A five-star cruise on Portugal’s vineyard-lined Douro River

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A cruise on Portugal’s vineyard-lined Douro River on a new, five-star ship for European river cruise line, Riviera Travel, forms the centrepiece of a new fly, cruise and tour package from Australia to Portugal in April 2018.

Riviera Travel – new to the Australian cruise market – has partnered with local holiday packager, Cruise Traveller, to create an exclusive, 20-night fly/cruise/tour package that showcases the vineyards, cobblestone streets, baroque churches, ancient forts, terraced hills, medieval villages and the world’s oldest wine region – the Douro Valley – that have made Portugal an increasingly popular, off the main tourist trail destination for Australians.

Cruise Traveller’s new 20-night ‘Portugal Perfection’ package combines a six-night, overland tour of Portugal with Back Roads, hotel stays in Lisbon and Porto and a seven-night Douro River cruise aboard Riviera Travel’s new, luxury, 126-guest river ship, Douro Elegance – launched in March this year.

Departing Australia on April 16, 2018, the itinerary begins in Lisbon with two nights’ accommodation followed by a six-night ‘Discover Portugal’ land tour from Lisbon to Porto with travel company, Back Roads. The itinerary includes a lesson in traditional tile painting in Lisbon, the palaces of Sintra, a cooking class in Alvados, the holy ‘miracles’ town of Fatima and the medieval castles and churches of Guimaraes and Porto – Portugal’s second-largest city – where guests will spend a relaxing two nights, post-tour, to explore the city’s famous links with port wine and the tangled lanes, grand squares and antique and cake shops in the city’s medieval quarter.

The itinerary then moves to Riviera Travel’s Douro Elegance for a seven-night, round-trip cruise on the beautiful Douro River from Porto on the Atlantic coast to the Spanish border. The cruise along the idyllic valley with its rustic wineries, quaint villages and rugged cliffs, includes eight complimentary tours including visits to vineyards and port cellars, walled hilltop hamlets, the historic Spanish city of Salamanca – where a traditional flamenco show is included at lunch, dinner in an 18th century manor house overlooking the river and the 18th century, baroque Mateus Palace and its extensive gardens.

Relaxing time cruising on the river during the day is also a highlight, with the Douro Elegance offering a restaurant, bar and lounge, pool, spa, gym and tea and coffee-making facilities in every cabin. After disembarking in Porto, guests fly back to Australia.

Including return flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane or Perth, the six-night land tour with 14 meals, four nights’ accommodation in Lisbon and Porto, seven-night cruise with all onboard meals and shore excursions, transfers in Portugal and onboard Wi-Fi, the 20-night ‘Portugal Perfection’ package is available from $11,195 per person, twin-share. A bonus onboard drinks package valued at $169 per person, including drinks with lunch and dinner, is also included, courtesy of Cruise Traveller. Bookings are available until January 14, 2018.

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