MS Andorinha

We are scheduled to take the Douro Plus Lisbon and Madrid cruise later this year and I was watching some youtube videos of it including an interview with Dan Maher on Insider Travel Report and a couple more from Travel Julia's Way which actually included a walking tour of her cabin and the ship. I appreciated the later since she stayed in the same category cabin we booked so I got a realistic look at it's size. The ship itself looks amazing and we're looking forward to being on it. I also have a few questions from all the videos that I'm hoping those who got to sail on it this past year can answer.

  1. It was mentioned (but maybe I misunderstood) that the ship does not sail at night. Every other river cruise we have taken had a fair amount of evening and overnight cruising so this seems a major change and an improvement if being underway noises make it hard to sleep for some of us.

  2. Watching Julia's ship tour I didn't see the self serve coffee/hot drink machine that are in the Arthurs on all the other Tauck ships. Couldn't tell if it was located somewhere else or just not a part of this ship. While we normally went to the dining room for breakfast, on some mornings I wake up earlier than my husband so the coffee and continental breakfast in Arthurs was a nice place to start my day while letting him sleep in.



  • I can answer one, the Douro River cannot be navigated at night

  • Supposedly, also like the Nile.

  • Well that's good news. I'm a light sleeper and have frequently found it to be a challenge to sleep when the ship is underway especially going thru locks.

  • I guess you didn't spend any time at sea during your career. I always slept better underway, except during flight ops since my stateroom was just below the flight deck under Cat 1.

  • Nope, letting women aboard came too late in my career. Fuller answer sent private to you.

  • Claudia Sails -

    I spoke about the sailing in my review. Because of the narrowness of the Douro River, it can only be sailed during daylight hours. The captain explained to us that he also had to have additional certification to navigate this river.

    The cabin sizes mirror the sizes of the larger ships. Out category 5 cabin was the same square footage as the category 7 cabins on the larger ships...300 square feet with the identical layout and with one minor architectural addition. There are no "loft" cabins, which, from what I understand, are not very popular due to insufficient light and the risk of falls.

    Yes, Arthur's has a self-serve coffee machine and pastries in the morning. Our cabin was also equipped with a coffee machine. This Arthur's was much more quaint in my opinion. It also is set upon hydraulic lifts in order to lower it when passing under bridges and while traversing through locks.

    The ship is, indeed, beautiful. I hope I have helped. Feel free to ask more questions.

  • This is our 5th Tauck river cruise so I'm very familiar with most cabin types. We've always stayed in Ruby deck cabins but opted for a Cat 2 on the Emerald deck this time. Our last 2 cruises were in what the Andorinha calls a Cat 3 but it would have been $2400 more for only 7 nights aboard. Given all the great public spaces and sun deck on the Andorinha we opted to save the money and apply it to upgraded airfare. This Cat 2 is different from anything on their other ships and Taucks website didn't have very good pictures so Julia's video gave a really good look at the Cat 2. Perfectly adequate though I would prefer more window area.

    The 225 sqft cabins have been plenty of room for us and my husband would never use the breakfast room service anyway so we've never be tempted to splurge on a Cat 7. They are popular and it's everyone's personal choice.

  • I guess my answers do not merit the customary "thank you."

  • edited January 2022

    Kfnknfzk, I appreciated the answers to what I asked - night cruising and Arthur's. So thank you.

    If you'd paid any attention to my MANY posts regarding our past 4 Tauck river cruises you'd know I'm very familiar with all the cabin types on their other ships. We've been on 5 ships in 3 different cabins from 150 sqft to 225. I could tell exactly what all the cabins were like on the Andorinha except the Cat 2 which is different than any other in the fleet.

    And not being thanked on this forum is just par for the course. If I look back to the hundreds of questions I've answered maybe 10% were acknowledged let alone thanked.

  • My apologies for seemingly offending you. You mentioned cabins and cabin sizes in your first paragraph, so I offered my experience on this particular ship. I am still unclear why you are so upset with me mentioning cabins. As you mentioned, and I certainly agree, we all have preferences and traveling styles. There is no right or wrong preference.

    Again, I apologize if you thought I was maligning you on your choice of cabins. I wasn't.

    Perhaps it is cultural, but offering a thank you and an apology is basic etiquette where I come from. No harm done, however. I do hope you find your tour as enjoyable as I did. And I hope you will be able to experience the vineyards in their fall foliage.

  • Ouch! I just bit my tongue!

  • kfnknfzk, my only questions re cabins were answered by Travel Julia's Way video as I noted in the original post. Wouldn't have mentioned it at all but I wanted to let people know there was a nice video to watch and that I was happy to note my exact cabin is the one she featured. Just a btw.

    Your comment that the loft cabins weren't popular is new. I've never heard anyone complain about them except at the beginning when there was some plumbing noises. Family members stayed in one on a Rhine cruise and loved it.

    As said, I did appreciate your other responses and review of the trip. Thank you.

  • We prefer the Cat 3 loft cabins over all Cats 1 - 5.

  • I was kind of curious and given the only thing happening in my household tonight is football I ran thru the availability for several of the tours/ships that have the Loft cabins - Inspire, Joy, Savor, Grace. Looking primarily at sailings listed as Limited availability over all - the majority of loft cabins were sold out. A few had Limited availability mostly on cruises with lots of sailings. So I don't see any diminishing of popularity. It was interesting that on the same sailing, often the 2 categories sold out would be the lofts and the cat 7 suites.

    I suspect Scylla didn't add lofts to the Andorinha because they wouldn't have been able to fit in as many cabins on that deck. Right now there are six 200 sqft cat 2s and four 150 sqft cat 1s. Lofts are 225. I think they'd have only been able to fit in 4 but not had enough space to add more cat 1s. And that's not counting any other engineering complications.

