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Travel through the Douro River Valley, where the Age of Discovery began, on our brand new 8 day Secrets of the Douro river cruise. Meaning “River of Gold” and now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Douro was not navigable until a series of dams built in the 1950s and ‘60s allowed a more controlled flow of the river. On this unforgettable river cruise, you’ll travel the Douro aboard our newly built Emerald ‘Star-Ship’ – the 112 passenger Emerald Radiance. Enjoy stops in Portugal ranging from the World Heritage city of Porto to the Roman settlement of Regua and in Spain - Vega de Terron and Salamanca. Highlights include many of the region’s best sites and activities: the village of Lamego; pre-historic carvings showcased in the Coa Valley Museum and a day trip to Spain’s Roman city of Salamanca, offering a first-hand look at the seat of the Spanish language and a feel for life in medieval times.
Day 1 | Highlights:
Welcome to Porto. You will be met at the airport and transferred to the ship where you will be welcomed by your Captain and crew. Located at the mouth of the Douro River, Porto is a fascinating eclectic mix of modern and ancient architecture. Its most famous export is of course fortified wine, and the hillside across from the city centre features numerous wine caves and tasting boutiques in the area of Vila Nova de Gaia. Tonight enjoy a welcome reception and dinner on board while cruising past the illuminations of Porto.
Day 2 | Porto – Pinhao Highlights:
Today enjoy a full day sailing the windy turns and twists of the Douro Valley. A UNESCO world heritage site this area is sparsely populated by small quaint villages and typical communities working vineyards and small farms. Your Cruise Director will host a lecture on board showcasing the history and wine culture of the region. Perhaps join a painting class of local mosaic tiles which typically depict traditional motives. Later this afternoon arrive in the village of Pinhao which is situated on a river bend surrounded by terraced hillsides producing some of the world’s best Port. Tonight your captain will be delighted to host the welcome dinner and cocktail reception.
Day 3 | Pinhao - Vega de Teron Highlights:
Today visit the marvelous baroque village of Lamego, where history stands still. Visit the remains of a Roman sanctuary and battlements. Return to your ship for lunch and an afternoon sailing to Vega de Teron, your gateway into Spain. EmeraldPLUS: Join your barman for a lesson on how to make cocktails using port wine on board.
Day 4 | Salamanca Highlights:
Founded in Roman times, the city of Salamanca is home to one of the oldest universities in Europe, the seat of the Spanish language, and still a lively student town. With its grand squares and medieval structures, a walking tour here is more like stepping back in time. Tapas bars feature on every street and traditional Spanish music trickles out of buzzing bars and restaurants. You will enjoy this beautiful golden city with plenty of free time to explore independently. Upon returning to your ship from Salamanca, you will be invited to enjoy a BBQ dinner on the Terrace alongside your fellow guests.
Day 5 | Pocinho Highlights:
This morning arrive in the picturesque village of Pocinho and embark on an excursion to the Coa Valley Museum. This impressive concrete structure details pre-historic stone carvings made by the early inhabitants of the Douro, which were uncovered during the construction of the nearby dam. Later return to your ship for lunch and enjoy your idyllic surroundings as you sail towards Regua. EmeraldPLUS: This evening dinner will be hosted at a local winery estate.
Day 6 | Regua Highlights:
Wake up this morning in the former roman settlement of Regua. Visit the Douro Museum for a look at wine making in the region.
Discover More: Guided excursion to the Mateus Palace (extra expense) guests on this option will not be able to attend the included tour of Regua
Day 7 | Porto Highlights:
Located at the mouth of the Douro River, Porto is a fascinating eclectic mix of modern and ancient architecture. Its most famous export is of course fortified wine, and the hillside across from the city centre features numerous wine caves and tasting boutiques in the area of Vila Nova de Gaia. Sample the local fair in one of these specially adapted wine cellars and learn about the long adapted craft of creating port.
Discover More: Excursion to Guimaraes (extra expense)
Day 8 | Porto - Disembarkation Highlights:
After breakfast disembark your river cruise ship and transfer to Porto airport for your onward or homebound flight.
The Douro River winds its way from Spain into Northern Portugal, an area almost lost in time, scattered with quaint villages, working family farms and countless vineyards producing the specialties of the region.
With the success of our cruises between Amsterdam, Budapest and beyond, the Douro is another destination featuring a brand new Emerald ‘Star-Ship’ for 2017. All the luxuries you are used to such as open-air balconies, spacious staterooms and suites, fitness, massage and salon area and included excursions are all featured for your enjoyment while cruising on our newest ‘Star-Ship’. Unlike the other Emerald ‘Star-Ships’, the Emerald Radiance will feature an outdoor serenity pool located on the top deck for your swimming enjoyment.
Visit the lively city of Porto, famous for its riverside cafés and extensive wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia. Traditional villages of Pinhão, Pocinho and Regua have occupied the shores of the river for many centuries. It’s like time has stood still, with secret methods in fortified winemaking being handed down by each generation. Salamanca lies just over the border in Spain. You’ll enjoy a full day exploring this lively student town known as the ‘Oxford’ of the Spanish language included in your itinerary.
Included excursions in your itinerary feature a highlight dinner at a local wine estate and a cocktail lesson on board. You can also extend your stay and experience in Madrid or, linger in Lisbon for a three night stay in the thriving capital of the country with the oldest borders in Europe.
Your Emerald Waterways Cruise Director will be with you every step of the way to assist in local sightseeing and answer any questions. Our team takes pride in their jobs and their goal is for you to not only have the perfect holiday but to come away from the Douro Valley with a fresh perspective on life. Personalize your holiday with our Discover More optional tours such as an excursion to the Mateus Palace or the Palacio da Bolsa. These tours can be pre-booked or booked on board with your Cruise Director. As always, all tipping, gratuities, port charges and porterage are included, as well as beer and wine with lunch and dinner. Headsets are included on all guided tours so you won’t miss a thing while pausing for that special photo. Choose your Stateroom or Suite from the deck plan on page 70 of this brochure.
Discover a corner of Europe cherished by those lucky enough to visit its curving landscapes, gorgeous family run wine estates and cities fashioned by the architects of foregone eras.