Anyone booked on this cruise??
Looking to discuss??
We are booked for this case cruise/tour. Fly out 29th bit crus connection in Boston and do not get to Lisbon until 11:00 Thursday.
I think you are going to love this cruise. As far as I'm concerned the Andorhina is the nicest ship/boat in their fleet.
My husband & I are also booked on this trip. Flying from Newark on the 29th, arriving in Lisbon the next morning Tuesday Aug 30th. Really looking forward, the ship looks great
Gerry V and Joan_sanfilippo, we fly from Newark to Lisbon on the 28th, arrive Lisbon early on the 29th, staying at the Intercontinental Hotel for two pre cruise nights. Hope we connect with each other on the ship. This is our 4th river cruise and second with Tauck.
It is, indeed, a fabulous tour. Enjoy. If interested you can read my review titled...Tour Review...Douro River...Nov 2021.
kfnknfzk, read and enjoyed your review. We are doing Lisbon to Madrid and have two pre cruise days in Lisbon. Do you have any recommendations for things to do or see or restaurants that are not included in the tour. Thanks.
I am on Facebook as Rich Nause if anyone want to contact me. Safe travels all.
I'm glad you enjoyed my review.
Two easy day trips from Lisbon are Sintra and Cascais. For your first visit, however, I would remain in Lisbon.
The Alfama neighborhood is a nice place to stroll and one of the best areas for seeing the beautiful azulejo tiles. You will also find many "mom and pop" cafes offering authentic Portuguese cuisine in this area. Avenida Liberdade is a very nice, tree-lined boulevard with an abundance of shade on warm days. It is an easy walk from the Intercontinental and Four Seasons Ritz hotels. The limestone mosaics are stunning but very slippery, especially when wet.
I hope you like seafood! I usually eat grilled octopus every day when there. There are all kinds of sausages--blood sausage being my favorite. And don't forget the pasteis de Belem, the little custard tarts! Try to avoid the ones in the hotels since they are not the same quality you find in cafes/pastry shops.
Please be sure to post a review after your tour. It is always nice to compare notes and to re-live a marvelous adventure. Enjoy!
Rich I checked out your facebook page. Nice photo of Cliffs of Moher.
We're doing this cruise at the end of Oct. Assuming all goes well with our flights, we arrive 8 am on the Gift of Time day so I have ambitious plans for the amount of sight seeing we can do. Ideal plan is to check in and/or dump bags at the hotel then take metro and bus to the Tile Museum. Its a bit out of the way but given all the tile work thru Portugal hopefully worth the effort. Then a bus back to the central area and lunch, ride the 28 Tram, see the view from St George castle, and/or just walk around and get some sunlight. The tour day our plan is to take the train to Sintra. Not sure which sights there - Pena Palace, Moorish Castle, etc but probably not more than 2 and get back to Lisbon in time for the welcome dinner. There's also the afternoon of Day 2 for some local sightseeing. As I said, fairly ambitious. I just hope the weather and our energy levels cooperate.
I've found Rick Steves guide very helpful though I wish I'd only bought the Snapshot Lisbon which has everything there plus Sintra.
Best of luck on your cruise.
Thanks so much for your comments. I had originally booked a side trip to Sintra, but after reading the above we will spend the time just in Lisbon. So much to see, so little time.
My wife has a question on footwear. I know it says no flip flops in the dining room for dinner, but what about nice dress sandals. I am assuming and hopeful that flip flops means the plastic ones you wear to the poo, or beach.
Yes, nice sandals are fine and I plan to wear some if its still warm when we go.
Dress sandals are fine for the dining room.
Regarding Sintra, it is a lovely excursion from Lisbon. If you enjoy this tour, you can always return to Iberia and choose either Northern Spain and/or Spain and Portugal, or both. We are hopelessly in love with both countries...the people...the culture...the history...the Moorish influence...architecture...wine/port...and the cuisine!
