The Douro – Portugal’s River of Gold with Viking Cruises: Day 9

Mateus PalaceThis morning we departed our overnight berth at Pinhão and, while enjoying a leisurely  breakfast, we made the short river journey back to Régua. Once safely berthed we once again boarded our waiting coaches and headed for Vila Real, site of the extraordinary Palácio de Mateus.

Mateus Palace, a baroque masterpiece of Portuguese architecture, is undoubtedly Portugal’s most recognised icon: it is of course made most famous across the world by the illustration featured on the Mateus Rosé wine labels.

The palace is also home to a marvellous collection of paintings, furniture and books giving an insight into the opulent lifestyle of the Portuguese aristocracy. As a measure of Viking’s quality we were split into very small groups, each given a tour of the palace by a professional palace guide.

The Douro RiverWe returned to Viking Hemming  in time for lunch as we then serenely cruised back down the Douro in the direction of Porto. During the afternoon the captain gave bridge tours to those that so wished a visit and early evening we enjoyed yet another Captain’s Reception before arriving  back in Porto during the Captain’s farewell dinner and berthing once again at Vila Nova de Gaia.

We later chose to explore the Porto night scene in the balmy evening temperatures: we were not disappointed.

The following morning we were transferred to Porto Airport with the usual Viking efficiency.

Scenic Douro RiverSummary
From start to finish this was an excellent river cruise and one that completely lived up to expectations. Viking River Cruises leave nothing to chance and the administrative focus is directly on the customers’ requirements. Viking Hemming, the latest addition to the Viking fleet, was both comfortable and practical and the Viking philosophy we had previously experienced was equally in evidence: despite not all staff being directly employed by Viking.

There was a very good staff ethos and this was enhanced by dedicated excursion staff being  permanently assigned  to individual groups for nominated coaches and these were always ready and waiting at each and every river berth.

Scenic Dour RiverAll excursions were well considered and  organised and generally of multiple interests. Very noticeable were the luxurious  and spacious  tour coaches.

The inclusion of so many items like free internet, bottled water and drinks with meals into the overall price certainly gives Viking an appeal to savour.

Would we travel with Viking River Cruises again?

Well on our final day we took advantage of Viking’s latest offer of paying an unrestricted timing deposit that effectively doubles the value of the deposit. So the simple answer is Yes.

Silver Travel Advisor recommends Viking River and Ocean Cruises

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Richard Okill

Retired naval officer & businessman

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