Tauck to sail its first cruise on the Douro River in 2020

Tauck to sail its first cruise on the Douro River in 2020
Tauck’s new ship Andorinha will include design features that make her particularly suited to the Douro (Image: Tauck)

US-based river cruise operator Tauck will offer sailings on the Douro River in Portugal for the first time in 2020 after introducing newbuild Andorinha to its fleet. 

At 263 feet long, Andorinha (which means ‘swallow’ in Portuguese) is slightly longer than the average river cruise ship on the Douro, but she has capacity for just 84 guests. This means she will be able to offer a greater number of larger suites and more spacious public areas, creating a more intimate ambiance onboard. 

Guests onboard Andorinha will be accommodated in 42 cabins, including 12 300-square-foot suites on the upper Diamond Deck, and 20 225-square-foot staterooms primarily on the vessel’s Ruby or mid-level deck.  

“At Tauck, we measure success by the quality of the experience we provide our guests, and one of the best ways to ensure a warm, relaxing and engaging atmosphere onboard is to avoid crowding too many guests into a limited space,” said Dan Mahar, CEO of Tauck. 

“Riverboats sailing the Douro average 260 feet in length and accommodate as many as 130 passengers. That’s 55% more guests in the same space and you just can’t deliver the same level experience or ambiance with those kinds of numbers.”

Tauck has teamed up with long-term partner Scylla for the design and construction of the new ship. Her hull will be made at the Vahali Shipyard in Serbia, while the final outfitting will take place in Hardinxveld in the Netherlands prior to the ship’s launch in 2020.  According to Mahar, Andorinha will also include unique design features that make her particularly suited to sailing on the Douro. 

“We won’t be the first company to operate on the Douro when we launch next year, but in terms of infrastructure, we’re excited to have some surprises in store that will truly differentiate us,” he said.   

Tauck will offer three new Douro River itineraries aboard Andorinha; a 12-day journey following a seven-night Douro cruise with two hotel stays in Lisbon and Madrid; an eight-day ‘cruise-only’ itinerary along the river; and an eight-day ‘Tauck Bridges’ cruise designed specifically for families. 

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Elly Yates-Roberts
By Elly Yates-Roberts
Wednesday, January 30, 2019