36 Porto (Leixoes) Luxury Cruise Reviews

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
Sail Date August 2016
Extensive Review of Uniworld cruise… Very Disappointing!!! We expected a 10 but experienced a five. September 2016 Douro River Cruise Beware…this is not a Uniworld product. The ship and crew are leased from Douro Azul River ... Read More
Extensive Review of Uniworld cruise… Very Disappointing!!! We expected a 10 but experienced a five. September 2016 Douro River Cruise Beware…this is not a Uniworld product. The ship and crew are leased from Douro Azul River Cruise Lines, according to the ship hotel manager who was one of only two Uniworld employees on board. Both of the Uniworld managers had only been on the ship since the day before we arrived. They were as frustrated with the staff and as disappointed as my nine guests and I. The manager stated that he had never encountered a crew that cared less about customer service and pride in performance than this one. The crew, I was told, is not trained by Uniworld but by Douro Azul. Throughout the cruise there seemed to be an element of animosity and contempt from the Douro Azul crew towards the Uniworld management. The attitude seemed to be that “we are Douro Azul, not Uniworld.” We all felt very sorry for the Uniworld manager. He seemed out of his element. Evidently they have partnered with Douro Azul since 2011 so you’d think they would have their act together by now. The capacity of the ship is 118 and I was told that there were only 90 passengers on board. I am a travel agent and veteran of over 30 cruises. Along with my wife I brought four other couples along on this cruise. All are discriminating travelers and foodies with whom we have traveled to Scotland (Awesome), Africa (Inspiring), Italy (Delicious) and South America, (Celebrity cruise in Aqua Class… Outstanding). We did the Douro River because they have done almost everything else. I convinced the group to take the Uniworld brand because it was named best river cruise line for 2016 by Travel + Leisure Magazine. I ended up rebating my full commission back to my clients…here’s why: First the hits: The ship was clean, the bedding was superb, the showers in the cabins were the best I’ve encountered on any cruise ship. Housekeeping was good. The river venue was pleasant and the day tours were well done with an excellent tour director. Now the many, many misses: The service and the food was not what we expected from the number one river cruise company of 2016. We expected superb service and over-the-top food as touted in all of Uniworld’s advertising. Unfortunately the service was extremely poor and the food was, at best, mediocre. There was only one public restroom on the ship just outside the dining room. This restroom was in constant use during dinner but was in a constant state of untidiness. Several times we complained to the manager on duty. His comments, without apology, was that his colleagues were supposed to have taken care of it. Even then, it was not handled. This was a nightly occurrence and was even a problem on the last evening. The personnel in the dining room always seemed understaffed. Requested drinks and water were often overlooked or entirely forgotten. There was no anticipation on the part of the wait staff. When asked for water or wine refills, only the person who requested the refill was taken care of then the waiter was off without filling other glasses. Some guests were almost finished with their meal before others were served. Orders were forgotten. Clearly the wait staff was not properly trained. At least four more wait staff or even busboys were needed to accommodate their guest adequately. On the pool deck, there were never enough towels for the guests. Even when requested, it took more than 30 minutes for additional towels to arrive and then only three or four were brought. There were seldom waiters on the pool deck. There were buttons to push for service, but seldom did any waiters appear. More often than not, passengers went down to the bar to get their own drinks. When we commented, they told us they were understaffed and took care of passengers in the lounge first so if you want drinks, come and get them yourselves. On the first day, during the passenger orientation, the temperature in the lounge was in the mid-eighties. Everyone was fanning themselves and requesting the air be turned up. The air conditioning could not keep up with the outside temperature which was in the nineties. We were told it had been even worse the last two weeks as the outside temp was over 100. If it’s always this hot, why don’t they have a/c that can accommodate? In two of our staterooms, the air conditioning was very poor as well. On the night we were in Porto, I felt badly for the passengers that were on the right side because they were tied up against the wall and had no view. We had a beautiful view of the city from the left side. During dinner, a Douro Azul ship pulled up alongside us and completely blocked our view too. We were there for two days with nothing to look at but the side of the other ship. Obviously Azul had more priority than Uniworld. At another port, we were pulled up alongside a parking lot with several dumpsters full of garbage only a few yards away. There were flies everywhere and they entered the dining room and our cabins in the evening. I noticed two Viking ships were moored on the other side of the river. The next day they were gone and we moved into their spot. It seemed that everywhere we went, Viking ships had the best moorings and we were secondary. Each of my guests had a $50 per cabin credit. Other than the small gift shop there was no place to spend the money except for massages, so all of us used the credit for laundry. Upon checkout, we were indignantly told “It is the policy of Douro Azul that cabin credit cannot be used for laundry.” As the group leader, I told the front desk woman that there