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Join Vantage on this picturesque cruise into the heart of the Douro Valley, where generations of winemakers have created some of the world’s finest vintages — and views. Alongside tastings at renowned quintas and wine estates, you’ll revel in bucolic landscapes and verdant countryside, where latticed vineyards lead to medieval hillside towns. You’ll also discover the revered cultural capitals of Spain and Portugal, including Lisbon, Madrid, and Porto, home to its signature port wine made from Douro grapes and fortified with brandy into distinctive varieties.
From town to country, uncover culture, cuisine, and varietals with 29 included features and Cultural Connections, all experienced in a small group of just 26 travelers per excursion. Attend a fado performance in the ship’s lounge and enjoy a passionate flamenco dinner show in Spain. Learn about the Portuguese economy and lifestyle with lectures on tea and cork production. Taste delicate jamón and delectable tapas inside Madrid’s Mercado Central. And pay a visit to Nazaré, where legions of extreme surfers arrive each year to ride the town’s legendary swells.
Enjoy both the best value out of the competition and Vantage Exclusives — including a lunch at the Quinta da Avessada winery — as well as explorations away from the crowds in small groups and exclusive Harvest departures. Sail in elegance on the m/s Douro Serenity, and make the most of your journey with optional pre- and post-trip extensions to Madeira and Barcelona.
Fly to Portugal
Depart the U.S. and board an overnight flight to Lisbon, Portugal.
Welcome to Lisbon! Enjoy a Welcome Dinner with fellow travelers tonight
Arrive in Portugal’s capital today. If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, our representative will meet you outside the arrivals area at the airport and assist you with your transfer to the hotel. Travelers who took the optional pre-trip extension to Madeira will meet up with fellow travelers on Day 2. Enjoy a Welcome Briefing and Dinner this evening.
Tour Lisbon’s famed monuments and sample a culinary favorite
Begin the day with a guided panoramic and walking tour of Lisbon’s famed monuments, including Belém Tower and the courtyards of Jeronimos Monastery, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. During your city tour, you’ll sample a classic Portuguese pastry: the mouthwatering pastéis de Belém. One taste of this creamy egg custard wrapped in buttery, flaky crust, and you’ll see why this is Portugal’s favorite treat! Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure by exploring Lisbon’s cobblestoned charm on your own, or perhaps join your Cruise Director for a pub crawl.
Explore Lisbon on your own, or get a change of scenery in Sintra and Cascais
A day at leisure lets you decide between more time in Lisbon and an optional day tour exploring the scenic Portuguese coast. You’ll head to the UNESCO town of Sintra — home of the opulent, Moorish Castle — and onward to the fishing village of Cascais and its dramatic seaside cliffs, sweeping beaches, and bustling marina. If you stay in Lisbon, active travelers can embark on a hike through the Seven Hills of Lisbon, a trademark attraction for must-see views of the city. Or, you can head over to the Castelo neighborhood for a trek up to the Moorish São Jorge Castle, which offers stunning city overlooks and shopping opportunities for everything from local pottery to Portugal’s famous azulejo tiles.
Your coastal trek begins in the town of Sintra; designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the wealth of 19th-century Romantic architectural monuments it contains, as well as its predominance in Portuguese culture. You'll visit the town's ornate palace before enjoying some time on your own to explore this whimsical site. Later, your tour continues with a scenic drive along the coastline to the quiet fishing village of Cascais. Once you have arrived, you can enjoy lunch on your own at numerous restaurants (all offering fresh regional specialties!) and take in the postcard-perfect scenery before returning to the ship this evening.
The storied walls of Óbidos and seaside Nazaré; embark the ship in Porto
Today, head to the port wine capital of Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city featuring a charming tangle of alleyways, a walkable historic city center, and an unmistakably hip vibe that makes a delightful contrast to the city’s medieval walls and myriad architectural styles. On the way to Porto, explore Óbidos on a walking tour before venturing to Nazaré, a beach town famous for its monstrous waves and surfing culture. Enjoy lunch here before continuing on to Porto, where you’ll embark the m/s Douro Serenity and enjoy a Welcome Reception with fellow travelers.
Discover Porto and enjoy a port wine sampling at a local wine cellar
Following breakfast on board, get to know Porto better with a full city tour and panoramic drive, including a visit to the historic center — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — and the market area. No visit to Porto is complete without enjoying its signature wine, of course! So, you’ll seek out port-wine at one of the city’s best-known cellars. Learn about and sample the varieties of this digestif while enjoying views of Porto and the Douro River. Back on the ship this evening, a local artisan will give a talk on “Portuguese Filigree.” Following dinner, enjoy a lively performance by a local tuna band.
Explore historic Guimarães or join a walking tour of Porto's Ribeira district
Enjoy your choice of excursions today: A morning guided tour of the UNESCO-listed historical center and castle of Guimarães, a preserved medieval city; or, discover more of Porto with a walking tour of its oldest district, Ribeira. However you choose to spend the morning, you’ll return to the ship for lunch and scenic sailing toward Bitetos with live commentary. Before dinner on board, learn about Portugal's thriving cork industry in the lounge; then, let music transport you back in time when local performers come on board to play favorites from the '60s, '70s, and '80s.
