Tauck inaugurates its first river vessel on the Douro, the custom-built Andorinha
They were traveling on day 3 of the company’s 12-day itinerary “Explore the Douro, plus Lisbon and Madrid”, and after a two-night hotel stay in Madrid, they were surprised by the bonus celebration during from boarding in the Portuguese village of Barca. from Alva.
“It is very gratifying to surprise our guests with a sense of wonder and delight, and for this lucky group of guests, we were able to provide a particularly memorable experience,” said CEO Dan Mahar.
Two longtime Tauck employees, President Jennifer Tombaugh and Cultural Director Sharyn Cannon, served as godmothers, who Mahar said embody Tauck’s “caring ethic”. Both have been with the company for over 20 years.
Regional design details
The decor and design of Andorinha is inspired by the culture and climate of the Douro Valley. Design elements include traditional painted ceramic tiles, or azulejos, and decorative metal pieces evoking vines that evoke Portugal’s 2,500-year wine-making tradition.
The name Andorinha refers to a migrating swallow that travels to Africa every winter and returns to Portugal every spring. The birds mate for life and return to the same nest every year, and the small porcelain andorinha figurines are a popular national symbol of family, loyalty, and home.
Features of the solarium
The ship’s Sun Deck features four-poster Balinese daybeds for shade lounging and an infinity pool five times the size of the plunge pools on Tauck’s other riverboats. An outdoor grill and full service bar are also found on the Sun Deck.
Its most notable feature, however, is a pop-up restaurant that rises from the stern on hydraulic elevators to become a fully functional restaurant with stunning views. Named Arthur’s for Tauck President Arthur Tauck Jr., the restaurant offers a mix of steak house-style classics and regional fare, serving as a more casual alternative to the main restaurant Compass Rose. Arthur’s is lowered to clear the low bridges.
Andorinha only accommodates 84 passengers, compared to up to 112 passengers on other Douro ships of approximately the same size. The ship is made up of a Tauck Cruise Director and three Tauck Director Guides.
The 42 cabins include a dozen 300 square foot suites on the upper deck and 20 225 square foot cabins mostly on the ship’s middle deck. The remaining accommodations (six 200-square-foot cabins and four 150-square-foot cabins) are on the lower deck.
This year Andorinha is offering the 12-day trip “Explore the Douro, plus Lisbon and Madrid” which ends with a seven-night Douro cruise with two-night hotel stays in Lisbon and Madrid, and a Eight-day “Villages and Vintages: Cruise” cruise itinerary only in the Douro River Valley. 2022 will add an eight-day cruise plus Madrid, as part of the Tauck Bridges program for families.
According to Mahar, Douro sales in 2021 and 2022 are very strong. This stems from reservations for the canceled 2020 program and pent-up travel demand following the COVID shutdown.