Part 2 of 4 of AmaWaterways Portugal and Spain European River Cruise that includes cruising through the beautiful Douro Valley on-board the just launched luxury ship AmaVida and seeing many other parts of Portugal by bus as documented by travel filmmaker Clint Denn. This episode includes getting aboard ship and seeing the sights of the Douro River Valley en route to the Spanish border and the ancient city of Salamanca. First sight off boat is the Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo, a tiny fortified village with encircling walls built by King Dennis in the 1200s. It has spectacular views in all directions. The fort is largely in ruins but the town is thriving.
A sumptuous dinner aboard the luxurious AmaWaterways river cruise ship is followed by Portuguese Fado Music and singing. The ancient city of Salamanca is next, founded by Celts and built of sandstone that has turned gold with age, and indeed it is called the Golden City. The university is one of the oldest in Europe and is must see on any European vacation to the Iberian Peninsula. Then westward back towards Porto on the Douro River and an explanation of Portuguese wine industry, a look at the amazing bridges of Porto, a short education on the local fishing industry and video of an acrobatic airplane competition on the river that divides the beautiful city of Porto.
AmaWaterways is the best of the best in customer service, ship design, luxurious amenities per ship, all inclusive packages, wine river cruises, themed cruises and more. The AmaCerto and Zambezi Queen, launched in 2012, will be followed in 2013 by the AmaPrimra, inspired by classic ocean yachts, the AmaPrima — set to debut in 2013 — will provide the most distinctive river cruise experience. A magnificent glass elevator is one of the unique design elements found on-board, as well as our exclusive “Twin Balconies.” The beautifully-decorated and spacious accommodations range in size up to 350 sq. ft. Relax in a heated Sun Deck swimming pool with a “swim-up” bar; enjoy Chaîne des Rôtisseurs culinary creations in five dining venues. The ship also features a Fitness Center, Massage, Hair and Beauty salon; complimentary Internet access and first-run Hollywood movies; plus a fleet of bicycles to enhance your river cruise experience.
AmaVida, whose Godmother is actress Sharon Stone, was launched in early 2013 and will operated on the Douro River in Portugal, with land programs reaching into Spain.
While adding new ships every year, AmaWaterways is always retrofitting existing ships with the latest amenities, upgrades and inventions. With a commitment to bring the best in river cruise vacations, AmaWaterwayshas always and will always lead the way in unparalleled on-board services that are constantly fine-tuned for the highest customer satisfaction. These factors, combined with a slate of new itineraries and specialty programs such as extremely popular Wine River Cruises, which were launched in 2010, had made AmaWaterways the front runner in this burgeoning new segment of the travel business.
Over the years AmaWaterways garnered a number of Magellan Awards from Travel Weekly, picked up an Award of Excellence form Luxury Travel Advisor, a Cruise Passenger Readers Choice Award in Australia for Best River Ship and was recognized for its Twitter account that put AmaWaterways on the list of “The Top 25 Online Cruise Vacation Influencers” by Influencers in Travel.
Award-winning AmaWaterways provides luxurious, all-inclusive river cruise vacations on the world’s great waterways. Founded in 2002 by cruise industry pioneer Rudi Schreiner, cruise line executive Kristin Karst and Jimmy Murphy, founder of Brendan Vacations, AmaWaterways operates its innovative, custom-designed vessels on the Danube, Rhine, Main and Mosel rivers in Europe; the Volga-Baltic Waterway in Russia and the Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia.
The AmaWaterways fleet in Europe features amenities such as spacious staterooms with French balconies or revolutionary “Twin Balconies”; plush down bedding, marble-appointed baths; complimentary high-speed Internet and Wi-Fi; first-run hit Hollywood movies; complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks with dinner, complimentary bottled water; gourmet dining in multiple venues (AmaBella); nightly entertainment; complimentary small group shore excursions tailored to passengers’ desired walking pace; guided bicycle tours and much more.
