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23 Porto (Leixoes) to Europe - All Cruise Reviews

My husband and I spent a couple of days in Lisbon a few years ago, and were eager to see more of the country. This was our third AMA Cruise, and it did not disappoint. We included the pre and post extensions in Lisbon and Madrid. Ship ... Read More
My husband and I spent a couple of days in Lisbon a few years ago, and were eager to see more of the country. This was our third AMA Cruise, and it did not disappoint. We included the pre and post extensions in Lisbon and Madrid. Ship and Cabin Due to the lock sizes on the Douro, the ship is smaller than those on the Rhine and Danube, carrying 96 passengers on this cruise—but all was scaled down appropriately, and we did not feel pinched in the public spaces. The cabin was efficient, the beds high enough to store away the large suitcases of chronic over-packers, the balcony small but enjoyable (Category B, Lisbon deck). We left a note for our cabin attendant asking for an extra layer of cushion on the bed, and it was taken care of by the time we returned from dinner. TIP: I had read on a previous review that even numbered cabins were less likely to dock right next to another ship, and we found that to be the case (happened in only one docking location). We booked this cruise along with friends we met in our first AMA Cruise, and enjoyed making more friends along the way. The sense of community on river cruises is a big plus for us. Food The food on this ship was excellent. Lots of variety, including local dishes, and incredible Portuguese breads, pastries, and cheeses. We discovered a love for Portuguese wines, and enjoyed the included glass of port at the end of each dinner. The cruise included three meals off-ship: - Dinner at Quinta de Aveleda—beautiful gardens and dinner venue overlooking the vineyard. Thoroughly enjoyed this event, food, and wine. - Lunch at Quinta da Avessada—fun excursion, food good but not great. - Lunch at a hotel in Salamanca on disembarkation day—excellent buffet, including both a seafood and vegetarian paella. One ship dinner was advertised as a “barbecue.” That word set an expectation for many of us that turned into disappointment. Perhaps this would have been more appropriately described as simply a “buffet.” Service To a person, every AMA staff person was warm, friendly, helpful, and smiling. Shout out to Filipa, who helped us arrange a port tasting in the lounge during the US Open telecast, and to Machado, who took excellent care of ten of us who managed to grab the private dining room on the last night onboard. My husband mentioned to the Hotel Manager, Ricardo, that we enjoyed the wine selections, and he presented us with a list and description of each offering. Outstanding! We also witnessed special care and attention given to passengers with mobility issues—on the ship, during excursions, and during land extensions. Cruise Portugal is a beautiful country. We fell in love with Porto, and really enjoyed the illumination cruise on the first night. Remaining docked overnight gave us ample time to explore this beautiful city, along with Vila Nova de Gaia, on our own. What we discovered along the Douro was incredible landscapes—hills and vineyard terraces unlike others we’ve seen in Europe. The 30-45 minute bus rides from docks to excursion venues were actually enjoyable, as we were winding our way high into the mountains with breathtaking views along the way. We were on the same bus with the same guide and driver most days. Diogo, tour guide on the “yellow submarine” was awesome! Local entertainment was enjoyable, especially the Tuna band, and local dancers. The weather was great the entire trip, so made good us of top deck for daytime cruising on river and through locks, and evening wine sipping with friends. Ports and Excursions - During Cruise Porto - just beautiful with a unique charm. Really enjoyed docking there overnight. The Douro is small and navigable only during the day. This resulted in some leisurely mornings or afternoons sailing from port to port, where the docking locations were small, and the excursion the treat. We particularly enjoyed: - previously mentioned Quinta de Aveleda - the Lamego Museum (surprising collection for this small city) - Mateus gardens and palace - walking around Pinhao - charm of Castelo Rodrigo - beauty of Salamanca - topography/landscape along the river and roads of the Douro and valley Pre and Post Our Lisbon hotel, the Sofitel Liberdade, was perfectly located—close to restaurants, shopping, the Baixa and Alfama districts. Of the tours, we especially enjoyed the Monastery (and Pastis de Belem tasting) and Pena Palace. Our local guide, Christina, was excellent. The Madrid Westin Palace was also well located—a 15 minute walk to Plaza Mayor, and near the museums and Botanical Garden. We added the optional Flamenco show and dinner, and were very glad we did. One of Spain’s best dancers was performing while we were there. It was well worth the price, although the food was a bit disappointing.Toledo is a must see, and Madrid is a beautiful city. Our local guide, Mercedes, was terrific. Both locations offer affordable, excellent dining opportunities, and getting around on your own is easy. As always, AMA takes great care of you—from the first greeting at the airport, to the attention and care of the Cruise Manager (Christian!) throughout the entire journey, to the AmaVida officers and staff, to the AMA representative waiting for us at our departure airport. We feel valued and cared for with AMA, and are already researching options for our next AMA adventure! We recommend this trip to anyone who is looking for something a bit different from other Central Europe river cruises. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The scenery everyday is awesome. Going through the locks was very interesting. Butlers and bartenders were friendly knowledgeable and attentive. Food was delicious and varied. I am allergic to shellfish and felt they could have done ... Read More
