along the quaysides of the Douro. Immersive excursions include food and wine tastings, learning to bake traditional Portuguese pastries and a visit to one of the Douro Valley’s oldest farms with a stop to sample local foods. There is also a hands-on craft class where passengers can join a professional painter to create one of the traditional blue and white azulejos tiles seen throughout Portugal.
The ship also has a gym and adventure center, with complimentary equipment available to borrow such as Nordic walking poles, and an onboard adventure host to assist with active excursions and onboard fitness classes and activities.
The ship will debut on March 31, 2024, and sail on the 10-night Vida Portugal: Vineyards & Villages Along The Douro itinerary which features a three-night hotel stay in Lisbon followed by a week-long round-trip Porto cruise.
The ship will sail on a classic seven-night Douro cruise from Porto to the Spanish border and back with ports of call including Regua, Pocinho and Aregos. Additionally, there is a 10-night itinerary that includes three nights in the Portuguese capital Lisbon. All sailings include a day trip to the Spanish city of Salamanca.
The ship measures 262 feet and carries 102 passengers at full occupancy with 33 crew.