were no indications anywhere that this was not allowed. She looked me in the eye and angrily said “It is policy! You cannot use!” This was typical of the negative feeling we felt from the crew. I later talked to the Uniworld rep and he gave us the credit. The windows on the entire ship were never washed from day one on. Nothing could be easier on a river boat than washing windows in each port. The windows seem to have not been washed in weeks, if not months. Now the worst part… Two of my guests were in cabins that had a toilet blockage down the line that backed up into their cabins. The first guest encountered the problem at five a.m. when she arose to use the toilet. She stepped into two inches of sewer water. She called the front desk immediately. At five thirty she called again but was told that they could not find the engineer. The other couple awoke at seven to the same problem. Shortly after seven the engineer appeared. At this point their suitcases were wet as was everything on the floor. Getting prepared for the day tour was very inconvenient. They went to breakfast and after breakfast it was time for an all day shore excursion. They were told that they would be upgraded to a higher cabin but when they returned, their cabin had been cleaned and dried by an on shore flood repair company and they were not given a new cabin. The cabins continued to be very humid for the next two days. As an apology, each cabin was given a bottle of prosecco for the room and two massages. (As an aside, I had two clients on a Viking Cruise a few months ago that missed their connection because of weather. They had made their air arrangements through Viking. Their late flight was met at the airport by a Viking rep, they were taken to a five star hotel, taken to the next port the following day, given a $300 on board credit, two bottles of champagne, upgraded to a suite and given a 50% credit for their next Viking cruise. All Viking was obligated to do was get them to the next port.) Kudos to Viking. If you were a travel agent, which line would you send your clients on? We were a group of foodies. We chose Uniworld because of their advertisements showing lobster and oysters on the half shell among other wonderful taste sensations. We were so disappointed. The food was at best a five on a scale from one to ten. Breakfast and lunch were buffet with much the same selection every day. The daily specials were meager. The eggs benedict were served on a slice of un toasted white bread with no ham and a cloying, sticky, heavy cheese sauce. We had been in Lisbon, independently, for the previous three days and had eaten in some wonderful restaurants. In some of these restaurants we took pictures of almost every dish. On the ship, we took only one picture of a dessert on the very last day. The preparation and presentation of the food was unimaginative and pedestrian. There was not one outstanding dish the entire voyage. There was a coffee machine outside the dining room that was available 24 hours. It made coffee from a pre-mix and cappuccino, lattes, and other coffee drinks were available. We expected that in the dining room the cappuccino would be made from a dedicated espresso machine but, instead, the waiter went out to the mix machine for the caps. I was told by the hotel manager that they were getting a real espresso machine next month! When we were in the bar one of my guests ordered a coffee and Bailey’s. He was told (not asked) to go downstairs to the machine and get his own coffee because they were too busy! At mid-cruise a “How are we doing” questionnaire was handed out. After discussion with my guests, I filled out the questionnaire for all of us. Under service I wrote “very poor” and under food I wrote “mediocre at best”. I wrote my name and room number and said I was willing to go into detail if they were interested. When I returned from the daily excursion, I spent 90 minutes with the two Uniworld employees. They told me of their frustrations and said please don’t judge Uniworld by this cruise and that my group should try another one. I told them this cruise was ruining their brand and that they should take this voyage off line until they can fix it. We paid about $5,000 per person. Douro Azul River Cruise Line operates the same cruises for less than $2,200 per person. That is about what this cruise was worth. That is why I returned my full commission to my clients. Upon returning home, I see that the Cruise Critic rating on this cruise is only 63% positive whereas most of the Uniworld voyages rate 90% or higher. In reflection, I wish I’d checked CC before I booked this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Having heard Uniworld was supposed to be a large cut ahead of the rest, I decided to explore Spain and Portugal on a cruise tour from Madrid to Lisbon. The tour director and organization of the sightseeing were outstanding. The Duoro River ... Read More
Having heard Uniworld was supposed to be a large cut ahead of the rest, I decided to explore Spain and Portugal on a cruise tour from Madrid to Lisbon. The tour director and organization of the sightseeing were outstanding. The Duoro River is definitely not a tourism area, so there was no local entertainers; in fact, there was nothing to do after dinner. Women would dance together in the lounge. That is the one negative. Food and sevice were excellent for the size of the crew. Dinner could be very slow. Travel companions were fun and interesting, about a third American and Canadian, one third British and the other third Australian and New Zealanders. The sites were beautiful. The wineries looked beautiful but the product was only fair. Tours in metropolitan areas were very interesting and enjoyable. We saw a variety of towns from medieval times and contemporary. We saw two impressive universities. We saw where and got an idea of how Jews were excluded during the Inquisition. I enjoyed the cruise but would appreciated a larger room with better storage. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We have done other river cruises with Scenic and when the Douro River cruise was introduced we could not wait to experience this and we were not disappointed. The Azure was newly commissioned and very comfortable. We were particularly ... Read More
