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Villages and Vintages: Cruising the Douro River Valley 2021

Porto, Portugal Round-trip
Length: 8 Days - Departs: Sat, Sep 25, 2021
Operator
Departure
Sep 25, 2021
Arrival
Oct 02, 2021

Please see below brochure cabin pricing

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River Cruise Itinerary

Discover the bohemian heart of the city that gave Port-wine its name... sample its treasures in the wine caves of Vila Nova de Gaia... sail deep into the mountain landscapes of Portuguese wine country to find wine estates, lush vineyards, idyllic riverside villages, baroque castles, hilltop medieval ruins, and rock art from the valley's earliest inhabitants... Our eight-day riverboat cruise on Portugal's Douro River offers an authentic taste of life and world-class wines in a region steeped in winemaking for over 2,000 years. Explore the colorful city of Porto, an enticing labyrinth of winding streets, baroque churches and blue-tiled houses, where port wine is made and stored. Board ms Andorinha and trace the wine to its source, the quintas and picture-postcard villages of the Douro River Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site... discover terraced vineyards and enjoy tours, tastings, wine pairings, and a lesson in port cocktail-making... tour baroque Mateus Palace... and immerse yourself in local history and culture, the prehistoric art of Foz Côa, the views from hilltop Castelo Rodrigo and more…