The scenery everyday is awesome. Going through the locks was very interesting. Butlers and bartenders were friendly knowledgeable and attentive. Food was delicious and varied. I am allergic to shellfish and felt they could have done a better job of ensuring that there was options when shellfish was on the menu. Portobellos the Portuguese restaurant was excellent with magnificent service. The evening Crystal dining room had a varied menu. We found the service very slow on the nights that the speciality service/restaurants were open. Loved the butler service for morning coffee! Relaxed before breakfast and enjoyed the scenery. The Portugese bar b que up on the sun deck was very good. Ribs were amazing! The musician was entertaining and engaged the crowd. One night there was local entertainment which was also very good and engaging! Cabins were efficient but small. Bathrooms were well appointed. The tours were good but some required too long a bus ride. A few were sick and not enough was done to find out why. Probably the heat as it was very hot Throughly enjoyed the trip though. Cruise directors were very knowledgeable. We took the three days in Lisbon prior which very worth the extra days. Porto was beautiful with great tours. Enjoyed the cooking class tour of the galley and being able to interact with the chef Very efficient boarding. A little confusion on the embarking as they moved us to a hotel. The lunch at the hotel was not very good compared to the ship Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
The cruise was to celebrate our Diamond Wedding Anniversary and it was a great success. We found Emerald Waterways and excellent company and they and their staff went the extra mile to make the trip enjoyable. We liked the small ship which ... Read More
The cruise was to celebrate our Diamond Wedding Anniversary and it was a great success. We found Emerald Waterways and excellent company and they and their staff went the extra mile to make the trip enjoyable. We liked the small ship which meant we got to know the fellow passengers and met and made some lovely friends. The crew and staff were very effecient and friendly, the food and dinning room service were excellent. The cabin (303),although small, was comfortable and always turned out immaculately by the cabin staff. The trip along the Douro was lovely and the shore excursions well organised and successful.There are probably lower cost river cruises but you get what you pay for. The no cost, free flowing drinks were a bonus. Thank you Emerald Waterways for make our trip memorable. The fact that we were celebrating a very special event was remembered and made even more special by the members of the crew and, of course, the good friends we made. We thank you all! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
The day of embarkation on Scenic Azure was welcoming and carried out in a very professional manner. Our cabin had an ensuite, balcony with twin beds, a safe, plenty of storage and twice daily amenities like replacement of fresh towels and ... Read More
The day of embarkation on Scenic Azure was welcoming and carried out in a very professional manner. Our cabin had an ensuite, balcony with twin beds, a safe, plenty of storage and twice daily amenities like replacement of fresh towels and bottles of water. No matter if it was the captain, chefs, tour guides, butlers, wait staff, administration and housekeeping staff - every single person was friendly, willing to offer choices for our every need and attend to all our requests promptly. The menus provided world class quality in choices of fresh and tasty dishes. I had advised them prior to the date of sailing of my individual dietary needs so I was very happy with the attention to detail in that regard. The tour staff for each excursion offered a great amount of knowledge and detail regarding the culture and history of Portugal with brilliant insights into the lives of their fellow countrymen and women. The drivers of the tour buses handled the vehicles with care for our comfort at all times and were very safety conscious of the passengers wellbeing. We will remember our experiences with Scenic Azure forever and are very happy to have not only made acquaintance with many Australian passengers and others from all over the world but meeting the employees of this fantastic company. Everything was run in a ship-shape fashion and with their friendly and fun attitude, there was the chance to get to know what makes the company Scenic tick. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
With this being a. New river boat, expectations were high, the cruise and itinerary were outstanding, our cabin was great 210. The bathroom lacked shelf space which could easily be remedied by putting corner shelves on either side of the ... Read More
With this being a. New river boat, expectations were high, the cruise and itinerary were outstanding, our cabin was great 210. The bathroom lacked shelf space which could easily be remedied by putting corner shelves on either side of the mirror. The crew was fantastic and their goal was to make the cruise memorable. Captain Pedro was ever present and interacted with everyone. This is the first river cruise we were able to use the balcony more than once. No nighttime cruising so many early morning coffees on the balcony. We also lucked out on our bus Guide Louis (blue bus) who was knowledgeable and funny, our bus started off with 22 anded up with 30+ because we were talking about how good he was. Breakfast was always good, however dinners could be hit or miss, I never saw so many meals sent back on any other cruise we have taken. The scenery was spectacular. We lucked into very good weather which also added to the enjoyment. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This trip has been a trip of a lifetime and a huge credit to Scenic for being responsible for a wonderful cruise. We have been indulged with amazing food and wine. Have met lovely people. But the true credit goes to the all Portuguese crew ... Read More
