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3 Riviera Travel Porto (Leixoes) Cruise Reviews

Unfortunately our cruise on the River Douro got off to a bad start as a radar fault at Porto airport meant that our TAP Portugal plane was prevented from leaving Gatwick for 24 hours. On our delayed arrival in Porto we were taken by coach ... Read More
Unfortunately our cruise on the River Douro got off to a bad start as a radar fault at Porto airport meant that our TAP Portugal plane was prevented from leaving Gatwick for 24 hours. On our delayed arrival in Porto we were taken by coach to a quay further up river to join Douro Elegance. The ship has defined booking times at the five locks on this river so she had to move. On boarding ship the excursion staff led by Cruise Director Carmem Maria Do Carmo was at considerable pains to point out at every turn that our issues were not their fault. Whilst we knew this, their implacable stance did not go down too well with the fifty plus guests affected. In fairness that aside, every effort was made to make up for what we had lost, including arranging for us to have a tour of Porto on the last afternoon. The ship is modern and very smart though the cabins are a little tight for space, slightly smaller furniture would make all the difference. The bathrooms are well equipped with a good shower. Our one issue in Cabin 216 was the wind whistling through the window when it was closed.The only way to stop the extremely irritating sound was to open the window which was not always practical or acceptable. The ship’s crew were pleasant and helpful and the food pretty good though limited in choice. We paid for the drinks package which for us was wine at lunch and dinner. Some waiters were a little reluctant to refill glasses though this did seem to become less of a problem as the cruise progressed. The excursions were well organised on modern smart coaches which accompany the ship along the river. The long haul to Salamanca was worth it (no comfort stops en route), the city has many interesting buildings and the included lunch at the hotel Hospes Palacio de San Esteban was extremely good. There were also flamenco dancers and a splendid singer as entertainment. The dinner, one evening at the Quinta Da Pacheda was by contrast disappointing. The main course was veal which is not something we would eat and there was a two piece string ensemble which played, too loudly, the most depressing music. The venue was billed as overlooking the River Douro which it did not. So, for us, a mixed trip, enjoyed at the correct pace I am sure that it would have been more relaxing, but these things happen when you travel. Fortunately the weather was good throughout. Despite giving no indication regarding compensation during the cruise, Riviera Travel promptly refunded an amount to cover the lost portion of our holiday, by the time we arrived home ~ very impressive. We have already booked another river cruise with them. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
My wife and I with two friends have just returned from the Riviera Five Star River Douro Cruise from Porto, Portugal on the Riviera Douro Elegance boat. The Riviera Representative met us at the airport on arrival and after a little ... Read More
My wife and I with two friends have just returned from the Riviera Five Star River Douro Cruise from Porto, Portugal on the Riviera Douro Elegance boat. The Riviera Representative met us at the airport on arrival and after a little delay we boarded the coach and the transfer to Porto was about 45 minutes. The staff on board were very helpful and friendly as expected. The quality of the boat was beautiful having been brought into service in April of this year. We had a Balcony Suite, although the balconies have been amended to large sliding windows. The cabins are well appointed and the balcony/window modification worked well. The new boat in itself certainly deserved the 5 star rating. I must say that the scenery on the Douro is quite breathtaking and we would really recommend the Douro for it’s beauty and tranquillity. Sadly though, we have a number of observations and complaints which certainly marred our trip. We and a number of other passengers were extremely disappointed with the food served on board mainly during the evening restaurant service. Firstly the actual menus themselves were presented on flimsy paper which looked like they had been run off on photo copy paper. Zero for presentation. The soups tasted like packet soup and possibly were not freshly made. The menu on most evenings consisted of strange combinations of ingredients and on the whole fairly tasteless and lacking in seasoning and always tepid. We found many of the dishes or accompanying sauces contained bacon, pork, lamb or sea food leaving my wife and I very little or in some cases no choice of menu as we are non meat/chicken eaters although we do eat fish. With that in mind the fish dishes available were nearly always Sea Bream again lacking in seasoning. On one evening the menu consisted of Sea Bream with Tomato Rice. As an alternative, Mango Risotto with Salted Olives. It’s rice all round! Cheap and easy! Also a lack of accompanying fresh vegetables. There are a number of issues with the food including the food was always tepid when served and in some cases almost cold. We sent food back at times because of this. Other areas of concern. On a number of occasions at breakfast we had to clear used crockery and tableware from tables ourselves as the staff had not cleared and reset available tables. The breakfast buffet was a “bum fight” each morning particularly when an early excursion was planned. The so called hot food in the chafing dishes was always either cold or just tepid. Same at lunch time. There was always a lack of prepared fresh fruit choice. Strips of water melon, slices of orange was more or less the choice. There was however a bowl with some apples in it that did look a bit past their sell by date. There are two help yourself coffee machines available 24 hours a day. The coffee produced from these machines is again tepid and is only just recognisable as coffee. Being a coffee drinker it would seem that the beans are of poor quality. Just my opinion! The coffee served in the restaurant is the same. Couldn’t wait to get a decent cup of coffee on shore! There was no service at all on the sun deck. If you wanted a drink or whatever, you had to go below to