Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
WILTON, CT — Tauck has released details of its three Douro cruises – its first ever on the river – slated to launch in 2020.
The three new cruises will include the travel industry’s first-ever family river cruise on the Douro, ‘Douro Discovery: A Family River Cruise in Portugal’, and two adult cruises; the eight-day, cruise-only ‘Villages & Vintages: Cruising the Douro River Valley’ and the 12-day ‘Exploring the Douro, Plus Lisbon & Madrid’. The latter itinerary combines a seven-night Douro cruise with a two-night, pre-cruise hotel stay in Lisbon and a two-night, post-cruise hotel stay in Madrid, both with included Tauck sightseeing and other activities.
Although initial departures are still a year away, Tauck is reporting strong bookings across all three itineraries.
‘Douro Discovery: A Family River Cruise in Portugal’ begins in Lisbon with an included transfer from Lisbon Airport to the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon for a two-night stay with guided excursions. Guests will also get free time for independent exploration, and a guided visit to Portugal’s National Maritime Museum. The following day, families will enjoy a walking tour of the medieval city of Coimbra before traveling to Porto to embark the ms Andorinha.
The ensuing five-night Douro cruise will be highlighted by guided sightseeing in Porto, a visit to the Museo do Douro in Peso da Régua, and a walking tour in the village of Pinhao. This is the sixth river cruise included in the ‘Tauck Bridges’ collection of journeys designed specifically for families. Prices start at Can$5,570 per person, plus airfare.
Tauck’s eight-day, cruise-only itinerary ‘Villages & Vintages: Cruising the Douro River Valley’ includes a private dinner with wine pairings at the family-run wine estate Quinta do Portal, an exploration of the medieval town of Guimaraes, and a visit to a port wine cave in Vila Nova de Gaia for a tour and tasting. Cruise prices are from $5,440 per person plus airfare.
Tauck’s third new Douro itinerary, the 12-day ‘Exploring the Douro, Plus Lisbon & Madrid’, starts with two nights at the InterContinental in Lisbon, a tour and welcome dinner at the National Palace of Queluz, and city sightseeing that showcases the world renowned carriage collection at the National Coach Museum. Highlights along the Douro include visits to the historic town of Guimaraes and a quinta (wine-growing estate) in a Vinho Verde vineyard, a guided bicycle ride in Peso da Régua, a visit to the 12th-century Monastery of St. John, and a guided tour of the Douro Museum. Cruise prices are from $8,440 CAD plus airfare.
Prices include all shore excursions, all gratuities, all beer, wine and spirits, airport transfers, luggage handling, and much more.
In other Douro-related Tauck news, hull construction for the ms Andorinha, the company’s new Douro riverboat, has been completed at the Vahali Shipyard in Serbia, and the hull was recently transported by tug to Hardinxveld, the Netherlands, where final outfitting will occur.
The new ship will have a crew of 36, and it will measure 263 feet in length with a beam of 38 feet. Guests will be accommodated in 42 cabins, including 12 300-square-foot suites on the upper Diamond Deck, and 20 225-square-foot staterooms primarily on the vessel’s Ruby or mid-level deck. The remaining accommodations – six 200-square-foot cabins and four 150-square-foot cabins – will be on the lower or Emerald Deck.