Alva Review

Alva (Photo: A-ROSA Cruises)
Alva (Photo: A-ROSA Cruises)
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Aaron Saunders
Cruise Critic Contributor

Alva Overview

One of A-ROSA's bilingual river cruise ships, A-ROSA Alva offers services and programming in both English and German. Built in 2018, the ship carries just 126 international passengers along Portugal's Douro River, a waterway running through the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and Port wine capital that is the Douro River Valley.

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Like other ships on the Douro, A-ROSA Alva is smaller than most European river cruise ships plying the Danube or the Rhine. Among its onboard features, however, are a top-deck plunge pool, all-outside accommodations, a panoramic lounge and a spacious main restaurant.

A-ROSA Alva also has a small massage and relaxation area, a sauna, a small but functional gym, an onboard gift shop and a small putting green on the top deck.

The onboard currency is the euro, and passengers will need adapters or converters for the ship's 220V, European two-pronged-style electrical outlets. Wi-Fi internet access is available, though it carries an extra charge for those not participating in A-ROSA's "Premium All-Inclusive" pricing (though most international cruisers will likely have this as part of their booking). Those wishing to use the Wi-Fi will have to first purchase an "Internet-Surfticket."

Gratuities of five to 10 euros per person, per day, are recommended and can be left in cash or added to the shipboard account.

Dining

Meals onboard are European through and through, including a smattering of Portuguese specialties thrown in for good measure. Since A-ROSA Alva makes its home on Portugal's Douro River, expect to enjoy plenty of fortified Port wine while onboard.

Those used to North American-run river cruise lines operating in Europe may find A-ROSA's system to be confusing.

Meals are typically served buffet-style for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and only include complimentary mineral water.

Those who book A-ROSA's "Premium All-Inclusive" package (most international bookings will reflect this) will be entitled to tea, coffee and specialty coffee, soft drinks, beer, sparkling white wine and a selection of wines, cocktails and long drinks as part of their fare. A-ROSA notes that Champagne and some specialty spirits are excluded from its premium all-inclusive offering.

For those who prefer menu-driven dinners, an optional A-ROSA Dining event is offered on voyages longer than five nights for an additional charge. There's a multicourse menu featuring regional and seasonal ingredients, but tables must be reserved no later than lunchtime while onboard for those interested in participating.

Cabins

Cabins aboard A-ROSA Alva are snug, with most measuring between 129 and 139 square feet.

Category A and S cabins on Deck 1 both feature fixed upper windows, while Category C and D cabins on Decks 2 and 3 have drop-down French balcony windows.

Two Category F cabins are the largest onboard A-ROSA Alva. Measuring 312 square feet, these mini-suite-style accommodations are located all the way aft on Deck 3 and offer a full step-out balcony and a host of other amenities, including personal check-in service, cocktails with the hotel manager in your cabin, room service, fresh flowers and fruit, laundry and ironing service, and butler service.

All cabins aboard A-ROSA Alva come with a safe, air conditioning, a television with a small selection of international channels, hair dryer, private bathroom with shower, sauna towel, wool blanket, telephone and bathrobe.

Top Deck Attractions

Up top, A-ROSA Alva offers a refreshing swimming pool that's good for beating the Douro heat. There is also a small putting green at the stern and an outdoor dining area for meals and drinks alfresco. Seating and loungers are offered with covered and unshaded options.

While A-ROSA Alva has a passenger elevator onboard, it does not go up to the Sun Deck.

Entertainment

While tours ashore constitute the primary form of entertainment aboard, A-ROSA often brings guest entertainers onboard to compliment the pianist who sets up shop nightly in the ship's main lounge.

Itineraries

A-ROSA Alva sails the line's seven-night "Experience the Douro" river cruise that operates round trip from Porto, Portugal.