Sail Date: August 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
We are Scenic tragics, and love the levels of extras that come with the luxuries. Having completed all the French river cruises, it was time to branch out to Portugal. We booked the big cabin down the back, and never regretted it. Flew in ... Read More
We are Scenic tragics, and love the levels of extras that come with the luxuries. Having completed all the French river cruises, it was time to branch out to Portugal. We booked the big cabin down the back, and never regretted it. Flew in via Barcelona, where we stayed a night to recuperate from the 24hrs of flights from Sydney, and then flew direct to Porto and Azure. Embarkation on a rainy day was slightly tricky down a long slippery gangway to the Douro River level, and then back up one deck to get onboard - Scenic might like to review this one. But that was the only difficulty that arose during our 11 days. The cabin is excellent (see separate comments) and comes with a dedicated butler. We used him to replenish the bubbly as often as possible, and to run a small soiree for 8 of us one afternoon - including an impressive range of canapes. Alocohol is provided as part of your package, all the way up to top tier items, and the bartender Therese was outstanding in meeting our requirements. The dining room downstairs is a wonderful place, with excellent views, seating for as many as you want (2,4,6,8+) depending on who you meet, and includes buffet items for breakfast and lunch, as well as a la carte items, and fully a la carte for dinner. Upstairs is the bar, an entertainer, and a quick menu lunch option should you need that. Shore excursions were excellent, tailored for the area the ship was located, and included at least 2 options - there is always a dedicated and luxurious Scenic bus available to transport passengers, so little walking required. The only excusion off river was to Salamanca in Spain. But all excursions were good. We think this is the best of the Scenic river adventures, and we will probably go again. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Day 1 - Flew by Air Portugal from Toronto to Lisbon then to Porto. TAP did not allow us to change or select seats online, but we were able to do so at airport. Flight to Lisbon was cramped and uncomfortable. Flight to Porto was delayed ... Read More
Day 1 - Flew by Air Portugal from Toronto to Lisbon then to Porto. TAP did not allow us to change or select seats online, but we were able to do so at airport. Flight to Lisbon was cramped and uncomfortable. Flight to Porto was delayed 45 min. This flight had much more legroom. Arrived around 5 pm at the Scenic Azure just as the Port Talk was starting in the lounge. Butler did not take us to our room after and we never met him for entire trip. Our room was on the cheapest floor, room 102. It was spacious and well organized and organized very nicely, with lots of storage and clothes closet space. This contrasted big time with our Scenic Moselle cruise last year on the Scenic Jewel. Day 2 -Porto > Entre-os-Rios. Highlights: Historic Porto. discover the unique historic treasures of Porto, including a visit to Palacio da Bolsa. Then enjoy a relaxing afternoon of cruising as your luxury Scenic Space-Ship meanders its way to Entre-os-Rios. Tour of the Stock Exchange Palace was very interesting. Local guide did not appear to like her job. Later toured the train station to see all the tiles on the walls. Very unique. Guide was from the Scenic Azure and she was good. Day 3 -Entre-os-Rios. Highlights: Quinta Aveleda. This afternoon, enjoy a blissful cruise to Regua where you have the chance to explore the Douro Museum at your leisure. Learn about the culture, history and identity of the people living in this wine growing region of the Douro Valley. Freechoice: Guimarães was the seat of the first King of Portugal and is dominated by the impressive Ducal Palace, which dates back to medieval times. It’s a great tour to kickstart your interest in this fascinating region. Alternatively, you could choose a tasting at the fairytale property of Quinta Aveleda. Located in the famous Vino Verde region and a renowned regional sparkling wine producer, the incredible gardens alone make the excursion worthwhile. We chose the tour of Guimarães. We toured the Ducal Palace and ancient town. Grapes were grown on fence borders. Our guide was the ship’s cruise director Filipe. He was very good and interesting. Later we left the ship again and walked over to the Douro museum and learned the evolution of port wine industry on the Douro. It was very interesting. Local guide was OK. Day 4 -Regua. Highlights: Ucanha and Varosa Valley. his afternoon, you’ll discover the captivating Varosa Valley and visit the charming village of Tarouca where you’ll get to explore the restored Monastery of Saint John of Tarouca. En route walk the fortified bridge of Ucanha, Portugal’s first toll bridge, spanning the crystal clear waters of the Varosa River. Freechoice: Tour the elegant town of Lamego, with its many fine Baroque structures, or enjoy a guided visit of Mateus Palace, the historic icon depicted on the labels of Portugal’s famous Mateus rosé wine. Our tour guide was Miguel from our ship, who was very good. The fortified bridge of Ucanha was very scenic and interesting. The Monastery of Saint John of Tarouca was not interesting to us as all that was there was foundations of buildings. Our Freechoice selection was the town of Lamego with our cruise director Filipe as guide. He was very good. There we toured the Sanctuary dos Nossa Sanhora dos Remedios and 365 steps. This was very scenic and a highlight of our trip. After walking down the 365 scenic steps there was an option of touring the Lamego Museum. This was a waste of time and we exited as soon as we could. Day 5 - Regua > Vega de Terron. Highlights: Cruising Vinhateiro. Today, enjoy a full day cruising the Douro Valley’s Vinhateiro wine growing region. Classified a World Heritage-listed Site, Vinhateiro has a history of wine production that stretches back for 2000 years. We spent most of the day on top of the ship enjoying the spectacular scenery. Our Tailormades explained what we were looking at. Day 6 -Salamanca Spain. Highlights: Spanish dining and Flamenco. Take your time absorbing the sheer architectural splendour of Salamanca, a city as visually striking as it is historically intriguing. Explore the city on a guided tour before some time at leisure followed by a delicious lunch accompanied by an energetic Flamenco dance performance. It was a 2-hour bus ride to Salamanca. Our guide on the bus was our cruise director Filipe who provided commentary for the entire 2 hours. He made the trip very interesting and enjoyable. Countryside was very dry. It was very hilly at the beginning and then much flatter once up on the plateau with crops to view. Had a local guide in Salamanca who was good. Restaurant meal was very good and Flamenco dance was enjoyable. Salamanca was very scenic. Day 7 -Pocinho > Pinhão. Highlights: Côa Valley. Over breakfast, you’ll enjoy a leisurely cruise to nearby Pocinho for our Côa Valley discovery. This afternoon, enjoy your picturesque cruise to Pinhão and tonight be entertained by a traditional Portuguese musical performance on board. Freechoice: Visit the award-winning Côa Valley Museum and enjoy a pre-historic workshop. If you’re more adventurous at heart, take a canoeing excursion on the Sabor River. Alternatively, you could join the ‘Tastes of the Côa Valley’ excursion and visit Casa Painova for a sweet almond workshop and a tasting of their almond, olive and fruit products. For our Freechoice we took a Scenic bus to the village of Freixd de Numao to house of Casa Painova with our excellent tour director Filipe. We toured the house and had an almond cooking and tasting demo. Local guide had a booming voice, so we did not need our Tailormades. A very enjoyable, scenic and interesting trip. Day 8 -Pinhão. Highlights: Scenic village experience. Today you’ll visit the remarkable village of Provesende, showcasing the Portugal of yesteryear. Wander the atmospheric streets of this quaint village with the locals as they proudly introduce you to their way of life – including their local bakery. This is a specially choreographed experience only open to Scenic guests. You’ll also visit the church for a special recital, and enjoy wine tasting at the restored manor house of Morgadio da Calçada. What better way to immerse yourself in the local culture. Freechoice: Top off a truly unforgettable day with a visit to the estate of Quinta Roeda for a tasting of their famous