This trip has been a trip of a lifetime and a huge credit to Scenic for being responsible for a wonderful cruise. We have been indulged with amazing food and wine. Have met lovely people. But the true credit goes to the all Portuguese crew which have cartered to our every need with a smile on their faces. The cabin is spacious with a big wardrobe. The dining experience for every meal has been 5 star with a huge selection and also chartering well to dietary requirements. Entertainment and activities been fun. The service is impeccable with butlers and all the crew covering every request. Port and shore excursions have been very interesting and informative. Looking forward to doing another river cruise in the near future. One of the big positives was that it was all inclusive. The crew are. Rey professional and polite at all times. The ever changing scenery of the Douro River has been an absolute joy to see. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We love the mediterainan coast, Portugal to Salamanca Spain fabulous , The Portuguese staff highly trained lovely calm people, all down to the Hotel Manager Joao Paula Oliveira. we felt comfortable from getting on and getting off at the ... Read More
We love the mediterainan coast, Portugal to Salamanca Spain fabulous , The Portuguese staff highly trained lovely calm people, all down to the Hotel Manager Joao Paula Oliveira. we felt comfortable from getting on and getting off at the end of the tour, the cruise down the river Duro was green and calming with houses dotted amongst the hills , you could do as much or as little as you wished at each place they anchored. The director Of touring staff Carla you felt you had know for years, and anyone of the staff who took you on tours was knowledgeable and looked after each person and answered all questions. We have learned more about Portugal and there history than I ever could imagine. and I am so grateful for that . Not forgetting all the other staff who are there to make your cruise a happy relaxing time, Butlers, Bar staff, Cabin attendants , Managers of dinning rooms, Chefs, Waiters, cleaners. plus all above and below deck, most important of course the Captain , not forgetting the evening entertainment . None of our 1st. Time experience would have been so good but for all those people pulling together. All we did was enjoy each and every moment of it and let them guide us to what we could achieve to make this our cruise. not knowing how hard they must have worked together to make such a lovely cruise. Thank you scenic Azure.x Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We were looking for a five star experience on a River that had been recommended to us by fellow travelers on the Danube. The river scenery is indeed five stars. But the boat itself, while new, is not. Laminate throughout. The cruise ... Read More
We were looking for a five star experience on a River that had been recommended to us by fellow travelers on the Danube. The river scenery is indeed five stars. But the boat itself, while new, is not. Laminate throughout. The cruise also has major flaws. Not worth the price paid. The crew was very good to outstanding. But when you contrast that with an amazingly poorly organized dinner service - not the servers fault - and other serious flaws, you get a less than could have been experience. The small ports stopped at are pleasant enough, but really no suggestion was made by the crew to get off the boat and visit them. Instead of visiting a local restaurant or two, we were bussed to large wine estates. Interesting, but instead of a 45 min bus ride each way, surely there were closer local options. Pastry - 5 stars. Had 7-8 outstanding offerings each lunch... Breakfast - 4 stars. Nice variety in the buffet, but not all was fabulous. Nice cook to order stuff tho, and great bread and pastries. Dinner - 2 to 3 stars. Mostly hit or miss. Some items four stars, some inedible. But the real negative was the system for ordering, and delivering the food. Negative 2 stars. How can it take 1 3/4 hours to deliver three items to a dining room.? There were only 75 people on our boat and limited choices. .....plenty of dining room staff.... The rooms were a little strangely laid out but ok. Ours had a balcony, but there definitely is a better way to design same. Beds comfy, and cabin service good. This boat has a great top deck, but it was rarely used by other guests, or promoted by the crew. No lunches or events there, in spite of the wonderful scenery we were passing by. Oh what our fellow travelers missed.. The local entertainment brought on Board was outstanding, especially a Tuna band, but more could have been done here. Again, not the crew’s fault, as they worked with what was given them. The average age of those on board was probably 75. Options were offered on tours for slower walkers, which was nice, and needed. Overall, plenty of potential with the Amadouro, but AMA has a long way to go to get this boat to a five star level. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this river cruise because it was highly recommended by our travel agent and other collegues who have gone on other river cruises. (The Douro river valley is very picturesque with its vineyards and old vineyard buildings dominating ... Read More
We chose this river cruise because it was highly recommended by our travel agent and other collegues who have gone on other river cruises. (The Douro river valley is very picturesque with its vineyards and old vineyard buildings dominating the landscape). We had a 3 day stay in Lisbon before our departure. Hotel Jupiter Lisboa was excellent. The included bus tour of the city was very good. but we thought the excursion to Sintra the second day should have been included in our price. The trip to Porto from Lisbon was somewhat long....we spent too much time in the resort town of Navarre where there was little too do but shop for trinkets. The ship was very attractive and clean, but tended too be a bit too small. Cabin was tight even though we had a Panorama view suite. Bed was very comfortable, and steward service was excellent. We were somewhat disappointed in the size of the ship...only one dining room and lounge area..tended to be too intimate and small. The sundeck's walking track was too crowded and there was no putting green. The entertainment on the ship after supper was barely there...no piano music on the grand piano...trivia game with the activity director. Embarkation of the ship went fairly smoothly, but we were very disappoointed in the evening sunset cruise that was suppose to happen in