Sail Date: October 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: September 2018
We had been with Viking before and generally appreciated their level of organisation and the standards they set on their vessels. We had two nights in Lisbon after flying out from Machester and then embarked the Viking Osfrid at Vila Nova ... Read More
We had been with Viking before and generally appreciated their level of organisation and the standards they set on their vessels. We had two nights in Lisbon after flying out from Machester and then embarked the Viking Osfrid at Vila Nova de Gaia on the left bank of the Douro, opposite Porta. Very friendly crew and very high standards of cleanliness and cuisine. Three Viking buses (massive legroom) met us at every port for the day's included excursion led by one of the three highly competent Programme Directors. All days worked well and each excursion was well thought out and nicely balanced, especially the trips to the wine producing "Quintas".. Downsides are the tiny cabins (riverboats on the Douro are not close to the size of the boats that operate on the Rhine and Danube. Nevertheless they are ergonomically designe and everything packs away amazingly well. Just nowhere to sit which means you rely heavily on the public areas, which are numerous and comfortable. Dining was by a single sitting in the restaurant and the food was generally imaginatively prepared and tasty with plenty of choice. There is a comfortable bar/lounge which is also used for port/excursion briefings and the information on each following day's activities was accurate and detailed. Also used for evening entertainment when local musicians etc would occasionally perform. All in all a thoroughly satisfying cruise experience run by a very professional team. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
After our first river cruise (Waterways of the Tzars) and then two big-ship-cruises (Viking Homelands, Empires of the Mediterranean), we decided to book the Douro river cruise with our courteous booking agent who also took care of all ... Read More
After our first river cruise (Waterways of the Tzars) and then two big-ship-cruises (Viking Homelands, Empires of the Mediterranean), we decided to book the Douro river cruise with our courteous booking agent who also took care of all flight arrangements. Viking was the right choice for us again. Before departure Viking sends the 'Cruise Documents' booklet, containing all travel info for flights, transfers, hotels, cruise summary, info for needed personal documents, packing hints, dress code on board, and tipping. Thus we were aware of the suggestion how much to tip the crew and of the tips to the different tour guides and bus drivers, thus we knew the right amount of dollar bills to bring before departure. On all our Viking cruises we handled our luggage only at departure and upon arrival at our home airport. Viking organizes all transfers, including pick-up from and to the airports as well as delivery/pick-up of luggage to and from hotel room or cabin. Our pre-cruise accommodation was Madrid's InterContinental; a very good choice. The Viking representative took care of all questions and gave advice freely. Our local guide was extremely informative, an art historian, perfect for guiding us in the Prado Museum and within Toledo. We always had enough free time to visit places of personal interest. After the flight to Lisbon the main-program started. We stayed in the Tivoli Hotel, another very good choice, learned of Lisbon's and Portugal's history on guided city tours, and tasted tappas with local wine. A comfy bus ride brought us to Porto and to our ship Osfrid. Our cabin was spacious with a sitting area and a balcony, a good sized closet and drawer space, a well appointed bath room, and enough outlets (american and European) to recharge our phones. We also liked the selection of TV programs available when we relaxed in the cabin. Our room service team was excellent and had a sense of humor: the towel elephant they had made wore at times one of our sun glasses or a hat -- the elephant was good company. We sailed by day and enjoyed the cities, landscape and vine-yards 'passing by'. Of great interest were the river locks through which we passed. These transits we observed from the top deck. At times we came upon a low bridge, and to pass underneath, the wheel house got lowered and the captain stuck his head out from an opening in the top - amusing. Our 'Cruise Documents' booklet described all included and optional tours and guests had the option to book or cancel tours in a timely fashion while on board. Furthermore, the distribution of the 'Viking Daily' was very helpful, as it detailed the next day's happenings and informed of the weather situation, the boat's departure and arrival time, as well as local history; it was delivered the evening before. Two four-page-leaflets, one US the other British, with recent articles from newspapers, were also available daily. The local guides, the program directors and Viking guides were very knowledgeable, always friendly and helpful. We also praise the bus drivers for they handled a bus like we would a small car. It is an art to drive so skillfully up and down on the serpentine roads clinging to the sides of the hills on both sides of the Douro river. The on-board-entertainment included info on upcoming destinations and excursions, a scenic sailing during our first dinner, cocktail parties also for returning Viking travelers, live piano music, dancing, quiz-evenings, cooking