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80 Lisbon to Europe - River Cruise Reviews

I have sailed with Uniworld twice before and with Viking a few times. I chose this sailing because of the beauty of Portugal and the friendliness of its people. Although the scenery was lovely, people do need to understand that the ... Read More
I have sailed with Uniworld twice before and with Viking a few times. I chose this sailing because of the beauty of Portugal and the friendliness of its people. Although the scenery was lovely, people do need to understand that the regulations on the Douro only allow for sailing during daylight hours. This means very limited time in port and a lot of time on the ship. Also, except for Porto, the ship docks in the middle of nowhere. Thus, one of the joys of walking off a river cruise and into a city or town is nonexistent. There was a lot of bus travel. I believe this applies to all Douro River Cruises and none of that was a problem specific to Uniworld. Uniworld promotes itself as a luxury boutique line. It’s motto is “Nothing but the best for you” and you pay for that level of attention. The staff was lovely and the food was good. The problem lies with the ship. Uniworld is supposed to have another ship sailing this itinerary next year, but that didn’t help us. 1. The new reusable water bottles that were left on our bed we clearly used and contained liquid - one of them brown. 2. The sink had a large chip in it and a mess of caulk on the back. 3. We only had hot water about half the time. This was not just during busy times but at any time of the day. 4. We heard the sound of every toilet on the ship flushing in our cabin. Hard to believe, but true. More details in cabin review. All of this was reported to the manager. On seeing the condition of our sink, he offered to move us across the hall. He said he could move us to another level for another 1400€ each. We decided to stay. We did not yet know about the toilets. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The breakfast choices were not as expansive as other river cruises and coffee was poor. Lunch choices as well were limited. Dinner choices were limited and some menus were good but small portions with protein. Deserts were average in ... Read More
The breakfast choices were not as expansive as other river cruises and coffee was poor. Lunch choices as well were limited. Dinner choices were limited and some menus were good but small portions with protein. Deserts were average in taste. If you don’t upgrade to silver spirits your wine will be poor. The ship service was good with the exception of dinner. The staff was slim for this sitting. The ship is very sparse in decor and looked a little worn out. Excursions were good and tour guides had good expertise. However the excursions could have had better tours in many of the locations because they had great material. I didn’t like paying the tips in advance and then being asked to give additional tips. Before booking Viking look at all the additional charges for the options. I felt nickel and dimed!! The boat had a window boarded up during the cruise in the dinning room. Also the ventilation seemed poor. The Thermostat in the state room did not appear to work. WiFi is pretty poor. Entertainment was just poor in comparison to other river cruises. I don’t like hearing about the history of Portugal as entertainment. Also if I hear about cork again I may ask someone to cork it!!! Not sure that I will become a Viking groupie Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was a wonderful small-boat cruise on the Duoro river. We thoroughly enjoyed it. We were expecting some walking tours of the ports where we docked each day, but were almost always met by Viking buses that took us to other interesting ... Read More
This was a wonderful small-boat cruise on the Duoro river. We thoroughly enjoyed it. We were expecting some walking tours of the ports where we docked each day, but were almost always met by Viking buses that took us to other interesting sites in Portugal. It was a combination riverboat and bus tour. The buses were nice, but it seemed we spent a lot of time on them. One of the highlights was the Sandeman winery. We were re-introduced to Port wine, and have continued to indulge after our return home. Viking is very generous with the local wines at every lunch and dinner in the dining room. The Viking Torgil is a baby longboat with less than 100 passengers, so we got to meet all of the crew and most of the other passengers during our time on the boat. I was fascinated at how well organized was our passage through the Duoro river locks - five going upstream, and five returning downstream. The passengers were mostly post-retirement age, with no children at all on board. This was the oldest average age of any cruise we've been on. However, infirmity didn't seem to be an issue with any of the passengers, so embarkation and bus loading wasn't a problem. We did the pre-tour in Lisbon and the post-tour to Santiago Spain, and highly recommend both of these. The Tivoli Hotel was a bit of a walk to the city center near the waterfront, so we ended up eating a number of our meals in the hotel restaurants. The food was excellent, but I prefer dining at local restaurants when I can, rather than at the hotel. The Palacio del Carmen hotel in Santiago was very nice, but also a bit of a walk to the city center. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Cabin had sewer gas coming out of the shower drain. Made a terrible odor. Ship personnel knew about the situation but continued to book this and several others with the same issue. Apparently the sewer pipes gather under these cabins ... Read More
Cabin had sewer gas coming out of the shower drain. Made a terrible odor. Ship personnel knew about the situation but continued to book this and several others with the same issue. Apparently the sewer pipes gather under these cabins for the entire ship and the gases and odor rise up through the shower drains is several cabins on several decks. Ship was completely booked so no where to move us. We slept with the veranda doors open when we could.. The excursions were very interesting, The countryside was beautiful. As usual Viking did a great job on the food and entertainment. The pre-extension to Madrid was wonderful. It is such beautiful city. Lisbon and Fatima were equally impressive. The crew and staff of the ship did a great job making us feel welcome. They just could not overcome the unpleasantness of sleeping in our cabin each night with that horrible odor. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Friends had recommended the Douro cruise and we had enjoyed our 2 previous Viking cruises so we embarked on this holiday. We flew from London to Lisbon for a couple of lovely days and then took the coach to Porto for another couple of ... Read More