export. Or, if you’re feeling energetic, you could choose a walk through the hillside vineyard for a unique tasting among the vines. Our guide was Carla from the ship. She was very good. Tour of the bakery was a waste. We had an interesting tour of a port winery called Morgadio Da Calcada Manor House who served us the best port we had on the entire trip. Our Freechoice was a visit to the estate of Quinta Roeda. We chose a walk through the vineyard. Our local guide was in a hurry to get the tour over with and rushed through the vineyard, so if you stopped to take a picture, you had to run to catch up. It was very interesting and very scenic. Day 9 -Pinhão > Porto. Highlights: Scenic Enrich at São Francisco Church. Having spent the previous eight days discovering the treasures of the Douro, Varosa and Côa Valleys, enjoy an exclusive Douro Valley Wine Review, as well as on board activities, including a cork jewellery workshop. Otherwise, simply enjoy the beauty of the region as you cruise back into Porto. Enrich: The sheer beauty of São Francisco Church is sure to impress. From the outside the facade is a mixture of Gothic and Baroque architecture and inside the interior glows with its intricate wood carvings swathed in gold. Immerse yourself in the heart and soul of Portuguese music as you witness a spectacular private concert in this wondrous surrounding. This was a very enjoyable cruising day seeing the locks and scenery from the opposite direction. The evening Enrich was very enjoyable. Day 10 -Porto. Our Freechoice was a visit to Santa Maria Da Feira Paper Museum. This was a very interesting place. They demonstrated many of the old ways paper was made. Day 11 - Trip home to Toronto. Our flight to Lisbon was not till evening, so Scenic let us stay on the ship for the day then took us to the airport at the appropriate time, You don’t get this perk on ocean cruises as they just take you straight to the airport and leave you there all day. Our friends who travelled with us were told that the flight was oversold and they had no seats for them. Our friends explained that we drove them to the airport in Toronto and if they do not travel with us, they cannot get home. Air Portugal then agreed to let them on and bump someone else. Our flight to Lisbon was on time and on the same comfortable plane we came on. Our flight to Toronto was not on the same uncomfortable plane we came on thank goodness. It was on a new Airbus with lots of legroom and very comfortable and modern entertainment system. The Ship Scenic Azure This was our 4th Scenic cruise. Our first was from Budapest to Amsterdam on the Scenic Saphire. Our 2nd cruise was Vietnam and Cambodia on the Scenic Spirit. Our third was from Amsterdam to Basel on the Scenic Jewel. Everything was top notch on the Saphire and Spirit. Vietnam and Cambodia were full of spectacular things to see compared to what you can see in Europe. The Jewel was a disappointment as far as food and service and the tiny room. This cruise on the Scenic Azure was over the top for food and service. Every meal seemed like it was the best meal we had ever had. The service was exceptional and not only in the restaurant and lounge. The TV in the bedroom was also a computer. Wi-Fi was all through the ship. The Tailormades are so useful for tours and cruising on the river. The new ones do not have the range that the old ones did, so you cannot get far from the guide. The buses had beautiful Scenic murals and had Wi-Fi and were very comfortable. They also had USB charges at your seat for your phones and tablets. All the guides from the ship were very knowledgeable and made tours very interesting and enjoyable. Another feature we liked is you did not hear people hacking and coughing like you do on most ocean cruises. We really liked the choices we had for tours. Other cruise lines don’t seem to have any choice at stops. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
My husband and I took the advice of our Travel Agent when booking a birthday and retirement celebration cruise for my 70-year-old Mom. Our Agent assured us Scenic was a "luxury cruise line," up to our standards. However, our ... Read More
My husband and I took the advice of our Travel Agent when booking a birthday and retirement celebration cruise for my 70-year-old Mom. Our Agent assured us Scenic was a "luxury cruise line," up to our standards. However, our time on board had disappointing service challenges, even bewildering at times. I wanted to take this opportunity to share our experiences aboard the Scenic Azure during the Delightful Douro Sailing. We have cruised extensively, including multiple sailings with Aqua Expedition River Cruises, Regent, and Crystal Cruises. When we booked "Scenic Luxury Cruises," we were expecting a similar service experience to the brands mentioned above. We had two cabins on this cruise, one for my Mom and the other cabin for my husband and me. Disappointments & Challenges: The Crew, especially the Cruise Director, Butlers, and the Ship's Manager were not particularly friendly or service oriented in our opinion, and this created multiple service failures that were not anywhere near to a luxury line. We learned early into the sailing that this was the entire Crew's last sailing. The boat was going into dry dock for the winter, and we were the last group they had to endure. The Crew was burnt out, provisions were sparse, and food was absolutely awful during our cruise, prompting us to take Uber's at every Port with a street into town and eat ANYWHERE else but in the Scenic dining room. It was raining in Porto; we had a Scenic outdoor walking tour booked with 45 minutes in the rain. I asked our Butler for an extra umbrella. Navigating the slippery, uneven cobblestones is severe enough, trying to share an umbrella while doing so - impossible! Also, this excursion specified a high difficulty because we needed to go down a considerable number of stairs or hills. Butler's answer to my umbrella request, "No, only one umbrella per suite, sorry, that's just the way it is." We bought an extra umbrella in town, but I got soaked first. What kind of company denies their guests an umbrella on an outdoor tour day when the forecast is rain? Unbelievable, but in alignment with our other experiences onboard. Crew: We found the Cruise Director, to be aloof, and not particularly keen with assisting in our minor requests. For example, on our first day, Mom asked for a piece of cake that was on display in the River Cafe. She remarked that they had been put away for the evening and she could not, under any circumstances, enjoy that cake (not even through room service) until the next day at 4 pm when they would be on display again. It was almost as if she delighted in telling us "NO." How difficult could it be to get my sweet old Mom a piece of cake? After all, this cruise was her birthday gift. Perhaps a, "My pleasure, please have a seat while we get you one" would have been more in line with what we were expecting from a company with the word "Luxury" attached to their name. Front desk young man was very unhelpful. He failed to deliver messages to our Butler on multiple occasions and sometimes didn't answer the phone at all. Also, he provided no help whatsoever when we tried to figure out how my Mom could have breakfast at 6 am before her 7 am morning walk with the Wellness coach in Port. He condescendingly said breakfast information was in our rooms, including the breakfast card for the door. None of this was previously pointed out to us by the way. The young man begrudgingly handed us another breakfast order form for the door... when I looked at it, I pointed out to Jose that it didn't start service until 7 am. He said, "Well, I guess you'll have to wait until after your walk." Once again, just perplexing guest relations. Excursions: Excursion planning was unnecessarily involved in our opinions. Instead of being able to choose all tours pre-trip we had to wait for a talk about the port excursions while on the cruise. None of the pertinent details for the port excursions were printed out ANYWHERE- they were only briefly discussed during the port talk slide show. We checked off the boxes of the tours we were interested in for the upcoming week, and we turned in the sheet to the cruise director. It occurred to us we had nothing at all to refer to for future reference, and nothing was provided. We NEEDED to know: 1. Start times and duration of each tour we booked for the week ahead. 