Change to Itinerary

I received a message from Tauck with a change to the Day 6 & 7 Itineraries for our Oct/Nov East Bound cruise.

_Day 6. Dock in Peso de Regua for a choice of activities that includes a guided bicycle excursion
or a visit to a quinta for a guided tour through their vineyard, followed by a port cocktail-making
class. Cruise to Folgosa this afternoon where a special culinary dinner, originally scheduled for
the night of Day 7, features chef-inspired treats served with Douro wines.

Day 7. Depart Folgasa on a morning sail to pretty Pinhão, for a choice of included activities.
Join us for an orientation walk through town that introduces you to its must-see sights, including
its richly tiled 19th-century train station, then head off as you wish to explore the sights and local
shops, where warm welcomes await! Alternately, take a drive up to the small village of
Provesende and hike back down to Pinhão through sloping vineyards amidst stunning scenic view.

We will no longer be including optional visits to the Monastery of Saint John, the Douro River
Museum or Casa Mateus on this itinerary._

Since we've never been to Portugal I have no idea whether this is a good, bad or neutral change. Anyone who has been on this river cruise, I'd be interested in your feedback.

I'm researching our time on our own in Lisbon. We arrive from JFK at 8 in the morning on the Gift of Time day so we have almost 2 free days before the tour starts. There's a few options that don't duplicate the tour but some are no goes because its a Tuesday and a lot of museums are closed. The next day - the first official day of the tour - we plan to take the train to Sintra before the welcome dinner. It's fun to be back in planning mode.

Comments

  • Lisbon is beautiful and great for wandering, though be wary of walking after drinking: the sidewalks feature wavy artistic tile patterns. True to my name, I recommend Mercado da Ribeira & Time Out Market, where I found fig-scented pencils at A Vida Portuguesa. You’ll see cork in every form: footwear, purses, ties, even postcards. Its light weight makes it a great portable souvenir. Tauck usually includes the highlights of the comprehensive Gulbenkian Museum, but the contemporary collection, a building in itself, is well worth a visit. And for thrills with zero social distancing, check out the streetcars! Note that even in March I found Portugal uncomfortably warm.

  • Claudia Sails,

    I have some thoughts but won't be able to respond until tomorrow. Don't worry. You won't miss much unless you really like Mateus wine.

  • Luckily I kept all the daily itinerary printouts from the tour. I was getting really confused trying to match your Day 6 and Day 7 activities with my printouts. Finally it dawned on me that my tour traveled westward (Madrid to Lisbon) while your tour is traveling eastward (Lisbon to Madrid). I will do my best to align the two itineraries.

    Your Day 7 was a fun day for us. You can walk off the boat and directly into Pinhao for a scavenger type hunt for local shops/eateries where you will be seated and given bites to eat at each location. We were given a ticket book with four numbered tickets and a map. You had to find the places, turn in your ticket and have a bite to eat. My suggestion is to not have everyone walk as a group. By breaking up will afford you a better chance to not overload these small shops. I chose this over the Provesende hike but was told walking back down to Pinhao through the vineyards was quite picturesque. Don't miss the crafts class in the afternoon where you will learn what you can do with leftover corks.

    On your Day 6, we did the vineyard visit and cocktail making demonstration. The port tonic was very good and refreshing and, again, the views were beautiful. The other excursions were the Casa Mateus and Douro Museum tours, both of which have been removed according to your post. I did neither of those tours. I'm thinking they were removed due to feedback.

    I couldn't find any monastery visit. It might have been on a day where the itinerary merely mentioned a such-and-such city visit.

    As far as Lisbon, as MarketArt mentioned, it is a great place to explore. I think you will love your tour of Pena Palace in Sintra. I believe there are tour buses that will transport you there from the Sintra train station. Tauck will take you to Avenida da Liberdade, the main shopping area in Lisbon that has upscale shops and quaint restaurants. I would suggest the small 'Mom and "Pop" eateries over the tourist establishments. The oldest neighborhood, Alfama, is also a great place to wander and people watch. And, yes, the food markets that MarketArt mentioned are also spots were you can get lost in.

    As for all things cork, I think a better place for purchasing gifts/souvenirs is in Coimbra, the university town about halfway between Porto and Lisbon. Tauck will give you plenty of free time there.

    I hope I have been of some help. Feel free to ask if you think of more questions. I would do this tour again in a heartbeat!

  • Oops! I forgot the bicycle ride on your Day 6. This is an addition due to the removal of the museum and/or Casa Mateus excursion. If this option had been available to me, I would have taken it in lieu of the cocktail making demonstration. I am pretty sure you would follow along the road adjacent to the river with the vineyards as a backdrop.

  • Thanx for the help guys. I trust Tauck to plan a good itinerary but was curious about the changes.

    For our arrival day - assuming we do actually arrive at 8 am - I'm thinking of going to the National Tile Museum followed by lunch and some strolling around one of the areas Tauck doesn't really cover on the tour. I got the Rick Steves Portugal guide for Christmas and he's very helpful for planning walks, how to get to places like Sintra, etc.

    Thanx again.

  • A moot point now, but the monastery visit was in Lisbon.

  • We're not booked til fall of 2023 but love all these comments and suggestions...our trip is LIsbon to Madrid, too. Makes me excited to read all these comments, kfnknfzk! Claudia, please post as you get ready and as you go! Love this forum for these great posts!

  • I'd like to suggest doing the Devour Lisbon tours for an extra morning or afternoon in Lisbon. Our Guide Rita was outstanding and she gave us an overview of things to see and do as well as many local food tastings. The groups are small and she will include as much history as you want to hear. It was a great introduction to the city. Be sure to ask her for restaurant recomendations if you need them.

    We were on this tour in October -Lisbon to Madrid. On our Day 6, we chose the Vinho Verde bicycle tour which was one of our favorite things on this trip. We traveled on a former railroad track that was recently converted to a bicycle path that went through beautiful countryside and vineyards. Afterwards, we walked to a local pub (with beautiful views) where Tauck treated us to a drink and special dessert.
    The other option for that day was the Lemego and Sparkling wine tour which worked out well for the less active.

    On our day 7, we chose the tour to the vineyard with the cocktail making class. Besides the bicycle tour, this was also at the top of our list of great excursions. Our guide was so informative about the port wine making process. The views were so beautiful and the class was so much fun! Very interactive! I feel this was the time when a lot of Tauck guests made great connections and new friendships. We had a great group! After returning to the ship, many people that had visited the Casa de Mateus were disappointed that they didn't do the cocktail making visit.

    You aren't missing a thing skipping the museum. It was the least popular activity on the trip. We spent way too much time there with little to see. I didn't see a monestary on our itinerary.

    Overall, this was one of our favorite trips with Tauck. We especially loved the crew on the Andorinha. I think the entire staff knew ALL of the guests names by day 2 on the ship. Their service was top notch as compared with other crews run by Skylla. Enjoy your time! Don't miss out on any of the vineyard tours! Hope this helps.

  • At least they give you notice for changing itinerary.

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