This was our first river cruise so we asked friends for their recommendation. They had no hesitation in recommending Viking and particularly the river Douro. We departed Manchester on a KLM flight, changing at Amsterdam then onward to ... Read More
This was our first river cruise so we asked friends for their recommendation. They had no hesitation in recommending Viking and particularly the river Douro. We departed Manchester on a KLM flight, changing at Amsterdam then onward to Lisbon. The flights were comfortable and kept to the scheduled times. On arrival in Lisbon we were welcomed at the airport by the Viking representative who escorted us to the Viking coach for transfer to our hotel. We stayed 2 nights at the sumptuous Tivoli Hotel and , during our stay enjoyed a most informative conducted coach tour of Lisbon and the surrounding area.
Following our stay in Lisbon, we traveled by coach to Porto where we were welcomed on board the "Osfrid" and ushered to our individual staterooms. The whole process of embarkation and disembarkation was handled with great care, Viking staff helping and guiding at every point.
Our Journey took us up the river Douro, calling at vineyards, castles, places of worship, places of learning and all within a very informative and interesting environment. The guides were very experienced and knowledgeable. In addition to the inclusive excursions it was also possible to book additional ones to other places of interest, however, we never felt the need as the inclusive coach excursions proved to be more than enough to keep us occupied during the entire holiday.
Our cruise took us toward the border with spain. We boarded our coach which crossed into spain to the stunning city of Salamanca. A city steeped in culture, history and with lots of interesting places to explore. A real gem.
This being our first cruise, we weren't quite sure what to expect of the ship itself and were very pleasantly surprised to find that the ship glided so quietly and gently when underway and the docking/undocking at the various "ports" was so smooth that one was completely unaware that we had cast off! Travelling through the enormous locks was awe inspiring to say the least, such magnificent structures that raised the ship some 30metres on the larger locks.
Life on board was idylic, the food was plentiful, the menus varied with lots of choice and the friendly staff were most helpful in every way. We enjoyed on board entertainment ranging from a demonstration of cork artwork to spectacular flamenco dancing.
On our final day, after leaving for Porto airport one of our party suffered an injury just prior to boarding our aircraft which meant that we weren't allowed to fly. We rang the "Osfrid" explained our predicament and the staff arranged for a taxi to bring us back to the ship where we were welcomed back on board. As we relaxed over dinner the very caring staff (one of our tour excursion guides) spent the whole evening arranging for hotel accommodation in Porto, flights back to the UK and all transfers back to Manchester. I cannot speak too highly of the trouble taken to smooth our return journey.
Would we go again? Most certainly, we really would love to repeat the same "River of Gold" cruise as there is still so much that we did not get to see that a repeat visit would solve. However, we decided to "expand our horizons" next year and have already booked a Viking river cruise to Eastern Europe. Read Less