Tripsbylts

Into the Douro Valley with Avalon Alegria

Into the Douro Valley with Avalon Alegria


If you had requested me 10 years in the past if I loved a river cruise, my reply would have been a tough no. But a decade later, river cruises have come a good distance, child! We lately boarded the Avalon Alegria in Porto, Portugal, for a cruise into the Douro Valley. This European River cruise felt extra like the small ship expeditions we’ve taken in the previous than the outdated commonplace river cruises that stopped at packed ports and spent extra time on the bus than exploring the vacation spot.

What’s it Like on a Douro Valley River Cruise

We boarded our all-suites ship in Porto, the place we started our journey into the gorgeous hills of the Douro Valley. The Avalon Alegria was designed to make the most of the most area whereas creating the final stress-free and opulent expertise.

Hot Deal!

To save $100 per particular person on European cruises in 2024 and 2025, simply point out “Planet D” at the time of reserving. These financial savings might be mixed with different offers and are solely out there till May 31, 2024.

The Ship – Avalon Alegria

The Avalon Alegria Ship
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

The Avalon Alegria is the latest of Avalon’s ships. It is an all-suites ship with 14 deluxe staterooms or 37 Panorama Suites. We toured all of the rooms, and regardless of which room you select, you’ll be glad. All Panorama Suites characteristic floor-to-ceiling home windows that open to show your room into one enormous balcony, and all beds face the water.

Avalon Alegria Top Deck Pool
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Onboard facilities embrace a bar and dance ground, nightly leisure, a eating room, a membership lounge, and a fitness center. The Sky Deck has a swimming pool, out of doors grill and bar, and loads of lounge chairs and tables. If the climate is sweet, that is the place to be to soak up the beautiful vistas of the Douro Valley.

Avalon Alegria Suites

Avalon Alegria Suites
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Let’s start with the suites. With a most capability of 102 folks, each room is spacious and opulent. We stayed in considered one of the fourteen 200-square-foot panorama suites, which was good for our journey.

While different cruise traces we’ve taken line their beds up towards a wall with a view of the different wall, the Avalon Alegria ship units every mattress going through the floor-to-ceiling home windows for views of the river. We loved afternoon siestas in our room whereas watching the Douro River views go by.

Avalon Alegria Stateroom
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

But that’s not all. Most folks need a balcony when river cruising, nevertheless it’s troublesome to present everybody one attributable to the dimension limitations of the river and the locks. Avalon has mounted this downside by creating floor-to-ceiling home windows that open broad, reworking your suite into an open-air balcony. By taking away the out of doors balcony, they’ve created 30% extra dwelling area.

Breakfast in our room on the Avalon Alegria in the Douro Valley
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

We loved breakfast in our room every morning with our home windows open to see the hills of the Douro River. With plush robes, slippers, and gorgeous views, we by no means wished to go away our room! Oh and did I inform you that they not solely have a pillow menu, but in addition a mattress menu? There are 4 totally different settings for the mattress. Just let the crew know the way you want your mattress, and so they’ll set it up for you.

Club Lounge

the Club Lounge on the Avalon Alegria ship
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Next to our room, the Club Lounge was our second favourite area on the Avalon Alegria. Before breakfast, we walked to the lounge in our robes and slippers to seize a cappuccino, freshly baked cookies, and vitamin water.

I cherished filling my refillable water bottle with my selection of water for the day. Would it’s Vitamin B water? Sparkling grapefruit or ginger. The selections had been superior.

Normally, cruise ships reserve this area for upgraded suites, however Avalon makes this coveted area at the stern of the boat open for everybody. You can sit again and loosen up, have tea, or ship an electronic mail on the quick Star Link Wi-Fi that’s included in the journey.

Avalon, the Greenest Ship on the Douro

Green initiatives on the Avalon Alegria
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

We know the rap cruise ships get, however Avalon works arduous to journey sustainably. Avalon has partnered with locations to generate sustainable electrical energy whereas docked. They use shore energy at any time when they will and have put in LED lighting all through their ships.

You will discover that I discussed a water station above and Avalon has zero plastic onboard. There are glasses you can refill, however we advocate packing your individual water bottle to tackle excursions. We weren’t supplied bottled water on our excursions (which I used to be grateful for), so we crammed up our bottles earlier than leaving the ship.

They have diminished paper by 80%. Unlike different cruise ships, you received’t see your day by day schedule and a great deal of paper in your beds. Avalon has an app for visitors to make use of with schedules on the TVs.

Be well water stations on the Avalon Alegria
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

They have additionally partnered with The Ocean Cleanup to assist of their mission of eradicating 90% of ocean plastic. This is a frightening job, and I don’t know the way it will occur, however with firms investing and partnering, good issues can occur.

Honestly, in as we speak’s world, we’re all contributing to the destruction of the planet, so the solely factor firms can do is give again. Avalon crops two timber for each passenger on a cruise, has state-of-the-art oil filters to maintain oil adjustments to a minimal, and is seeking to swap to electrical ships in the close to future.

What’s Included – Avalon is About Choice

Since we talked about premium coffees and free web, I assumed we’d contact on what’s included in your Douro River Cruise with Avalon Waterways. The phrase we stored listening to was the Avalon is about selection. Passengers have flexibility concerning eating, excursions, and issues to do onboard.

Meals

Meals included on the Avalon Alegria Douro Valley Portugal
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

All meals, together with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, are included. Breakfast might be loved in your stateroom or in the eating room. Lunch is a buffet in the eating room or mild snacks in the bar. You can even all the time order sure meals, like burgers and sandwiches, off the menu.

