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Douro river cruises are among the fastest-growing itineraries in European river cruising, and one river cruise line is building a new ship to join the rush to Portugal.
Beginning in 2024, Avalon Waterways will be the latest river cruise line to embark on this increasingly popular route, joining Uniworld, Tauck, AmaWaterways, Scenic, Emerald Cruises and others on this western-most European river cruise route.
Calling its new itinerary “a new view on the Old World,” Avalon Waterways says the new route will provide guests with “the grandest views in cruising and whim-powered itineraries to Southwestern Europe.”
Avalon's new river cruise roundtrip from Porto brings guests into the heart of hillside vineyards and historic villages in this famous wine region all the way to the glorious sandstone architecture of Salamanca, Spain, just across the border.
From medieval castles to cinematic scenery – plus all the vinho, fresh-baked rustic bread, locally grown olives and locally-produced cheese your soul desires – a Douro River cruise earns an entry on your European river cruising bucket list.
Plus, Avalon Waterways has three styles of shore excursions that allow you to customize your Portuguese river cruise. In addition to ‘Classic’ tours, guests can choose from ‘Active’ and ‘Discovery’ tours that give you new perspectives on destinations, plus a chance to break a light sweat and even get your hands a bit dirty! The river cruise line says ‘Active’ and ‘Discovery’ tours on its new Douro River itinerary will include things like rock art or baking traditional ‘florinhas’ pastries, painting iconic Portuguese tiles, to riding bikes from Porto to the sea.
Of course, all guests will enjoy visiting farms and vineyards, wine- and food-tastings, scenic sailings and historic city exploration, with overnights in some towns along the way.
Douro River dimensions require customized vessels, and Avalon’s purpose-built ship for its Portugal river cruises is the Avalon Alegria, debuting in 2024.
The Alegria – which means ‘happiness’ in Portuguese – will accommodate just a hundred guests on two decks, so you’ll be able to get to know and have shared experiences with the small group of people on your Portuguese river journey.
Like other Avalon Waterways ships, the Alegria will orient beds to face the windows, so you can open your floor-to-ceiling sliding windows and your whole room becomes an ‘open-air balcony’ facing the views sailing along the Douro.
Guests will also enjoy a pool on the Sky Deck to bask in the warm Portuguese sun and take in the scenery during daytime sailings from a new, poolside perspective.
Top Image: Getty
Bottom Image: Avalon Waterways
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