For those who enjoy relaxing and having a drink either before or after dinner, I highly recommend walking over to the Four Seasons Ritz (located directly next to the InterContinental). Their indoor bar is dark with wood paneling throughout; their outdoor bar is quite nice as well. They also have an enormous display of fresh flowers in an alcove off the lobby (always there when we have stayed there).
There is nothing wrong with the InterContinental. We just prefer the Ritz. We stayed twice before at the Ritz on Tauck tours and several times independently and simply prefer that hotel.
I mention this because some of you have already "met" on the forum and thought that you could meet again at the bar before the official start of the tour. Wish I could join you!
kfnknfzk, is the hotel you mention a Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton? We plan on visiting Portugal independently in the next couple of years, off season and would like somewhere central for exploring
British the Intercontinental and the Four Seasons Ritz are right across the street from one another and the Edward VII Park. Both are a bit out of the central area though walkable. Looking at the Lisbon streets I suspect part of that choice for Tauck is being able to get the tour buses close enough. There is a metro stop at a round about very close where the statue of Pompal is. And as mentioned the Avenida Liberdade which goes down hill towards the main areas. Walking down it sounds fun but might prefer the metro coming back.
If you want a hotel in the older part of town you might want to look elsewhere.
No I haven't been there yet but have been studying the heck out of Lisbon in guide books, maps, videos, etc.
When I got my Rick Steves guide and tried to find the Tauck hotel for the cruise I was a bit disappointed in the location since it wasn't in the heart of the action as Tauck usually chooses. But as said, once I looked at the streets in Lisbon I could totally understand why that might be difficult. Plus needing a large hotel that could handle a river cruise sized group. Just hoping for a room with a good view now.
Claudia - We did the Spain and Portugal land tour, before they had Douro river tours, and we stayed at the Four Seasons Ritz, so I doubt that needing a large hotel for a river sized group is the issue. It very well could be the bus issue.
We did walk from the hotel down into the main part of town, only the couple of blocks right near the hotel is steep, the rest is just a slight grade. The main road, once you get to the bottom of the hill from the hotel is a tree lined boulevard. The walk along the main road is a very easy walk.
Maybe the Intercontinental will be different, but the view from our room was more of a peekaboo view toward a portion of the Edward VII Park.
We found the restaurants/bars in the Four Season Ritz to be very expensive. Perhaps they had raised their prices a bit while we were there because the All-Europe soccer final was going on in Lisbon at the same time. The second night we ate at a very nice Italian restaurant near the hotel for dinner. The cost of that dinner was the same as two drinks the previous afternoon in the Ritz's bar.
Good to know Sam. I think all the Intercontinental rooms have a view but not sure which direction we'll get.
I've looked at the menu at the Intercontinental and didn't really see anything interesting. We go pretty simple on our own meals and I've been watching videos including ones from Spain Revealed (James Blick) who's company apparently does the Tapas tour in Madrid for this cruise.
We have stayed at the Four Seasons twice while on Tauck tours, and it is one of our favorites. Beautiful rooms, lots of restaurants in the area. We have walked the route from the main historic area. We have also taken quick taxi ride back to the hotel. Also, on the upper floor where the Spa is located, there is a nice outside viewing area.
We stayed at the Intercontinental and we had a beautiful large room with wonderful views. Claudia is correct, going down was easy and coming back a little more difficult but we are used to walking four miles a day and where we live is all hills.
To answer the question you asked of me, the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz is a Four Seasons property with the name extension of Ritz.
When comparing rooms at the InterContinental versus the Ritz, our rooms at each were large and comfortable. The bath area at the Ritz was far more elegant, however. Even the toilet paper came gift wrapped!
I believe Tauck's decision to stay at the InterContinental has to do with competing tours. Two other tours stay at the Ritz--Spain and Portugal and Northern Spain.
As far as location, it is just a short walk to Avenida Liberdade where you can catch other means of transportation and/or walk all the way down to the river.
