4 Porto (Leixoes) Luxury Cruise Reviews

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
Sail Date November 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
Sail Date August 2018
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
Sail Date July 2017
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
Sail Date August 2016

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