Romance of the Douro River

Romance of the Douro River

The romantic Douro River meanders its way from Spain through Northern Portugal, delivering a breathtaking landscape of sculpted hills, terraced vineyards and scenic splendor. Explore the historic river and its environs during a seven-night cruise on an exclusively chartered first-class ship. Before embarking, enjoy Lisbon and its highlights, including the Alfama neighborhood, a hillside maze of cobbled lanes and ancient landmarks. See the University of Coimbra, founded in 1290 and embark the ship in lively Porto, a colorful, historic town spread across the banks of the river. In Vila Real, taste local pastries and tour an 18th-century palace. Sip the region’s famous port wine at a traditional quinta on a drive along the Douro Wine Road. Enjoy pretty Lamego with its quintessential blue and white tiled staircase and elegant, sun-kissed Salamanca in Spain! This journey features a choice of included excursions and an extensive meal plan, plus a selection of complimentary beverages. No single supplement!

Trip Itinerary:

September 15 Depart Gateway City

AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Lisbon, Portugal. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: LIS.

If you have purchased only the Land Program, please book flights that arrive on Day 2, the first day of the Land Program. The date is listed at the top of your Reservation Confirmation.

September 16 Lisbon, Portugal

Arrive at Lisbon Airport. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land/Cruise Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the Arrivals Hall, where an AHI Travel representative will meet you.

Transfer to the Dom Pedro Palace. Please note, if you arrive before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.

Tonight, meet your fellow travelers at a Welcome Reception.

Accommodations – Dom Pedro Palace

September 17 Lisbon

Discovery: Lisbon.
Activity level: Moderate
Lisbon is one of the most beautiful and intriguing cities in the world. This morning, take a tour of the city and learn more about its history, which includes a significant role in the Age of Discovery. Begin with a drive along the Avenida de Liberdade in the heart of the city. See the statue of Marques de Pombal, one of Portugal’s most famous statesmen, as you drive along the leafy boulevard. Next, take a look at Portugal’s role in the exploration of the New World. Many world-changing expeditions began in Lisbon. See the 20th-century landmark, the Monument to the Discoveries, which honors several individuals who played integral roles in Portuguese exploration, and the Tower of Belém, which commemorates Vasco da Gama’s pivotal journey as the first European navigator to sail from Europe to India. Walk in the footsteps of famous explorers and discover Portugal’s seafaring heritage at the Hieronymites Monastery, where monks offered spiritual support to the world explorers setting out on their great adventures. Construction began on the monastery in the late 15th century, the dawn of the Age of Discovery. The monastery, along with the Tower of Belém, is a magnificent example of Portuguese architecture of the time. Continue to Bairro Alto, a picturesque 16th-century district and the Alfama, the oldest section of the city. Nearby, see the Graça district to get a glimpse of everyday local life.

Free Time: Spend the rest of the day getting to know Lisbon at your leisure. Enjoy lunch, explore a local museum, or browse through local boutiques. The choices are yours!

Enrichment: Portuguese Explorers.
Join a local expert to learn about the Age of Discovery and the explorers who sailed under the Portuguese flag. These 15th- and 16th-century adventurers opened new trade routes, set foot on previously undiscovered lands and brought wealth and glory to Portugal.

Elective Activity: Fado Dinner.
Activity level: Mild
(Available at an additional cost.)
Savor a delicious dinner of Portuguese cuisine and enjoy a fado performance. Fado is a traditional music genre, featuring melancholic and soul-stirring guitar and vocal arrangements.

Accommodations – Dom Pedro Palace
Meals – Breakfast

September 18 Lisbon

ree Time: Join today’s Elective Activity or enjoy a full day at leisure in Lisbon. Once you are done exploring the city center, head to Chiado, a charming neighborhood with many theaters, bookshops and cafés. This area of Lisbon has been a magnet for writers, artists and other creative types since the 19th century.

