Lisbon & Douro River Cruise
What a better way to spend 11 days in the fall away from the "Dog Days of Summer" in Texas than hop on a plane and head to Portugal to enjoy the trip of a lifetime! You'll have the opportunity to famous sites of Lisbon that includes Mosteiro dos Jeronimos ‘Monument to the Discoveries,’ and Belem Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage SIte.
The City of Lisbon
Lisbon is the stunning capital city of Portugal with a population slightly over 500,000 and the largest the country. The urban area of Lisbon has a population of about 2.7M. It is one of the most charismatic and vibrant cities of Europe. As a holiday destination, Lisbon offers a rich and varied history, a buzzing nightlife and is blessed with a glorious year-round climate.
Wine of Portugal
For those of you into wine or even if you're not, you need to know that Portugal has been producing wine since the time of the Roman Empire and today produces some of the world’s most celebrated types, most notably fortified ports and Vinho Verde. Here are some must-try wine varietals and tasting experiences in Lisbon:
Some of Portugal’s most distinctive wines come from a region known as Vinho Verde. These low-alcohol wines, mostly white and made from Alvarinho, Loureiro, and Trajadura grapes, are young and vibrant, often with a little spritz, making them a refreshing option for a summer afternoon or accompanied by Lisbon’s succulent seafood. Aside from this, the terraced vineyards along the Douro River famously produce port, Portugal’s iconic fortified dessert wine. Several wine regions in the Lisbon area produce notable wines with Ramisco grapes, while the wineries of the Setubal Peninsula specialize in Castelão grapes, the most planted red grape in Portugal.
Food in Lisbon
Lisbon is renowned for its hot culinary scene featuring casual cafes, Spanish-style tapas bars, and fine-dining establishments highlighting the creations of Portugal's top chefs. Here are some favorite dishes and food tours you won't want to miss.
The seafood in Lisbon is world-famous, and diners will find bacalhau (salted cod) on nearly every menu in the city—grilled, fried, au gratin, or scrambled with rice and eggs. Carne de porco Alentejana, Lisbon's take on surf and turf, is made by simmering pork and clams in their juices and serving them up on a bed of roasted potatoes. On a chilly afternoon, nothing beats a warm bowl of caldo verde, a rich broth seasoned with onions, potatoes, cabbage, and Portuguese chorizo. No matter what you're eating, wash it down with a glass of Portugal's famous port. For dessert, save room for a pastel de nata, a warm, creamy egg custard tart sometimes dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon. You'll have an opportunity on Day 3 to experience the cultural and culinary aspects of the city.
The boat - MS Emerald Radiance
We will be cruising in the brand new MS Emerald Radiance (2017). It's 292' in length with 3 decks that comprises 52 staterooms and 4 suites that will accommodate 106 passengers + 37 crew. On the top deck there is a swimming pool, outdoor bar (open during our cruise) and sundeck. There is a main dining room where we'll have all our meals. FREE Wi-Fi is accessible throughout the ship.
DAY 1 – Depart the USA the USA on your overnight flight to Lisbon, Portugal.
DAY 2 – Lisbon, Portugal
Upon arrival, you will be met by a Mayflower Tours representative and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore Lisbon. This evening, join your Mayflower Tours staff.
DAY 3 – Discover Lisbon
After breakfast, an included tour highlights the famous sites of the city. See Jerónimos Monastery, ‘Monument to the Discoveries,’ and Belem Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy a free afternoon to shop, dine and experience this cosmopolitan city on your own. Meal: B
DAY 4 – Fátima / Coimbra
Enroute to the ship in Porto visit Fátima, home to the Sanctuary of Fátima, an important Catholic pilgrimage site. It's about 88 miles North of Lisbon. The city’s fame originates from the apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary that appeared to three shepherd children in the nearby fields. Continue to Coimbra and its famous university before arriving in Porto to embark the MS Emerald Radiance, home for the next seven nights. Meals: B, D
DAY 5 – Porto / Pinhão
Today is a day of sailing through the twists and turns of the Douro Valley. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this area is sparsely populated by small quaint villages and typical communities with vineyards and small farms. This afternoon, the ship arrives in the village of Pinhão, perfectly situated on a river bend surrounded by terraced hillsides that produce some of the world’s best Port wine. Meals: B, L, D
DAY 6 – Pinhão / Vega de Terron
Begin the day with a visit to a beautiful quinta vineyard with spectacular views of the Douro Valley. Learn about wine production and its importance to the culture and economy. This afternoon, the ship sails for Vega de Terron, gateway to Spain. Meals: B, L, D
DAY 7 – Salamanca, Spain
Salamaca, Spain is known as "the Golden City" rich in architectural, religious and gastronomic culture. Today’s excursion takes you to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Salamanca, Spain. During the guided walking tour, see amazingly detailed and intricately carved buildings of the university, the 12-th century Romanesque church of San Martin and the house of Shells. Regal splendor abounds in the Plaza Mayor, the heartbeat of the city. You’ll have free time to explore independently before returning to the ship in Portugal. Meals: B, L, D
DAY 8 – Pocinho
Arrive in Pocinho, a village in northern Portugal near the Spanish border, and disembark for a morning excursion to the Coa Valley Museum. Designed to blend in with its surroundings, the concrete structure houses prehistoric stone carvings made by the early inhabitants of the Douro which were uncovered during construction of a nearby dam project. Return to the ship for lunch and relax on deck as the ship sails through idyllic surroundings on the way to Régua. This evening, enjoy an off-ship dinner at a traditional vineyard estate. Meals: B, L, D
DAY 9 – Régua
After arriving in Régua, journey to the marvelous baroque village of Lamego, home to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies - one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Portugal. See the Sanctuary perched atop the hill, with its iconic 686-step granite staircase, decorated with the traditional Portuguese blue and white ‘azulejos’ tiles. Return to the ship in Régua after the excursion. Meals: B, L, D
DAY 10 – Porto
Having traversed the Douro River, the ship returns to Porto – a city with an eclectic mix of modern and ancient architecture. An included tour highlights the sights from historic landmarks to the scenic beauty. And it wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a wine cave for a tour and tasting of Port wine. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure in Porto. If you have time and want to have a port and enjoy the best views over Porto and the Douro River you might want to venture over to the Yeatman Hotel, one of Europe's leading wine hotels, regarded as the best hotel in town. Meals: B, L, D
DAY 11 – Porto / USASince we're already in Portugal, why not stay an extra 4 days and go to Barcelona, Spain! Pricing includes airfare between Porto and Barcelona - it's about a 2-1/2 hour flight. Full hot buffet breakfast daily plus 2 dinners. We will be staying at a centrally located 4 star hotel centrally. See the brochure for more details. English-speaking local guide will be provided and entrances as indicated.
This morning, disembark the MS Emerald Radiance and bid a fond farewell to Portugal, filled with memories of this remarkable cruise along the ‘river of gold.’ Meal: B
Day 1 - October 5
* Arrival at Barcelona airport
* Panoramic city tour on arrival
*Gothic Quarter, Las Ramblas, Montjuich, Plaza de Espana
* Entrance included to the Cathedral
* Walk to an included dinner at local restaurant
Day 2 - October 6
* Included excursion: Girona, Figueres, Salvador Dali Museum
* Entrance to Dali Museum
Day 3 - October 7
* Free Day
* Walk to an included dinner at a local restaurant
Day 4 - October 8
* Group transfer from hotel to airport