Tauck has christened its newest riverboat, MS Andorinha, in Portugal. Tauck guests were on the third day of the company's 12-day “Exploring the Douro, plus Lisbon & Madrid” itinerary, when they were surprised with the christening ceremony instead of the typical embarkation process at the riverside village of Barca d'Alva.
Usually, Tauck christening ceremonies for riverboats have been attended by company executives, local dignitaries, travel advisors, supplier partners and members of the media. While these members were still present, the addition of guests was a unique but welcome element to the festivities.
“In crafting our itineraries, we work extraordinarily hard to find fun and unexpected experiences for our guests and craft them into our journeys. It’s very gratifying to surprise our guests with a sense of wonder and delight, and for this lucky group of guests, we were able to provide an especially memorable experience,” said Tauck CEO Dan Mahar.
The ship godmothers for the Andorinha were two long-time Tauck employees, company President Jennifer Tombaugh and Chief Culture Officer Sharyn Cannon, who have been with the group for more than 20 years.
The MS Andorinha
The eagerly-anticipated Andorinha was purpose-built specifically for the Douro River, with décor and design inspired by the Douro Valley’s culture and climate. Common design elements include traditional painted ceramic tiles, adorning areas throughout the ship, and decorative metalwork suggestive of grapevines that invoke Portugal’s winemaking history. Even the name of the ship is based on the Andorinha bird, a species of small migratory swallow that travel to Africa every winter and return to Portugal each spring. Figures of andorinhas have become a popular national symbol of family, fidelity and home in the region.
Andorinha features a sun deck, which is designed for guests to take in the Douro Valley’s passing landscapes. It also features Balinese day beds for shaded lounging, as well as an infinity-style pool that’s five-times the size of the plunge pools featured on Tauck’s other riverboats. Other features include an outdoor grill as well as a full-service bar.
Tauck highlights the Sun Deck's pop-up restaurant, which rises from the stern of the ship on hydraulic lifts to become a fully functioning eatery with views of the landscape. Named Arthur’s for Tauck chairman Arthur Tauck Jr., the restaurant offers a mix of steak house-style dishes as well as local cuisine to serve as a more casual alternative to the Andorinha’s main Compass Rose restaurant. When approaching any particularly low bridges, Arthur’s will be briefly lowered to improve the Andorinha’s clearance and allow the ship to continue along on its voyage.
As with the company's other riverboats, Tauck offers ample suites, spacious public areas and uncrowded onboard ambiance. The Andorinha accommodates just 84 guests, which the company says is about a third fewer guests than on other cruise lines’ Douro ships of the same approximate size. Like other Tauck riverboats, the Andorinha is staffed by a Tauck Cruise Director and three Tauck Director guides.
Accommodations include twelve, 300-square-foot suites on the upper Diamond Deck, and twenty 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) are on the lower or Emerald Deck.
For more images of the MS Andorinha see below, and for more information on Tauck's newest riverboat, click here.
Tauck is offering two Douro River itineraries aboard the Andorinha in 2021; the 12-day “Exploring the Douro, plus Lisbon & Madrid” journey that bookends a seven-night Douro cruise with two-night hotel stays in Lisbon and Madrid, and an eight-day “Villages and Vintages: Cruising the Douro River Valley” cruise-only itinerary along the river.
“Douro Discovery: A Family River Cruise in Portugal plus Madrid,” an eight-day Tauck Bridges cruise designed specifically for families, will be added to Tauck’s Douro portfolio in 2022.
For more information on Tauck, click here.