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I took this tour on my first full day in Porto, and I was glad I did. It was a great introduction to the Douro Valley and better prepared me for other tours I took to the region later that week. There is a bit of chaos as we prepared to board, and it eventually became clear that there were people on the boat going on different tours. My guide found me on her list as I boarded and told me to follow her when we embarked in Regua. The boat was completely full and the dining room a bit tight, but the staff did a great job of serving breakfast and later lunch in an efficient manner and there was plenty to eat and drink! No complaints there. Most interesting was passing through the locks, and most of the time I was able to hear the English narrative, but the loud music was often distracting and irritating, sometimes playing in the background during the narrative. Everyone tried to get a seat on top in the morning, but after a couple of hours, most retreated to the air conditioned dining area because the temperature in mid-June was hovering over 40 degrees centigrade, a bit unusual at least for that time of year. Bring sunscreen and a hat! The ride was long, over 5 hours before we got to Regua, where a bus was waiting to pick us up for our wine tour. Again, a bit of chaos as different groups got off for their separate tours while others stayed on for a longer ride. The wine tasting was very well done, with plenty of wine and port to sample. Then the bus took us to the Regua train station where we could walk around the town a bit, but it was really too hot to do that for very long. Chaos again as there were no signs at the station regarding which track our train would leave from. Our guide told us track one. There was a train on track one at the designated time, but another train that you couldn't see behind it on track 3 was actually our train. Once we realized it, we got off the first train and walked around it and crossed the tracks for the other train. Our guide was almost as confused as we were about this, but she did her best to ensure that everyone was with us on the 2 hour trip back to Porto. There are other trips up the Douro and if you don't mind the long ride and it is a pleasant day, it was a nice, relaxing and great introduction to the area. But definitely go back via a small group tour by van to really get to know the people and region must better.
Service was perfect, maybe lunch could be better
The Douro river is beautiful and the tour was good. The food at breakfast consisted of a roll and a croissant, but the lunch was excellent. The boat was very crowded--there weren't enough seats on the upper open deck for all the passengers so some had to stand. we were quite disappointed in the 'Wine Tour' which consisted of a 5 minute bus ride to a wine estate where we had a 5 minute talk about port, then were led to the store where we had one wine tasting. This part was hardly worth it but the Douro river cruise was definitely beautiful.
This made for a great day on the river. It was very well organized from start to finish. The staff did a excellent job of welcoming us onboard, showing us to assigned seating in the dining room, serving breakfast and lunch in very cramped quarters and organizing us into a number of different tour groups on arrival in Regua. My only misgiving with the day concerned the large number of people onboard. The dining room below decks was very cramped as was the upper deck for sightseeing as we went up the river. Notwithstanding, it was a very interesting tour and I would recommend it if you have a day to spare in Porto.
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