Porto. There was no announcement and the ship did a sail while still light, no where near sunset and everyone was just getting settled and ready for dinner. Ports and included excursions were very good and enjoyable. Most tour directors knew their information. Service was very good and friendly. However, communication was somewhat difficult. Employees could speak English but some appeared to have a hard time understanding questions. On board activiites like bracelet making and tile painting were good ideas but instructors tended to take over and do the project for you. Meals on the Radiance were good. Breakfasts and lunches were very good but the supper dining experiences were somewhat disappointing. Soups tended to be bland and some of the entrees lacked taste. Presentation was excellent. We are not big drinkers, but I thought the included beer and wine, at no cost, was a nice gesture. We have no intention on going on another river cruise because we found it too relaxing, and ( I hate to say it but somewhat boring' especially on the sea days). We heard such wonderful things about river cruises, and it was good, but maybe our expectations were too high. On one last note, having all gratuities included up front, made it much easier. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Good ship and service. Friendly crew. The Duro River is winding and beautiful. The tours are good but the stops have limited appeal. The wine and port is very good. Need more ship board entertainment and physical activities. Overall ... Read More
Good ship and service. Friendly crew. The Duro River is winding and beautiful. The tours are good but the stops have limited appeal. The wine and port is very good. Need more ship board entertainment and physical activities. Overall relaxing and enjoyable. The food and wine were excellent. The wait staff was very good. The crew was friendly and helpful. We had good weather that made the cruise very enjoyable. The three night stop was good and the old city is interesting. Porto is a great city with many hills and small winding streets. Salamanca is a beautiful city in Spain with an interesting history including its focus on educate. The dinner at the Pacheco winery was awesome in the wine cellar. The tours we took required us to get on buses. The streets of the towns are quite narrow and winding; the bus drivers did incredible jobs navigating us. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Never having been to North Portugal, we thought this cruise on the Douro would cross a lot of boxes which it certainly did. A most comfortable ship though, splitting hairs, the Emerald Destiny which we sailed in last year on the Danube, ... Read More
Never having been to North Portugal, we thought this cruise on the Douro would cross a lot of boxes which it certainly did. A most comfortable ship though, splitting hairs, the Emerald Destiny which we sailed in last year on the Danube, was better as it had a small covered swimming pool not an open air jacuzzi! The ship was very clean, the crew were caring and efficient - nothing seemed too much trouble - and the excursions were well managed and interesting. One problem though was that an excursion we wanted to go on, despite being advertised, was not possible since it was scheduled at the same time as another very interesting excursion. Our cabin (NOT a stateroom) was slightly compact though its design was efficient. Arguably it had a little too much glass. The laundry we had done was very well handled with the clean and dry clothes returned within the day. Unfortunately there was a virus making hay within the ship - probably half the passengers were suffering from bad cough and colds, some having to spend at least a day in bed. It has to be noted that medical assistance was poor - where was the medicine cabinet and where was the paracetamol needed to help reduce bodily aches and pains? Generally this was a very enjoyable week, seeing new sights, visiting interesting locations and meeting new friends, despite having to return home with heavy colds and coughs which took a little gilt off the gingerbread. We certainly are looking forward to our next Emerald cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We had previously cruised with Emerald (15-Day Splendours of Europe in 2017) so we felt familiar with the Emerald tours. As expected, the ship was very clean everywhere, rooms, restaurants, common areas. Portugal did not disappoint but ... Read More
We had previously cruised with Emerald (15-Day Splendours of Europe in 2017) so we felt familiar with the Emerald tours. As expected, the ship was very clean everywhere, rooms, restaurants, common areas. Portugal did not disappoint but even though the staff on the ship tried very hard to be welcoming and accommodating, there was one major irritant. Communications, especially by staff whose jobs it was to communicate with passengers. The reception staff were excellent, however. On our previous cruise we had enjoyed the announcements which gave simple instructions like which busses were going where & at what time, what's next on the schedule, reminders for when to turn in our extra excursion requests etc. On this cruise, there were no such announcements. They would have been extra useful on this cruise because the English language proficiency of some of the crew was low. For example, the first night's Sunset Cruise was missed by many of us because it wasn't clearly indicated that we would sail in Porto harbour before (or during) dinner. Subsequently many of us simply went to dinner. On our previous cruise, the evening sail in Budapest was a highlight, commentated by the cruise director and clearly communicated beforehand. Hint: Cruise first, then dinner OR dinner first, followed by cruise of Harbour. One of the on-board activities was tile painting but it was not clearly indicated when or where we could pick up our finished tiles. Our bus to Lisbon was delayed because some of the passengers were told to wait on the ship while the rest of us had already embarked on the bus. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We have cruised with Uniworld two other times on the Danube mostly with some time on the Main River This cruise was quiet with only a limited number of excursions compared to the other cruises we took with Uniworld Embarkation and ... Read More
