Our cruise on the AMAVIDA, was all that we had hoped for and more. Sometimes all your travel plans fall into line and with this 7 day river cruise on the Douro it happened. First of all, traveling in April on a river in Europe can be very risky with some rivers flooded and long bus ride substitutions for cruising. We had 7 days of bright, warm sunshine as we cruised the Douro as far as navigation would allow. The ship could accommodate 106 people and we had 87 on board. With such a small group it was easy to get to know people and make new friends. The cruise director, Rachel, was outstanding. Great at multi tasking and attending to details. We had 2 lunches and 1 dinner off ship at 2 wineries and one hotel, and in each venue she made sure eveyone's dietary needs were met.
This was our 4th river cruise and the first with AMA which made the point of highlighting the scenery on this trip. By the way, it was spectactular! With the exception of an all day trip to Salmanca, Spain and one day with 2 excursions, all the other days had afternoon excursions. We had the same 4 guides and bus drivers for the whole trip which was very nice. They were all very professional and I heard many good things said about the ones I did not directly have contact with. This allowed for leisurely breakfasts, sitting on the sundeck viewing the scenery and having a relaxing morning overall. After lunch we then went out to various sites, usually involving a bus trip of 30 minutes to an hour. Back on the ship by 5:30 and dinner at 7:00PM. There was some evening entertainment of local music or dancing, but not every night. Our stateroom met all our needs and even had a balcony. However, it was really too small for 2 people to sit out side together. The staff was very friendly and worked very hard to please. The food in the dining room was very good, with lots of selections and the chief seemed to appear each night to chat with passengers.
However, service was uneven some nights with an incorrect order and no coffee being delievered to our table. Wines were good and plentiful. The lounge area was comfortable, but the piped in music was too repetitive with the same tapes being played over and over again. There were several days in which the WIFI did not work very well.
AMA is a river cruise company that we would definitely choose to cruise with again.
Plenty of hangers and storage space. Nice large TV, a balcony and a window. Great light.
Try to get a cabin with an even number as we double docked and every triple docked at at least 2 ports. This means you have a good chance of viewing water, rather than having your curtains closed to avoid looking into someone's room on the ship tied to yours.
Double docking is happening more and more on river cruises in Europe with limted dock space at ports.
We visited the oldest synagogue in Porto and heard a presentation about its history. We than had an hour walking tour through the streets of Porto which housed Jewish people over the centuries
Very good walking tour of the city which lasted about an hour and half. Had time on our own to visit churches and museums.