Douro River Portugal

(8 p.m. EDT) -- Scenic's 2016 Europe river cruise program introduces first-time itineraries in Portugal, two new ships and an expanded range of events and activities.

The 96-passenger, purpose-built Scenic Azure will operate 11-day round-trips from World Heritage-listed Porto to Vega de Terron, over the Spanish border, along the Douro River (pictured). This new itinerary can also be combined with Bordeaux and Seine river cruises, plus extensions in Lisbon and a land tour from Porto to Madrid.

Aleisha Fittler, general manager of product development, said: “Our pre-release figures have shown that our guests are excited to experience new river cruising regions, with sales for the Douro far surpassing our expectations. Demand for our popular Amsterdam to Budapest route continues to rise and our sales for France are double what they were last year.”

Scenic Azure, and Scenic Amber -- sailing the Main, Rhine and Danube -- join the fleet next year, bringing the Australian company's total to 16 ships throughout Europe, Russia and South East Asia.

The line has also launched the eight-day Iconic Danube, from Passau to Budapest, plus new land itineraries and city extensions from Nice to Rome; Munich to Zurich; and a three-night stay in Copenhagen.

Scenic Enrich experiences now include ‘Tastes of ‘Oktoberfest' in Freudenberg, Germany; the ‘Best of Sound of Music and Salzburg Show', and a private dinner and concert in Abbots Hall at the Benedictine Palace in Fecamp, Northern France. In addition, new Scenic Freechoice activities range from a hike in the Black Forest to a guided bike ride from Cadillac through the Sauternes wine region.

Scenic, which recently changed its name from Scenic Tours, offers butler service, unlimited complimentary beverages, large balcony suites, included tips and gratuities, 1kg of laundry free (on Europe cruises), and a choice of dining options including dégustation at Table La Rive, fine dining at Portobellos and the casual River Cafe.

Earlybird deals include ‘fly free' to Europe for Australian passengers.

--By Louise Goldsbury, Australia Editor