Sail Date: October 2018
The ship is stunning and very well laid out. There is a large lounge and the sun deck has ample space for all 100 guests and has a (0.7 metre deep) pool. Cabins are a good size, well-appointed, and comfortable, but with no-where to sit, ... Read More
The ship is stunning and very well laid out. There is a large lounge and the sun deck has ample space for all 100 guests and has a (0.7 metre deep) pool. Cabins are a good size, well-appointed, and comfortable, but with no-where to sit, except for the balcony. There are no cabin Tea or Coffee facilities, although there is a 24 hour coffee & snack station outside the restaurant. Our cabin steward was probably the best that we have ever had, and we appreciated the Towel Elephant & Duck. The restaurant has plentiful selection of food, but with a variable quality. Breakfast is the most disappointing, with no freshly squeezed juices, poor fresh fruit and warm cooked food. The Eggs Benedict was my favourite choice, always piping hot and tasty. The Omelettes & Eggs were cooked fresh and looked good.Cremated Bacon was supplied for our American cousins. Wine was free-flowing, but sometimes they needed a little encouragement. There was a good Port Talk each evening before Dinner and the obligatory Newsletter, both of which were really helpful. Most of the Shore Excursions were really good, especially Salamanca and Lamego. Otheres were 'average' or 'poor'. Paid for ones were always excellent. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
The Douro river was one of the ones on our "to do" list we had yet to experience so we chose this one by Viking. My wife and I had travelled with Viking 5 times before so we knew their strengths - and their weaknesses. Their ... Read More
The Douro river was one of the ones on our "to do" list we had yet to experience so we chose this one by Viking. My wife and I had travelled with Viking 5 times before so we knew their strengths - and their weaknesses. Their organisation is usually brilliant and this trip was no exception. We were all asked to wear stick-on Viking badges on exiting Lisbon airport arrivals so we were spotted immediately and directed towards two more Viking reps. Our luggage was taken from us and we were whisked to the Tivoli hotel, probably one of the best in Lisbon, where we were due to spend two nights. There was an included coach tour in Lisbon and we were given plenty of free time to ourselves. No meals were included apart from breakfast and this was superb. After our second night we were taken with our luggage to Porto, where we were to embark our ship. I really must say this was one of the best coaches in which I have travelled, with on board wifi and masses of legroom. The driver, in fact every driver of every coach we used, was so considerate for our comfort. There was a stop in Coimbra en route where we had a splendid lunch with entertainment. Unfortunately, as we were to discover, it was probably the best meal we were going to get for the next week - on the ship at any rate. On arrival at Porto we joined our ship. First great surprise - we were given a cabin upgrade. Details about the cabin follow. One slight downside about an upgrade is that your cases are fitted with the original labels so there was a small delay before they arrived but it gave us a chance to explore the ship. First impressions were very good although it was obvious that there wasn't much to do on board. There was a small putting green and a pool measuring five metres by three and 0.7 metres deep. That might sound useless but it was equipped with a powerful pump and I found you could swim against the pump indefinitely - or at least until your stamina ran out. The temperature was 32°C. After settling in we had dinner - the first of many disappointing ones. There was nothing on the menu I particularly fancied so I settled for the available everyday steak. It was only partly edible, containing far too much fat and gristle. That happened all too often throughout the cruise and I think I saw only one person who managed to eat the whole of his. Breakfast next day was also disappointing when I saw the poor choice of cereals. Muesli was available but only as the Bircher variety. A very nice banana pancake was on the menu but if you ask for it be prepared to wait for anything up to 20 minutes for it. Oh, and if you are kept waiting don't mention it to the staff - they don't like it one bit. Throughout the cruise we had a number of included tours but I found most of them boring. The saving grace was the scenery. I've travelled a fair bit and I found the Portuguese countryside amongst the most spectacular I've seen. One particular trip was over 9 hours long which was just too much. The trips are optional, of course, even though you've effectively paid to go on them, and a few people decided to stay on the ship. I wish I'd done so once or twice. There were a few lectures and demonstrations on board during the cruise. How much you would like these would depend on your interests but I enjoyed the one given by the head chef on how to make Pastel de Nata. Evening entertainment was pretty dire. I just had to walk out on one (claimed) musical group. There was one quiz evening run, not particularly well, by cruise director Matthew. At the end of the cruise you are asked to complete questionnaires. These are written so badly that I refused to fill mine in. So