We have cruised with Uniworld two other times on the Danube mostly with some time on the Main River This cruise was quiet with only a limited number of excursions compared to the other cruises we took with Uniworld Embarkation and disembarks was smooth and very nice The layout of the boat was fine but the « fitness « room was so tiny and crowded that I was lucky no one ever wanted to use it when I was there. The lounge was very nice but we missed having a library or game room for the evening hours. To follow are my suggestions to make the experience better for future cruise guests I am a vegetarian and when we made our reservation we told everyone. When we embarked one of the chefs or sous chefs should have spent 5 Minutes with me to see my parameters for food choices, as was done on previous cruises. The breakfast and lunch buffets were spectacular l always found good food to eat with enough cheese and other options for protein intake. Dinner fell short on that issue. The « eat light » or vegetarian options were not what I would consider choices for myself. So the first two nights I asked for different vegetables so I had food that I enjoyed and met my needs. These requests eere met with a lack of understanding of what I needed to eat but we’re able to accommodate me. We finally found an incredible waiter,Armindo, who talked to me about what I liked to eat and always helped prepare good nutritious food for me. After meeting him we reserved a table to be in his area and all was good. This issue could have been avoided if the chef just spent 5 Minutes with me to understand what I could eat. Fine dining on River cruises is a very important part of the trip, so please for future passengers make a little effort for those people with special food requirements before the first dinner As for shore excursions, I know there is limited things to see and do as in the Douro valley it is all about Port and wine. Which was fine. The excursion to Salamanca was a waste of time for us. We spent as much time riding back and forth on the bus as we did there. The comfort break was helpful for using the bathrooms but we did not need coffee, tea, and pastries as we just finished breakfast two hours before this stop. If we had not wasted time being fed again we could have spent more time in the town. So for future guests think hard about this trip. It Takes a long getting there and you have limited time to explore the city although the cathedrals were lovely to see but travelers need to weigh travel time verses time in Salamanca The other tours were mostly excellent. The Douro museum and the vineyard visit with dinner were great as was the archeological hike and e bike to the ocean. Since the boat could not travel at night we did spend a lot of time “relaxing” while we cruised the Douro. So if you want a quiet relaxing cruise this is for you. The reception staff excellent especially Pelipe All staff excellent as was service on board. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
It was on my Mum’s bucket list of cruises she wanted to do. I had seen the itinerary and liked it but when we booked we were unfamiliar with Emerald Waterways. We were not disappointed in any way. Mum who had cruised with Viking ... Read More
It was on my Mum’s bucket list of cruises she wanted to do. I had seen the itinerary and liked it but when we booked we were unfamiliar with Emerald Waterways. We were not disappointed in any way. Mum who had cruised with Viking before said she actually preferred Emerald because it was less formal but 5* quality. We felt relaxed, and comfortable on board and the crew went out of their way to make sure that we had everything we could possibly desire. The restaurant was superb and the food exquisite. Everything was beautifully presented and having unlimited Portuguese wines that were carefully selected every evening meant we could sample everything. The barbecue lunch on deck was fantastic with all the crew joining in (I even danced with the head chef Nuno and Manuel the Hotel Manager) The bar staff were all lovely and took time to chat and get to know you. We all learned a little about each other which made us feel like part of their family. The cruise director Luis kept us well informed daily on what was happening on and off the ship, so we didn’t miss any of the things we wanted to do. The gala night and farewell dinners were gorgeous and gave us the opportunity to have a chat with the captain and show our appreciation for all the crew (all 38 of them) We loved the cruise. Portugal itself was lovely but it was the ship and crew that made the holiday special. I would definitely recommend Emerald Waterways and hope to sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I just returned from AmaWaterways “Enticing Douro” cruise with 3-nights in Lisbon pre-cruise (7-17 July 2018) I rarely write reviews on my cruse experiences, which have included numerous river and ocean voyages with many operators, ... Read More
I just returned from AmaWaterways “Enticing Douro” cruise with 3-nights in Lisbon pre-cruise (7-17 July 2018) I rarely write reviews on my cruse experiences, which have included numerous river and ocean voyages with many operators, but this experience was so exceptional it deserves mention. Our Cruise Manager, Mr. Luis R., of AmaWaterways deserves much of the credit for making this experience as great as it turned out to be. Luis was organized, congenial, thoughtful and made everyone (96 guests) on the trip feel he was their personal assistant and lifelong friend. If you had food restriction, Luis made sure you received your preferences whether on board or one of our numerous meals included excursions. If you needed mobility assistance, as several of us did, Luis would arrange for alternate transportation. If you were shopping for that special gift Luis could help you find it. If you were looking for that special restaurant Luis knew what to recommend. In short, AmaWaterways should be proud they have a representative like Luis. The on-board staff were equally attentive to their quests needs. Special thanks go to Nuno and Jose in the bar. Each