Elective Activity: Sintra, Cascais and Estoril.
Activity level: Moderate
(Available at an additional cost.)
Visit the village of Sintra to see the exquisite 19th-century European Romantic architecture and take a guided tour of the National Palace of Sintra. UNESCO has recognized Sintra’s integration of architecture and parkland as being influential in the development of parks and gardens in the rest of Europe. Relax over lunch at a local establishment. Then continue on a scenic drive that takes you past Cabo de Roca, continental Europe’s westernmost point and along the pretty Guincho Beach to the picture-perfect towns of Cascais and Estoril. These two villages are popular summertime retreats for both Lisbon residents and international visitors alike. Stop in Cascais for a guided picturesque walk, and drive through Estoril on your return to Lisbon.


 Enrichment: Contemporary Portugal.
Learn about Portugal today while discussing the events and people that shaped the modern country.

Accommodations – Dom Pedro Palace
Meals – Breakfast

September 19 Obidos | Coimbra | Porto

Discovery: Óbidos.
Activity level: Moderate
Explore pretty Óbidos, where the city’s architecture seamlessly blends styles from the Middle Ages onwards. Sitting atop a coastal hill, this location was settled millennia ago for its strategic location. In the 13th century, King Dinis presented the town to his wife as a gift. For centuries after that, Portuguese queens were the custodians of the town, beautifying it and lavishing attention upon it. It is known as one of the most beautiful towns in the country!

Continue to Coimbra and, upon arrival, enjoy traditional Portuguese cuisine for lunch.

Discovery: Coimbra.
Activity level: Moderate
Built atop an ancient Roman city, Coimbra occupies an important location along the Rio Mondego. The city was Portugal’s medieval capital, and in 1290, the doors to its prestigious university opened. At the University of Coimbra, visit St. Michael’s Chapel and a historic ceremonial hall.

Arrive in Porto and embark your first-class rive ship. Later, gather with your shipmates and join a Welcome Reception and Dinner to kick off your cruise.

Accommodations – MS Amalia Rodrigues
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

September 20 Porto

Personalize Your Journey | Choose one of the following excursions.
•Porto City Tour.
Activity level: Moderate
Explore the vibrant city of Porto. Visit the Palacio da Bolsa, also known as the historic Stock Exchange, and the Igreja da São Francisco. The Church of St. Francis, a former convent church, was built in the Gothic style. When designers remodeled it during the baroque period, they kept the rose window, which remains today. Cap off today’s discovery with a visit to a port wine cellar. Port’s rich, fortified wine is known around the world. Enjoy a tasting before returning to the ship.
•Porto by Tram and Flavors of Porto.
Activity level: Moderate
Trams are a popular way to get around Porto. Hop aboard one today and explore the city all the way to the mouth of the Douro River. See traditional fishermen’s homes along your ride. Visit the Museu do Carro Elétrico, a showcase of the trams history in Porto. The extensive collection of trams features the Americanos, the city’s oldest cars pulled by horses. The excursion concludes with a tasting of local specialties.

Enrichment: Douro Wine Country.
Portugal’s most famous wines come from this bountiful region. Join a local expert to learn about the local winemaking tradition and discover the abundance of the Alto Douro Wine Region.

Free Time: Enjoy the afternoon at leisure. If you wish, return to the Porto city center on one of the complimentary shuttles.

Dinner is served on board your ship.

Accommodations – MS Amalia Rodrigues
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

September 21 Porto | Peso da Regua

Personalize Your Journey | Choose one of the following excursions.
•Guimarães, Cradle of Portugal.
Activity level: Moderate
Discover Guimarães, the birthplace of Portugal’s first king and the nation, on a walking tour through this charming town. Step inside Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira. This 14th-century church was built by King João I in tribute to the Virgin Mary after he won the Battle of Aljubarrota against Portugal’s Castilian enemies. Visit the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança, an opulent estate in the city. Then enjoy some time at leisure in Guimarães to make your own discoveries.
•Douro Walk and Port Wine Tasting.
Activity level: Active
Take a guided walk along the Atlantic coastline and the Douro. Pass through São Pedro da Afurada, a typical fishing village, where you can see daily life in motion. Along the way, enjoy a beautiful view of Porto and Ribeira Square. Continue to the renowned port wine cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia, and enjoy a tasting at one of the cellars before ending your walk back at the ship.