2. Level of difficulty of each excursion we chose (need to prepare my Mom) 3. Please provide footwear suggestions (athletic shoes for hills, or casual) 4. Please give the duration times of transportation in the motor coach to each destination. This reasonable request for information necessary for our adequate planning and comfort of my 70-year-old Mom who has weak knees, a weak bladder, and hip spurs. I didn't think it was an unreasonable request. This information is also STANDARD on every other cruise we have ever taken and provided pre-cruise. However, the Butler informed us that the Ship Manager denied this information to us stating," You must attend all Port talks each evening (even though we were tied up) or make an appointment during our cruise vacation to meet with the ship manager privately so that he could discuss how Scenic corporate does things." REALLY? I was dumbfounded. I asked the Butler, "So he refuses to provide this information? This simple information, am I understanding you correctly? I have to take time out of my vacation to make an appointment to see him so he can explain why he will not supply this information?" The Butler said, "Yes, that is correct." I was so infuriated by this I hardly slept the entire night. I couldn't even begin to comprehend what kind of manager or company withholds the most basic of information from its guests. Outrageous. Information You Can Use: The Taylor Made audio devices in our cabins were a nice touch for Port tours. However, no one mentioned they could also be used during the cruise (back on board) to learn about the areas we were cruising through. We were up on deck every single day of the cruise - for hours, we would have LOVED to know that feature was accessible. We only learned about it because we saw another passenger on the last day of sailing listening to hers on deck. We asked her, "What on earth are you listening to? Taylor Mades are for the Port tours." She explained that she had been to a Scenic presentation (she was a travel agent), and had learned about them from the marketing video. Wow! Why on earth wouldn't Scenic mention this to guests? Why not have a sign or note of some kind in the rooms letting guests know? Why didn't the staff or Butlers mention this? What a disappointment, we would have loved this, especially my Mom. We asked several other guests if they knew about this great use of the Taylor Mades while cruising, and not a single one knew about it - they too were disappointed. We missed out on what could have been a memorable highlight to our sailing. Other frustrations that didn't line up with our expectations: - Bottom shelf Alcohol. A luxury cruise with only Jose Cuervo? We would have gladly paid more to have some top-shelf brands on board. My husband ordered Jose Cuervo Silver as the only tequila choice on board, and they were out until the 2nd or 3rd day of the cruise. They were also out of Pringle's, Bellini ingredients and other items we were told they needed to restock at Port on day 2 or 3. - Dining room service for lunch was slow. Fountain Sodas were flat and if you were drinking anything other than wine you had to wait a while for the only waitress to go downstairs and get your beverage order. - We waited through our entire lunch only to get flat Coke Zero. When I told Food Bev Mgr, the Coke was flat, he argued that I am just not used to Coke Zero in this country, "It's different here" he firmly exclaimed. It was uncomfortable. Why is the Scenic staff so combative? Later they fixed the issue with serving cans of Coke Zero that had adequate carbonation. - Food choices at all meals were minimal and not very good. Though the head Chef, was a lovely man, and passionate about his job, the food was far from great, and some dishes were inedible (pretty much all of the seafood). On our last night, we had rotten avocado tempura. We left the ship and ate in Port every chance we got, even paying an Uber $60 each way just to get into town. The port excursions could have been better managed. Would have loved more time in Salamanca, especially after the two-hour coach ride in. The lunch at the Hacienda Zorita was hardly edible, except for the dessert. Would have preferred an option to stay in the town of Salamanca and had an authentic Spanish lunch instead of the funky, undercooked salmon and campy tourist dance show at Hacienda Zorita. What we LOVED: -Our cabin steward. Our cabin was flawlessly clean each and every day. She's the only crew member we tipped. She deserved it. -Our tour guide in Salamanca -The Fado concert in Porto - The Captain was absolutely amazing. Incredibly genuine and friendly, we really enjoyed time chatting with him. - The adjustable beds were fantastic, my Mom purchased one back home she loved it so much. - Showers were incredibly spacious for a ship. - The open-air balconies were spectacular. - The coach drivers on the tours were great, felt safe. - All three of us loved the onboard tile painting class - our tiles came out great. My Mom was thrilled with her keepsake. All in all, I could not feel comfortable recommending Scenic to my friends and colleagues at this time, considering the service challenges that experienced. I did hear from Scenic's Senior Director after a letter I emailed about our consistent service challenges. He didn't have much to say, he said he would follow up with me on these issues and never did (it's now been 7 months). I was eager to learn if this is simply Scenic's standard level of service or if our disappointments were merely a result of a tired crew ready to be done for the season. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We managed to have a nice time but upon further reflection, I’d have to say it didn’t meet our expectations and couldn’t compare to our experience with AMA and the Normandy trip. Some of that is driven by the totally different ... Read More
We managed to have a nice time but upon further reflection, I’d have to say it didn’t meet our expectations and couldn’t compare to our experience with AMA and the Normandy trip. Some of that is driven by the totally different venue....the makeup of the Seine vs the Douro but a lot of it was just a poorly orchestrated itinerary. As I’m sure you’re aware, unlike the Seine, the river boats can’t cruise the Douro at night which probably presents some logistical issues. That said, as a more upscale provider, I would have expected UniWorld to have figured out how to compensate and address this. The other issue is that while the Douro is lovely and the scenery beautiful, there isn’t tons to do. Unlike the Seine, there are few cute little villages (except Porto) to explore along its banks so understandably, every sight or at least most, we were bused to. However, they did these bus rides/tours in the morning which meant rising at 6/6:30 to dress and get breakfast so we could be on the bus usually by 8:30 (one morning may have been 9). Then they’d get us back on the bus and back on the boat midday for lunch and an afternoon of sailing. Nothing of real substance to do except drink (btw the wine is delicious!). I should note that one day was a full day trip to Salamanca so of course we had to be up and out early but the others were half day excursions. If memory serves me, 3 of those morning / half day excursions involved wine tastings! Really....at 10am!!!!! Had they flipped the schedule and allowed for more leisurely mornings to eat breakfast and watch the countryside go by, the whole experience would have been more enjoyable and relaxing. We finished the cruise depleted and exhausted! Two other points. Lisbon. They put us up at the Corinthia Hotel on the outskirts of the city. The hotel was fine but the location made it difficult to get out and easily enjoy the city. On the return we stayed in the heart of the city (unfortunately it was only for one night). How much more delightful our Lisbon experience would have been had we been there for 3 days at the front end! I’m not sure if other tour companies offer a more centrally located hotel. If this is typical then I would urge you to suggest that people make their own hotel arrangements in Lisbon so they can take advantage of the city. There are plenty of local guides and a hop on hop off bus to get an overview of the city and then people can get out on their own and explore. The Douro is very dependent on the weather. Our week was cloudy, cold and rainy. The week before was lovely. But since there is so little to do, it’s extra important to have good weather. I wouldn't book beyond mid October. The food was inconsistent so disappointing. The buffet food at lunch was not always hot. Ama had a few things you could order from the kitchen, such as pasta, that came out hot. Uniworld was only buffet and carving station. Seafood was usually over cooked. They didn’t have some Portuguese specialties like shrimp in garlic or large prawns. Or even lobster. I expected this on a luxury line. It did seem like they were serving less expensive foods. The pork tenderloin the first night was excellent. The rest of the dinners were not memorable. Red Wines were excellent even though they were pretty inexpensive (we looked In stores). Our waiter, we had the same table all week, was outstanding. The Sandeman trip was a highlight - beautiful ride up. Would recommend the duo the last night in Porto be put on the first night in Porto - they we’re outstanding. Kirsten, the cruise director, was ok but a little misleading on what a disabled person could do. Also, the wine guy who explained the wine was worthless. It didn’t really tell us anything so I’d just eliminate that part. I would also recommend that Uniworld send more information in advance of the cruise. We skipped the dinner at the local winery, because we didn’t want the bus ride in the dark, or more cabbage soup. The dinner on the ship that night was mediocre. People said the winery dinner was not very good but the evening was fun. Coimbra was lovely, even though it poured. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