Friends had recommended the Douro cruise and we had enjoyed our 2 previous Viking cruises so we embarked on this holiday. We flew from London to Lisbon for a couple of lovely days and then took the coach to Porto for another couple of days. The outing to Guimares was wonderful. The cruise itself started the next day. The river is not long so 2.5 days to the Spanish border and 2.5 days back. The locks are fascinating - the boat just fits after the crew knock down the housing that will not go under the bridge! Excursions were interesting and enjoyable, particularly our day in Salamanca in Spain. All the travel arrangements were excellent, we met delightful people including 2 previous cruise friends. The food was excellent, the service good and a lovely atmosphere on board. Of course the weather helped - no rain and not too hot - lovely for cruising. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I had no expectation of the cruise before departure. Embarkation and disembarkation were very well processed. The entire cruise went like clock-work. The ship was very clean and cabins, restaurants, lounge are well configured. The ... Read More
I had no expectation of the cruise before departure. Embarkation and disembarkation were very well processed. The entire cruise went like clock-work. The ship was very clean and cabins, restaurants, lounge are well configured. The cabin was meticulously set out. There was nothing that was missing. All facilities were catered for. Dining areas were well equipped and dining staff were very attentive, friendly and helpful. Service provided was excellent and professional. Entertainment was pleasant and activities were well organised and sufficient given the timeframe. Excursions were interesting and the organisation of all excursions were well carried out with no fuss. All tour guides had a lot of knowledge on the places of interest and spoke very well. They were also very caring of elderly passengers and ensured groups were together at all times during the tours. My whole experience of the cruise will be remembered forever! The entire crew members made my trip very enjoyable, relaxing and memorable. I look forward to future cruises with Scenic. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Having already river cruised before with viking and knowing this itinerary was exactly what we wanted we had no hesitation in booking this holiday. We opted to do the pre cruise extension in Madrid and this proved to be another good ... Read More
Having already river cruised before with viking and knowing this itinerary was exactly what we wanted we had no hesitation in booking this holiday. We opted to do the pre cruise extension in Madrid and this proved to be another good choice as we got to know our small group of 16 other travelers well and they turned out to be our core group of friends for the rest of the trip. On transferring to Lisbon this group soon expanded and by the end of the holiday we were a very happy and integrated bunch on mainly British and American travelers. If you like meeting new people and seeing new places then this is a great way to do it. After a fascinating stop in Cohimbra we arrived in Porto and got promptly onto the viking Hemming and straight into our cabins. 36hrs later we were on our way. Sad to say it was all over too soon but everyone left with wonderful memories,new friendships and hundreds of photos.Oh and a number of bottles of the various drinks we had sampled along the way,and this was quite a few,all of which were splendid. I will leave it to others perhaps to describe in more detail the actual trip. My advice to first time cruisers (repeat cruisers will be aware of any downsides to any european river cruise ) is do some research and if you don't mind the multiple docking possibilities,bus rides to sights etc and if the thought still appeals then sailing on the viking Hemming won't disappoint. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Overall excellent service. Boarding was very smooth. we were the first to board. Rooms were smaller than other Uniworld boats. We were on the lower level. this boat had a wider wall than other boats. The boat did have a problem with ... Read More
Overall excellent service. Boarding was very smooth. we were the first to board. Rooms were smaller than other Uniworld boats. We were on the lower level. this boat had a wider wall than other boats. The boat did have a problem with a lack of hot water. cold showers were not pleasant. The water problem did seem to get better later in the cruise, but only for short showers. Food service started a little rough. I was served raw salmon, and my wife was served raw chicken. I think it took a little while for the cooks to get used to the ovens. The food overall was very good. The lunches were outstanding. Uniworld offers local foods, and the chef did a great job with them. The only other misstep was during a flaming salmon presentation. The fire unexpectedly jumped and caught two passengers on fire. one was singed, the other had the presence of mind to roll on the ground and escaped with minor injuries. The restaurant staff was fantastic. the really anticipated your needs. Service was always prompt and with a smile. Problems were handled very well. Bar staff was also very good. they remembered what you liked. The only drawback was Uniworld did not include the same high quality drinks as part of the all inclusive. Many other passengers and myself were surprised to find a 9 euro fee for Makers Mark. The wines and port served at dinner and in the bar were surprisingly good. Excursions were changed because of maintenance on a river lock. This changed our itinerary. Overall I thought Uniworld did a good job redoing our ports. Our favorite excursion was dinner at a winery. the owner was a real character. The Sandman port tour would have been better if more time was added to enjoy the grounds. Front desk staff were mostly outstanding. One new person was not up to speed yet, but was very friendly. Lounge entertainer was better than other Uniworld boats. the additional entertainers were ok. My favorite part was cruising by the vinyards. The landscape was beautiful.This is not a high activity cruise. It is a great cruse for someone who wants to relax and enjoy some nice wines Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I choose this cruise for a Christmas Holiday. It was disappointing because the schedule was changed do to the maintenance on the locks. This could not have been avoided. However, it make for a disappointing Christmas cruise. Instead of ... Read More
