PORTO – REGUA – PINHAO – VEGA DE TERON (SPAIN) – BARCA D’ALVA – SALAMANCA – SENHORA DA RIBEIRA – FERRADOSA – FOLGOSA – LEVERINHO – PORTO
The Douro weaves through one of Europe’s most striking natural regions. … our Douro River cruise starts and end in this illustrious city, offering a cultural bookend to a journey boasting picturesque surrounds every step of the way. Immerse yourself in the festive and warm atmosphere of Portugal and Spain where you will discover a unique way of life. You will visit Porto, a subtle mixture of modernity and history famous for its wine, and Salamanca with its cathedral and as Spain’s “golden city”, it has a rich architectural, religious and gastronomic culture.
A dreamy riverboat providing 66 cabins to host a max of 132 passengers, the Gil Eanes, is one of CroisiEurope’s most recent works of art, boasting a distinctive and elegant design, mixing the classic with the modern. Add to this the wide variety of facilities, such as the appealing sundeck, (perfect for morning coffees), or the cozy dining room (to enjoy excellent French delicacies) and your holiday is complete.
September is the last month of summer and as such, enjoys an excellent climate, filled with hot and sunny days and just a tiny amount of rain to cool the lands. The average temperature is steady at an average of 19°C, the same as in August.
We love Family Run businesses and Croisi Europe is no exception! A family business, fiercely proud of its continued independence, has held its position for three generations. Nowadays, the Company is known throughout the world from its home port: Strasbourg, where it was founded in 1976, more than 40 years ago.
CroisiEurope, the leader in European river cruises, welcomes nearly 200,000 passengers aboard its 50 standard and premium boats that crisscross the rivers of Europe and the World every year., including Russia, Mekong, Birmania, Africa, South America and United States. The company also offers cruises on seas, like the Mediterranean Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Black sea. You will not be disappointed if you love ‘class’ and ‘comfort’, which lies not only in the elegance, refinement and harmony of the living environment on board, but also in the cuisine, which pays homage to French gastronomy with a great chef who runs the kitchens throughout the fleet.
Our Douro River Valley cruise glides along the river from Porto to Salamanca and back on Croisi Europe’s 132 passenger vessel the ‘Gil Eanes’. Whilst Croisi Europe is a French cruise line there will probably be passengers from all over Europe and far away shores such as Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Brazil, with an excellent crew looking after everyone with impeccable service.
The Gil Eanes is a modern ship (built 2015) with compact, comfortable cabins and good bathroom. Rooms on the two upper decks have large sliding windows. A spacious lounge, dining room and sun deck with pool all provide for comfortable relaxation. Wines, beer, mixer drinks and the daily cocktails are complimentary throughout the day. You will find that the cuisine on board is the consistently high standard of a top city restaurant, with evening menu themed to the local area. Entertainment can be enjoyed each evening.
The cruise passes through several impressive locks raising the ship up to 36 metres each time. All our excursions are included and with excellent English speaking guides each day, exploring the many historic, scenic and cultural highlights will be interesting and enjoyable. The Douro wines are of course excellent and the scenery along the way is absolutely stunning!
We have found that the luxury Croisi Europe line offer a great value, high standard cruise which, in our minds, cannot be beaten!
A non-returnable deposit of just £350pp will confirm your place, but hurry, Douro River cruises fill very quickly!.
NB. The River Douro, along with the Rhine and the Danube, is one of the most popular rivers in Europe, as is the Croisi Europe. The Gils Eanes is also a very popular ship and cabins book very quickly (even 2 years ahead!).
We have a maximum of 14 Solent Events cabins allocated (8 upper deck; 6 middle deck).
Deposit: £350 per person
For your peace of mind and financial protection, our holiday has been arranged with Croisi Europe & Success Tours,
who are fully bonded.
Our itinerary – in conjunction with Croisi & Success Tours
Excursions may be changed around due to weather or unforeseen circumstances.
Saturday 11 September
Day 1 – Travel to a London Airport by Luxury coach from our four local pick-ups and relax in an airport lounge before our scheduled flight to Portugal.
NB. Our coach leaves from Panache Coach Depot, Shamblehurst Lane, Hedge End.
Allowing for extra airport checks etc, confirmation of flights and exact times will be confirmed asap
TBC Coach leaves Stokes Bay, Gosport
TBC Coach leaves Lee on the Solent
TBC Coach leaves Stubbington Bus stop opp Red Lion
TBC Coach leaves Peak Lane, Fareham
TBC Arrive airport
Enjoy the comfort of an airport lounge
TBC 2hr 35m Flight to Porto
TBC Arrive Porto (local time)
A coach will be waiting for us at the airport to our modern cruise ship, MS Gils Eanes. After settling into our comfortable cabins with sliding patio window, the crew will be introduced with a welcome cocktail and dinner at 8pm.
This evening you will have the unique opportunity to admire the city of Porto by night during a panoramic tour by coach (approx 1hr 15mins). You will love the old, preserved districts of this city, classed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. During the tour of the historic centre, your guide will schedule a stop at the Sao Bento railway station to look at its magnificent azulejos. Later return by coach back to the ship.
Sunday 12 September
Day 2 – PORTO – REGUA
Departure by coach from the Villa Nova de Gaia Quay, facing Porto from across the Douro river and the famous Dom Luis I Bridge, built between 1881 and 1886 by French engineer Theophile Seyrig, one of Gustave Eiffel’s pupils. Porto, the second largest city in Portugal, stands out from the steep banks of the Douro river with its mixture of grey facades and red tiles interspersed with unusual architectural masterpieces. You will discover The Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Building), built in 1834 by the city’s Commercial Association. It has remained their headquarters to this day. Afterwards, you will visit the Igreja de São Francisco (Church of Saint Francis), also known as the “Golden Church”. It was originally a modest convent founded by Franciscan monks in the 12th century. You will cross the Dom Luis I Bridge again for a visit to a wine cellar. Porto’s pride notably stems from its famous wine known the world over, which you will get to taste*. You will later return by coach back to the ship.