  1. Day 1
    Porto, Portugal
    Sat, Sep 25, 2021
    Tour begins 5:00 PM. A transfer is included from Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (Porto Airport) to your riverboat, ms Andorinha, on the Douro River. Settle in, then join us for a welcome reception followed by dinner and onboard entertainment.
    Meals: Dinner
  2. Day 2
    Porto, Portugal
    Sun, Sep 26, 2021
    Rising on staggered hills along the river, colorful Porto beckons you to its labyrinthine streets and stairways, medieval alleys, Baroque churches, fountains, and bell towers, Beaux-Arts buildings, and bohemian neighborhoods. Choose a walking tour of the town's historic center or a guided stroll through Ribeira, the riverfront district. It's hard to take a bad picture in Porto, where houses are clad in painted tiles and beguiling, eclectic architecture is around every corner. Return to your riverboat and sail to the Douro River Valley and its astonishing landscapes.  All along the winding river, rugged conical mountains and shale hills carved by concentric vineyard terraces tell of a winemaking history thousands of years old.  Inhospitable to most kinds of farming, the terroir is perfect for Portugal's indigenous wine grapes, whose hardy roots can go down 30 feet or more in search of water.  And since the 18th century, when Portuguese vintners created a sweet fortified wine –  now famous as Port – that could make the long sea voyage to Britain without spoiling, the Douro Valley has been the only supplier of Port to the world, and the oldest demarcated wine region.
    Meals: Breakfast
  3. Day 3
    Mon, Sep 27, 2021
    Dock in the historic town of Peso da Régua, once a busy hub where wooden boats called rabelos, laden with barrels of Port, sailed downriver to Vila Nova de Gaia. At the Museo do Douro, housed in a renovated 18th-century mansion, multimedia exhibits offer a history of viniculture in the Douro Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site; you also have the choice of a port cocktail-making workshop. This afternoon, sail to the idyllic, tranquil village of Pinhão, nestled at a dramatic bend in the river; Pinhão is known as the gateway to the valley's quintas (vineyards) and large wine estates.  From here it's a short drive to Quinta do Portal, a family-run estate in the Cima Corgo region where renowned Port and non-fortified wines are made. Your visit includes an introduction to the vineyards and a private dinner with wine pairings.
    Meals: Breakfast
  4. Day 4
    Tue, Sep 28, 2021
    The Douro River Valley and its unique landscapes of terraced mountains, villages, and wine estates unfolds today on a full day's sail to the small Spanish port town of Vega de Terron, where the Douro forms the border between Spain and Portugal. The landscape, at a confluence of rivers, is tranquil, beautiful and unspoiled, at the edge of Douro International Natural Park. 
    Meals: Breakfast
  5. Day 5
    Wed, Sep 29, 2021
    At the town of Pocinho you have a choice of shore excursions. Visit Castelo Rodrigo, a medieval hilltop village with a turbulent history, where battles were once fought against Moors and Spanish rule; the empty ruins of its 13th-century palace still stand guard over the walled town with its churches, Manueline pillory, cistern, and panoramic vistas. Alternatively, travel to the Museu do Côa in the Vale do Côa Archaelogical Park, for stunning exhibits of rock art from the valley's Paleolithic era, discovered in the 1990s when excavations began for a Côa River dam; unlike cave art found in other parts of Europe, the thousands of petroglyphs in the Côa region were created in the open air by the valley's earliest inhabitants, and the museum explores their mystery through state-of-the-art multimedia exhibits. Return to the riverboat for lunch and sail back to Pinhão, arriving this evening. 
    Meals: Breakfast
  6. Day 6
    Thu, Sep 30, 2021
    Your choice of excursions this morning includes a walking tour of Pinhão and its early-20th century train station, adorned with blue-painted tiles (azulejos); or a vigorous hike in the hilltop vineyards with striking views of the town and river. Sail to Régua, and drive to Vila Real for a visit to 18th-century Mateus Palace, a lavish Baroque residence designed by Nicolau Nasoni, now a museum with period furnishings and artwork, a heraldic hall, formal gardens, a winery, and a chapel with tombs and reliquaries. Begin the return trip to Porto, and dock overnight in this verdant wine country, where some traditional farms grow vines on pergolas and fences so high the grapes must be harvested with ladders.
    Meals: Breakfast
  7. Day 7
    Fri, Oct 01, 2021
    Today, you have a choice of full day excursions; one option offers you a chance to explore the medieval town of Guimarães, known as the “Cradle City; the kingdom of Portugal was born here after a famous battle in 1128. The city center, a UNESCO World Heritage site, offers a wealth of architectural treasures, including the ruined Castle of Guimãraes, with its tempestuous history and sweeping views, the opulent Palace of the Dukes of Braganza, lush with 17th-century furnishings and tapestries, and the 13th-century Church of São Miguel do Castelo. You also have the choice bike ride through the Vinho Verde region before arriving in the pastoral town of Amarante, famed as being the hometown of São Gonçalo, Portugal’s St. Valentine. Enjoy lunch before your late afternoon arrival into Porto where you’ll cross the river to Vila Nova de Gaia, the destination of wines shipped from the vineyards, and home to many Port wine warehouses and cellars; visit one of its "caves" for a tour and tasting, and toast the end of your Douro River journey. Join us this evening for a farewell reception and dinner aboard ship.
    Meals: Breakfast
  8. Day 8
    Porto, Portugal
    Sat, Oct 02, 2021
    Tour ends: 8:00 AM Porto. Disembark and fly home anytime.  A transfer is included from your riverboat to Porto Airport. Allow at least 3 hours for flight check-in.
    Meals: Breakfast

Countries Visited

Portugal

Rivers Visited

Douro

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Inclusions

Discover the bohemian heart of the city that gave Port-wine its name... sample its treasures in the wine caves of Vila Nova de Gaia... sail deep into the mountain landscapes of Portuguese wine country to find wine estates, lush vineyards, idyllic riverside villages, baroque castles, hilltop medieval ruins, and rock art from the valley's earliest inhabitants...Our eight-day riverboat cruise on Portugal's Douro River offers an authentic taste of life and world-class wines in a region steeped in winemaking for over 2,000 years. Explore the colorful city of Porto, an enticing labyrinth of winding streets, baroque churches and blue-tiled houses, where port wine is made and stored. Board ms Andorinha and trace the wine to its source, the quintas and picture-postcard villages of the Douro River Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site... discover terraced vineyards and enjoy tours, tastings, wine pairings, and a lesson in port cocktail-making... tour baroque Mateus Palace... and immerse yourself in local history and culture, the prehistoric art of Foz Côa, the views from hilltop Castelo Rodrigo and more…

  • TAUCK EXCLUSIVE - Private dinner with wine pairings at Quinta do Portal, a Douro Valley wine estate
  •  TAUCK EXCLUSIVE - Port wine cocktail-making workshop
  • TAUCK EXCLUSIVE - Bicycle tour through Vinho Verde wine country
  • Gratuities to ship staff, drivers, local guides, Tauck Directors and Tauck Cruise Director
  • All private Tauck shore excursions -  $1,215 Value!
  • Seven nights on the Douro aboard ms Andorinha, a new riverboat designed for Tauck

Health and Safety Protocols for Tauck

Traveling with Peace of Mind
Our commitment never wavers – to earn your trust by always doing the right thing. As we explore the world together again, this will be more important than ever as we adapt to living and traveling in the presence of COVID-19.