Return to the ship and enjoy lunch on board as the ship cruises the beautiful Douro River.

Trade stories about your day during dinner on the ship.

Accommodations – MS Amalia Rodrigues
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

September 22 Vila Real | Barca d'Alva

Discovery: Vila Real.
Activity level: Moderate
Enjoy a scenic drive through the vineyard-covered countryside to the charming town of Vila Real. In the town, enjoy the architectural variety of its churches before stopping to try Cristas de Galo, the pastry for which the town is famous. Visit the Solar de Mateus, an 18th-century baroque palace featuring the frilly architectural flourishes of the time. Stroll through the opulent halls and enjoy a walk through the manicured gardens.

Return to the ship for lunch and relish an afternoon of scenic cruising through the Douro River Valley. Notice how the banks of the river are lined with multicolored vineyards that grow the grapes used to make port.

Delight in delicious regional cuisine on the ship.

Accommodations – MS Amalia Rodrigues
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

September 23 Barca d'Alva | Salamanca, Spain

Personalize Your Journey | Choose one of the following excursions.
•Salamanca City Tour.
Activity level: Moderate
Take a scenic drive through the vine-covered hills of the Douro Valley to Salamanca this morning. See charming villages, olive groves and farms on your way to beautiful Salamanca. Upon arrival, explore the historic university town on foot. Step inside the ornate cathedral and discover the famous 13th-century university. Then enjoy lunch and free time in Salamanca before returning to the ship.
•Salamanca by Bike.
Activity level: Active
Enjoy a winding, breathtaking country drive to Salamanca. Traverse picturesque wine country with scenes of woodlands, olive trees and gently rolling vineyards, as well as rural villages and small farms. Upon arrival, join a guide for a bicycle tour through Salamanca and along the Río Tormes and the Old Town. Visit the cathedral and the university, which was founded in 1218. Enjoy lunch and free time before returning to the ship.

Join friends new and old for dinner.

Accommodations – MS Amalia Rodrigues
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

September 24 Sao Joao da Pesqueira | Pinhao

Spend the morning delighting in stunning riverside scenery as you cruise, and enjoy lunch on board.

Discovery: Porto’s Wine Road.
Activity level: Mild
Drive through the scenic Alto Douro wine region. Stop at the beautiful viewpoint of São Salvador do Mundo for views over the Douro Valley, where the hills are covered with groves of olive and almond trees as well as grapevines. Visit the pretty town of São João da Pesqueira for a short walking tour and some free time. Afterward, stop at a quinta, a winery, for a tour of the facilities, an informative presentation about port wine making in the Douro Valley and a tasting of the local product.

Discovery: An Evening of Folklore.
Activity level: Mild
Following dinner tonight, enjoy an engaging and colorful local folk show on board the ship. Singers and dancers showcase the Portuguese culture through traditional song and regional costume.

Accommodations – MS Amalia Rodrigues
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

September 25 Lamego | Porto

Discovery: Lamego.
Activity level: Moderate
Sitting in the heart of the port-producing Douro Valley, Lamego is one of the country’s prettiest towns. Visit Nossa Senhora dos Remedios, an 18th-century baroque church overlooking the city. Admire the granite staircase adorned with azulejos, Portugal’s famous blue-and-white tiles. After the tour, walk down the steps or take the motor coach to the town center to enjoy some free time before boarding the ship.

Spend your final afternoon sailing the Douro Valley as the ship nears Porto.

Tonight, celebrate your exciting river journey at a Farewell Reception and Dinner.

Accommodations – MS Amalia Rodrigues
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

September 26 Porto | Depart for gateway city

After breakfast, disembark the ship in Porto. AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Land/Cruise Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer depart for Porto Airport for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.

Meals – Breakfast

NOTE: Itinerary may change due to local conditions.

Map:


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