We have done other river cruises with Scenic and when the Douro River cruise was introduced we could not wait to experience this and we were not disappointed. The Azure was newly commissioned and very comfortable. We were particularly pleased with our balcony cabin from which we could view the scenery going by in complete comfort. The food, drinks and service could not be faulted with friendly staff ready to meet our every needs. One issue was that the lounge area was somewhat small for the number of passengers and during the port talks things got a little cramped. Overall the tours were delightful and very informative, with the exception of the Salamanca Lunch. The food left a lot to be desired, although this was off-set by the Spanish Dancers who were very professional and a joy to watch. The BBQ on the upper deck was a great idea, with excellent food and drinks. The pianist provided superb entertainment playing music that catered for the ages of the majority of the passengers. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We thoroughly enjoyed our recent cruise with Scenic down the Douro Valley in Portugal. The entire crew were fabulous and went out of their way to ensure every passenger had their needs and wants met. The interaction of the crew was ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed our recent cruise with Scenic down the Douro Valley in Portugal. The entire crew were fabulous and went out of their way to ensure every passenger had their needs and wants met. The interaction of the crew was appreciated by all guests and added to our experience of the people and culture of Portugal. The food and service were world class with something to suit every taste. Activities on and of the shop were well organised and carried out. Cabins were very well thought out and set, with everything we needed. They really had thought of everything. We were also impressed by the service provided by Scenic -a Scenic rep meet us at the airport in Sydney and then at the other end in Porto. We were after from start to, making it a enjoyable experience. It really was a fantastic trip. We will definitely be doing another cruise with Scenic. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
The Azure is a magnificent ship with a wonderful crew. The ship launched this year and offers the best in cabin features. Particularly good was the electric blinds making the room almost completely dark when closed. Great for a restful ... Read More
The Azure is a magnificent ship with a wonderful crew. The ship launched this year and offers the best in cabin features. Particularly good was the electric blinds making the room almost completely dark when closed. Great for a restful sleep. As with all Scenic cruises the very highest standards apply to the whole cruise. The food was outstanding and avoiding putting on the kilos is very difficult. My wife has food allergies and Chef Claudio and his staff could not have been more helpful. All the day tours were wonderful with the 3 onboard tour escorts going the extra mile to ensure wonderful trips. Scenic have 3 of their own buses (also brand new) with fantastic drivers who navigate Portugal's narrow streets safely and easily. All the staff have fantastic memories and soon you will be called by name by everyone with all your preferences noted. Rarely did you have to ask for your favourite drink as the bar staff would remember you. Would go again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We chose Uniworld because we had sailed with them last year and were very happy. We had a state room with a full sliding door, room 214. It was comfortable at 192 sq ft. You adjust to the space; the luggage fit under the bed, there were ... Read More
We chose Uniworld because we had sailed with them last year and were very happy. We had a state room with a full sliding door, room 214. It was comfortable at 192 sq ft. You adjust to the space; the luggage fit under the bed, there were enough drawers and hangars, etc. We did the 3 day extension ahead of the cruise in Lisbon and highly recommend it. 3 nights at the InterContinental let us adjust and see beautiful Lisboa. We did the Uniworld included tours in Lisbon, day trip around the city to see the sites: Belem Tower, monastery, etc and the bus trip to Sintra and Cascais. Great days. The day we embarked was a 3 hour trip north to Porto. We stopped in Coimbra, where 6 Portuguese kings were born and the toured the country's oldest university. We were given a traditional lunch at a great restaurant. Then we boarded the QI and sailed almost immediately. We found the day tours terrific, the guides knowledgeable and the staff good to great. The bar staff and the restaurant staff were the best; the hotel mgr and the cruise director were a little cold to guests IMO. We enjoyed all the day trips, they were included in the price. The only boring bit was a port wine lecture in Pinhao or Regua. Uniworld could dump that. We had scenic sailing 3 or 4 days of the week, we saw all of Porto, Regua, Pinhao, Salamanca Spain and all of the hired guides spoke great English and were helpful. The best though is the Douro itself; just a true jewel. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Trip started in Lisbon, excellent hotel but room preparation bad - no soap, towels etc - obviously housekeeping stuff up. Two days there then bussed to Oporto to join boat; boarding well handled, cabin excellent and staff great. Side tours ... Read More