Tauck is 95-years young this year, and our ability to weather many storms over the decades is a result of our values and beliefs – as a family and as a family-owned and led company. In addition to the guiding light of these values, our extensive experience, local knowledge and global support network help to ensure your safety on every Tauck journey. Building upon our bedrock of award-winning guest care, we have worked tirelessly to prepare for your return following the COVID-19 hiatus in travel. With guidance from leading experts, including the CDC and WHO, together with our internal Global Response Team and, most importantly, with feedback from thousands of our guests, we have redefined how we will conduct our experiences as we resume travel.

Tauck is Prepared for the Unexpected
For decades, Tauck has operated in over 70 countries in all 7 continents. Over this time, our staff and network of supplier partners have always been there to support our guests and team on the road. Our guests travel with a comprehensive, built-in support system that starts with the care and local knowledge of our Tauck Directors and extends to our network of partners around the world, including hoteliers and transportation companies.

At the core of our ability to quickly and effectively respond to the unexpected is our Global Response Team - a group of over 50 employees across all departments who stand ready to spring into action around the world. This team has plenty of experience, from weather events, high and low water on rivers, earthquakes, volcanic ash, civil unrest and work stoppages. They have also dealt with past virus outbreaks including the SARS and Zika viruses.

The Tauck Travel Well Pledge
Before we operate tours and cruises, all Tauck employees, our supplier partners and our guests will take Tauck’s Travel Well Pledge.

As a company, we will follow our enhanced protocols with diligence and rigor; review them frequently as the landscape changes and always make common-sense decisions grounded in purpose and pride. We embrace these new and necessary measures to combat COVID-19 and will do our very best to provide the Tauck care we have been honored to deliver for 95 years.

OUR NEW HEALTH & SAFETY PROTOCOLS
Consistent with our commitment to the well-being of our guests, we are implementing enhanced health and safety protocols. These protocols may vary by geographic regions and will certainly evolve over time, as science and society respond to new realities:

Tauck Staff
Prior to interacting with guests, each member of Tauck’s field staff is trained in enhanced protocols and participates in a personal health screening.

Once on tour, our Tauck Directors and supporting staff are responsible for maintaining these protocols with a special focus on cleanliness and physical distancing. They will relay critical information regarding requirements, advise when protocols are mandatory – such as wearing a face covering in group settings – and help facilitate guest care through communication with appropriate parties should a guest become ill on tour. All Tauck staff will adhere to the same requirements.

Guest Responsibility
When joining a Tauck journey, every guest is responsible for their own health and, in turn, the protection of their fellow travelers, the Tauck staff, our suppliers and the places we visit. Guests will pledge to follow the direction of the Tauck staff and adhere to health and safety protocols.

Guests are expected to wear face coverings in all group settings, to wash their hands frequently and to adhere to supplier and government regulations. While supplies of face coverings, gloves, and hand sanitizer will be available, guests are asked to bring such personal items for their own comfort.

Small is BIG
For many years, Tauck has emphasized and invested in more choices of activities, resulting in smaller groups for activities like sightseeing and events. This is consistent with our mantra that “Small is Big” – small groups and smaller ships with fewer guests.

We initially focused on these elements to improve the guest experience. Yet today they take on an additional dimension; small group experiences and more personal space are critical in providing the peace of mind our guests expect. Accordingly, we are offering even more small group experiences and limiting guest numbers across all of our journeys.