No! I'm not being funny with the title just honest. You will spend much more time on busses than you will cruising on the Douro. If like us, you understand that before you go you will not be disappointed. In fact the Douro is lovely ... Read More
No! I'm not being funny with the title just honest. You will spend much more time on busses than you will cruising on the Douro. If like us, you understand that before you go you will not be disappointed. In fact the Douro is lovely but only navigable for a short distance. Thus you cruise 2 days upstream from Porto, turn around and cruise 2 days back to Porto. This was our third Viking river cruise and we would gladly do a fourth. The staff and attention to detail leaves little to be desired. But please don't confuse this trip with the Rhine/Main/Danube. For a start there are no cute towns to explore along the way just small settlements often without a single shop, so you must take the excursion or remain on board and be bored to death. Another difference is that over the years whole fleets of ships are on the rivers. this means when you berth you may be sandwiched between two other ships. No natural light or view and you can't use the balcony. This applies to all ships. Meals were good but on this smaller ship of 106 passengers beware of the groups that can dominate such a small number of passengers. At times my wife and I were invisible at the dinner table as all our fellow diners were members of a book club and were discussing the books read during the year. Our valiant attempts to contribute drew a silent stare that said 'if we want your opinion we will ask for it'. Then there was the medical group that really did not want extra table companions but had to suffer them, then the group of two couples from the same English village that went to school together. I'm sure you get the point. This never happens on a large cruise ship. We solved it by rushing to the dining room to snare a table for four. Despite these minor problems we loved the bus trip with cruise extension. Viking are flawless and to be highly recommended. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise based on recommendations of American Express platinum travel services and reviews. Prior to leaving we had reservations as we had read some not so great reviews on the ship and service .We contacted our Agent as ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on recommendations of American Express platinum travel services and reviews. Prior to leaving we had reservations as we had read some not so great reviews on the ship and service .We contacted our Agent as well as Uniworld and were assured that all our concerns had been addressed and that Uniworld had trained the Portuguese crew and that it was not their ship but leased it out Let’s start by being positive,the Portuguese staff were great and all spoke English and went out of their way to please you ,unfortunately as I’ve been in the hospitality industry for over 40 years doesn’t matter how great you are if there are not enough of you it’s impossible to give the level of service demanded on what is meant to be a 5 star crise The actual boat ,the cabins and itinerary were also very good but because ships are not allowed to travel at night it’s a lot of wasted time Now for the bad ,Uniworld staff on board pretended to be sympathetic to all your needs but always came back to you with the same line our head office says we can’t give you what was promised but will accommodate you to the best we can ie as our flight was outside there time allotment they would order us a taxi of which we would have to pay Secondly our power in our room blew up my wife’s hairdryer and my shaver blew We used the same transformer in Lisbon and it worked great ,was told it was our issue and said I could buy some stuff in the shop ,no way after making a stink they brought me some disposable razors and some shaving cream Next our neighbors cabin was leaking dark brown sewage out of her toilet which we could smell The food at best was average we were told we would be getting fresh local foods especially fish , haha we had fish 2 times and once it was about 1by 2 and we did get sardines at our last lunch Breakfast and lunch were good but dinners were to many courses (my opinion less choices and more quality ) would be best served .once again staff tried everything to accommodate us by making special treats to try and compensate We also go sick after the second day both vomiting and diarrhea and learn that many other passengers suffered same fate Lastly some of the excursions we had especially the last dinner outing to a winery was just terrible,the food inedible We met many other guests on board who had been other Uniworld crises from Amsterdam and other ports that were fantastic,I guess this one is there biggest money maker but if the want my business back they will need to really make me an offer I could not refuse Planing a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia and heard similar issues as they don’t own boat or have control of staff Might have to look into other lines Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose the Uniworld tour on the Douro River in Portugal because we were looking for another adventure with Uniworld. Three years ago we did a river cruise with Uniworld in France and greatly enjoyed it. When we chose this adventure we ... Read More
We chose the Uniworld tour on the Douro River in Portugal because we were looking for another adventure with Uniworld. Three years ago we did a river cruise with Uniworld in France and greatly enjoyed it. When we chose this adventure we knew very little about Portugal. Our cruise started in Lisbon and this included not only a guided tour of Lisbon but also a day trip to Sintra and Queluz, two very different and interesting castles presenting a very interesting contrast. On our way by bus from Lisbon to Porto we stopped in Coimbra for a tour of the library. Once in Porto we were immediately welcomed aboard the ship and were presented a short introductory talk. When we reached our cabins our luggage was already there. The days were a very comfortable combination of time sailing through the lovely rural scenery and excursions to wineries and other points of interest. Our guides were always knowledgeable and friendly. The dining room was very attractive and always a large array of choices at the breakfast and lunch buffets. Dinner was a little more formal and the menu included an ample number of choices. Some local specialties. Uniworld really takes care of their passengers. Everything is included and it is all topnotch. Their staff members are friendly, and work at making sure their guests are happy. I highly reccomend traveling with Uniworld. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
This was my fifth European river cruise (first on Uniworld, the others on Avalon). Uniworld is marketed as a Six Star Luxury river cruise line. We decided to give them a try. Portugal was a destination on our list so we booked the only ... Read More
