Tauck has revealed the first interior images of its upcoming new ship, ms Andorinha, which enters service in the next few months. The images reveal decor and design details influenced heavily by elements of Portuguese culture, befitting a ship that’s been purpose-built to sail exclusively along the Douro River.
The luxury travel company unveiled images of Andorinha‘s exterior in November last year.
“Andorinha is a truly beautiful vessel,” said Tauck CEO Dan Mahar, “and I love the fact that – while she’s distinctly different from every other ship in our fleet – she’ll still be instantly recognisable as a Tauck riverboat to guests who’ve sailed with us before.
“We’ve successfully brought our intimate and casually elegant style of Tauck river cruising to the Douro while still incorporating authentic local influences that truly inform and enhance the experience.” Mahar added.
A recurring design theme on the Andorinha riverboat is the traditional painted ceramic tiles, or azulejos, which were brought to the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors and gained widespread popularity in Portugal during the 1500s. Azulejo tiles (Arabic for ‘polished stone’) adorn several areas of the Andorinha, including its main Compass Rose restaurant and Arthur’s, an alternative dining venue on the ship’s Sun Deck. Fabric facsimiles of the tiles accent one wall of each cabin, with the cabin’s throw pillows and carpeting continuing the theme. Within the ship’s soaring atrium, railings, carpeting and lamps suspended from the ceiling all boast curving patterns reminiscent of azulejo designs.
A hand-painted tile mosaic depicting the Iberian Peninsula and its surrounding oceans is one of the most dramatic of the azulejo designs. Located in the Andorinha’s reception area and reminiscent of early navigational charts, the three-foot mosaic pays tribute to Portugal’s rich maritime heritage of the 15th and 16th centuries.
Another recurring theme aboard the Andorinha are grapevines, reflecting both Portugal’s 2,500 years of winemaking traditions and the continued influence of viniculture on Portuguese society today.
Cabins and suites all feature wall lamps with decorative metalwork suggestive of grapevines, and each lamp is backed by accenting wallpaper panels that also echo the theme.
More prominently, the Andorinha’s reception area features a large, circular, domed ceiling light seemingly entwined in grapevines. Some four feet across, the fixture was crafted exclusively for the Andorinha with brass ‘branches’ that were custom-cast from actual grapevines.
Entering service in April 2020 following its christening in Porto on 31 March, Andorinha has a capacity of 84 guests (42 cabins), versus up to 112 passengers – or 33% more people – on other cruise lines’ Douro ships of the same approximate size.
Tauck has three Douro River itineraries aboard the Andorinha in 2020. Details can be found here.