We have been working diligently with our partners to be prepared to welcome you back when the time is right.
Tauck has worked meticulously with our global supplier partners to plan for every itinerary following the hiatus in travel. All partners, whether they be a hotel, museum, small ship/riverboat, restaurant or other partner, have been thoughtful about how to provide a Tauck experience in this environment.

And while it's impossible to list all of the enhanced health and safety protocols for the hundreds of Tauck partners across the globe, we would like to share a representative sample of what you can expect:

Hotels
Our hotel partners all have world-class health and safety protocols. However, these guidelines may vary depending on local situations and regulations. Here are some typical examples:

  • Upon-arrival, health questionnaires and temperature checks may be required. Some hotels may even require daily temperature scans.
  • Social distancing may be required in public areas, bars and restaurants.
  • High-touch areas such as railings, door handles and elevators will undergo enhanced cleaning.
  • In-room measures may include removal of tent cards and magazines. Common use items, such as coffee makers and minibar amenities may be on demand.
  • High-touch areas, such as light switches, thermostats, remote controls and door handles will be subject to enhanced and frequent cleaning.
  • Guests will have the option to determine housekeeping frequency.
  • All hotel staff will undergo daily health screenings.

Ships and Riverboats
We have worked closely with our cruise partners to ensure the best possible health and safety protocols and to ensure the care and service you expect from Tauck:

  • Guests on cruises and river journeys will be required to complete a health questionnaire and will undergo a temperature check prior to boarding. In some instances, our ship partners will conduct daily temperature checks.
  • Face coverings and physical distancing will be required in most public spaces for guests and crew alike.
  • Meals may be offered at staggered times and self-serve buffets will be eliminated.
  • In-cabin measures include removing common use items. Coffee makers, minibar amenities and housekeeping will be on demand at guest discretion.
  • Ship staff will undergo daily health screenings.
  • All vessels will have medical staff onboard.

Sightseeing and Local Activities
Many of our experiences are exclusive and/or private and that’s important in taking care of you. Whether it be a guided tour, a visit to an iconic museum or private home, a musical performance, or any other special Tauck activities, we are applying the same rigor to health and safety protocols:

  • Tauck listening devices will be sanitized thoroughly and frequently.
  • Sightseeing is being adjusted to ensure proper physical distancing.
  • Admission times at venues may be altered to ensure no crowding.
  • Paper tickets, handouts and the like may be eliminated.

Dining
Tauck has always been known for a la carte dining; having more freedom to decide when and with whom to dine now has more value than ever. Additionally, our partners whether they be hotels, ships, special venues or restaurants, are raising their already rigorous hygienic standards. Here are some examples:

  • Waitstaff will likely be wearing face coverings and gloves.
  • Seating will be adjusted to accommodate physical distancing.
  • Self-serve buffets will be eliminated. Common use menus will no longer be used unless sanitized.

On-Tour Transportation
Keeping on-tour transportation safe is a major focus of our team who has worked with hundreds of partners to ensure continuity in health and safety protocols:

  • On motorcoaches and other on-tour ground transportation, such as airport transfers, guest should expect physical distancing and will be required to wear face coverings.
  • Prior to each trip, our motorcoaches, vans, airport transfer vehicles and on-tour aircraft will undergo a deep sanitizing process.
  • Luggage may also be sanitized at each movement.
  • Drivers will wear gloves and face coverings during all guest-facing interactions.
  • Drivers will frequently clean handrails, door handles, arm rests, tables, seats, air conditioning/HVAC units, restrooms and overhead storage areas.

Our Supplier Partners are ready for you
Tauck is proud to have worked closely with our partners around the world, many of them for decades, to deliver the quality, comfort and safety you expect. Whether it be hotels and resorts, riverboats and small ships, restaurants, event venues or transportation companies, their meticulous health and safety protocols reflect their leadership and well-earned respect in the travel industry. The following are some select health and safety protocols. We will update these on a regular basis.

In addition to our supplier partners, we have also been actively engaged with global travel organizations to standardize health and safety protocols throughout the travel industry. TourCare is one example:

TourCare are health and sanitation guidelines developed by the tour industry's major global associations: the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), The Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO) and the European Tourism Association (ETOA). Tauck, and our supplier partners, meet and exceed these guidelines that require members to adhere to the highest standards in the industry.