This was my fifth European river cruise (first on Uniworld, the others on Avalon). Uniworld is marketed as a Six Star Luxury river cruise line. We decided to give them a try. Portugal was a destination on our list so we booked the only Uniworld itinerary offered, roundtrip Porto on the Queen Isabel. Our first surprise (of many to come) was the arrival of our cruise documents. This consisted of a piece of paper with the name of the ship, name of the itinerary, sailing date, and two luggage tags. No detailed itinerary or instruction. We were told we had to go on their website, download (which required cut and paste) and print. Three days before sailing my wife received an email from Uniworld that advised us the ship would not be departing from Porto because of high water on the river. Instructions were sparse – go to the Porto port the day of sailing, look for the Uniworld representative, and she would direct us to a bus for us to be driven to the next port to board the Queen Isabel. There was no mention of the location of where the rep would be or the time to meet her. Instructions in the email also recommended we call the boat the day of sailing if we needed assistance. Wanting more details, my wife called the Uniworld sales office in LA the day before sailing, and was given the same information. No additional details were provided. The morning of sailing, my wife called the sales office again, only to be told the boat was departing from Porto, and to go to the pier to board the ship. Wrong information. Each time my wife called, she was placed on hold, so the agent could talk to a supervisor to try and find out more information. The only information given was for us to go to the port and a Uniworld representative would be there all day to meet us. There was no one there when we got to the port and after three phone calls to the boat, we were told the rep was on another boat, at the end of the port, the third one out .We had to walk through these two to get to her. All the while dragging luggage from one end of the port to the other. The next surprise was the ship. The toilets weren’t working right, and hot water was intermittent. Movies were not available. When they got the toilets working that same day, we had to endure a high pressure flush that I’m sure woke up the surrounding rooms (because I certainly heard them) as it ended with a boom! This was never fixed. Due to high waters, the ship only moved across the river to a refueling point the first five days. In the meanwhile, we were bussed daily to different destinations (Porto twice). We finally sailed to Porto on day 6 and the plan was more excursions to Porto for the remaining two days. The food on this ship was not up to advertised luxury cruise standards. The crew was very professional. It appeared the operational decisions on our daily routines were made late the night before. The actions by Uniworld on this cruise were not worthy of a “Six Star” luxury cruise line. I would think twice before going on this Uniworld cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
This was the second to last cruise of the year. Things ran smoothly, and the crew were a well-oiled machine. They were faultless, professionalism and enthusiasm were apparent. We felt cared for. Food was to a very high standard. Not ... Read More
This was the second to last cruise of the year. Things ran smoothly, and the crew were a well-oiled machine. They were faultless, professionalism and enthusiasm were apparent. We felt cared for. Food was to a very high standard. Not classic but excellent which is what you want on an unpretentious cruise like this. Evenings were smart but laid back and most of all fun. I expected to find the staff looking forward to their break and being a little bored with the guests, but that was not the case. Ana in the dining area is exceptional, Ricardo as cruise director knows his stuff and the Captain very professional and caring. I had one issue. The crane above our cabin was used at 2am to shift the gangplank. Only one night and once explained we got on with it. I would say a cruise on the Duoro is perfect early autumn like this. Temperatures were cool but good enough for anyone from the UK. 20c being the average. The trips off the ship were excellent. I particularly liked the visit to Sandeman and Mr Bean (Go, you will understand). The river is just stunning at this time of year. The colours were amazing. It must be one of the most picturesque of all river cruises as you are always in touch with the riverbank and wildlife. Thanks, Uniworld, I loved it..... Keep up the good work! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We were in Lisbon three days before we boarded the ship. Lisbon is a beautiful city with great buildings to look at. We had great tours from Scenic to many areas of Lisbon plus went to the ocean to see the beaches. Great accommodations in ... Read More
We were in Lisbon three days before we boarded the ship. Lisbon is a beautiful city with great buildings to look at. We had great tours from Scenic to many areas of Lisbon plus went to the ocean to see the beaches. Great accommodations in Lisbon at the Sheraton, within walking distance of lovely old areas. Getting on and off the ship was very easy and orderly, a young crew but were fantastic. So accommodating and really enjoyed there job. The dining was wonderful for breakfast, lunch, and dinner always a special treat awaiting us. The wine was excellent as it was from the local areas we were in. We had a wonderful piano player who looked like Richard Gere with a wonderful voice. There were always games to partake in at night or just enjoy a night cap with the other guests. The shore excursions were top of the line just as you would expect from Scenic and its crew. A cocktail event at the Douro Museum with Port Tonic. Or touring the town of Lamego to see Portugal's first toll bridge. The city of Salamanca that is a world heritage site along with the history of wine production. The small village of Provesende where we were brought into a bakery to see how they still use the old ovens to bake the bread. WE also enjoyed port in a restored manor house. The owner actually took us around his estate. We went to a dinner like none other at Taylors Cellars that included traditional Fado music and wonderful views of the Douro River. All in all the cruise was excellent and Portugal is a wonderful place to visit. This should be your next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
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
On board dining excellent although "The Portbello Experience" was sadly lacking. Not helped by the cruise director walking around the area giving the very lengthy port briefing. No greeting or farewell by the butlers at this ... Read More
On board dining excellent although "The Portbello Experience" was sadly lacking. Not helped by the cruise director walking around the area giving the very lengthy port briefing. No greeting or farewell by the butlers at this event. General dining could not be faulted especially Tiago our waiter who was excellent. Evening drinks served by Sofia and her assistant was excellent again. Thank you Sofia and assistant. Excursions when accompanied by Maria Helena were excellent and she could not be praised enough for her humour and also extensive knowledge. The last full day was a rush as we wanted to go on both the morning and the afternoon tours, which we did. Unfortunately this left us only 40 minutes on return to shower and change for the Taylors meal which has been put back from the previous day. A tiring day not helped by the fact the meal was terrible. There were no choices of menu, the soup was lukewarm in a cold dish, the meat, again on a cold plate and lukewarm was far too rare for us, my wife's meat was raw in the middle and she did not eat it. This was mentioned casually to the cruise director who told my wife to see the maître de. Half of the people on our table did not eat their meat for the same reason. The few vegetables on the plates were also haphazard, different portion size. Finally I would have expected more than a small glass of port when you visited such an establishment although there was ample wine. We were unable to do the online survey as we had no time, receiving late the evening before and having such a busy final day. The transport to and from the airport was excellent. Not the best way to finish what is a luxury holiday and leaves me undecided if I would use Scenic again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was a lovely cruise on a smallish classy boat, with a hugely attentive and friendly local crew, Food and cabin were good, but most important of all the ambiance and feeling on the trip was wonderful with the Douro being a truly ... Read More