I choose this cruise for a Christmas Holiday. It was disappointing because the schedule was changed do to the maintenance on the locks. This could not have been avoided. However, it make for a disappointing Christmas cruise. Instead of visiting the Bakery on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas was a big let down. For Christmas day we just cruised back and forth. There was not any big celebration on this particular day. My husband hates bus tours and this trip it seemed like that was all we did. He was not happy and expressed his dissatisfaction to me daily. I kept apologizing to him. This made my vacation stressful. He does not want to take another cruise with Viking. This was our third cruise and he loved the first two. I do have to mention the crew was outstanding. The program director could have planned a little better for Christmas day since all we did was cruise up and down. The food was great. The room was great. The staff paid attention to detail. I love Viking because they take care of you from the time you book until the time you fly home. However, I am dealing with a husband that is not a happy customer. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Excellent cultural education. Excellent guides who knew their history and culture of the regions Cuisine was fabulous and often of the region we were visiting Crew was wonderful. All directions as to what to do and expect were ... Read More
Excellent cultural education. Excellent guides who knew their history and culture of the regions Cuisine was fabulous and often of the region we were visiting Crew was wonderful. All directions as to what to do and expect were detailed Ship was great 2 hotels were lovely first class. Airline travel totally arranged Stateroom was cleaned twice daily. There is absolutely nothing I can speak except high praise for this cruise and Viking. Our contractor Pamela Reible even made sure that we had staterooms near the couple with whom we were traveling as well as informing us how to arrange airline seating to be close together. She was fabulous, a wealth of information. The places the cruise arranged for us to visit were very educational culturally. The Viking guides were all very informative about everything we were seeing and every trip that we made in each port. Road travel from port to site was in very comfortabvle coaches. We hope to take many more Viking trips with our friends, in fact have already contracted for a 2020 River cruise. Our trips will always be with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We were traveling with a group of friends on a trip organized by a local vineyard wine club, of which we are members. This was our first European adventure and our first riverboat cruise, so we were very excited. Flying into Lisbon and ... Read More
We were traveling with a group of friends on a trip organized by a local vineyard wine club, of which we are members. This was our first European adventure and our first riverboat cruise, so we were very excited. Flying into Lisbon and having 3 days to explore the Portuguese capital city and acclimate to the time change was very well-planned. The Corinthia Hotel was outstanding and their included breakfast buffet was simply amazing. Our Uniworld hosts and tour guides were very impressive, experienced, friendly and helpful at every opportunity. Once we were transferred to Porto to board the Queen Isabel and embark on our tour of the Douro River Valley, we were once again very impressed with the ship and especially the staff members. Without exception, everyone we interacted with were overwhelmingly helpful and focused on quality guest service. Being on a small boutique cruise ship offered the opportunity to meet and interact with everyone onboard. We appreciated the personal interaction and familiarity we developed with the crew members. By the second day onboard, many were already greeting us by name! Simply amazing. Each day offered us different engaging adventures that were well-planned and enjoyable at every port of call. The onboard dining was simply outstanding and the entire dining room staff was always focused on providing great service to all guests. We also were amazed at the lounge staff, especially our favorite bartender, Alexandra. She was wonderful and by the end of the cruise, we felt as if we'd made a new friend! Ours was the final cruise of the 2018 season and we were consistently impressed with the pleasant interactions we experienced with everyone onboard and the friendly service we received, usually accompanied by a bright smile. Thanks to the entire staff and crew of the Queen Isabel for a relaxing and memorable vacation! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We watch some TV networks where Viking advertise all the time and we have always talked about a River Cruise. 2 years earlier on a Viking Ocean Cruise (Best cruises in the world) we met a couple that had done 7 River Cruises - they met us ... Read More
We watch some TV networks where Viking advertise all the time and we have always talked about a River Cruise. 2 years earlier on a Viking Ocean Cruise (Best cruises in the world) we met a couple that had done 7 River Cruises - they met us on this one. This was Viking Hemming Rivers of Gold and we spent 2 nights in Lisbon in a great hotel and then embarked The Hemming in Porto Portugal 2 days later. We had been advised that since we have done ocean cruises - on Viking - that we should be careful not to "compare" because they are different. I both agree and disagree with this statement. Yes, the river cruises are different in many ways, but the Viking service standard is what stood out as the same to the ocean cruises. The river ships are obviously smaller and on the Douro River it is an even shorter ship than the typical long ships in other European destinations, but the ship was great. It had all that we needed for sure. I think that one thing I will comment on is that Viking have their own busses in Lisbon and Portugal - every excursion that you go on during this cruise is on a Viking branded bus. Viking reconfigured these busses to have more leg room and they are beautifully clean and comfortable. The busses even have "emergency toilets" in them if you need... The hotel Tivoli in Lisbon was centrally located and everything that we wanted to see in central Lisbon was just out the door of the hotel. The hotel was welcoming and accommodating and had amazing staff, food, and overall service. I would not or could not ask for more in the hotel. Our luggage was expertly handled out of the hotel and on to the busses for our trip to Porto and our embarkation to the ship was fast and really simple and it was only a matter of minutes before our luggage was at our room. No the river ships do not have expansive gyms and spa facilities but that was not expected either on these ships. There is a walking track on the top deck and that was enough for sure. The staff were overall - awesome. From the welcome to the meals to the cabin service to the excursions... all was fantastic. Here is the kicker and what more than sealed the deal for us with Viking - not that we had not already voted Viking OUR favourite cruise line (we have two more booked and looking at another one now too...) We are Vegan. This is a choice that we make for health. We are not animal activists and we don't talk about it unless someone asks. I called Viking 90 days before as I was worried on the river ships that there would not be as much option for