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-342-0019

Ship Information

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Cabins

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Life on Board

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Questions & Answers

Question: Will the day-by-day itinerary change?

Yes, the river cruise itineraries may change due to reasons such as inclement weather or unforeseen events. Your safety is the number one concern aboard and all precautions necessary will be taken in order to ensure passenger safety, including changing itineraries. Please note that when itineraries do change, the ship staff will do their best to substitute any missed port with an alternative destination.

Question: In what language is the river cruise conducted?

The river cruise will be conducted in English only.

Tauck Tours Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4.4
Accommodations
4.4
Itinerary
4.5
Professional Staff
4.6
Repeat with Operator
4.5
Value for Money
4.2

Ratings based off 119 reviews about Tauck Tours - currently showing 15 reviews with comments only

Tauck is absolutely top notch! They treated us like absolute Royalty on the ship. I would without a doubt highly recommend Tauck for your next vacation.

Very good itinerary and great on board staff, including the Cruise Director, who was immensely helpful when my partner became ill with bronchitis. Local guides in Colmar, Stuttgart, and Amsterdam were very, very good too. Food and drink were plentiful and well-prepared.

This trip was wonderful. Tauck experience is over the top and enjoyed every minute.

Tauck is incredible. I would recommend them to anyone. They think of details I would never have imagined... down to the coins it takes to use a restroom at one of the Christmas markets in Salzburg.

Although our trip was changed due to unforeseen events (low water) Tauck came together to make it better than we could have expected.. many competitors canceled but Tauck made it happen !!!

Once you take a Tauck tour, you'll never go with another Operator. The Tauck experience was incredible and totally worth the money. Can't think of one thing to complain about or would change.

Tauck is everything they promise and more. The room was wonderful, the food was outstanding, the guides were knowledgeable and fun to be with.

It was the first of - I hope- many. Excellent organization and staff.

Enjoyed all aspects of the Tauck Cruise.

It is wonderful to have every detail taken care of with a smile on the face of the staff.

The Tauck riverboat was fabulous! We were three in the room and it was large with a beautiful walk-in closet and new lovely bathroom. The Pullman Hotel near the Eiffel Tower was disappointing. The room for three was minuscule and the staff at the front desk were not helpful. If there was a knowledgable concierge, we never found him. The location was poor for metro to get to main sights around the city. We put that on our Tauck survey as well. Cruise director and all tour guides were exceptional. Highly recommend Tauck Bridges and we're looking forward to the Bridges trip we booked for next April. Thanks Affordable Tours!

We love Tauck, they are so professional and handle all the "little" details.

It had rained earlier and when Tauck lowered the metal gangplank, they did not dry it off. My husband slipped and seriously injured his knee. There were no medical facilities whatsoever on the ship; no aspirin, no "wraps" or other help. Luckily, one of the other passengers gave us an Ace Bandage wrap she had brought and another gave us some pain pills. Tauck should have had people standing by to help us down the gang plank and they certainly should have dried it first. We have been on the Tauck Galapagos Islands tour and even with all the disembarkation on slippery, wet rocks, Tauck provided people to hold our arms etc so that no one ever slipped.

Tauck is an excellent operator albeit high end. Trip went well and guides met or exceeded expectation, but that is what we expect when traveling with Tauck.

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AffordableTours.com is a travel agent for Tauck. Brochure Price is based on the itinerary's highest brochure price. Our price reflects our base price for the same departure as Brochure Price. All prices, itineraries, accommodations and dates are subject to change without notice and at any time. All prices are USD per person and based on double occupancy. Availability is limited and must be reconfirmed at time of booking. All prices change frequently and our website prices are not guaranteed until a deposit has been received by us. The prices on our website are intended to serve as a guide only and may not accurately reflect current prices. We are not responsible for errors, omissions, or changes in these prices until a booking has been confirmed by one of our agents. Please call us toll free at 1-800-342-0019 to confirm current prices and availability. Prices listed are per person, cruise only, and based on double occupancy.

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