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Douro Serenity Review

-- / 5.0
Editor Rating
3 reviews
Douro Serenity (Photo: Travelmarvel)

Launched in 2017 with its identical sister ship Douro Elegance, the 126-passenger Douro Serenity offers high levels of service with a 3:1 passenger-to-crew ratio.

It was built by DouroAzul, the leading shipbuilder for Portugal's Douro River, and is chartered by lines including U.S.-based Vantage Deluxe World Travel and the U.K. company Riviera Travel. These are exclusive charters, so passengers booking through Vantage will only sail with fellow Vantage passengers, and the same with Riviera.

In common with other ships on the so-called "River of Gold," Douro Serenity sails seven-night round trips from Porto, at the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean, to the Spanish border.

The majority of cabins are standard cabins, measuring 151 square feet with fixed windows on the lower deck, and 161 square feet with floor-to-ceiling windows that slide down halfway. All cabins feature marble bathrooms with showers and fully frosted screens, and chic polished wooden finishes complemented by a warm color scheme. Hotel-style beds, with individual bedding, can be configured as twins or doubles.

Other cabin amenities include individually controlled air conditioning, a desk and two chairs, flat-screen high-definition satellite TV, hair dryer, safe, telephone and tea and coffee making facilities. The onboard voltage is European two-pin 220v, so passengers need to bring adapters.

There are six Superior Suites situated on the upper deck that measure 237 square feet, along with two 323-square-feet Deluxe Suites. Most of the additional space is devoted to the living area and larger bathroom with twin wash basins. Additionally, the Deluxe Suites have a second full-length window that opens down halfway to create a Juliet balcony within the suite, with two chairs and a table.

Onboard amenities include a lounge bar with large picture windows, small fitness room, spa and a sun deck with lounge chairs and a splash pool. All meals are served in the restaurant that seats all passengers in one sitting, with an open-seating arrangement at tables for four, six and eight. Breakfast and some lunches are served buffet style, and an early riser's breakfast is served in the lounge. Dinner is a combination of buffet and menu offerings. Self-serve coffee and tea are available 24/7 and are also served with meals. Pitchers of iced water are served with meals, and red and white wine, beer and soft drinks are included at every dinner. Bottled water, specialty coffee and alcohol are available for purchase at additional cost. The onboard currency is the euro.

The ship is able to accommodate special dietary requirements, including low salt, low fat, gluten-free and diabetic, provided requests are made at the time of booking.

There is no doctor onboard, however a crew member trained in first aid is always available and medical personnel can be summoned aboard quickly in a case of emergency.

The recommended gratuity, which can be paid in cash, euros or the equivalent in U.S. dollars, is 10 euros per person, per day. This covers tips for the crew and local guides and drivers on shore excursions. Additionally, for Vantage passengers the recommended tip for the Vantage cruise director is $5 to $8 per person, per day.

Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the ship and laundry and ironing services are available for a fee. An elevator serves the three passenger decks and, notably, there is a chair lift to the sun deck, which is a rare feature on river vessels.

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