us as there are on the Ocean ships. Stay with me here because there is a good end... Viking's response to me was: "We don't do Vegan, but we can do Vegetarian." I did not fight them on this but asked if they can list us as Vegan non-dairy. They said they would. On embarkation we went to talk to the Maitre D (Gabor) and he was more than accommodating and asked us questions. Later we met the Chef (Pedro) and he as well was more than accommodating and asked us questions. We had the most fantastic experience from that point forward. Viking - Gabor and Pedro - wowed us daily. Each day Gabor would come to our table with a menu that had been "marked up" by the Chef and it listed what was already suitable for us, or what could be modified for us. In some circumstances the main course option did not have a modification option and in these circumstances Gabor would ask if we would trust the Chef to prepare something special for us. We agreed each time and the special preparation by the Chef and his team was exceptional. We were a group of 8 travelling together and most every meal we sat together. Our friends were actually jealous of what we were served many times... All in all - Gabor (Maitre D) and Pedro (Chef) and team went way over our expectations to accommodate us. For this we are so grateful and we will continue to rate Viking our highest travel experience because of this. Excursions - as we have mostly so far - we have always gone with the included excursions and we did on this cruise as well with the exception of one. We have always found the included excursions to be EXCELLENT and have not felt the need to pay for optional. It is not the cost, we are not trying to be cheap, we just feel that the included excursions are so well planned in content and activity that we don't need anything else. We also feel that the tour guides are more than expected on Viking cruises. Silver Spirits. We love wine and champagne. We are not satisfied with the daily house wines - not because they are not good choices, because they are. We don't like to be restricted to the 2 they have each day. On this cruise, we got our cost of Silver Spirits back in a couple of days just based on the Champagne we were drinking. (by the bottle) We highly recommend Silver Spirits. Entertainment. We were curious and anticipating the entertainment. On the river cruise, the entertainment is more "home grown" and although we had an excellent piano player every night and a couple of guest performers, most of the entertainment was directed by the staff and it was all quite fun and more intimate with the small group - 102 Guests. You will see below that the only elements that I am not giving "excellent" rating are the entertainment and the fitness and recreation. The entertainment just off the top rating because it was as I said above - home grown - but well done. The fitness I rated low because there was no real fitness or recreation available on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This was a huge celebration trip. Declared cancer free, 30th wedding anniversary, husband's 65th birthday, husband's retirement. We had a blast. Service, food, tours, amenities all up to our expectations and more. Our suite ... Read More
This was a huge celebration trip. Declared cancer free, 30th wedding anniversary, husband's 65th birthday, husband's retirement. We had a blast. Service, food, tours, amenities all up to our expectations and more. Our suite was wonderful with the balcony and plenty of space. Very clean and our room steward was excellent - as were all the crew! This is not a cruise for people with limited walking abilities. Portugal is VERY hilly and the footing of cobblestones is tough. I disagree with one review that says you spend more time on the bus than the boat. You have options. As we headed down the river we decided not to go on the tour and sailed all day on the bow with champagne, cheese, Iberian ham and yummy bread, we'd bought in Spain, and our books. We really got to see the river this way, experience the amazing scenery and going through the locks. We did this for two days and loved the experience. Whole ship to ourselves, pretty much. We went early November and it was cool and not very crowded - perfect time to travel. Can't wait to do another trip! Thanks Viking! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We really enjoyed this Viking River of Gold cruise along the Douro. We have travelled before with Viking as a few years ago we did the Yangtze River cruise which was amazing and so we expected a lot from Viking. We were not disappointed. ... Read More
We really enjoyed this Viking River of Gold cruise along the Douro. We have travelled before with Viking as a few years ago we did the Yangtze River cruise which was amazing and so we expected a lot from Viking. We were not disappointed. Everything was wonderful from start to finish. We flew from Heathrow to Lisbon on October 20th 2018 and spent 2 days there in the Tivoli Hotel. The hotel was about 10 minutes walk from the centre and was very good. In fact it was so good that the King of Belgium was staying there! Security was high but never affected our stay. The room was lovely as was breakfast. We had to provide our own dinners whilst in Lisbon but we were spoilt for choice by the many local restaurants. The first day we had a guided tour of Lisbon provided by Viking. Our first stop was Belem Tower and then on to Jeronimos Monastery where we arrived, of course, at the same time as the King of Belgium. Next we visited the Alfama old district of Lisbon and then had an afternoon’s free time.We really enjoyed Lisbon although it does not have the wow factor of a city such as Rome. The weather was warm and sunny. Left for Porto the next morning. This is a longish coach journey but we stopped at Coimbra and visited the oldest university in Portugal and then went for a great lunch accompanied by Faldo which is the local guitar music. Arrived at the Viking Osfrid at 4 o’clock. The ship is built especially to go through the locks on the Douro and is, therefore, quite small. There were 93 guests on board. Our cabin was also small but excellent. We had paid for a cabin with a French balcony which in hindsight was a mistake as we only opened the balcony window a few times and spent very little time in the cabin. We sailed along the Douro on the first evening and then back to our mooring. During our cruise we visited some wonderful places, drank lots of port (naturally) and ate great food. The food on board was all of a very high standard and was accompanied by wine at lunch and dinner. We did buy a drinks package although not many on board did but we like to drink a good quality wine at meals and we certainly had our money’s worth. I drank lots of Veuve Cliquot! Dinner was at 7.15 most evenings. The entertainment was low key but ideal for us. There was a pianist who played and sang but who also provided dance music later in the evening. I need to add though that there was