This was a lovely cruise on a smallish classy boat, with a hugely attentive and friendly local crew, Food and cabin were good, but most important of all the ambiance and feeling on the trip was wonderful with the Douro being a truly unspoilt and magnificent destination. The excursions were well organised with entertaining and knowledgeable guides. It of course helped that the weather (October) was neither too hot nor too cold. In summary we would highly recommend - it wasn't cheap but the inclusive nature, alcohol and tours, made it better value for money than it seemed on the ticket price. The flights were via Portuguese airlines, which were both surprisingly pleasant and punctual. The transfers were fine, albeit the traffic from Porto airport to the ship was awful. Overall highly recommended on this our second scenic tour - they have developed a way of employing good staff who seem genuinely to enjoy helping all their passengers. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
Excellent cabin, ship's amenities, staff and cuisine. The all Portuguese crew were friendly and proud of their country and were always ready to go the extra mile to make everyone on board as comfortable as possible. Scenic Cruises ... Read More
Excellent cabin, ship's amenities, staff and cuisine. The all Portuguese crew were friendly and proud of their country and were always ready to go the extra mile to make everyone on board as comfortable as possible. Scenic Cruises calls their vessels "Space Ships" and the novel design of their "convertible" veranda lives up to the hype. We have always viewed cabins with a veranda as a minimum requirement for any cruise that we have taken as we liked to be able to step out and feel the weather before going ashore. As good as that has always been for us, the Scenic "Space Ship" gave us the option of making that Veranda area part of our interior cabin space (which was wonderful) OR to use it as a traditional outdoor veranda space. Having that choice has spoiled us! The all inclusive nature of a Scenic cruise is wonderful. No nickel or dime additions EVER. In fact they do not even ask to see your credit card when you check into the vessel. A wonderful experience that we will treasure! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
Had not been to Portugal before and really enjoyed 1st Secenic trip Amsterdam to Budapest. Cruise director very well organised and supportive. Tour guides, Raquel, Sergio and Maria Helene were very knowledgeable, entertaining and ... Read More
Had not been to Portugal before and really enjoyed 1st Secenic trip Amsterdam to Budapest. Cruise director very well organised and supportive. Tour guides, Raquel, Sergio and Maria Helene were very knowledgeable, entertaining and supportive. All the excursions were fun and informative and gave a great overview of Portugal. However, the day to Salamanca could be reviewed. I loved Salamanca and would have liked free time but was not prepared to be ready at 6.30am. An option for free time would be not to partake in lunch at hacienda with dancers, but to stay in Salamanca and organise own lunch in a cafe or bar and then get picked up about same time as lunch experience had finished. Food excellent - enjoyed all meals. The galley tour was extremely interesting as was the cooking demonstration so thanks to our executive chef, Rodrigues. Met lovely people on cruise and enjoyed getting to know them and hear their stories. Will definitely do another Scenic cruise as the service, food, facilities and everything prepaid all terrific and suits us to do it this way. Travelled with friends from Perth, Western Australia but everyone so friendly on board and socialised with many different couples. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Full trip report Overview We researched the various cruises available on the Douro, including Viking, Scenic, AMA, and CroisiEurope who all run their own ships. We also looked at Agents who buy blocks on other boats. We chose ... Read More
Full trip report Overview We researched the various cruises available on the Douro, including Viking, Scenic, AMA, and CroisiEurope who all run their own ships. We also looked at Agents who buy blocks on other boats. We chose Emerald as, for us, they had the best overall offering, a new ship. We had cruised with them before on the Danube and knew the standard to expect. We booked direct, and early, to get the best discounts and cabin choice. We had a chance to have a tour around their Scenic sister ship, Azure, whilst moored alongside. They are the same size with identical sun deck, although we preferred the partial shade on Emerald rather than the solid awning on Scenic. Scenic is all suite (white-chrome, and a bit clinical) with butler service (who wants their smalls unpacked!) with less guests/different crew ratio (96/33 against 112/37 on Emerald) and more dining options. We were told by our crew, who swap between boats when required, that the food is the same on both boats but all silver service in Azure. They also far preferred working on Radiance as although busier, the guests were more friendly and inclusive. I genuinely think it was their honest view, not said to please. Inclusive liquor packages are the same but they have a 3-piece band at night rather than a pianist! Apparently, they play to an empty lounge after dinner as the Scenic guests all were in bed, unlike the Emerald bar which was lively most nights until midnight. We honestly couldn’t see the extra value in paying thousands of £/$ to sail Scenic rather than Emerald. Pre/Post Cruise The Emerald price includes air fares to/from the UK. From our own experience, we knew that this generally included transfers in Paris/Frankfurt or Amsterdam if not flying from London airports. When our flights were offered they included a 06.15 departure and a 55-minute connection-a disaster waiting to happen. We took a price reduction of £250 each, booked direct flights to Oporto the day before departure and stayed at the OPO airport hotel and still had some change. Our advice-investigate the alternatives. Other guests, who had lost luggage/missed connections/late arrivals wished they had knew this option. Joining The Emerald price includes collection/drop off at the airport so we made our way, refreshed after a good sleep and breakfast, to Porto Arrivals to be collected with two other guests and transferred to the Emerald Radiance just as the last group were disembarking. We were the first of the new guests to arrive. Bliss. We had the ship to ourselves, and a private guided tour, until after lunch when the next few arrived. We sat in the sun, watching the Red Bull Air Race Practice and enjoyed a delightful buffet lunch with local wine & beer before we were shown to our suite promptly at 3pm. 10/10 The Ship The newest on the Douro, it’s first cruise was in June. The early cruises attracted criticism with early teething problems with cabin fittings and service levels but the all Portuguese crew had got their act by the time we joined the September cruise. As you would expect, everything is new-and it shows. The Horizon Bar & Lounge are the hub of the ship and the service from head barman Abel, supported by Sandra, sparkled. Guests had an option of having a light breakfast/snack lunch here or on The Terrace whilst the full buffet breakfast and lunch was laid out in Reflections 9/10 Suites (as they are called) Although they vary in size from 150to300 sq ft and you get what you paid for. Everyone we spoke to seemed to be happy with their rooms, however grand or modest, especially the comfort of the beds. We heard of only one flooding and one complaint of noise, a cabin directly below the crane which started up at 06.30 am as we prepared to depart each morning-note there is no night sailings on the Douro. Our suite at the stern was very quiet with only propeller noise at 7am on departure. 