Monday 13 September
DAY 3 REGUA – PINHAO – VEGA DE TERON (SPAIN)
Depart from Regua or Pinhão for Vila Real, where aristocrats built grand palaces during the 6th and 17th centuries. The architecture of the religious buildings here is extremely varied. You will take a anoramic tour of the city by coach, followed by a tasting of the local pastry, Cristas de Galo. You will then set out to explore Mateus
Palace, the most beautiful and astonishing manor in all of Northern Portugal. This 18th-century beauty is set in a hilly landscape reminding us of Mexico. Behind the manor is a delightful garden with box hedges, more statues, and a spectacular 115-foot cedar tunnel. After our tour, you will return by coach back to the ship in Regua or Pinhão.
Tuesday 14 September
DAY 4 BARCA D’ALVA – SALAMANCA – SENHORA DA RIBEIRA
Departure by coach towards Salamanca where you will meet up with your guide. Since 1988, the Old Town of Salamanca has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. You will visit the cathedral whose successive extensions created a mixture of styles going from late Gothic to Baroque, including Renaissance. Afterwards, you
will visit one of the world’s oldest Universities which first opened in 1218. Also known as “Escuelas Mayores”, the University building has a sumptuous gate adorned with the city’s most famous design: a frog atop a skull. Its wonderful library brims with old manuscripts dating back from prior to the 19th century. You will enjoy lunch and be
free to discover the city on your own before returning by coach back to the ship. Tonight is your gala dinner evening.
Wednesday 15 September
DAY 5 SENHORA DA RIBEIRA – FERRADOSA – FOLGOSA – LEVERINHO
Departure from Ferradosa for our excursion along the Porto wine route. You will discover this incredible vineyard extending over 100 km along the Douro river all the way to the Spanish border. We’ll visit San Salvador do Mundo and Sao Joao da Pesqueira, two small towns set among the vineyards in the Rio Torto valley. In Sao Joao da Pesqueira, you will have the opportunity to explore the arcaded main square, the chapel and the white houses with their balconies. You will also visit a quinta (wine cellar) to taste the famous Porto*. Later return by coach back to the ship.
Thursday 16 September
DAY 6 LEVERINHO – PORTO
Enjoy one last buffet breakfast on board this morning before disembarking at 9:00 a.m. Your coach and assistance will meet you for the transfer into Porto. Tonight you will stay overnight at the centrally situated NH Porto Jardim Hotel on a bed and breakfast basis.
Friday 17 September
DAY 7 PORTO
After breakfast, enjoy one last day to explore Porto before our evening flight back to the UK
TBC Flight to London
TBC Arrive London for our coach transfer back home
Comments by ‘The Cruise Critic …
All 66 cabins, comprising 64 standard cabins — one accessible – and two suites, are river facing and located on the lower, middle and upper decks. The standard cabins are quite compact, but well-designed to make the best use of the space. The clean blue and white decor gives a bright, airy feel with a splash of color.
All cabin categories have comfortable beds that can be configured as doubles or twins and have individual duvets. There is room for suitcases to be stowed beneath the beds. The cabins all come with climate control, TV, radio, hair dryer, full-length mirror and safe that is large enough for a laptop. TV programming includes CNN, BBC and various European channels along with a basic interactive menu showing the bow webcam, ship information and an overview of the daily program and menus. All cabins have a volume switch that allows onboard announcements to be heard in the cabin or turned off. There is a telephone that can be used to call reception, other cabins and be programmed for a wake-up call, but it cannot be used to make or receive outside calls.
Cabin lighting is good and includes bedside reading lights. Another nice feature is the generous number of electrical outlets; five in total. The onboard voltage is 220 volts with European two-pin sockets, so passengers need to bring adapters for their electronic devices.
The bathrooms are white with tiled floors and a band of mosaic tiles around the wall. While they are relatively small, once again the best use is made of the space, with plenty of storage above, beside and below the sink for toiletries, along with hooks and hangers for towels. The shower is a good size, with folding doors and plenty of room to turn around. The position of the shower-head can be altered and there is decent-size soap dish. NB: You will need to bring your own bar of soap if required, as onboard toiletries consist of small CroisiEurope-branded bottles of shower gel/shampoo/conditioner plus a fixed liquid soap dispenser beside the sink, which cannot be reached when you are in the shower. The cruise line warns that the ship does not supply facecloths.
NB. Although a good standard cruise line, you won’t find bottled water, fruit, flowers, ice bucket, fridge or other extras in the cabin. The chocolate hearts put in the cabin on arrival are a cute touch.
Standard Cabins: Virtually all of the ship’s cabins fall into this category and measure 139 sq ft. There are 18 on the lower deck that have two rectangular windows that don’t open. These are much larger and fixed lower in the wall than most other river ships, so passengers in these waterline cabins don’t have to crane their necks to see passing views.
There are 14 more standard cabins on the middle deck and 32 on the upper deck, all with French balconies and sliding floor-to-ceiling windows. A plus in all cabins is that the beds face out toward the window, which is not the norm. The downside is that one side of the bed is flush against the wall.
A neat feature in the cabins is the retractable TV that is set flat into the ceiling and lowers at the press of a switch on the bedhead. Every cabin has a closet with two shelves and ample hangers. A small desk area, with a round stool, is situated behind the headboard along with a built-in chest with two shelves. Two handy hooks are located in the cabin and two more in the bathroom.