Sample local vintages at Aveleda Winery before touring Régua
A plethora of cultural delights awaits you today! Begin the day in Bitetos, where a short drive brings you to Aveleda Winery for a tasting of Vinho Verde and snacks before returning to the ship for lunch. Back on board, as we sail to Régua, you will enjoy an authentic Portuguese tea experience — complete with delectable pastries — while learning about the traditions surrounding tea drinking and tea production. In the afternoon, head off on a short walk to Régua and visit its Museu do Douro to learn about the storied Douro River during a lecture and wine tasting. Alternately, skip the museum and explore more of the town on an active walk. Later, delve into the recipe behind pastéis de nata, one of Portugal’s favorite treats, during an onboard cooking lesson.
Lamego's highlights, a regional quinta tasting, and an evening of traditional entertainment
Today you’ll explore the quaint town of Lamego, filled with terra-cotta rooftops, tree-lined streets, and a 700-step staircase that leads to the grand Santuário de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios. Your tour begins at the church. Then, you can descend all 700 steps and admire the surrounding gardens filled with monuments, terraces, fountains, and pretty tile mosaics. You’ll also visit the Lamego Museum, which houses a collection of works by Portuguese painter Grão Vasco. Enjoy lunch on board and an afternoon at leisure, during which you’ll cruise to Pinhão and get “A Look Inside Portugal” with another lecture. Early this evening, head to another quinta to sample more fantastic regional wines in yet another breathtaking Douro setting. After, experience the tradition of Portuguese fado music as you enjoy a performance and attend the Captain's Dinner.
Mateus Manor House and Garden and Quinta da Avessada wine tasting
Spend the morning at the magnificent 18th-century Mateus Manor House and Garden. On a walking tour, discover this sweeping baroque property and palace, including a maze of manicured hedgerows, elegant parterres, and a lake reflecting the palace in its mirror-still surface. Lunchtime brings you to Quinta da Avessada, where you’ll meet the winery host, view generations of wine production, and come closer to a true understanding of this region's way of life. Many of our travelers rave that this is the best meal on the cruise! After dinner tonight, gather in the lounge for a movie and popcorn.
Journey back to medieval times in Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo
Enjoy breakfast and a morning at leisure as your ship sails from Pinhão to Barca d'Alva (where travelers can see Spain in the distance!). After lunch on board, turn back the clock 600 years on a combined coach and walking tour that brings you to the fortified hill town of Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo and its old walls, the 16th-century pillory, and the local parish church. You’ll also enjoy a small tasting of local products here. Later, enjoy a special “World of Discoveries” themed dinner on board.
Discover Salamanca’s Old City, then head to Madrid
Discover the magic of Salamanca on a coach and walking tour. Then, explore its UNESCO-listed Old City and see the town’s grand cathedral and baroque Plaza Mayor, where you can seek out churros and do some shopping and independent wandering along the town's main street. Lunch (typically tapas) will be on your own. We’ll depart for Madrid after lunch; practice your pronunciation during the drive with a Spanish language lesson and an introduction to Spain. We'll reach Madrid and check into our centrally-located hotel close to many restaurants, the Royal Palace, and the famous El Corte Inglés shopping mall (just across the street). Tonight, regroup for a Farewell Dinner at the hotel.
Explore Madrid's landmarks, try traditional tapas at the Mercado Central, and experience the passion of flamenco
Explore vibrant Madrid on foot, walking through Plaza Sol and Plaza Mayor, savoring city views, and passing multiple other historic monuments. Then, embark on a panoramic drive and walking tour that includes the Atocha Station, Retiro Park, Gran Vía, and an outside look at the Royal Palace. Later, visit the city’s Mercado Central for an included tapas tasting! The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to further explore, or, view the works of Spanish masters such as Goya and Velázquez at the Prado Museum. Tonight, witness Spanish history come to life during a stirring flamenco dinner show.
Welcome to Madrid’s treasured Prado Museum, one of the world’s greatest art galleries. Located in the eponymous street, El Paseo del Prado, you’ll find a dazzling display of priceless works by European masters such as Velázquez, Goya, Raphael, Rubens, and Bosch. The sheer scale of this museum’s collection can be daunting, so you’ll begin your tour with the expertise of a guide before having free time to explore further on your own. (You'll spend two hours in the museum, and another two hours factoring in lunch, sightseeing, and transfer time.)
Explore Madrid at your leisure, or join an optional tour of Toledo
Enjoy a free day to pursue your own interests with recommendations provided by your Cruise Director. Wander the city’s many squares, shop for espadrilles and other classic Spanish products, and get your fill of tapas — or set off on an optional tour to nearby Toledo and the charming, narrow lanes of its UNESCO-listed historic center on the Tagus River. The evening is at leisure with dinner on your own.
Return home, or head to Barcelona on an optional extension
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or continue your travels by next heading to Barcelona on an optional extension.
Important Notice: The above day-by-day itinerary is preliminary and subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert. In addition, should there be an extreme change in water levels, Vantage will do everything possible to provide either the included excursion or an alternate excursion at Vantage’s discretion.
Please Note: Port times & itineraries are subject to change. Fluctuating water levels may affect itinerary.
*Note that on our special harvest itineraries, winery visits may occur on days other than advertised.