Entering service in 2020, ms Andorinha marks Tauck's first foray into Portugal's Douro River Valley. Carrying 84 passengers and a crew of 36, the ship reflects Tauck's all-inclusive philosophy on the waterways of Europe, including gratuities, drinks and even tips for drivers and guides in the cost of the cruise.
Designed in conjunction with Scylla (Tauck's long-term partner that constructs, manages and crews its river cruise vessels), ms Andorinha offers four passenger decks filled with staterooms, suites and public rooms that have been graciously designed. Wall-to-wall windows are the standard in nearly all public venues, and the ship boasts a good amount of open deck space for viewing the picturesque Douro River.
The ship features complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages throughout the ship, inclusive gratuities, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access and a wealth of inclusive excursions and land adventures in Portugal.
Meals are taken in the ship's main restaurant, The Compass Rose, located all the way forward on Ruby Deck. An open-seating venue with flexible dining times, meals are a blend of local specialties and European and North American favorites. Regional wines, beers and spirits are offered complimentary, as are sodas and specialty coffees.
New onboard the ms Andorinha will be the addition of a pop-up restaurant on the ship’s Sun Deck. Rising on hydraulic lifts, the pop-up restaurant, Arthur’s, is situated at the stern of the upper Sun Deck. In addition to offering Al Fresco dining when weather conditions are right, Arthur’s offers classic dishes at lunch and dinner time, and is used as a more casual alternative to The Compass Rose dining room. Self-serve fruit, snacks and beverages including cappuccino, latte, coffee and tea, can be enjoyed here throughout the day. While other Tauck vessels have Arthur’s situated at the stern, the ms Andorinha will be the first to offer the popular dining venue in such a unique location (though Arthur’s may need to be temporarily lowered in order to pass under low-clearance bridges).
Passengers will find complimentary snacks available in the ship's main lounge from 10 a.m. until midnight.
Room service, offering American breakfast, is only available to passengers staying in Category 5 Tauck Suites.
Cabins range in size from 150 square feet to 300 square feet, spacious for the Douro River where vessels are even more restricted in terms of size than ships on rivers like the Danube and Rhine.
Category 1 staterooms are the smallest onboard, coming in at 150 square feet and offering up river views from half-height windows situated near the top of the room. In keeping with Tauck fashion, however, they include lavish Molton Brown toiletries, 400-thread satin bed linen, cotton pillows, 100% cotton blankets and thick pillow top mattresses. Terry cloth robes, towels and hair dryers are all provided, as is an interactive television system, mini-bar and full air conditioning.
Category 2 staterooms have similar features but are slightly larger, coming in at 200 square feet.
Categories 3, 4 and 5 range from 225 to 300 square feet. All include floor-to-ceiling windows, French balconies and, at the larger end of the scale, a small sitting area.
The focal point of the Sun Deck aboard ms Andorinha is its refreshing swimming pool, practically a necessity on the typically hot Douro.
The pool is surrounded by ample seating options with both shaded and unshaded areas, along with plenty of space for viewing and scenic cruising.
MS Andorinha will offer top-deck Balinese beds for daytime lounging shaded by attractive canopies. A nearby bar offers up cold drinks, while an outdoor grill will host on-deck barbecues at various points during the voyage.
Evening briefings are provided daily and highlight the activities scheduled for the following day. Local entertainers are sometimes brought onboard to either perform during the evening hours or as serve as guest lecturers during the daytime.
A piano player performs nightly in the lounge, adding to the convivial atmosphere that Tauck fosters aboard all its river cruise ships. Most cruisers wind down early in the evenings; nightlife is typically confined to conversations over nightcaps.
Tauck's ms Andorinha operates the cruise portion of several itineraries in Portugal's Douro River Valley. Options include the eight-day "Villages and Vintages: Cruising the Douro River Valley" and the longer 12-day "Exploring the Douro, Plus Lisbon and Madrid" cruise tour.
The line currently offers a special eight-day "Tauck Bridges" family-friendly departure known as "Douro Discovery: A Family River Cruise in Portugal" in June and July 2020.