9/10 Dining and Beverages The Emerald price included, for most guests, all liquor and future cruises are fully inclusive. This included fine Spirits included premium Gins and Black label whisky, Vintage Port and included Cava/Prosecco but not Champagne. The Douro wines stocked and served were excellent. We thought the food was of very high standard with a wide choice to match all tastes. Lobster, crab, scallop and prawns were a feature on one night and every evening included a local signature dish. The Captains Gala dinner was excellent but we, and many others, enjoyed the buffet evenings rather than waiter service. Much wider choice, hotter food and we ate at our own speed. The farewell dinner should have been buffet-instead it was table d’hote. A big error by management with guests wanting an early night and still waiting for their main course at 9pm This is however the only real moan as the food and service was really good, well cooked and presented, a wide choice to meet all tastes and always the alternatives of Chef’s Specials of Grilled Salmon, Chicken or super Sirloin steak with fries-delicious! Two final points, both frequently reported and taken on by Management. Everyone was banging their legs, and there were a few near tumbles, because of the splayed rear legs of the chairs. Change them… And there are no soup spoons, only dessert shovels which are useless for soup. Buy some… 7.5/10 Crew All Portuguese, they have only been together for 3 months but are now working as a team. Good English, big smiles and always willing to help, The Captain Alfonso Ribeiro, speaks perfect English and is full of stories, some not printable. He is the most senior captain on the river, poached from Viking, and was originally a DS trawler captain. The waiting staff are worked really hard, especially at dinners as do the bar staff who despite the pressures from thirsty guests, smile through it all. Housekeeping is immaculate and the laundry service is spot on. The cruise director Luis Gomes worked on large cruise ships catering for the US market and it shows. (-: 8/10 Cruising and Excursions The highlights for us was the actual cruise itself, up (and down) the magnificent river Douro winding through the steep sided vineyards. We were blessed with fabulous weather, a warm 21c in Porto climbing as we passed through the mountains and onto the Spanish high plain to 36c in Salamanca. Sitting in the sun, G&T in hand watching the vineyards of Taylor, Crofts and Sandemans go by, was a real treat Passing the locks was a great experience but we soon learned to take shelter from the sun deck when leaving the lock to avoid getting wet with drips from the overhead gantry. Only two optional excursions were offered- Mateus Palace and Guimaraes and although guests who took the Mateus tour enjoyed the house and gardens they did not like the trip to Guimaraes as it was long motorway journey with little to enjoy or see in Guimaraes. All other excursions are included and our favourites were Porto itself, the lovely river side town of Pinhão and the full day in Salamanca. For those on board, when cruising, there was always an afternoon activity-cocktail making, tile painting and talks. In the evening, there was always music in the bar or a quiz or competition for those up for it although many, knackered, preferred an early night. 8.5/10 Guests Mainly from the UK, making up 75% the rest a mix of Australians, Canadians and from the US. Only a few aged under 45 (travel agents?) with the average age in the high 60’s with a good smattering of lively 80’s (affectionally called the “sticks”) A really good mix and, as the meals are free seating, most guests had a chance to mix and mingle. 10/10 Summary The Douro is a lovely river and has fascinating micro climate winding through vineyards, olive groves almonds and eventually, just over the border with Spain, oaks with the famous black pigs. Porto is a great City to explore and Salamanca is a must Emerald has a well-paced cruise with excursions to meet all tastes, and cabins to meet most pockets and seems to attract a good mix of guests. 8.5/10 Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
My brother has done several river cruises with UNIWORLD and has always spoke highly of those experiences. We decided to join him and his wife on the Douro River cruise on board Queen Isabel. I expected a five star trip but this was not the ... Read More
My brother has done several river cruises with UNIWORLD and has always spoke highly of those experiences. We decided to join him and his wife on the Douro River cruise on board Queen Isabel. I expected a five star trip but this was not the case. The actual cruising time is only four nights. I don't think we needed two nights in Porto before sailing. We certainly did not need two nights at a place that is nothing more than a fly spot on the map whilst waiting to be transferred to Madrid. Yes there was a tour to Castillo De Rodriguez but that only took care of three hours or so of that stopover. To be fair, I enjoyed the shore excursions put on by Uniworld and have no real complaints about them. However this does not apply to the food and drink on board. It really annoyed me that most of the decision on what to eat was restricted to main course only. This occurred on three occasions of the five nights aboard. The menu for the rest of the courses had been decided by the Chef. The food was not of five star quality- I had better on a recent cruise on board Celebrity Solstice. The wines were a big disappointment as like the food, all came from Portugal. The wines on offer were very high in acid. There was no Champagne and no other alternatives for the wines. Some of the wines we purchased ashore were of a far better quality than those aboard. The service was mixed. The waiters tried very hard but due to the lack of numbers of them, were often forgetful when servicing the needs of the diners. In particular, the situation on the sun deck. One (very new to cruising) waiter tried to meet the demands of at least 40 people. Just couldn't cope and rightfully so.There was also a language problem in that few of the waiters were fluent in English. Please know that this is not a five star cruise despite the very expensive price tag and the experience in my view, is a smear on UNIWORLD'S reputation. I understand that UNIWORLD charters the Queen Isabel and has little intervention over the use of Portuguese staff, food and beverages. Maybe UNIWORLD needs to rethink its presence on the Douro River. Scenic does the same trip and it is booked out. Maybe that is because Scenic has its own boat and does not have to compromise its level of service or its reputation. It would take quite an incentive for me to chose to cruise with UNIWORLD again. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
This was a last- minute booking. We knew the ships could be outdated - and this one was (gaudy orange walls, green carpet and shiny gold ceilings) and that the majority of people on board would be French but decided to give this company a ... Read More
This was a last- minute booking. We knew the ships could be outdated - and this one was (gaudy orange walls, green carpet and shiny gold ceilings) and that the majority of people on board would be French but decided to give this company a try. Unlike other lines, Croisi Europe does not include any trips although they say that all drinks are included - this is true unless you want any liqueurs, branded spirits, decent wine or anything but very basic port. There are daily cocktails which appear to come ready mixed and don't seem to contain much alcohol. The wine we got with meals was cheap and nasty- we found one of the bottles for €3 in a local shop. Trips are expensive and you get the impression that things are included as time-fillers rather than because they are interesting. There are no allowances for slower walkers, as there are on other lines. Smoking is allowed in all outside areas which means that everyone has to suffer when someone smokes at the front of the sun deck, which they do all the time. There is nowhere to escape from the constant noisy chatter on board. There is no choice at mealtimes, although they try to offer alternatives if you let them know you don't like something. They do try to include regional specialities. Breakfast is largely continental and is the only meal served buffet style. There were eggs and a variety of weird sausages and we even had bacon one one occasion. The river is stunning with wild, remote areas and five dams with huge locks. The canopy on the sun deck had to be lowered each time we went through the locks and for low bridges and you have to be careful not to get wet when the ship passes under the guillotine gates from which water pours as you leave the locks. The only places where there is anything to see when you stop are Regua and Pinhao. Both are small places with a few shops and cafes but neither is anything special. If you go on the excursions, the ship moves on and you miss a lot of the beautiful scenery. Porto is interesting but very hilly. It has 30-odd port houses. We didn't feel that this cruise was good value because the trips were extra. By the time you add flights and transfers onto the basic cost, it didn't work out much different from other far superior lines and would have been more expensive if you went on the trips. We did see other Croisi Europe ships which appeared to be much nicer than ours and we were told that the ship is due a re-fit at the end of the 2017 season. This is long overdue! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