Trip started in Lisbon, excellent hotel but room preparation bad - no soap, towels etc - obviously housekeeping stuff up. Two days there then bussed to Oporto to join boat; boarding well handled, cabin excellent and staff great. Side tours were well done, although some bus trips were a bit hairy due to buses travelling too quickly in mountainous areas. Food and wine were plentiful, and excellent quality. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Staff were very accommodating, pleasant and efficient. Portugal gave us a very favorable impression, the people, scenery etc. Viking itinerary was quite interesting, in depth tour of an area of world that is a well kept secret. Ship ... Read More
Staff were very accommodating, pleasant and efficient. Portugal gave us a very favorable impression, the people, scenery etc. Viking itinerary was quite interesting, in depth tour of an area of world that is a well kept secret. Ship was very clean and had attractive decor. The safety drill on first day was the most comprehensive one we had ever had, extremely well done. Food on ship was varied and tasty, wait staff was very attentive and anticipative of our needs. Unlimited wine with lunch and dinner always has clients returning. Ship cabin was quite small, but had compact layout, good shower and toiletries. Was quite amazed at service to airport for 6:00 am flight- continental breakfast available- tour guide going along to airport and actually taking us to our Lufthansa gate an lifting our luggage on scale for us. Thought Ships Captain was very quiet, seemed shy and had almost no interaction with guests. He was however more importantly a skillful navigator. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Probably, my friends are getting tired of hearing about what a wonderful time I had, and having me whip out my phone to show a picture of this or that. The ship was small, immaculate and well-designed. There was a shallow pool on the ... Read More
Probably, my friends are getting tired of hearing about what a wonderful time I had, and having me whip out my phone to show a picture of this or that. The ship was small, immaculate and well-designed. There was a shallow pool on the roof deck, which kept me sane. If it's hot, I have to get in water, otherwise I might've jumped overboard! The cuisine was wonderful, like dining in a fine restaurant for every meal. There were lots of fresh fruits at breakfast and healthy salad ingredients at lunch. I especially enjoyed the soups. Dinner choices were excellent every night. One night, I couldn't decide which dessert to have, so the waiter brought me both. I enjoyed the white wines, especially the vino verde. The caring wait staff really made dinners a special occasion. There was afternoon tea, too. Believe me, you will never go hungry! Daily excursions were always interesting, with excellent guides. Even though I'll probably never acquire a taste for port, learning how it's made and sampling it were interesting experiences. The Salamanca day trip was long, but the scenery from the comfortable bus was beautiful and the Spanish city very interesting. I was torn between going and relaxing on the ship, but so glad I went. Sometimes I get queasy on long bus rides, but I wore my bio-bands for motion sickness and was fine. Trip highlights for me: the 3 male fado singers at lunch in Coimbra, the flamenco dancers at lunch in Salamanca, the roof deck barbeque dinner on the Torgil, and sitting in the pool while going through a lock. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This cruise was our 8th Viking River Cruise and we were excited to experience another unique adventure. Every cruise has been superb and this one was no different. It lived up to Viking's promise of excellence. We had Viking Air ... Read More
This cruise was our 8th Viking River Cruise and we were excited to experience another unique adventure. Every cruise has been superb and this one was no different. It lived up to Viking's promise of excellence. We had Viking Air make our airline reservations because of the ease and comfort of knowing we would be met and safely transported to our destination. We booked the extension in Lisbon and stayed at the Hotel Tivoli Lisboa, a truly lovely and most accommodating place in central Lisbon. As with all the extensions, this one allowed for a comfortable tour of the city without being rushed or harried. We found ourselves dining in style off the beaten path and enjoying not only the fine food but also the local culture. Good recommendations on the part of the hotel. The transfer to the Viking Hemming was most enjoyable as we took in scenery on our way to Porto. The ship was immaculate and well prepared for our arrival. In many ways it felt like coming back home to familiar smiles and excellent service. We were fortunate to have been upgraded to a suite and what a joy that was. Spacious and well laid out, it added to an already great start. Viking has a reputation of excellence in all that it does and this was the case for us. Every aspect of our cruise was superb. From cleanliness to meals, from house keeping service to tour guides, all was made special by the people who took a genuine interest in making our trip special. Of particular note: my wife has MS and while we get along well in all the activities and tours, we use a stroller wheelchair to keep pace. We were able to make all the tours and excursions without slowing the group down due to the path selected by the tour leader and the helpfulness of the bus drivers in getting the chair out for use at every stop. It is attention to detail that I really appreciate in looking after our needs. We loved the tours of the wineries and small villages and the unique cultural experiences that made visiting Portugal worthwhile. Once again, the Viking Team proved themselves as the best. Casual elegance made common. We can't wait for our next adventure with dear friends at Viking. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015

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