demo, info on Portugal's cork industry as well as olive oil production, informal gatherings with finger food, and folkloric music. We were very happy with our choices of included and optional excursions, learned a lot about wineries, wine-makers, Port Wine and its production, storage and ageing; we tasted Porto of different ageing stages in several Quintas and wine cellars and noted the various patterns in terracing on the hills. On board, too, we had plenty of wine with our meals. Breakfast was in a self-serve-style, but the Chef himself, prepared orders for omelettes, eggs Benedict and eggs any-style. At lunch and dinner all cruise participants ate together and always several choices of dishes, sometimes local cuisine, were offered. Our trip to majestic Madrid, historic Lisbon, the University town Coimbra, Porto and the 'azulejo' Portuguese blue tiles depicting large scenes of the country's history, Guimares, the amzing Quinta da Avessada, Regua and the Quinta do Seixo, Regua and the Mateus Palace and Gardens, Pinhao and our rustic-elegant lunch in the country-side setting, our wine tasting and pic-nic amid the grape-vines high up on a terrace with a grand view, beautiful Salamanca, charming Lamego - we truly enjoyed, as well our post-extension to Santiago de Compostela, a UNESCO World Heritage site and destination for us and of many devout pilgrims, young and old, since the Middle Ages. In both pre- and post-extension programs a Viking representative welcomed the participants, answered the where-what-when-questions and was available throughout our stay in hotels. We appreciate Viking how well it is organized for our arrival and departure, in all aspects of our travels and cruising, and not to forget, for the good food and service...... and our next river cruise (Provence) is already booked. Read Less
Sail Date: July 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
This was our first trip to Portugal and it didn’t disappoint. Visiting Lisbon and Porto allowed us to enjoy the wonderful things that historic, urban cities in Europe can offer. The cruise down the Douro gave the opportunity to ... Read More
This was our first trip to Portugal and it didn’t disappoint. Visiting Lisbon and Porto allowed us to enjoy the wonderful things that historic, urban cities in Europe can offer. The cruise down the Douro gave the opportunity to experience the beautiful countryside and unique vineyards in the area with the beautiful terracing. The service provided by all staff members was simply outstanding. They were attentive, friendly, and fun without being intrusive. Our needs were sometimes anticipated before we realized we had them. They also worked well as a team and presented as a cohesive unit. Our program director had the great combination of being extremely knowledgeable about history and a talented presenter with a great sense of humor. He was very entertaining. This is not a trip that I would recommend for people with mobility issues. This section of Portugal isn’t a good one for people aren’t steady on their feet. This area of Portugal requires bus transportation to get to many sites. The roads are very windy and people prone to motion sickness may wish to have some treatment with them (e.g. Dramamine). Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
After several longer river cruises (i.e., Budapest to Amsterdam) we thought that we might like what would be a much shorter trip (Douro river is only what, 125 miles long?) and kind of quirky itinerary; small towns and wineries with time ... Read More
After several longer river cruises (i.e., Budapest to Amsterdam) we thought that we might like what would be a much shorter trip (Douro river is only what, 125 miles long?) and kind of quirky itinerary; small towns and wineries with time to walk and explore. Wow did we like it! Beautiful countryside in Fall colors, visits to often tiny towns, and so on. Castelo Rodrigo, for example, is a hilltop hamlet with about 48 residents. We had time on our own in some very small towns to just wander. Very restful, actually Quite different from say, Vienna! I don't recommend this for one's "first cruise". Take a longer one, or several, with Viking and then try The Douro. Doing that really helped us notice the differences and fully appreciate the laid back leisurely nature of this trip. It is very well thought out and complete. I think you'll find it wonderful. As always with Viking there are little extras; to be met back at the ship with a Port wine toast, local foods acquired almost every day, and some unique entertainments. Portuguese Fado music. for instance. I HIGHLY recommend the post-river add-on trip to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. The shrine of Saint James is not only the ending point of "The Way" pilgrimages, but also a UNESCO Heritage center. We loved the city and its foods. Tapas three times a day! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We would not normally have done this cruise, but it was for my Mother-in-Laws 80th and she wanted us there. We had a lovely time. Everything exceeded our expectations, from the boat, food, crew, and cabin. We have sailed Silver Seas, ... Read More