often only a very few dancing. This isn’t a trip for a wild nightlife! Many people went to bed early although most took part in a Majority Rules quiz and a music quiz, nothing too demanding. We also had brief talks on our destinations and a demonstration on how to open a vintage port. I was a bit disappointed that people didn’t particularly get dressed up in the evenings. I don’t mean dinner jackets and cocktail dresses but that many didn’t even get changed for an evening. I am on holiday and like to get ready for dinner! The crew are all excellent and the service we had was first class. Viking usually use a system of gratuities paid in an envelope handed in at the end of the cruise but they are trialling a new system of adding the tips to your final bill. I like to tip individuals and so I took the gratuities off the bill and tipped separately. Yes I know all the arguments about tipping and I change my opinion on the best way to go all the time! The Douro is only a small river. The locks were amazing as was the scenery but the river can only get you to a limited number of places. This meant that we often went on quite long coach trips e.g Salamanca. It was certainly worth it. Viking try to ensure that you see the local life and culture. We visited port cellars, churches, villages and even a local bakery. We walked lots of cobbled streets and was glad of comfortable shoes. One evening was a Portuguese dinner and the crew all wore local costume. We added an extension visit to Santiago de Compostela and travelled by coach. There were only 10 of us who took this option. We left the ship at 9 o’clock and travelled by coach. As it is quite a long trip Viking as always make sure you get value for money and we stopped on the way to visit Bom Jesus and Braga. We arrived at Santiago at 5 o’clock and stayed in another lovely hotel. Our guide took us for a stroll to the cathedral to orientate us and showed us the main streets for restaurants. We loved our stay in Santiago visiting the cathedral and seeing the walking pilgrims. The only disappointment of this trip cannot be placed at the door of Viking, although if they had the power I am sure they would deal with it. The weather! We arrived in Lisbon to 25 degrees. The first few days were warm and sunny. I even went for a dip in the small but pleasant pool on the first day aboard. After that it was cold. Even very cold! 3 degrees one particular morning. Yes it did warm up to 10 degrees but I was completely unprepared for the weather. My research and according to Viking’s website said it would be low 20s although 50% chance of rain. I, along with most people on board, had packed the wrong sort of clothes. Those who had flown from snowy Canada and even America had warmer coats. The evening the Programme Director said to take gloves and scarves the next day was a bit of a shock. We were, however, very lucky and managed to avoid most of the rain. All in all this was a fantastic trip and I can thoroughly recommend Viking. Our fellow travellers had lots of recommendations for other trips with Viking. I would love to do a Viking Ocean Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This cruise is sold as Evergreen in Australia and is the "budget" line for Scenic. Not quite so plush and not all-inclusive. However it is a good choice for those who may not want to do all the tours (walking tours were included ... Read More
This cruise is sold as Evergreen in Australia and is the "budget" line for Scenic. Not quite so plush and not all-inclusive. However it is a good choice for those who may not want to do all the tours (walking tours were included as was a night at a winery) and a real highlight was Salamanca. The food is just as good as on any river cruise. I particularly enjoyed sampling the Portuguese choices on the menu and the Vino Verde. The entertainment (if you want this) is low key - mainly just a pianist though on one night there was a delightful duo playing music from around the world and I even got up to dance. The only negatives for me were: firstly all the mirrors on the ship (it is a house of mirrors) which were initially very disorientating and secondly we decided to take a cabin on the lower deck (104) because we thought it might be too chilly to use a balcony. (In fact it was VERY hot in Portugal!) The cabin was comfortable (as was the bed) and fitted out very well but had a smell of damp that was unpleasant. If you are going on this cruise you also need to be aware that you need to get in early to book anything popular such as the tile painting, visit to the Mateuse Palace etc and alternative activities for onboard activities aren't available which is disappointing. Maria, our cruise director was delightful, as were all the Portuguese crew. They were perhaps the most friendly crew we have encountered and were wonderful ambassadors for Portugal. They were also very well organised. I loved the Douro, and would advise one of the upper decks with a balcony is worth the extra money. Just as an aside, we found the average age on the cruise somewhat older than we expected - more late 70s than the 50s to 60s that we were expecting but a nice mix of nationalities. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This cruise was part of a 21 day Lisbon to Nice Package put together by Emerald / Evergreen as it’s known in Australia.. So this will be a trip report and review on the boat itself.. We arrived in Lisbon a day early, which I ... Read More
This cruise was part of a 21 day Lisbon to Nice Package put together by Emerald / Evergreen as it’s known in Australia.. So this will be a trip report and review on the boat itself.. We arrived in Lisbon a day early, which I recommend..Evergreen ( E) still picked us up from the airport ...there were three couples doing that... so when we got out through customs we found the Emerald sign very easily, no Driver just the sign. So the six of us just waited until he had a cigarette or whatever it was he was doing, he showed up after about 10 minutes and drive us to the Jupiter Lisboa Hotel . the other two couples, of course had a room ready for them but not us.Anyway we just went for a walk and enjoyed ourselves ,and after an hour or so, we got our room and it was worth the wait because it sounds like we got a better room than they did. Our room was a very good size with a French balcony that opened slightly to let the fresh Air in, and in the days, following allowed our clothes to dry . The next day I had pre-booked a Viator Day trip to sintra and cascais... this cost about $78 Australian each for a 8 to 9 hour trip that went so many places and saw so much . Far more extensive than the evergreen 3 1/2 hour trip to Sintra that was available the following day. . When we arrived back to the hotel after our day trip ,the foyer was full of Evergreen people having drinks and making their way into have dinner. This was very nice and it was then that we found out that most of these people had been on a land content trip with