3 Porto (Leixoes) Luxury Cruise Reviews

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
Sail Date March 2018
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
Sail Date September 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
Sail Date May 2017

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