This cruise was outstanding and one of the main reasons was the staff. This was a cruise of Portugal and every staff member was from Portugal and I think it added that extra something that you can't get by just having a large mix of ... Read More
This cruise was outstanding and one of the main reasons was the staff. This was a cruise of Portugal and every staff member was from Portugal and I think it added that extra something that you can't get by just having a large mix of nationalities. The service was outstanding and you could tell they loved to talk about their own country and loved their country you don't get that on every cruise. The rooms were great very comfortable and the bed was to die for. Lots of room for all your luggage and the food was top notch. The shore excursions were varied and except for the weather which is not up to the company very interesting and covered different types of excursions. For example I did the canoeing which was real fun and a change from churches, museums etc. The everything is included was a real bonus. I don't drink alcohol but my husband enjoyed a great range of different drinks that was excellent. The ship was a good size and not too big. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We'd been on a previous Scenic river cruise and enjoyed it very much. This was our first cruise in Portugal and it was very enjoyable - food 9 our of 10, service 10 out of 10, cabin (junior suite) a bit short of space but this was to ... Read More
We'd been on a previous Scenic river cruise and enjoyed it very much. This was our first cruise in Portugal and it was very enjoyable - food 9 our of 10, service 10 out of 10, cabin (junior suite) a bit short of space but this was to be expected, butler service was impeccable The crew were all very helpful and we enjoyed the first night's dinner (Welcome Party) at the Captain's table. It was October and weather was dry but cool so we didn't see much of the Sun Deck. Excursions were well organised and very interesting. Embarkation and disembarkation were trouble-free. Bar service in the lounge in the evening was under-staffed but the bar tender and the two waiters did their very best. The scenery was fantastic. We missed most of the enrichment activities and port information talks as they coincided with our siesta time. We'd certainly use Scenic again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Ww had not previously been on a river cruise. Scenic offered the possibility of top quality service and a chance to totally relax, and we chose the Douro cruise because there were only 90 passengers and around forty crew. We chose well. We ... Read More
Ww had not previously been on a river cruise. Scenic offered the possibility of top quality service and a chance to totally relax, and we chose the Douro cruise because there were only 90 passengers and around forty crew. We chose well. We were collected from home by limo which took us to Heathrow. After flights to Lisbon and then Porto we were on board for a late lunch. All the crew were Portuguese and very friendly and helpful. Nothing was too much trouble. Being an all inclusive cruise of food, drink and tips it was all paid for before leaving home. The food and drink were first class with excellent choice at every meal. Our cabin had a built in balcony with a sliding window so we could enjoy the weather when suitable and a butler service if needed. A most comfortable bed and plenty of cupboard space. We left from Porto and travelled in daylight hours only. The river banks are covered in vineyards and famous name Quintas (Taylors, Sandeman, Warres etc) along the way.Lovely scenery which varies as you travel along. One thing to say about a river cruise - it's so smooth you don't know you are moving till you look outside! We had various trips out each day, including to Mateus Palace (famous to all of us of a certain age for its Rose wine) and Salamanca in Spain, as well as a coach trip in Porto on the last day. We were always accompanied by very experienced friendly guides, who were crew members we got to know very well. Our cruise was the last of season for Scenic, and as it was their inaugural season we were given a lovely goodbye on the last night. It was also Scenic's 30th Anniversary of the start of the company in Australia. A very happy ending to a great cruising experience. One piece of advice? Just do it! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We had enjoyed a Scenic cruise before, Amsterdam to Budapest and found it to be excellent in every way. The feature of extending the room by having the balcony window go up and down is a great extension of the room and helps enhance the ... Read More
We had enjoyed a Scenic cruise before, Amsterdam to Budapest and found it to be excellent in every way. The feature of extending the room by having the balcony window go up and down is a great extension of the room and helps enhance the enjoyment of any passing scenery. The food and service are always extraordinary in every possible imaginable way! They do try to think of and anticipate every possible need and usually do. In the unlikely event they do not they are anxious to try to ensure it happens! The ship is exceptionally clean and it is evident it is important to them in so many ways. The waiters get to know you by name and are happy to engage in conversation, likewise if you are having a private conversation they are helpful and not interrupting. The bartender was very helpful and thoughtful and had a great sense of humour we enjoyed as well. They seemed to be constantly thinking up ways to improve on things for example the upper deck barbecue with sangria and authentic Portugese food with sufficient variety to please every palate. The tour guides were very helpful and happy and friendly, in fact all the staff were friendly. The hotel manager clearly is a happy and kind person and it reflects in the attitude of the staff throughout the cruise and at all levels. It would be very difficult to fault any aspect of the Scenic cruise experience. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We heard so much about how wonderful Uniworld is...Well not on this trip We came to find out that Uniworld doesn't operate this tour..they lease it out. The first thing they should do is get their name off of it What a ... Read More
We heard so much about how wonderful Uniworld is...Well not on this trip We came to find out that Uniworld doesn't operate this tour..they lease it out. The first thing they should do is get their name off of it What a disappointment....the service was bad, particularly the dining room,. Our waiter told us we should have gone on Viking, as they are better. Perhaps he is right. There was no air conditioning for most of the trip and the temps were in the 90's. In the lounge, where drinks are included, it was impossible to get one. 88 people on board, one waiter..one bar tender. One of the passengers tried to get behind the bar himself. Awful. On the deck, you had to ring for a waiter...good luck with that. There is more, but you get the idea... When we got back I reached out to Uniworld customer service, asked for some compensation. They said sorry, but no. But they would give us ship board credits on next voyage. There will not be a next voyage with this company.... Lots of other vendors...don't need to be disappointed.... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2016
Why Portugal? Because my husband wanted to experience Portugal Was an interesting cruise but very short on cruising. The River Douro is very short, hence we stayed several nights at the same spot. I enjoyed the Scenic Azure but the ... Read More
Why Portugal? Because my husband wanted to experience Portugal Was an interesting cruise but very short on cruising. The River Douro is very short, hence we stayed several nights at the same spot. I enjoyed the Scenic Azure but the Junior Suites were very short on space - I chose a Junior Suite as the Budapest cruise suites were very spacious. Glad of the extra space per favour of the closed in balcony. We choose to sail because of the scenery - not the wines as the crews seem to think. No way would we attend a 'Captain'/ Dinner'! A Scenic bar which, I believe is Australian, cannot make a lemon, lime & bitters - an Australian favourite. Internet was great. No break in service. Ship staff were very obliging and dealt admirably with my husband's requirements for daily injections that had to be kept between 5 & 8C. Australian staff had no idea of assistance with being able to take the needles overseas! Caused many grey hairs which was totally unnecessary! Read Less

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