night after our day out we had a “Sip & Sail” where the bar was open for the guests’ pleasure. During lunch and dinner beer, wine and sodas were readily available at no cost, and the wine choices of the day were superb. Water was always available in the rooms and on the busses. As a picky eater I found the menus to be well planned. The day started with and early risers’ continental breakfast in the lounge followed by a FULL breakfast buffet in the restaurant, the breads were a meal in themselves. Each day there was a lite lunch in the lounge and a more formal lunch in the restaurant. For dinner the menus included a chef’s recommendation. If that did not appeal to you there were also fish, meat and vegetarian options, and if those still did not work for you there were always salmon, steak or chicken available. All these were served by smiling Antonio who was friendly, attentive and accurate and one of the many excellent servers on board. The courses were all presented artistically. The cruise itself could not have been better, except for a brief shower in Porto on day one the weather was more than one could have hoped for the rest of the trip. Sunny and clear every day with the temperature getting warmer as we approached the Spanish boarder (e.g., 72F in Porto and 86F in Salamanca). The itinerary was excellent! The Hotel Intercontinental Lisbon was an excellent place to call home. Good location and a great breakfast included each day. Lisbon was beautiful starting on day 2 with a city tour that included St. Jeronimos’ Monastery (with a Pastel de Belem sampling), the Belem Tower and the Discoveries’ Monument and a Sintra City Tour on day three. The high-speed train transfer to Porto (actually Vila Nova de Gaia, across the river from Porto) was fast and clean. For our first night on board we were treated to and “illuminated river cruise” of Porto to see the city lit up at night, an extraordinary sight. Each subsequent excursion generally included an historical site visit followed by a wine/port tasting which typically included local tapas. Some trips included full dinners such as those to the Monastery Alpendurada, Hotel Alameda Palace in Salamanca, and Quinta de Avessada; all the food was to die for. The excursions provided options for active walkers/hikers or for those wanting a slower pace. Each person had a QuietVox synced to their guide. The bus drivers need to be complemented on their navigating skills on the hills to and from our ship and through the narrow streets. On board entertainment was provided nightly by an excellent pianist. We also had presentations on the Douro region and its’ wines as well as wine tasting briefings, a wonderful Fado group and a Tuna band. We also had a Flamenco show in Salamanca and an onboard cooking demonstration for Pastel de Belem’s. In conclusion, this was a phenomenal trip that everyone should have the pleasure of experiencing. WEAR comfortable walking shoes, the cobble stoned streets with un-even curb and steps are torturous! If you can avoid making any flight transfers thru Madrid I would suggest strongly that you do so. Going through security there is the worst travel experience you may ever have. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Just back from a fabulous week on the Emerald Radiance sailing the Douro after 3 days in Lisbon also organised by Emerald. Excellent itinerary with even better guide (Ana) and tour escorts (Luis, Elizabete and Carla). Great knowledge ... Read More
Just back from a fabulous week on the Emerald Radiance sailing the Douro after 3 days in Lisbon also organised by Emerald. Excellent itinerary with even better guide (Ana) and tour escorts (Luis, Elizabete and Carla). Great knowledge and enthusiasm and especially patience. Our Captain was very welcoming and frequently seen about the ship mingling with guests. Hotel Manager, Manuel, led by example. Staff are all well trained and friendly and helpful. Ship is beautiful and well fitted out with good facilities. Lovely staff and food and a good range of trips and activities to suit all. Good amount of storage in cabin which is not overlarge except for bedside table which could have had drawers or another shelf instead of just the (necessarily) small top. Really did not want to get off the ship and look forward to travelling with them again as had a number of our fellow cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We had previously on cruised on large ocean cruisers with 2,000+ passengers but this time chose to try a River Cruise. With only 90 passengers, the Emerald Radiance down the Duoro River in Portugal was perfect. The itinerary took us down ... Read More
We had previously on cruised on large ocean cruisers with 2,000+ passengers but this time chose to try a River Cruise. With only 90 passengers, the Emerald Radiance down the Duoro River in Portugal was perfect. The itinerary took us down a scenic river among the small villages and vineyards and beautiful scenery. Included in the price were excursions every day, led by knowledgeable staff and small groups. The dining was easy-going, allowing us to either choose to eat alone or with others, and flexible dining hours. Food was excellent. Overall, we were most impressed with how relaxing and pampered we felt, with the staff going out of their way to cater to all of our needs, including helping us book a train and taxi from the port back to Lisbon on our own. We loved having a small ship with personalized service and meeting lots of new people. We will go on another Emerald Cruise in the near future and highly recommend this cruise line! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Would I recommend Emerald Radiance on the Duoro – YES in a heartbeat – and I am not easy to please. We chose Secrets of the Duoro and Salamanca simply because we wanted to enjoy the climate and scenery of Portugal whilst lazing on the ... Read More