As Lotusgirl indicated, the views from the outside of the top floor of the Ritz are panoramic of all of Lisbon, and there is even a running/walking track.
We had spectacular views at the Intercontinental of all Lisbon and actually could see the top floor of the Ritz and watch the people there.
If you’ve got time I’d recommend a food tour with Culinary Backstreets. We did “Song of the Sea” which is, natch, seafood oriented. This included tasting a lot of tinned seafood that Portugal is famous for, visiting a coffee roasting business, and ending in grilled seafood restaurant where we were the only non-Portuguese. Get what is in season and be prepared for some seriously good food. Simple, grilled, delicious. I agree with a poster above on the delicious Pastel de Nata. The place that claims the title of best and original is Pasties de Belem. I ate these delicious pastries all over Lisbon so you don’t have to. They are right, the original is best, but you’ll get arguments. For a very casual dinner try A Gina which is off the Avenida Liberdade, behind the Hotel Lisboa Plaza which is your bogie if the cab driver does not recognize the restaurant. It is hidden in a warren of buildings in various stages of repurposing. As you are wandering about the third time you say it can’t be here, there it is. If there are tour groups at the hotel you’ll encounter some Americans and Brits, otherwise it’s Portuguese families chowing down with little kids kicking around a soccer ball. They have the seafood in a glass case so you can choose the fish that looks back at you. If all else fails (and this is true throughout Portugal) get the cod. It’s never fresh; it’s made from rehydrated salted cod caught near Norway. The Portuguese invented this probably when Henry the Navigator was in his prime. You can order it every day for a year and never have the same dish twice(they joke about this) and it’s delicious. For peri-peri chicken Bonjardim is justifiably well known. They have other things on the menu but don’t. Once again an import from the time Portugal dominated world trade and had a large presence in Africa. Two things: don’t be surprised when dishes in casual restaurants appear with rice and potatoes and maybe chips for good measure-the Portuguese like their carbs. And before you order, bread and a myriad of dishes will be placed quickly on your table. These are not free. Wave them off as they are being delivered (unless of course you want them). Touch them they are yours and you will be charged.****
Thanks for all the great tips
Ooh wrapped toilet paper! I’ve spent hours this morning cleaning disgusting toilets at our singing group’s new backstage building space, Everyone thought I was the hero, but most were slapping paint on everything. I’m bleached and tired…oooh fancy toilet paper 😇
I am sure Kfn is correct about when more than one other group is in the same city. Example, Elegant South AFRICA and Botswana, Zambia, South Africa…one stays at the One and Only and her other the Cape Grace….everyone knows I love the Cape Grace!
Lucky you, British, for landing such a prestigious honor. Regarding the toilet paper at the Ritz, it was actually more of a pretty fabric cover. I just thought that it was so cute...and classy. I have made some and have given them to family members.
Regarding eating in Portugal, the placement of appetizers on your table is meant as a kind gesture. Yes, there might be a nominal charge, particularly in the cafes. If you do not want them, the gracious and respectful thing to do is to smile and say, "No, thank you."
On that note, learning a few words in the language of the country you are a guest in will go a very long way, particularly in Portugal.
Kind gesture or revenue stream, I don’t know. It’s a cultural norm and has been going on for a long time. You can see Portuguese wave them away with a flick of the hand. Or you can say “non obrigado”. The charge can be 2-4 Euro/pp which to some is meaningful in a place where an entree might be 10 Euro. You can also be selective and choose just the olives but the charge will probably be the same . Even if you decline them, check your bill. They often “accidentally” get charged.
Was that really necessary? Do you feel better now? How truly sad.
Rick Steves Portugal guide repeats what Folsomdoc said about the this common practice in Portugal "as a way to curb your hunger while looking at the menu" and to push them aside if you don't want them. The guide also ends that section with this:
"And it's smart to be aware of this in unscrupulous, tourist-oriented restaurants, which may use overpriced appetizers to pad the bill"