We were looking for a Spring, nice weather river cruise, and an earlier cruise with Viking in Russia sold us on this line. We had never been to Portugal -- so their River of Gold seemed like a perfect fit, and it was.
- Excellent pick-up at the Lisbon Airport at 9:30 AM Lisbon time, and 55 minutes after landing we were at the Hotel Tivoli Lisboa on Avendia da Liberdade, in the heart of the city. What a great hotel selection by Viking! The hotel staff was great, and the location is perfect. 2 blocks from the Metro, 2 blocks from outdoor restaurants and cafes. Even better, they were able to get us in a room by noon, in time for a power nap and then off to 6 hours of sight-seeing.
- Lisbon is now my new "favorite" city in Europe, and we are very glad we opted for the extra 2 days upon arrival. It gave us the opportunity to see much of Lisbon, + we had 2 days for side trip to Sintra and Fatima on our own. Note: the Viking provided walking tours of the city were exceptional; their guides are true pros.
- Next, we boarded our ship in Porto after an enjoyable bus ride via the University in Coimbra.
- Up the Duro River: Castles, Cathedrals and Wineries. Each from a different perspective. Our favorite experiences: Dinner and Fado show at the Alpendurada Monastery and the tour of Mateus Palace and gardens. Also, the Douro Museum in Peso da Régua is a superb regional museum. I found it via my own research; I wish it had been recommended by Viking for all. On board, the dinners were superb -- and Port wine flowed each evening. I was very pleased to see the majority of the wines served were local from northern Portugal. Again, the staff went above and beyond.
- Special note: On Day 9, my wife came down with a stomach aliment. Viking provided chicken noodle soup and Gator Aid delivered every 4 hours--in in 2 days she was up and running.
- Post trip: we opted for the post-trip to Santiago de Compostela, and we were glad we did. The opportunity to see the Cathedral of St. James, mingle with the pilgrims and dine on Galacian cuisine were a perfect ending to a perfect trip. So much so, I am ready to do the Camino Pilgrimage myself.
Perfect. Very glad we had a veranda. My wife used it almost every afternoon.