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Avalon Waterways Unveils Plans for 2024 Debut on the Douro in Portugal

Avalon Waterways announced that it will make its Douro debut with a new itinerary and Suite Ship, the Avalon Alegria, in 2024, embarking on its first-ever sailings in Portugal.

“We’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity to add Portugal to our robust vacation portfolio and that day has finally arrived,” said Pam Hoffee, president of Avalon Waterways. “Inviting our guests to sail the Douro for the first time, we’re bringing the Suite Ships of Avalon, the grandest views in cruising and whim-powered itineraries to Southwestern Europe. And we couldn’t be more excited.”

Hillside vineyards and historic villages await guests as they sail through Portugal’s postcard-perfect views on Avalon’s new eight-day cruise that begins and ends in Porto and is filled with Avalon’s signature, included “Classic,” “Discovery” and “Active” excursion choices. The new cruise will feature everything from ancient Amarante—in the picturesque Minho region, known for its golden church that dates back to 1530—to the sandstone architecture in Salamanca Spain, from rock art to riding bikes from Porto to the sea. Here’s a day by day look at the new cruise:

Day 1: Welcome to Porto with an optional food tour, embarkation and overnight in the city.

Day 2: Excursion choices include stepping back in time in Guimarães’ historic city center or cruising along the coast on a bike from Porto Ribiera to the sea. The ship overnights in Porto Antigo.

Day 3: The choice of excursions includes a visit to one of the Douro Valley’s oldest farms, with food tasting near Peso da Regua and an overnight in Pinhão.

Day 4: Experience a guided tour of Freixo de Numão, a charming village nestled between the nearby mountains, complete with regional wine-tasting or rock art in Vila Nova de Foz Côa. That evening the Avalon Alegria docks in Barca d’Alva.

Day 5: Choose from classic sightseeing in Freixo de Espada à Cinta or a visit to Salamanca in Spain. Learn to bake traditional Portuguese pastries (“Florinhas”) during a hands-on optional excursion.

Day 6: Paint a typical “azuelejos” tile guided by a professional painter during a relaxing morning sail. Spend the afternoon in Amarante and Fado the evening away. Guests overnight in Porto with plenty of free time to peruse the city.

Day 7: Take the day to explore Porto—with optional excursions ranging from a canal cruise to celebratory Portuguese traditions—before spending one more night in the city.

Day 8: The cruise comes to an end in Porto.

Living up to its name (which in Portuguese means “happiness”), the Avalon Alegria—like the rest of the company’s fleet of Suite Ships—will feature signature Panorama Suites on two full decks. Each Suite provides guests 200-square-feet of living space, Open-Air Balconies and beds facing the river. In addition, the Alegria, will feature a pool on the Sky Deck to bask in the sun and soak-in the beauty of Portugal.

This new Suite Ship, built exclusively to sail the Douro, will have a total of 14 Deluxe Staterooms and 37 Panorama Suites, accommodating just 102 guests and 33 crew members.

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