Dinner is a scrumptious multicourse meal of native and worldwide dishes paired with superb native wine. Portugal has incredible wines, and I like that Avalon serves solely native wines. When I’m in Portugal, I don’t need to be consuming a California Chardonnay; I need a wealthy Douro Valley pink, and that’s precisely what they delivered.

Unlike different cruises, passengers are supplied flex eating and might eat anytime inside the eating window. Seating is versatile, with tables for 2, or you’ll be able to be part of giant teams.

Drinks

Happy hour drinks on the Avalon alegria Douro Valley Portugal
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Speaking of wine, beer and wine are included at lunch and dinner. All specialty coffees, mushy drinks, and water are additionally included. And, in contrast to different cruises, the Douro Valley River cruise presents free cocktail hour drinks. And let me inform you, they make scrumptious cocktails.

Tours

Tour to Amarante from the Alegria by Avalon Waterways
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Avalon Waterways actually stands out with its excursions and shore excursions. They have damaged down excursions to go well with totally different wants. You can select from Classic, Discovery, or Active Excursion choices. Each day you are able to do one thing totally different from energetic adventures that embrace kayaking and mountain climbing to cultural experiences that take you to historic districts and meals and wine excursions to get pleasure from the Douro Valley Wines and Ports of Porto.

There is one thing for everybody, relying in your mobility and exercise stage. Plus, there may be an onboard journey host that leads yoga in the mornings.

Entertainment

Nightly entertainment onboard the Avalon Alegria
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Each night after dinner, there may be native leisure. We loved a Fado Show of gifted native guitarists sharing their tradition, tales and music.

The subsequent evening was an impressive quartet of strings placing their very own spin on fashionable rock and pop music.

We additionally loved being serenaded by a finalist from The Voice and had nightly dancing. This is a kind of journeys that brings the native tradition to you.

The Crew

The amazing crew on the Avalon Alegria
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Something that basically stands out on the Avalon Alegria cruise by way of the Douro Valley is the workers. Your hosts could make or break a visit and the Alegria workers goes above and past. Within the second we stepped onboard, they felt like outdated buddies.

At cocktail hour, they knew precisely what sort of cocktail I’d be in the temper for and even created specialties not on the menu.

Dave has a Gluten allergy, and the waitstaff paid cautious consideration to providing him alternate options and informing him of what we might eat and should keep away from.

They had been all the time smiling, and you possibly can inform that they actually loved their jobs. It wasn’t an act; the crew cherished what they had been doing. From the guys grinning from ear to ear as they tied the traces to the entrance desk, answering our each want.

Ports of Call

Ports of call on the Vineyards & Villages Along the Douro itinerary by Avalon
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Don’t fear, you’re inspired to get off the ship and luxuriate in the native ports of name. Avalon docks downtown or near the city facilities the place a brief (and low-cost) Uber journey can take you to the place you need to be.

8-Day Itinerary – Vineyards & Villages Along the Douro

The cruise begins in the UNESCO World Heritage City of Porto. We counsel arriving early to actually soak on this stunning vacation spot. Avalon presents a guided tour of Braga and Guimaraes, which we extremely advocate seeing. But you must also spend no less than two days in Porto to get pleasure from the Historical Center, the Gaia District, and the gorgeous waterfront.

The cruise then leaves in the night to cease at totally different areas alongside the Douro Valley. The 8-day itinerary consists of these stops after which returns to Porto for an additional day of touring. We selected the possibility of wine tasting in Gaia with a tour of the Cork Museum, which was fascinating and scrumptious!

Caldas – Day tour of Amarante
Peso da Regua – Maria
oldest farms in the Douro Valley 
Pinhao – Douro Valley Vineyards
Poncinho
Barca d’Alva – Salamanca, Spain – This is the place you’ll be able to add one other nation to your itinerary.

Can Solo Travelers Join Avalon?

Can Solo Travelers join the Avalon alegria
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

We all the time journey as a pair, however I do know many individuals surprise about solo journey on cruises. Avalon waives the solo complement. On Avalon, you by no means really feel alone. From my observations, a river cruise is a good possibility for solo vacationers.

Avalon is About Choice

The Avalon Waterways river cruises are all about choice
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Most folks select the Danube or Rhine Rivers for his or her first river cruise. We did 10 years in the past, and it turned us off river cruising for a decade. When Avalon invited us to pattern their Douro Valley route, we had been intrigued to present it one other attempt. I’m glad we did. This river cruise was precisely the sort of journey we love—small ships with fewer passengers and loads of choices for shore excursions.

Fewer ships are on the river, and the stops really feel intimate and untouched. With solely 102 passengers on the Avalon selecting from totally different excursions, we had small group excursions that felt tailor-made to our wants.

The Douro Valley is considered one of the most stunning locations to cruise in Europe, with rolling hills and terraced vineyards. It is actually a bucket listing cruise the place immersing in tradition and experiencing the native delicacies is at the coronary heart of the itinerary.

Deb standing next to the Avalon Alegria in the Douro Valley
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

These are the hottest routes crammed with different river cruises and crowds at ports of name. I’m not saying to by no means do one, however I believe the Douro Valley is the good introduction to river cruising.

So there you will have it—our Douror Valley River Cruise—the first European River Cruise we’ve taken in 10 years. Will we do one other one? You wager! As we age, we love the concept of unpacking as soon as and crusing by way of Europe’s most stunning countryside.

When you get to ports, you don’t should observe the guides; everyone seems to be free to do as they please. Remember, Avalon is about selection, and our selection is to return quickly.

Check out extra distinctive cruises round the world



Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest