We have travelled with Viking several times and believe what they offer is good value for money, excellent quality and immerses us in the culture of the places visited. David Wander the Programme Director was excellent in every respect. He led the included excursions superbly with good communication, appropriate humour and looked after the needs of a disparate group in an expert fashion. His on board talks were excellent and his depth and breadth of knowledge added so much to our holiday experience. The autumn colours were superb and despite some rain we enjoyed all the included excursions. The food and drink on board provided a range of choices and we enjoyed every meal. We included a Silver Drinks package in our cruise which provided a wider choice of wines with the meals and included all drinks from the bar. This removed any concerns about how much we might spend as this had been paid up front. We found that all the included excursions gave a variety of experiences and enabled us to feel we had a better understanding of culture in the villages and towns of Portugal and in Salamanca in Spain. The coaches were Viking's own so were of a hight standard of comfort. We had a veranda stateroom and were worried that the smaller size of the Douro ships, necessary to negotiate the locks and water depth, would mean we were very cramped in the state room. This was not the case. We can thoroughly recommend Viking, the ship and their "Portugal's River of Gold" itinerary. Travelling in November avoids the excessive heat of the summer and provides lovely autumn colours.
As mentioned in the review we were worried that the 150 square feet would make movement around very difficult but this was not the case. The balcony was smaller than on the bigger river boats and ocean cruises but did what we wanted, which was to enable us to stand or sit outside the stateroom and enjoy the open views of the river. As on other cruises there were times in port when the balcony was not useable as we were moored next to other boats. The A category on deck 3 gave us a better view of our surroundings.