Would I recommend Emerald Radiance on the Duoro – YES in a heartbeat – and I am not easy to please. We chose Secrets of the Duoro and Salamanca simply because we wanted to enjoy the climate and scenery of Portugal whilst lazing on the boat up and down the river. The arrangements in the UK were sufficient but not excellent. We chose that Emerald handled our flights but then had to liaise with them last thing to select our seats from the allocation with Tap Air – luckily not a problem – but different planes outgoing and incoming. However, we received good advice about the better cabins and were allocated something very suitable. The handling at Porto Airport could have been smoother but we were in no hurry. The coach trip to the quay was quick and we were invited aboard. By this time it was well past midday and we had received little food since the plane snack. The only thing on offer on arrival was in the Horizon Lounge and was the daily afternoon tea time sandwiches etc. Unless you are a seasoned cruiser - and we are not – there was little to advise what we were to do. We sat and took light refreshment then checked in with our passports. We were then guided to our panorama suite cabin and all the facilities explained. The cabin was in the middle of the ship so close to all amenities. We unpacked and made ready for drinks and dinner. There was a cocktail reception to start and we were then ushered to dinner. From this point on everything worked like 5 star clockwork. All meals were delightful, the staff were attentive, the service was fast and many individuals were charismatic and charming. We did not want for more from start to finish. Bar service was attentive, swift and knowledgeable. The chef was a marvel. The menus were varied and really enjoyable. We enjoyed free drinks at lunch and dinner but paid for all our other drinks - for us and others. Not long before we had replenished drinks just with a nod. We had not planned to trudge around visiting vineyards, museums and other points of interest – the result of which was that often we were basking on the sun deck with our own private pool.. The scenery was spectacular, albeit seen from different perspectives travelling down and then back on the Duoro. The locks were a real feat of careful navigation travelling vertically hundreds of feet as we cruised the river. We met engaging couples and spent time on our own – both enjoyable, had evenings of music and dancing and endless chats. The ship was new and fascinating. The captain was a wealth of information having managed several other similar vessels, the crew were industrious – whether moored or sailing. The engineer took pride in showing us the powerful guts of the ship – not normally done I suspect. The captain allowed us to be with him in his sun deck steering cabin and we watched amazed at the tight conditions in locks and the way the ship had to reduce in height to fit - on at least two occasions. We cannot comment on the excursions – we only once went out to dinner in a wine cellar – which was an 'alright' experience. So, never having done this before we really fell on our feet and could not recommend highly enough all the effort from all the ships crew. Very well done. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Value was behind our decision to try Emerald. Because we booked early much of our airfare cost was covered, we received one of the upgraded excursions for free and were given the premium drink package. The premium drink package should be ... Read More
Value was behind our decision to try Emerald. Because we booked early much of our airfare cost was covered, we received one of the upgraded excursions for free and were given the premium drink package. The premium drink package should be called the "alcoholics" drink package since you can drink all day for no extra charge. If you're not a heavy drinker, you would never buy this package (too expensive). Transfer from Porto airport was smooth as silk, and while we couldn't access our cabin until the formal embarkation time, we had the run of the public areas and were fed twice since we arrived early morning. The ship as has been mentioned was built in 2017 and appears brand new. The housekeeping staff keeps the entire ship spotless, and is extremely hard working. This is true of the entire staff; they're hard working, they can't do enough for you, they always have smiles on their faces and it's clear they really like their jobs. As stated in the title, the crew makes the cruise. The ship decor is modern, and I guarantee you've never seen more reflective surfaces in your life. Cabin size is small but functional and I had no trouble hooking my electronic equipment to the flat screen TV allowing us to enjoy our photos and videos on the big screen. All you need is an HDMI cable to attach to your camera or computer to the TV. Food quality is quite good, and we only had one so so meal on board. This brings me to the wine, which was poured in plentiful quantities. It was all Portugese and ordinary in quality, not because it was Portugese but because Emerald chooses less expensive while drinkable wines. We found once we were on our own for a food and wine tour in Lisbon just how inexpensive wine is in Portugal. One local wine we tasted topped any we had on board; cost of a bottle in that grocery store was 6 Euros! Another annoyance is that the "Premium Drink Package" does not provide a step up in wine quality! If it had, it would be a true "Premium Drink Package." Please note this was the only complaint I could come up with on the entire cruise and extension in Lisbon. Excursions were solid, and we enjoyed those that included Port wine tastings at the various farms, estates and wineries we visited. The buses that are used for a number of the excursions are as new and well cared for as the ship; very comfortable. The drivers and accompanying ship staff ran everything like clockwork; Emerald is excellent in this respect. Scenery is great, the locks are fun and the ship only cruises during the day which is wonderful for picture taking. Met many interesting people on the cruise, including several whom we'll stay in touch with. Transfer to the Lisbon airport was again smooth as silk. I'd give the entire experience a 9.5 out of 10. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Started Wed June 13 in Lisboa. Met at airport and transferred and given handout for restaurants etc around hotel. Site representative and most folks start the next day. We visited the zoo on Thurs. Briefing was Thurs night. Fri was city ... Read More