many of the options were not applicable. We were asked to comment on our Cruise Director. The problem was that there was more than one so how are you supposed to answer that? The one who accompanied us on all our tours, Henry, was superb. Another one, Matthew, probably the senior one, I found uninformative and not nearly as amusing as he seemed to think he was. The one thing he was good at was touting for tips and this if one of the worst features of every Viking cruise I've been on. In Russia the recommended rate was an obscene $25 per person per day. Even in the Grill Suites on Cunard's Queens the rate is only $13 per day. Here there was a more or less compulsory 15 euros per day added to every guest's bill and Matthew was still suggesting we give more. Tipping is the subject of many conversations at the end of any Viking cruise and most guests seem to dislike the current situation. I have a suggestion for Viking. I used to go to a restaurant and the following was written on the menu: "Our staff are adequately remunerated and no additional gratuity is expected or should be given. Your simple thanks are enough." If Viking would do this I would be delighted, even if it added £100 to £200 to the upfront cost of the cruise. It would cut out all the uncertainly and the constant fishing for change at the end of every excursion. Overall, though, I'm glad I took the cruise. I liked the ship and I loved the scenery and you couldn't fault most of the staff. The food seemed to disappoint nearly everyone and I can't remember any cruise I've been on, river or sea, where it has been so dull. I suggest you research the places you are going to visit on the excursions and see if they are really for you. There are plenty of Douro cruises to choose from so it might be prudent to shop around if you are thinking of doing one especially if the food is important to you Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
Past cruises were on Viking. We are spoiled, we wouldn't choose any other. The hotel in Lisbon was first class and the little outdoor market yielded some unusual treasures.Our cabin was fine and ingeniously designed, although we ... Read More
Past cruises were on Viking. We are spoiled, we wouldn't choose any other. The hotel in Lisbon was first class and the little outdoor market yielded some unusual treasures.Our cabin was fine and ingeniously designed, although we missed having a chair - something that was provided on previous cruises. Having a veranda is great for relaxing and watching the scenery. The dining is exquisite, with many many menu choices. The service is excellent. Waiters and waitresses go out of their way to be of assistance. The shore excursions were fine, and Fatima and Our Lady of Remedies were particularly appealing. There was one very scary trip up a mountainside and I think the cruise director should warn people ahead of time that it will be alarming. Many of us were unnerved, some to the point that they did not want to go back down. Anyone who is afraid of heights would be terrified. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose to sail Viking's Douro River after talking with a member of Viking's staff on our last cruise in Bordeaux. She said the fall was a fantastic time to visit Portugal. She was correct. We began our trip in Madrid 3 ... Read More
We chose to sail Viking's Douro River after talking with a member of Viking's staff on our last cruise in Bordeaux. She said the fall was a fantastic time to visit Portugal. She was correct. We began our trip in Madrid 3 days earlier on a pre-trip extension. Madrid is very modern and easy to get around on ones own. Viking's representative met us everyday and gave us ideas and tips for things to do. We would recommend the optional "Tapas Tour in Madrid" and the optional day trip to "Toledo". The Intercontinental Hotel in Madrid was near the Metro and several tasty restaurants. The included breakfast was great. We left very early on day 4 to meet the rest of Viking's passengers in Lisbon. We arrived at 7am at our hotel, the Trivoli. Of course the room wasn't ready and the Viking staff was tied up with the previous cruise who were leaving Lisbon for the ship in Porto. The hotel stored our luggage and provided us with coffee. We were able to meet with the Viking staff at 830am and get some advice for our first day in Lisbon. The hotel was less than a mile walk to the touristy section of town. We spent a fun day exploring on our own and then met the rest of the passengers at 7pm for introductions. Day 2 in Lisbon was spent touring the city in the morning. Plenty of time in the afternoon for independent exploring on ones own. That night, we did the optional "Taste of Lisbon" excursion - money well spent. Weather permitting, visit the Skybar on the Hotel's roof for a great night time view of the city. We left Lisbon at 830am in 4 buses for our trip to Porto. One bus took the optional excursion group to Fatima. The rest of us traveled for about 2 hours to Coimbra for a short tour of the university and then a fantastic Fado Lunch at a local restaurant. Good music, food, and endless wine. We arrived at the ship about 4pm to meet the crew. Day 1 in Porto included a morning tour with a stop for a Port tasting. The weather didn't cooperate today as rain kept us from really exploring too much on our own. We tried the optional "Graham Port Dinner and Tasting" this evening. The cost was 260 euros PP but I must say it was worth every penny. Viking has 3 other optional scheduled tonight and so only 6 of us went to Grahams. If you are a Port lover, this excursion is a must. We sampled 4 vintage Ports and then 10,20,30, and 40 year old tawney Ports. Afterwards, we had a 5 course dinner paired with wine and Port. A great evening. Day 2 we set sail at 7am for our Cruise on the Douro. The fantastic scenery starts about 35 miles inland and doesn't seem to end. I won't go into each days activities as this review is getting windy. I'll just touch on a few highlights. 