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An insight into the world of River Cruising onboard the NEW AmaVida.

My update is coming to you live from our brand new ship the AmaVida on The Douro in Portugal. Alison and I will be writing a daily blog and will send you snippets from the trip, we at Ponders hope you find it an inspiring insight into the world of River Cruising.

After arriving at London Gatwick North Terminal for our morning flight to Porto, having already checked in online, we were able to do the new bag drop facility. It is in the main area by check in but is now computerised, meaning a quicker process for bag drop passengers. 3 hours later we arrived in Porto, the sun was shining, which following the weather we have recently had in the UK, was well welcomed.

We were greeted in arrivals by two friendly smiling representatives of AmaWaterways with passenger names on a clip board. In total there were 11 passengers arriving on our flight. The transfer coach was a brand new luxurious 49 seater coach, with leather seats and the utmost of comfort. It took only 25 minutes to reach the ship, which is docked in the heart of Porto – Vila Nova de Gaia. With the sun shining down on the ship and the stunning backdrop, we knew this was the start of a very good trip.

We were warmly welcomed in reception by the Hotel Manager and the reception team who swiftly checked in all of the passengers and were then escorted to our cabins with luggage service provided.

We are in cabin 107 which is a D grade on the first passenger deck. The cabin is well appointed with plenty of storage and cupboard space, with room for our huge cases to be stored under the bed. The bathroom has the additional features of L’occitane toiletries, storage space and a corner shower which is spacious. The picture window in the cabin is above chest height but still allows the natural light and stunning views into the cabin. One of the main features in the cabin is the 42″ TV/Internet system, this features the newest released movies, music channel, internet access and games.

After unpacking we headed straight up to the sun deck to take some pictures of the beautiful scenery surrounding the ship. The sundeck is very modern contemporary with wicker sun loungers, tables and chairs – there is plenty of space for the number of guests onboard and even a shaded area for those who wish to stay out of the sun (unlike us). The pool is raised from the deck and is the largest pool we have within our fleet. The pool is heated and temperature controlled.

Watching the world go by it was then time to attend the welcome drinks in the main lounge. The lounge has seating enough for all passengers onboard and have a small dance floor where there is an in house pianist who will serenade guests in the afternoon and evening. The lounge decor is very warming and the colours used fit in perfectly with the surrounding areas –  terracotta, browns and cream colours. We were treated to a champagne reception and were introduced to the Cruise Manager, Hotel Manager and other managers of the teams onboard. The Cruise Manager talked us through the next days activities and what to expect, while the Hotel Manager talked us through the health and safety measures onboard along with some tips for the internet which is offered complimentary within the public areas and within cabins.

At 7pm we were then welcomed into dinner, the restaurant is light and airy and has two amazing Al Fresco dining sections which hold 16 guests on each side of the restaurant. These areas need to be prebooked but are complimentary. The menu is different to the main service, I will report back once we have had the opportunity to dine in this area. We were spoilt for choice with the menu for the welcome dinner, for Appetizers there was a choice of Shell mussels with peppers in balsamic vinaigrette, Crepe stuffed with goat cheese and rocket leaf or Mixed salad, for main course the choices were divine – Coast Seabass sautéed with mixed vegetables, Duck Leg confit with duchess potato and sautéed cabbage or Red lentils in a vegetable consommé. On top of these options there are the standing orders which has the choice of salmon, steak or chicken with salad or chips. We opted for a steak option and seabass – both of which were truly delicious. We finished our meal off with melba peach, now I’m not one for desserts but I could have eaten about 5 of these they were that good. Included throughout the meal was wine, beer and soft drinks, all of which are free flowing and the wines are chosen to compliment the meal choices.

Feeling very full and thinking that this is all too good to be true, we went up to the main lounge to watch the evening entertainment – Portuguese Tuna Show. Now this had nothing to do with fish…..it was a 15 strong Portuguese University group of young men who serenaded us through the evening with traditional sounds of Porto. They had guests up dancing and participating with the evenings events, we watched on and enjoyed relaxing and falling into the way of the Douro river. 11 pm came and it was time for bed……we set sail at 7:45 in the morning to our first port of call – Regua………


To be continued…………….

Pool onboard AmaVida photo 1




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