Started Wed June 13 in Lisboa. Met at airport and transferred and given handout for restaurants etc around hotel. Site representative and most folks start the next day. We visited the zoo on Thurs. Briefing was Thurs night. Fri was city tour in am and on own in PM (too few picked extra cost optional). Sat was on own or optional extra cost guided tour. Sun transforms to visit with stop at Coimbra Univ. Then finally on ship at Cais Gai. Trip ok. Problem for me is other than visits to Port vineyards and hearing about port wine, there didn't seem much of interest on the Douro. Maybe that is why the start in Lisboa and day trip to Salamanca. And after getting to Salamanca we were mostly by ourselves. Memorable events were the visit to the Archeolgical site at Coa (NOT for folks with mobility issues), going through the Carrapatelo dam (2nd upriver from Porto) the deepest in Europe and "Mr Bean" at the dinner at the Enoteca da Avessada. The most memorable was an accident. The ship was docked at Cais Gai the evening of June 23 before Sai Joao day. Great fire work display at midnight right in front of us from boats in midriver and the bridge. Unlike others I really like the diff Portuguese food. And one could always ask for e.g. the striploin steak and fries etc from the alt menu. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was our third Scenic river cruise. All have been great but this one was the best. Great boat, friendly crew, fantastic food and excellent day tours. Portuguese food and wine is superb, and the cruise focus on local dishes, ... Read More
This was our third Scenic river cruise. All have been great but this one was the best. Great boat, friendly crew, fantastic food and excellent day tours. Portuguese food and wine is superb, and the cruise focus on local dishes, ingredients and wines was well placed. At each daily brief the chef and tour director highlighted that night’s recommended local dish and wines. As always with Scenic there was lots of choice on the menu, but the local dishes were our favourites. We had a little trouble with high water given the heavy rains before we arrived and were required by the Portuguese authorities to dock at unplanned locations. But Scenic did a great job of keeping us informed, arranging for day trips when we were docked unexpectedly, and making sure everyone got to the airport to get on to their next destination. I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone who likes history, food and wine. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We have travelled with Uniworld on other cruises and had found them very good. The Douro Valley was on our 'must do' list. Both the cruise and the ship exceeded expectations. Although the usual things ( mentioned below) met ... Read More
We have travelled with Uniworld on other cruises and had found them very good. The Douro Valley was on our 'must do' list. Both the cruise and the ship exceeded expectations. Although the usual things ( mentioned below) met expectations it was the attitude of the staff on board and on arranged tours that made the trip very special. The staff were more than just friendly and helpful - they were an integral part of the experience. Their humour alone was worth the trip. Shore excursions were effortless and enjoyable, the scenery along the way was magnificant. Were held a professional conference on board for 80 delegates and although the ship was not designed for conferencing the ships crew did everything necessary to facilitate the smooth running of our conference including the rearranging of furniture and the set up of conference facilities daily, rescheduling tours, meals and events to accommodate conference sessions. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Scenic used to be a very good River Boat Liner. The reason I always choose Scenic is they are taking good care of their customers, good restaurant service and cabin is always clean. Plus, all excursion & tips are included. Apparently, ... Read More
Scenic used to be a very good River Boat Liner. The reason I always choose Scenic is they are taking good care of their customers, good restaurant service and cabin is always clean. Plus, all excursion & tips are included. Apparently, I am kind of disappointed with Scenic Azure compare with Scenic Diamond & Scenic Sapphire, I have to admit Scenic Azure has to do lots before it can compare with the other two cruise ships The following are my complaints with Scenic Azure: - Restaurants: Drastic cutting cost on foods & waiters. Only 4 waiters serving over 90 customers in the Crystal dining room. Usually there are always waiters or bus boys around us, we never have to wait for our refill of wine, tea or coffee, but not on the Scenic Azure we always have to wait for quite sometime before we have our refill on wine. - Quality of foods on all meals have been drastic cutting costs. All seafood are not fresh and terribly cooked, desserts are terrible as well. Only good thing is steaks are always cooked well. - Cruise Director , Rachell , lack of experience and unknowledgable. I always enjoyed with the tour directors on Scenic, they are all very friendly and well experienced. They always brought good atmosphere on the daily Port talk, but on Azure, every Port talk seems like teacher giving lecture to all kids. Rachell, treated us like kindergarden kids and have no respect. She cancelled all my Excursion Tours, cos she said the way I marked the circle are all wrong. Being as a Canadian, we usually put a check mark or a stroke on the circle, but according to Rachell, these indicate that they are cancelled, we [=have to circle them, perhaps this is the Portugal way of doing multiple choices.She made a big mess on all our excursion tours. making us all frustrated. - railings on Scenic Cruise Lines are always sparkling clean and shiny but not on Azure. All fingerprints can be seen easily on all railings, even spider webs are around on some of the railings too. -Hotel Manager , we can hardly see him around. Only thing I have to give credit on this boat is.....cabin is a bit spacious compare with the other boats and is always clean. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017

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