2 included excursions not to miss are the whole day trip to Salamanca and the 7 hour trip to Favaious. They both were fantastic and fun filled days. A wonderful lunch in Favaious left us all in great spirits. A few words about the crew and ship. The Osfrid crew was amazing and friendly. Everyone from the 3 Cruise Directors to waiters to housekeeping were outstanding and hard working.. The ship seemed roomy, clean and comfortable for all 106 passengers aboard. The food was plentiful and ranged from good to okay. Part of that is a matter of taste -- we are not fond of fish - others will love it. This was our 3rd cruise with Viking. The Douro was probably the most scenic and friendly. The Rhine had the best ports and excursions. Bordeaux had the best wine and food. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Always wanted to see Portugal. We had been on a Rhine River cruise and were easy "converts" to river cruising. Having mentioned the Rhine, our only "criticism," if that's the right word, is that the scenery on the ... Read More
Always wanted to see Portugal. We had been on a Rhine River cruise and were easy "converts" to river cruising. Having mentioned the Rhine, our only "criticism," if that's the right word, is that the scenery on the Douro is quite monotonous, i.e., vineyards, olive trees, almond trees, vineyards, etc, etc. One sees little life on the Douro probably because this was Spring and not the fall harvest. This is not a criticism of Viking. They can't change that. But we did enjoy the boat and the many people we met on it ! Weather was absolutely glorious even in Santiago which was optional where I had been told by a friend "it always rains." It didn't. Service on the Osfrid was quite good. Staff in the dining room was exceptional especially our waiter Augustin and the Maitre' d Dragos. Entertainment was a little thin. "Flamenco Night" featured three female dancers to recorded music. They could have sprung for a guitarist if nothing else. It didn't matter. We were thoroughly tired after a long day Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Have been on several river cruises in Europe and worldwide but had not done this one before. The Douro seemed a quiet,restful and unspoilt river. Preceded by 2 days in Lisbon. Enroute to Porto stopped off at beautiful old University ... Read More
Have been on several river cruises in Europe and worldwide but had not done this one before. The Douro seemed a quiet,restful and unspoilt river. Preceded by 2 days in Lisbon. Enroute to Porto stopped off at beautiful old University town-Cuimbra. Lovely ship and cabin with sitting room and balcony. Good public rooms and excellent dining. Friendly well informed crew. Always ready to help.Too many excursions and not enough time to enjoy sailing so skipped some excursions. Well informed local guides with good English and good audio arrangements. Comfortable coaches with good drivers.A good supply of water on coaches-it was very hot in Portugal with unusually high temp. Well arranged embarkation and disembarkation. Viking staff at Airports readily identifiable. Did not like Vikings suggested arrangement for tips, tho voluntary. Seemed excessive. Obviously their staff depend on tips to supplement their income but it should not fall on the shoulders of passengers. Viking prices are quite high but everyone seems to have had a discount! Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This was our third Viking river cruise and we enjoyed it very much. We started with two days in Lisbon pre-cruise. This was a little disappointing - we had Viking book our flights and we did not arrive in Lisbon until 3 pm on day 1, so ... Read More
This was our third Viking river cruise and we enjoyed it very much. We started with two days in Lisbon pre-cruise. This was a little disappointing - we had Viking book our flights and we did not arrive in Lisbon until 3 pm on day 1, so our first day was basically lost. The second day we had a half-day city tour that was very good, in spite of terrible rainy, cold, windy weather. Our tour guide Walter did the best he could under the circumstances. We saw the Belem Tower and Monument to Discoveries, and had a short walking tour of the Alfama. We did not go to the Monastery of Jeronimos because it was closed that day, did the Maritime Museum instead which was very interesting. We spent the afternoon on our own exploring the city. We liked the hotel Tivoli Lisboa, comfortable rooms and very friendly and helpful staff. On day 3 we departed Lisbon and stopped once for a quick rest stop along the road, and then in Coimbra for a tour of the university and lunch. The university was impressive, especially the Joanina Library, and it was fun seeing the students in their black capes, an inspiration for Harry Potter. Lunch was very good - choice of chicken or cod - I am not a fish lover but the cod was delicious! We could have tried both, the wait staff came by with seconds of each main course. Wine was also included, as was an excellent fado show. Our final stop was to join our ship in Porto. We had cabin 309, a veranda cabin. It was small but functional. We loved the veranda and used it often. Unlike other cruises, we did not "raft" with other ships very often, only once or twice that I can remember. Bed was very comfortable, drawers and closet space were adequate, bathroom worked well. Dining on the ship was good, but not as good as we have had on previous Viking cruises. Breakfast was the same, a buffet with menu option, and we always had a good breakfast. We didn't eat lunch very often, but had a good Portuguese sandwich (francesinha) one day. Dinner was very good some nights and so-so some other nights, but we always found something to eat without having to resort to the American side of the menu (steak, chicken, salmon). I wish there had been some more traditional Portuguese dishes. The staff on the ship was wonderful. We really enjoyed Carmen the cruise director, loved Tom and Fernando at the bar, and our waiter (forgot his name, one of the side effects of aging!!). You are assigned a certain bus at the beginning of the trip and stay on that bus with the same tour escort throughout the week. We had Iuri and he did an excellent job describing the scenery and history of Portugal every day no matter where we were. Every member of the staff went out of their way to make sure we had a perfect cruise. One small glitch - we always buy the Silver Spirits package and enjoy perusing the wine list and ordering and trying different wines. This ship did not even have a wine list available for the first two days and then had a different list for the bar and another for the restaurant. On other cruises we have been able to try a glass of something at the bar and then order a bottle for dinner if we liked it, not as easy to do on this cruise. However, once Tom and Fernando at the bar figured out what we liked, they were quick to recommend different wines for our dinner, and they did a great job! On board activities included a piano player (Sal) who did a great job, playing lots of oldies for the senior crowd on the cruise. Other "enrichment" activities included a presentation about cork, along with a small sale of cork items, talks on Portuguese food, on the Douro River and region, and Portugal's history, a Portuguese language lesson, an evening of folk music, and a ceremony of vintage port opening with fire and tongs. All were very enjoyable and informative. Because of the short length of the river, most days we were bused to different locations to see interesting things. We had a half-day tour of Porto including a visit to the impressive tile-covered train station and a port wine tasting before returning to the ship. There was an optional tour to Guimaraes that afternoon, but we opted to stay on the ship and enjoy a little cruising. Note that cruising often took place in the morning and tours in the afternoon - the ship could not sail at night due to restrictions on the river. Nice because we didn't have to get up really early, but sometimes it was a rush getting back from an afternoon tour and getting ready for dinner, with time for pre-dinner cocktails! We enjoyed the visits to the Mateus Palace (beautiful gardens), Quinta do Seixo wine tasting, and Castelo Rodrigo (be sure to visit the food shop and gift shop, they are both small but we found some nice things and really liked the variety of almonds). The full day trip to Salamanca included a bit longer bus ride, but the scenery was beautiful and Salamanca was worth the trip. Note that you are not at sea level, and at the higher elevations, the weather can be cold in windy in the spring, as it was when we were there. Bring your jacket - you can always leave it on the bus if not needed. We had lunch at a hotel in Salamanca (not very good food, except for the Iberian ham), followed by an enjoyable flamenco show. One of our favorite days was the trip to Favaios. We first visited a bakery to learn about bread making and tasted some delicious bread. Because it was Sunday, the bakery was not operational so we could only imagine what it was like when the ovens were working,. Then we went to the museum for more information and stopped at the wine cooperative for a taste of muscatel. We had lunch at the Quinta de Avessada, good food and wine, along with lots of interesting and humorous information presented by Luis Barros, who had a resemblance to the comedian Mr. Bean. Our final excursion was to Lamego where we saw the beautiful shrine of Our Lady of the Remedies on top of the hill. Some people chose to walk down the 686 steps to the bottom, but we went down on the bus. We also visited the Lamego museum, a small museum with a nice collection of art and other items from the Roman days to present. Long review - but overall we really enjoyed ourselves. This cruise was a little different from other Viking cruises because the staff do not work for Viking (other than the cruise director), but there was no lack of service or any significant problems because of this. We would highly recommend this cruise primarily for the interesting excursions and wonderful Portuguese people! Read Less
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