Evergreen prior to this and this was the last part of their trip . I did hear some grumblings from these people that they felt like they were being forgotten or left out because Evergreen was concentrating on the new customers now but I did not see any evidence of that . The dinner at the Jupiter hotel was very nice it was a buffet and gave everybody a chance to meet each other have a drink and retire for the night. So the next few days were spent on a half day trip around Lisbon that was included ,which was really good and just walking around ourselves enjoying things . Hotel it self was not particularly that close to the waterfront but there is so much to see around and easy to get to the waterfront that it’s not a problem, but it’s a beautiful hotel . So on Saturday, 8 September we all have to pack to leave ,some going home and some going on a bus to Porto to meet this boat. We stopped at a place for a comfort stop and snack and then later on at lunch at a place called Nazare.. I did hear the usual whingeing from people about why aren’t we getting to the boat quicker but it’s a reasonable drive and obviously the people in Porto want to clean and turn over the boat ready for us and so would prefer us to be a little later . So later in the afternoon we drove through the streets and down to the river and we could see the boat which looked really nice and staff waiting for us at the front. We got off and were excourted to our allocated rooms, then we had a briefing and a buffet dinner . the buffet dinner was excellent, , and we got to meet the other people that were already on the boat that were just doing the seven days on the Porto or joining the boat from other tours . So back to our room and we had room 216 in the middle deck. As I am a person that does their research, I knew exactly what the room would look like and the size so there was no surprises, probably that it was slightly bigger than I had expected. I did expect that it is a narrow walkway between the bed to get into the bathroom ,but that’s okay not a problem for us ,but the balcony area was slightly bigger than I had expected. I did notice that some people said that they were disappointed that it wasn’t a true balcony and when I asked them if they had bothered to look at the brochures or even do any research, the answer was no ,so I just thought they were stupid to be honest. As the brochure says, it is a drop-down window, that you can lean out and have a look if you like, get plenty of fresh air and if you hang your clothes in front of the window like I did they were dry in a day. There is plenty of hanging space, it doesn’t look much, but there was enough for us ...enormous amount of drawers for your clothes, plenty of bench space and the walls are metal, so I took magnetic hooks and clips and hang things up from the walls above the TV ,to free up the bench space.. The rooms are minimalist and very comfortable, the bed is very comfortable too ,so together with the small but functional bathroom that had shelves built into the walls ,we were very happy.It had a mini bar, which I filled with some wine that I had bought at Lisbon but didn’t drink.. I enjoyed it sitting in my room watching the world go by. The ship it self is like the rooms, very minimalist and lots of mirrors everywhere so it looks extremely clean, tidy and spacious. .I did notice that the glass doors that went to the restaurant or the bar area, were always kept open so there was no accidents of people walking into them. The bar area, where all the port talks and entertainment were, has the bar in the middle and people complained in previous reviews about not being able to see anything, but I did not find that to be the case, as there were TVs that broadcast all the talks around the rooms, so it was very easy to see what was going on. On the Top deck there was the pool and lots and lots of chairs and tables for people to sit , which was lovely. The pool is not deep, if you sit in the water it will lap at your chest and it’s just beautiful to sit there in the afternoon and watch the Vineyards and beautiful Quintas float past. The first night in Porto, just before the sun set, we did a cruise by the Porto area under some bridges and back and watched all the lights turn on in the city which was lovely and also the start of the sunset which was beautiful.. In the mornings there was stretching classes but the only stretching I did was stretching my arm out to the breakfast buffet ,which I enjoyed at the front of the ship in the bar area ,where a light breakfast was put out every morning for those up Early or just wanting a simple breakfast. There was a coffee machine in this area and also a coffee machine at the other end of the bar set up with beautiful teas, coffees, hot chocolate’s, biscuits etc..Next to this area is a small alcove that houses some games, some books, magazines ,daily printouts of news from different countries and also somewhere where you can put your excursion listening device and hear a running commentary about what we’re passing on the river. We had an early introduction to all the staff, they all look very nice, they are all Portuguese and seem to get on well together . Our tour director was Elizabeth who was quite funny and very good and the hotel manager was Manuel, also a very friendly man although I found him a little hard to understand sometimes . I have done and Amsterdam to Bucharest River cruise and really did not expect much from the Portugal one. I just thought it would be relaxing but not as picturesque but I was wrong ,both my husband and I really enjoyed the Portugal scenery ,it’s different but just really nice and it’s a shame that the river is so short because I would’ve loved to have spent longer on there.. we only did the excursions that were provided by Evergreen, did not bother with any extra ,as we were quite happy with the ones that we got. we enjoyed the museums that we saw which quite frankly I thought would be boring but again I was wrong, we enjoyed going to Salamanca in Spain and the two hour bus trip getting there and back was not a problem. I can’t understand people complaining about this because there was so much to see on the road and we had some stops and I would say 90% of the people had a snooze on the bus coming back Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We enjoyed the Viking River of Gold trip but would rate this a 3.8-4.0 versus other European river cruises. Sightseeing in Lisbon and Porto was pleasant and interesting but not at the level of other major capitals. The Douro River valley ... Read More
