Riviera Travel, which is the U.K.'s largest provider of European river cruises, doubled its capacity in Portugal with the launch of the 121-passenger Douro Splendour.
Launched in 2018, and specially designed to fit into the size limitations of the Douro's five locks, it joined the Douro Elegance which debuted in 2017. Geared for British tastes, the ship has tea and coffee making facilities in every cabin and a host of amenities including a spa and wellness room plus a swimming pool on the sun deck.
Riviera is well-known for providing great deals for solo travelers, and in keeping with this philosophy the Douro Splendour offers dedicated cruises for single passengers that carry no supplements on any cabin category. Additionally, on ever sailing a number of Standard cabins on the lower deck are always available for solo occupancy at no extra cost.
With a ratio of 4:1 passengers per crew member, the Douro Splendour is billed as one of the line's "five star" vessels.
The restaurant on the main deck serves buffet breakfast, buffet lunch and four-course dinner. It operates on an open seating basis -- where passengers can sit where they want at every meal -- and tables seat four to eight. Unlike many lines, Riviera does not include wine or drinks with lunch and dinner and these -- along with drinks for the bar -- can be purchased individually.
The ship has four cabin categories. Standard cabins, located on the lower passenger deck, measure 129 square feet and have fixed windows. Standard cabins on the middle and upper decks are larger at 151 square feet and have floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows which slide down halfway.
Six Superior Balcony Suites are situated on the upper deck and measure 205 square feet. They have a living area plus sliding doors that open onto a small private balcony with a table and two chairs. Situated aft on the same deck are the pair of Deluxe Balcony Suites which measure 312 square feet and include a walk-out balcony, larger living area and bigger bathroom with two wash hand basins along with a walk-in wardrobe.
Beds in all cabins can be configured as singles or doubles and amenities in all staterooms include marble bathrooms, showers with glazed screens, toiletries, air conditioning, flat-screen TV, hair dryer, safe, telephone and tea and coffee making facilities.
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The large sun deck has plenty of space for relaxing and sightseeing and the standout feature is a swimming pool, which is a rarity on river vessels.
The marble-floored reception area on the top deck leads to the elegant lounge bar which has been styled by a Portuguese designer. Fitted with panoramic windows, this area is the heart of the ship and used for an early riser's breakfast, port talks and evening entertainment with the resident musician and visiting performers.
Riviera tends to attract a mature crowd, and although children aged 12 and over can go on the ship there are no facilities for youngsters.
Douro Splendour sails on seven-night round-trip cruises from Porto and all meals, excursions and airport transfers are included in the fare.
The ship has a small shop, complimentary 24-hour tea and coffee station, spa, gym, Internet access and laundry.