We would not normally have done this cruise, but it was for my Mother-in-Laws 80th and she wanted us there. We had a lovely time. Everything exceeded our expectations, from the boat, food, crew, and cabin. We have sailed Silver Seas, Regent, Uniworld, Princess, and other Viking Cruises, but this exceeded them all. The crew was amazing, always smiling and anything they could do for you, they would. The food and the house wine were both exceptional. Our only complaint were the excursion, they was lots of bus time and we don't like that, so we created our own tours, and did lots of walking. It just seems that more active excursion could have been offered. However; many people enjoyed the excursion, just not what we like. The common rooms were lovely and there was always plenty of room available and waiters on hand. I can not recommend more highly! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Dear community, we really had a fantastic cruise lately on Viking Osfrid. It is our 3rd Viking Cruise already and this time we decided to see Portugal, started in Lisbon and finished in Madrid. The Lisbon part was Hotel and Bus only ... Read More
Dear community, we really had a fantastic cruise lately on Viking Osfrid. It is our 3rd Viking Cruise already and this time we decided to see Portugal, started in Lisbon and finished in Madrid. The Lisbon part was Hotel and Bus only and ok, its rather a city trip but once you board the ship in Porto the feeling changes. Porto what a great city to explore and if you love wine and port than this is a must cruise. Don’t expect too much of an entertainment on those small ships but look forward to the tours. The landscape you see from the ship is not comparable with any other cruise and the fact that there is a lot of daytime sailing makes it even better. Our Cabin had a balcony which is a must I would say, keep in mind its quiet hot in the valley and rather colder in Porto. Food was exceptional compared to previous cruises and always with a local touch. Crew went out of their way to serve us and did a great job. They seem to be less personal than on other viking ships but really surprised us with their smile and service. Generally we felt this was the best viking cruise so far after we did the Rhine and China before. Thanks to the Osfrid team, job well done – we are coming back…. The Fellons Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This was our 6th Viking cruise and certainly one of the best we had so far. We started in Lisbon which was ok as we been there before but when we embark the ship in Porto for the actual cruise the have been overwhelmed. The boat is ... Read More
This was our 6th Viking cruise and certainly one of the best we had so far. We started in Lisbon which was ok as we been there before but when we embark the ship in Porto for the actual cruise the have been overwhelmed. The boat is very small and intimate which we really enjoyed, the crew took good care of us and made this trip really special. What a small world it is within the Viking family as we had the same Hotel Manager as last year in Russia. Rebekka from Germany really made us feel like home. She managed the ship really well and you could see that she did this with passion. Food was great as always with Viking, could have been a bit more with local touches as always. Our Cabin was really specious with fantastic views every day. We book one of the Veranda suites this time. Our cabin girl was from Porto and gave us really good inside hints, we really enjoyed the mix of international crew with the local touch. Tours are fantastic but due to the longer bus rides sometimes we skipped some as the weather in Spain was already reaching the highs. Our only criticism of this trip was the entertainment as this was not as ever before on Viking, perhaps due to cruise director team who seemed not to be Viking and entertaining, also they are 3 and so far we always had 1 only. They always escorted the busses but would have been nice if they also comment on something at least. Well I guess Viking needs to improve this but the rest of the team was superb as always. We really enjoyed this cruise and booked another one and since this is our first online comment ever, thanks to Rebekka who ask us to do so, we would like to spread our positive experience herewith. March and Jean Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2017
We so much enjoyed our previous Viking cruise, Amsterdam to Budapest, that we were eager to try a second Viking cruise. We had never been to Portugal, and we had heard others praise its beauty. Also, this was at the perfect time, because ... Read More
We so much enjoyed our previous Viking cruise, Amsterdam to Budapest, that we were eager to try a second Viking cruise. We had never been to Portugal, and we had heard others praise its beauty. Also, this was at the perfect time, because it started just after we finished a convention elsewhere in Europe. The Duoro river is beautiful. Because the ship is small, we got to know our tour guide well. The first day in Lisbon was a highlight. Another other major highlight was the very old library, where they let bats live behind the stacks because the bats eat moths that would eat the books! The ancient college in Salamanca was another highlight, with a very informative guide. The only weak spot was that because this was the first cruise of the year, the kitchen had a little trouble getting organized for dinner... sometimes ran out of a popular food, or had slower than expected service. But Viking did everything they could to remedy the problems, including hiring some extra staff after a day or two. We learned much about Portugal and its history and culture. We are big fans of Viking, and we have already signed up for another cruise next year. Read Less
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