We enjoyed the Viking River of Gold trip but would rate this a 3.8-4.0 versus other European river cruises. Sightseeing in Lisbon and Porto was pleasant and interesting but not at the level of other major capitals. The Douro River valley was delightful, scenic and quiet but devoid of sightseeing. Side trips to small towns and historic sites required lengthy bus time. Highly recommend the add-on trip to Santiago de Compostela for its historic significance and architectural beauty. Also enjoyed the visit to Salamanca. Note that Viking hotel stays were excellent. Staff and guides were top notch. As for the dining room, food and service was certainly good but not great (if you want fabulous dining take Tauck). In general I would recommend taking all the other river cruises first (Danube, Rhine, Rhone) which have superior sightseeing itineraries and save the Douro for last if you enjoy the river cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Poor expensive cruise on the Duoro River, Portugal 1. Food of poor quality -first night I had grilled prawns which were focally raw in the cehter. I think they grill without thoroughly defrosted the prawns. -last night, it was ... Read More
Poor expensive cruise on the Duoro River, Portugal 1. Food of poor quality -first night I had grilled prawns which were focally raw in the cehter. I think they grill without thoroughly defrosted the prawns. -last night, it was chateaubriand. It was sliced, and seemed to be microwaved! No taste and tough. -at lunch, canned sardines were served! -cake/custard dessert was partly frozen in the center, crunchy with ice crystals. -lots of cheap wine (3/4 euros a bottle). Make you drunk so you can forget the bad food. -we were served cheap white port mixed w tonic water and ice. The last day we were served 10 year old late vintage port, not real vintage port, although they opened a bottle of vintage port. However they did not served that to us, but to the maitre D and other staff only! We thought that being on the wine region, we would be having meals in the vineyards, but we had only eaten in the vineyard once. It was the only decent meal. 2. Servers were inexperienced -I was drenched in orange juice by the server once, and sprinkled in beer a second time. The ship even had the nerve to bill me for laundry of my soiled clothing. Adding insult to injury! -On the whole, they crew try to be helpful, except one bar tender, Marcio, who has a racist attitude. There were only a handful of non-whites on board. Initially I kept this to myself. Later independently, another non-white mentioned the same thing to me! 3. facilities The "swimming pool" is only a one foot deep kiddie pool. I was the only one who tried to swim before realizing the actual depth. Nobody else used it. Might as well eliminate this useless decoration! No fitness facilities. 4. Don't use their air service. They will put you on the cheapest way possible, except if you want to get more miles. E.g. flying back from Porto to LA, they fly you first to Frankfurt, then Vancouver, then LA! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
After a wonderful stay in Lisbon, we transferred to Porto, where we boarded the Osfrid. This boat cruised across Portugal on the Douro River to the border with Spain. The voyage certainly met Viking's high standards for service, ... Read More
After a wonderful stay in Lisbon, we transferred to Porto, where we boarded the Osfrid. This boat cruised across Portugal on the Douro River to the border with Spain. The voyage certainly met Viking's high standards for service, fine food, and comfort. This was our seventh river cruise with Viking and they do a consistently excellent job. Anyone who fancies fine wine should consider this cruise - there were winery visits in every stop. The cabins tend to be small, but the food is excellent. The enrichment lectures about llocal customs and culture were interesting. At the conclusion of this voyage, we took the optional extension to Santiago de Compostela, which we thought was exceptional. We enjoyed the various parts of Portugal a lot more than we expected to. In the past ten years, we have visited more then 110 countries and we had not previously had a high interest in Portugal, but we found the country interesting and the people very friendly and hospitable. We highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Have taken several European river cruises but had never been to Portugal or on Uniworld. Trip started on land in Lisbon. The Corinthia Hotel was excellent. Our U host recommended a walk to tour the Gulbenkian Museum for our spare time. ... Read More
Have taken several European river cruises but had never been to Portugal or on Uniworld. Trip started on land in Lisbon. The Corinthia Hotel was excellent. Our U host recommended a walk to tour the Gulbenkian Museum for our spare time. Outstanding art collection including masters Rembrandt, Renoir, Monet, etc. Next day we opted for an optional tour to the National Palace, Sintra and another palace and the seaside town of Cascais. Worth taking. Then the journey to Porto to meet our ship. Stopped to have a nice Portugal family country style lunch at a restaurant frequented by 3 other tours. No criticism; loved the lunch. Then onto the old University of Coimbra, its St Michaels chapel and the fascinating old library. Like all ships on the Douro river the Queen Isabel is by necessity undersized. Our cabin was necessarily very small but somehow the shower was big enough. One criticism of Uniworld's Queen Isabel was that the lounge was dark and they kept shades drawn too much of the day. I missed the open, all windows lounge on Viking. A small ship size issue was only one public bathroom. Made departure day after breakfast coffee problematic as your rooms are unavailable after 8 AM. Suggest they leave the 2 adjacent to lobby cabins open to the public at departure and then clean them last. Loved Porto and our tour of the city. Train station with blue Portugese tiles was interesting. Meals were excellent. Lunch buffets were outstanding in variety and quality. Service was timely and effective. Some swelling of ankles from all the salt used in Portuguese cooking. My favorite tour was the Côa Valley Archaeological Park visit. Some climbing down & up but fine for folks without mobility issues. Pictures of various animals from 20,000 to 30,000 years ago carved into the rocks. Beautiful new museum. The Douro river is surrounded by green. Mostly wineries but some wild areas. Very pleasing scenery vs industrialized European rivers. Loved the views. A very pretty cruise. I'd gladly book another cruise on Uniworld. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was our fourth Viking cruise and I think they just get better and better. Embarkation was so impressive! Seriously, I thought it would be a long process, but we walked aboard the boat, was immediately greeted by a person that took us ... Read More