the bar and bring it up to the sun deck yourself. Certainly not five star service. On our departure day, due to the flight time being later in the day and after vacating the cabins at 9.00am, absolutely no refreshments were made available to late departing guests despite my enquiring. I have to say that the member of staff with whom I spoke clearly indicated “cost cutting”! It was as if “we’ve got your money and you’re on your own now”. I do recall on previous river cruises a light lunch was made available for late departing guests. Not on this one! There were about 25 passengers on the late departure timed for 2.45 from the boat. Amazingly the boat had provided one toilet only for all of those passengers and was located in the lower lobby area. The Urinals for men had a ‘Not In Use’ notice leaving one WC only to be available for all of those people. When I enquired as to another toilet facility I was told this was the only one. People were queuing to use it. On previous cruises the boat has put aside a couple of cabins for toilet use. In addition to the passengers waiting to leave, early arriving guests whose cabins were not at the time ready, were also using the same toilet. This was an absolute disgrace. All in all I regret to say that we were very disappointed with Riviera and this was certainly not a five star cruise. The boat in itself was five star but the food and general service was no more than three star. We feel badly let down by Riviera and shall now give Riviera a miss for future cruising. Currently awaiting Riviera's response ! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
My husband chose this cruise to celebrate his 70th birthday. We have done many ocean cruises on various cruise lines and one river cruise - the Mekong. I had done a considerable amount of research into all the cruise companies who ... Read More
My husband chose this cruise to celebrate his 70th birthday. We have done many ocean cruises on various cruise lines and one river cruise - the Mekong. I had done a considerable amount of research into all the cruise companies who offered cruises on the River Douro and chose Riviera Travel because of its reputation in the UK and the fact that the Douro Elegance was a new ship. The lauded five star experience was also a big draw. The cruise is a return trip from Porto on the Portuguese coast as far as the Spanish border where the Douro is no longer navigable by large river cruise ships.. There were good and bad points to this cruise and overall we had an enjoyable time but our main disappointment was with the food which we regard as an important part of any cruise holiday. I completely agree with raymond4868's comments about the food and the service associated with the dining experience. It is by no means a five star experience. Food was mostly luke warm, no thought seems to have been given to the accompanying sauces with the meat although we did like the fish. Soups were tasteless and often cabbage based, salads were unimaginative. No ice cream was ever available, desserts were a joke and every day radioactive looking jelly was an option for dessert at lunch. I like to have fresh fruit at breakfast and on our cruise the selection wasn't bad but it was sliced so thinly you could see through it. Cook to order service at breakfast was very slow. We did talk to the Maitre D of our concerns about food and service early on in the cruise but it didn't improve. Our best meals by far were lunch on our day trip to Salamanca and the evening meal at Quinta de Pancheca (thank goodness, this was on my husband's birthday!). The ship certainly had the wow factor on boarding. It looks very modern and stylish. The sun deck is lovely and all the furnishings and bed linen were excellent quality. However, after a while we came to realise that something didn't seem quite right and made it seem a bit dowdy. The colour scheme is centred on brown and there are very few other colours injected into the decor. Portugal has some wonderful colourful ceramics but the ceramics on display in the dining room are brown mounted on a brown wall. The 'net' curtains in the lounge area are also light brown. Our cabin, whilst fairly compact, was adequate for a 7 night cruise but the bathroom definitely needs more shelving. I was concerned that our cabin entry cards had the cabin number on them which meant that if you did mislay your card, anyone would have access to your cabin. I did point this out to the deputy hotel manager and hopefully this matter will be addressed. We were encouraged to use the safe in the room but it has been placed high up in the wardrobe and I needed to stand on a chair to access it. Apart from the waiters in the dining room, the staff provided excellent service. Douro Azul is the managing company for all the cruise ships on the Douro and it is their policy to charge for water ordered in the bar despite the fact that bottled water is freely available in the cabins. We found this out when we returned after a long day sightseeing and went to the bar to order a pre-dinner drink and my husband was refused a glass of tap water whilst we waited for our drinks to arrive. The organisation of the holiday was very good from the time we were picked up at the airport and transported to the ship to our journey home. All the tours off the ship were in brand new air-conditioned coaches (thanks to Pedro, our brilliant tour guide) and the maps and information provided were good. Vox boxes are used on the tours. At present, the itinerary includes a trip by coach to Salamanca (a two hour drive) which is a beautiful university city in Spain but unfortunately it is on a Monday when all the museums are closed which was disappointing. The scenery along the Douro is wonderful and the lovely weather showed it off well. We thoroughly enjoyed going through the locks which was an amazing experience and certainly required a good deal of precision from the Captain manoeuvring the ship into position. In our opinion, the scenery travelling along the majestic Douro and the included excursions made this holiday. Riviera Travel has taken note of my feedback and has promised to pass on our comments about the dining experience to Douro Azul. I only hope that there is a definite improvement in the food and service because this would then truly make this holiday a Five Star experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
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