From one cruise to the next, Viking matches or exceeds our expectations. The Portugal cruise was full of gorgeous vistas, to include those seen while driving to and from excursions. The whole country seems to be one huge vineyard settled among rolling hills (Douro region). With so many grapes, wine is everywhere (yum). As always, Viking does an excellent job immersing you in the destination's history, using local guides that have deep knowledge of their home turf. My favorite excursion was to the Mateus palace. As I rounded the corner, I suddenly realized I was looking at nearly the same landscape as my father must have when Meteus became a favored wine of his while deployed to the region in the early 1960's. In that moment, we were together again.
The single distraction for us on this cruise was lack of exploration opportunities in the varying river ports. We love to independently explore each port's surrounding city after our excursions, meandering through the streets finding local shops to browse or stopping to enjoy local culinary treats/snacks. While the excursions themselves were awesome, to include enjoying the scenic route (get a window seat!), we had to be bussed to each one as the ports along the river are more rural and don't provide a real opportunity to explore local sites. Not so for the final stop in Porto...Carol was able to finally find not one, but TWO Portuguese clay terracotta sausage roasters. I'm still waiting to have my first sausage (just saying...).
One last observation regarding Viking in general. On our trip over, weather delays resulted missing a day of our cruise and thus an opportunity to spend time in Lisbon. Once we returned home, I contacted Viking hoping we could at least get reimbursed for the hotel room for the missed night. The reimbursement credit we received went beyond just this consideration and was more than fair.