This was our fourth Viking cruise and I think they just get better and better. Embarkation was so impressive! Seriously, I thought it would be a long process, but we walked aboard the boat, was immediately greeted by a person that took us straight to our stateroom, handed us keys and showed us how to work everything. Our luggage was delivered in minutes. We had a Veranda Suite (#204), which we've had before but this one had a walk in closet!!! Loved our little rooms. Didn't fall in love with Lisbon (so much graffiti) but loved the cruising part of the cruise through lush, green, vineyard covered regions. Great little ports along the way and knowledgeable tour guides every place we went. We were on the same bus, with the same people, same driver and Viking escort everyday, which made it very simple and not confusing. Breakfast was my favorite, always so good with plenty of choices. Didn't enjoy the dinners near as much as previous Viking cruises but it was okay, nothing memorable. The service from each department was first class. No complaints about a single staff member. David Wonder, the cruise director, was incredible and we even had the privilege of having him for our Viking escort each day. That kid will go far in life and really should be aboard one of Viking's ocean liners just so more people and be in awe of his knowledge. We haven't been on a mega cruise ship (we've sailed 16 times on them) since our first cruise with Viking and we won't return to that style of cruising. I highly recommend everyone try river cruising. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was out 5th cruise with Uniworld and the previous 4 were great. We were looking forward to seeing Portugal with same quality. Unfortunately, we were disapppomted. Many of the tours Included excessive free/shopping time, and the meals ... Read More
This was out 5th cruise with Uniworld and the previous 4 were great. We were looking forward to seeing Portugal with same quality. Unfortunately, we were disapppomted. Many of the tours Included excessive free/shopping time, and the meals were below the standard that we had come to expect. There was an emphasis on Portuguese food, but it was not planned with an appropriate consideration for the tastes of the non-Portuguese clientele. Hot food was often served warm or cold. There were many times where tours could have been expanded and where experts could have been brought on board during sailing times to improve the quality of the experience while providing better insight to Portuguese history, culture, and customs. Outstanding service and staff support helped to offset some of the problems. We thoroughly enjoyed our trips on the Rhine and in France and are looking forward to a trip in the fall to Italy. Overall, while I would still recommend Uniworld, I cannot recommend this particular trip. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise specifically to experience the Douro river valley and vineyards. Unfortunately, this cruise was not an ideal way to do so. The navigable part of the river is relatively short, two days of cruising each way. To make ... Read More
We chose this cruise specifically to experience the Douro river valley and vineyards. Unfortunately, this cruise was not an ideal way to do so. The navigable part of the river is relatively short, two days of cruising each way. To make up the additional time Viking starts the trip with a full day in Lisbon followed by a full day riding a bus to Porto to meet the ship. You spend another full day in Porto before the ship sails. That leaves five days on the river, or so it would seem. The daily tours involve riding a bus to the attraction and then meeting the ship at a different location so you have about half a day of cruising. The third day is an all day excursion to Salamanca, Spain; two hours on the bus each way and returning to the ship at the same location. The following day is another long bus ride to visit Favois and long stop for lunch at a vineyard and a bus ride to catch up to the ship at Pinhao (or in our case, Regua). The last day is a morning bus trip and finally a long cruise from Regua back to Porto. If you really want to experience the Douro river valley consider renting a car and staying in the small hotels along the way. The roads are excellent and you'll see much more of the local culture on your own. All this having been said, Viking does provide excellent service and accommodations. The veranda suite we booked included laundry service and complimentary mini-bar. The crew was attentive, program director terrific, and the chef presented excellent regional menu choices every day. Considering we were in a wine region, the daily offerings of wine were particularly disappointingly dull. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
My wife and I booked the Portugal's Rive of Gold (booking No 483693). We flied 21 hours from Australia to join the river cruise. On the first embarkation day, we were told that one of the engine failed. As a result, the river cruise ... Read More
My wife and I booked the Portugal's Rive of Gold (booking No 483693). We flied 21 hours from Australia to join the river cruise. On the first embarkation day, we were told that one of the engine failed. As a result, the river cruise turned into coach tours, and the ship Osfrid became our hotel. At first, a coach took us to Caldas De regos, a Portugal small town where the ship had docked. On the following days, we had to travel on the winding hill road 4 to 7 hours a day, and hurried back to sleep in the vessel. One day, the coach's air-condition stopped working at the inside temperature as hot as 84'F(29"C). We were very sick while one guest started vomiting. Meanwhile our veranda cabin 203 was on the middle deck, diesel stink and engine noise annoyed us all the times. We are totally dissatisfied with this cruise, and request for compensation. Although the manager promised at the meeting that their customer relations would contact us on this issue soon, we have not heard from them. We sent an email to Viking, there is no any response. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Horrible guide, dreadful cruise experience as we were not on ship--long bus trips, guide did not give information or attend to our comfort, safety or try to give us a good experience. The food on the ship was wonderful, the people on the ... Read More
Horrible guide, dreadful cruise experience as we were not on ship--long bus trips, guide did not give information or attend to our comfort, safety or try to give us a good experience. The food on the ship was wonderful, the people on the ship were wonderful, but 4 days out of 7, no sailing, and the promised excursions mostly did not happen. Instead we got long bus rides to second or third rate destinations, and, most importantly, NO GUIDES!!! The guides waited by the busses, chatting, and left us to find our own way. Silent or chatted with the drivers during the drives. One guest fell land broke her arm, another was left behind when she could not find her way to the bus in time. The guide made strange choices--walking us up long outside staircases by parking garages instead of into main entrances off main streets, putting us in hotels with no porters and not helping with luggage, even for the lady with the broken arm--just generally glad to be home! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018

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