    We really enjoyed our cat 6 cabins on the last two cruises. The delta in price between the 6 and 7 used to be fairly small. Friends we met on the Sapphire got a suite because of that reason. We let each other tours our cabins. It was right after the ship had gone thru their big remodel in 2017. A couple of years later on our Danube/Rhine cruise they decided they liked our cabin just fine and picked the one across the hall from us. We've also had a cat 4 on the Inspire - the sort of triangular shaped room nearest the lobby. Loved the room size and layout, hated the noise from the lobby.

  • Also the shower was angular - kept banging my arm on the wall!

  • You're right Nancy, it did have a weirdly angled shower. Not as cosy as the 150 sqft cabins we had on our first cruise. I liked the big windows in the front room and how easy it was to walk around the bed. Made it easy to move around when dressing, packing, etc.

  • kfnknfzk, to address a comment you made in a different thread " I have enjoyed the discussion. It certainly beats "my cabin is better than your cabin" defensive rhetoric. Sad."

    Does it occur to you that by mentioning your 300 sqft cabin you might be the one who started the comparison? I hadn't even mentioned which cabin we had unless someone actually went to the trouble of watching the video I mentioned and researched which cabin it was.

    For the record, no ones choice of cabin is better than anyone else's. We all are in different places financially or have different priorities. If you have plenty of money and the biggest cabin on board makes the tour a better experience, go for it. If you can barely afford the tour in the cheapest cabin, go for it. My husband and I are somewhere in the middle where we are lucky enough to splurge where we want and save where it makes sense. Usually we spend the savings on something else - on this tour its the airfare and extra nights in Madrid and Barcelona.

    I would loath the sort of atmosphere on a tour where some guests have higher status than others because they have a fancier cabin. That is truly sad. Tauck makes all their guests feel special.

  • edited January 2022

    One reason I liked the Cat 3 loft is a kinda of guy thing- on the half wall to the raised sitting area there is a huge credenza where the TV sits. It had tons of surface to stack or throw stuff on and had huge drawers on each half to stow more stuff, e.g. a full, or nearly so backpack, camera bag, half a dozen pairs of shoes, etc

    I'm sure the closet isn't near as big as a Cat 6 or 7, but you can't fault the Cat 3 for overall storage. The carpeted raised "loft" area is a nice place to sit while reading the paper or the day's go sheet, and drinking your morning coffee, etc. It is not for people with mobility issues, however, as the few steps are a bit steep. With the full height, two-deck windows and the remotely operated room-darkening shades which go up from the bottom and also down from the top, there is plenty of natural light! You must remember, to some degree, you will be looking up at the world, not looking down on it (or people.)

  • Alan do we need to chip in and buy you a mouth guard?

  • I have been on 3 Tauck River Cruises and stayed twice in Cat 1 (by myself) and once in a Cat 3 with my boyfriend. I loved Cat 3 for pretty much the same reasons that Alan stated. The "loft" area was the best thing about the cabin and there was so much light in the room and the price was reasonable. Cat 1 cabins are good if you are by yourself, however, I feel the cabin would be a bit tight with two people sharing the space.

  • Yes travel maven, the cat 1 cabin is a challenge for two people but doable. Our first cruise was on the Emerald before Tauck merged all the 150 sqft Ruby deck cabins into fewer 225 sqft ones. But it was a one week cruise and so busy and fun that we didn't care. The next 3 cruises were longer and we did opt for bigger cabins since we'd be spending more time in them. Since the Douro cruise is fairly short we decided a smaller cabin made sense. I just hope the weather cooperates and we can spend lots of time on the sun deck.

  • Kfnknfzk, you mentioned you did a review of the Andorinha…can you direct me to it? Aside from the public spaces I am especially interested in the cat 5 suite in which you mentioned a difference between it and the cat 7 on other vessels. Also, is there a gym? After a negative experience on a recent Rhône cruise my DH is keen to cancel our upcoming Douro cruise in Oct. and I feel I need some ammunition to resell him on it. The website photos are quite limited so any photos would be appreciated as well.

  • Gourmet Gal,

    I wrote a review of my Douro experiences in Nov 2021. It is titled...Tour Review...and is located within the Cruising the Douro, Lisbon and Madrid thread.

    Briefly, the Andorinha was built specifically for the Douro is smaller...maximum of ~ 80 guests...beautiful spa or gym. The category 5 cabin is identical to the category 7 cabin on the larger ships...very comfortable and elegant room.

    We did not experience any of the staffing/supply chain issues that have been reported recently. It was a fabulous trip and I hope you do not cancel.

    After reading my review, I would be happy to answer further questions.

  • Kfnknfzk, thanks for directing me to your review and thanks for taking the time to write it. The cruise and river sound wonderful.

  • It was a wonderful trip and one that I plan to do again!

  • Hopefully we’ll still go. We’ll be driving to Porto from Lisbon after an ocean cruise Southampton to Lisbon and a few days in Lisbon.

  • Gourmet Gal, we start the tour in Madrid next week, and I will take pictures of our cat 5 cabin on the Andorinha. I appreciate those who take the time to post reviews, so I will return the favor after we return (towards end of May).

  • Wonderful. Thank you gafly!

  • Someone posted on the Forum that there is a video of the Andorinha on YouTube from Travel Julia’s Way. Julia moved her phone camera too fast at times for me but it is a decent video.

  • edited May 2022

    Thanks Patrice. The cabin featured was not cat. 5 but I have since found a few photos and another video to hopefully promote to my DH. Tauck could do a better job with photos on their website IMHO.

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