21 Porto (Leixoes) Luxury Cruise Reviews

We were a little concerned we might find a river cruise a little 'small' compared to ocean cruising but we should not have been concerned. It was a simply amazing experience - first class scenery, experiences, staff, food and ... Read More
We were a little concerned we might find a river cruise a little 'small' compared to ocean cruising but we should not have been concerned. It was a simply amazing experience - first class scenery, experiences, staff, food and company. The excursions were wonderful - the Golden City of Salamanca, a wonderful concert in a church in Porto, the most amazing scenery. There was the chance to do more strenuous excursions if you wanted to. The staff and the food were the best we have ever experienced on board any ship and all staff from the Captain down were very interactive and funny and nothing was ever too much for any of them. Of course the cabins are smaller - otherwise we would not fit in the five locks up the Douro river! However, they were luxurious and the beds very comfortable. The highlight of the trip for me was the photography. This was a cruise in partnership with National Geographic and not only did we have an expert lecturer Tim Weed, but also a photographer Gianluca Colla. He was patient, very funny, interactive and very tolerant of stupid questions. The staff would join in - whether it was the head chef dancing at the lunchtime barbecue or the bar staff in the evening. The butlers did everything and were completely down to earth. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The scenery everyday is awesome. Going through the locks was very interesting. Butlers and bartenders were friendly knowledgeable and attentive. Food was delicious and varied. I am allergic to shellfish and felt they could have done ... Read More
The scenery everyday is awesome. Going through the locks was very interesting. Butlers and bartenders were friendly knowledgeable and attentive. Food was delicious and varied. I am allergic to shellfish and felt they could have done a better job of ensuring that there was options when shellfish was on the menu. Portobellos the Portuguese restaurant was excellent with magnificent service. The evening Crystal dining room had a varied menu. We found the service very slow on the nights that the speciality service/restaurants were open. Loved the butler service for morning coffee! Relaxed before breakfast and enjoyed the scenery. The Portugese bar b que up on the sun deck was very good. Ribs were amazing! The musician was entertaining and engaged the crowd. One night there was local entertainment which was also very good and engaging! Cabins were efficient but small. Bathrooms were well appointed. The tours were good but some required too long a bus ride. A few were sick and not enough was done to find out why. Probably the heat as it was very hot Throughly enjoyed the trip though. Cruise directors were very knowledgeable. We took the three days in Lisbon prior which very worth the extra days. Porto was beautiful with great tours. Enjoyed the cooking class tour of the galley and being able to interact with the chef Very efficient boarding. A little confusion on the embarking as they moved us to a hotel. The lunch at the hotel was not very good compared to the ship Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
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
Sail Date August 2019
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
Sail Date July 2018
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
Sail Date November 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
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 October 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
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
Sail Date September 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
Sail Date May 2017
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
Sail Date October 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
Sail Date September 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
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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