Avalon Waterways has announced that it will make its Douro debut with a new itinerary and new, purpose-built ship in 2024.
“We’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity to add Portugal to our robust vacation portfolio and that day has finally arrived,” said Pam Hoffee, president of Avalon Waterways.
“Inviting our guests to sail the Douro for the first time, we’re bringing the Suite Ships of Avalon, the grandest views in cruising and whim-powered itineraries to Southwestern Europe. And we couldn’t be more excited.”
8-Day Douro River Itinerary Roundtrip from Porto
The river cruise line's new itinerary brings 102 guests up close to vineyards and villages along the Douro River that flows across the country, and also includes an optional excursion across the border to the famous sandstone architecture of Salamanca, Spain.
On board and through Avalon Waterways' 'Classic' and expanding selection of 'Active' and 'Discovery' shore excursions, according to the river cruise line, guests experience everything from hillside vineyards and historic villages, medieval castles and cinematic scenery sailing through Portugal’s postcard-perfect scenery, as well as rock art, riding bikes from Porto to the sea, and "all the vinho, baked bread, olives and cheese" guests may crave.
DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY HIGHLIGHTS:
Day 1: Welcome to Porto with an optional food tour, embarkation and overnight in the city.
Day 2: Excursion choices include stepping back in time in Guimarães’ historic city center or cruising along the coast, on bike, from Porto Ribiera to the sea. The ship overnights in Porto Antigo.
Day 3: Choice of excursions includes a visit to one of the Douro Valley’s oldest farms, with food tasting near Peso da Regua and an overnight in Pinhão.
Day 4: Experience a guided tour of Freixo de Numão, a charming village nestled between the nearby mountains, complete with regional wine-tasting or rock art in Vila Nova de Foz Côa. Tonight, Avalon Alegria docks in Barca d’Alva.
Day 5: Choose from classic sightseeing in Freixo de Espada à Cinta or a visit to Salamanca in Spain. Learn to bake traditional Portuguese pastries (“Florinhas”) during a hands-on optional excursion.
Day 6: Paint a typical ‘azuelejos’ tile guided by a professional painter during a relaxing morning sail. Spend the afternoon in Amarante and Fado the evening away. Guests overnight in Porto with plenty of free time to peruse the city. Cruisers are always choosers with Avalon.
Day 7: UNESCO the day away exploring Porto – with optional excursions ranging from a canal cruise to celebratory Portuguese traditions – before spending one more night in the city.
Day 8: The cruise returns to Porto.
New Ship: Avalon Alegria
In Portuguese, Alegria means “happiness”, and the Avalon Alegria – like the rest of the company’s fleet of Suite Ships – will feature the line's signature, award-winning Panorama Suites on two full decks.
Each Suite provides guests 200-square-feet of living space, Open-Air Balconies and beds facing the views. In addition, the Alegria will provide guests with a pool on the Sky Deck to bask in the sun and soak-in the beauty of Portugal while sailing from a new, poolside point-of-view.
Avalon's new 'Suite Ship,' built exclusively to sail the Douro, will have a total of 14 Deluxe Staterooms and 37 Panorama Suites, accommodating 102 guests served by 33 crew members.