We choose this cruise because we had friends who were going, had enjoyed previous river cruises, and had never visited northern Portugal. Our trip was part of a Vantage tour and we had enjoyed a couple of other Vantage tours with less fellow travelers. We failed to realize that the cruise included very little cruising time, which meant that almost all tours were bus tours and all 125 cruisers were going to the same place every day. The number of fellow tourists was a bit overwhelming! The Douro valley is beautiful and the places we visited were lovely no doubt.
The Douro Serenity does not seat guests for dinner, so the worst part of the trip was the daily "dinner dash" to get a table for you and your traveling companions. We were only 4!
The bar also could not handle 125 passengers with one bartender. He did get a bit of inadequate assistance from the dining room staff in the hour prior to dinner. The food in the dining room was very good.
We did enjoy seeing all the vineyards and tasting port wine and other wines of the region. We enjoyed going through the many locks on the river. The Douro is narrow, so boats can not cruise after dark, they must stay in a port, so often there were opportunities to go ashore for a drink, dinner or just some exercise. The weather in late September was still quite like summer.
Our standard cabin was nicely appointed, clean and comfortable, but quite small. To get to the window side of the bed, one had to move a chair every time. It was adequate for a seven night cruise storage wise, and built to fit the locks on the Douro, so no more width was possible. The cabin steward kept the room clean. No place to put things like toothbrushes in the toilet.
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