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River Cruises

 

The Practical

 

For the 2017 season, Riviera Travel Ltd introduced two new vessels on the Douro river, the "Douro Elegance" and the "Douro Serenity" These vessels are operated by Portuguese company Douroazul on behalf of Riviera, and work on a 8-day 7-night schedule from Oporto.

 

 

The Douro River flows for about 550 miles from its source near Duruelo de la Sierra in Soria Province across northern-central Spain and Portugal. Much of the river in Spain is not navigable and consequently river cruises take place mainly in Portugal and on the far western portion of the river in Spain.

The Douro forms a natural border for about 70 miles between Portugal and Spain. A few protected areas along this part of the river, include the International Douro National Park in Portugal and the Arribes del Duero National Park in Spain.

After joining the Agueda River near Barca d'Alva, Portugal, the Douro River begins to flow into Portugal and away from Spain. The cruise is a round trip from Oporto to Vega de Terrón, 210 km (125 miles) to the east, which is the furthest point that the cruise ships go and is essentially a docking station where passengers head to Salamanca.

The 5 Locks on the River Douro

Name Level Change Distance from Oporto Date Constructed
Crestuma-Lever Lock 14 m (45 ft)   1978-85
Carrapatelo Lock 35 m (114 ft)   1964-71
Bagaúste Lock 27 m (91 ft)   1967-73
Valeira Lock 33 m (109 ft)   1971-76
Pocinho Lock 22 m (72 ft) 180 km 1978-83

Vessels with a maximum length of 83 metres (272 ft) and width of 11.4 metres (37 ft) can pass through the five locks. Carrapatelo Lock is the deepest lock in Europe.

Joining and Leaving the Cruise

Date Flight ETD ETA
14 April 2017 Ryanair FR 8343 Stansted
9-25 hrs

Oporto
11-50 hrs

21 April 2017 Ryanair FR 8348 Oporto
18-05 hrs

Stansted
20-30 hrs

No time difference between UK and Portugal; Transfer from airport to ship approximately 30 minutes by coach; check in time on ship 15-30 hrs to 16-00 hrs, although you are able to leave bags on board whilst exploring Oporto.

 

Douro Elegance moored at Vila Nova de Gaia, across the river from Oporto

 

Douro Elegance moored at Peso da Régua

Standard room on Douro Elegance

The lounge and bar

The lounge and bar