For more info about river cruising with AmaWaterways in Europe, Russia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Africa go to www.AmaWatewaysPR.com. For media interviews contact UniGlobal Media Group at 323-410-7511 or [email protected]
the waters of the Douro are smooth and quiet historically it was quite different in the 1980s a series of five dams were constructed on the Portuguese Giroux for flood control and the generation of electricity for hydroelectric power the planners had the foresight to include locks in these dams to enable navigation right across the breadth of Portugal and it just paid the once fast flowing river is now a series of five tranquil lakes with spectacular scenery our bus trip today is again through agricultural areas mostly olives grapes and pecans our first stop is at the town hall of the small city of figure ro da Costello Rodrigo the area's greatest pride is inside where historic as you lejos lined the walls tiles called as you lay holes are everywhere in Portugal they decorate palaces ordinary houses Park seats fountains shops and railroad stations they often portray scenes from the history of the country showing its most spectacular sights Costello Rodrigo is a tiny fortified village with encircling walls built by King Denis in 1296 it offers spectacular views overlooking agriculture and neighboring towns virtually in every direction eastward to Spain and northwards to the Douro Valley Castello Rodrigo still shows two stars left by the long and constant disputes over this territory the castle is largely in ruins from war and time but a small contingent of citizens populates a somewhat modernized traditional houses dog snooze and walkways lined with flowers and vines young children learn the vagaries of uneven cobblestone streets back aboard ship dinner is again an event it is always served in such a relaxing and grand style following dinner and dessert tonight we'll be enjoying some very traditional Portuguese fado music so the bus trip to Salamanca is across farmlands of babe Salamanca Spain stands above the north bank of the Torres River it was founded by the Celts built of sandstone which has turned golden over the centuries in fact it is nicknamed the golden city the plaza maior was designed in 1729 and is the gathering spot for the entire city it is known as the city's living room it is a place to meet friends or stop for coffee and a snack or even a full meal storks in nesting season are common in central and southern Spain and Portugal Salamanca's high buildings and towers are safe abundant and the rent is reasonable the University of Salamanca is the oldest in Spain founded in about 12:20 many people continue to come from all ports of Spain to study at the University and the students are a significant percentage of the city's population lunch is served in an elegant setting with traditional Paia three choices of vegetarian chicken or seafood each delicious and then on to explore some more the city's first century bridge consists of 26 arches of Roman origin the 150 meter spend elegantly crosses the Torres River and is open only to pedestrian traffic it was a commercial hub in the Roman Hispania and part of the Romans silver way a route they crossed the west of Spain from north to south the Twin Towers of the cathedrals are in fact two adjoining cathedrals the 12th century building their Romanesque old cathedral was considered not granting out so in 1513 work began on the Gothic new cathedral the ride home is an easy two hours and that is nap time for most dinner is on the top deck tonight the weather is delightful and a move excellent all the cuisine was appreciated by the barbecue spareribs we're the most sought after after dinner Spanish flamenco dancers perform our cruising is westward now downriver to Porto will have some stops but a good bit more time on deck to enjoy the sights this famous port wine area has been till for hundreds of years miles of terraced vineyards olive trees and whitewashed homes in tonight is our last night of cruising and therefore the night of the captains didn't there was a special feeling in the air for dress his suggestion was men wear a coat and women dress accordingly some at Glendon feuded not a word was said and everyone enjoyed a relaxin was an evening with good food and music five bridges cross the douro river in the porto city area in the foreground is the ponte dough Infante behind it is the out of service railroad bridge built in 1876 the third bridge is the ponte de san juan the best known is Gustave Eiffel Don Louis Bridge port chose iconic bridge opened in 1886 when it held the record for the longest iron arch in the world today the Metro crosses the upper level while the lower level is used by cars and pedestrians for those who have visited the Eiffel Tower it is easy to recognize eigvals iconic style to the west and down river is the ponte de nada better bridge most locals feel that this is also the most impressive bridge the most useful and the most appreciated and the difference it made in traffic flow has been a well received blessing it also holds the world record with the world's longest reinforced concrete arch the bay is large but heavily silted in at the mouth or entrance restricting large ships from entering power ship's location among the activities of this very active fishing port provides opportunities to look about and explore repairing nets is a daily must a simple tear can quickly develop into a major problem and so must be repaired carefully fishing is a major economic activity in Portugal the country has a long tradition in this sector and is among the countries in the world with the highest fish consumption per capita the main fish here are sardines cod Corvina and cotta Powell cooking the whole fish for meals is a Portuguese traditions those military jet his name the wings of Portugal today they are saluting the Flyers competing in the Red Bull let's be compared to NASCAR races daring young men living on the edge using their considerable talent to complete a challenging course against international class competitors they are awarded prize money and points at each competition depending of course on their placement the flames are strong sturdy and highly maneuverable here at Porto the course is laid out over a curvy River between I banks and restricting bridges on each end it's a challenge and today only 10 of the best at qualified now planes must pass through the pylons with their wings level performance we hundred and sixty degree loop and returned downriver after passing through the a pylons the second time this is our champion today his loop is tight his wings are straight as he passed through the violence on his way to victory okay Porto's quayside is named the caius de Riviera and borders the old town section of the city Marcus's small cafe share space with brightly tiled houses throughout Portugal red clay roof tiles give towns and villages a distinctive skyline the most traditional and widely used is the tubular tiles the half cylindrical tiles are placed in two layers the first is placed with the concave side up and the second with the concave facing down covering the seams on the first tile Porto has a broad mixture of architectural styles gothy takes the lead on most large buildings but can vary greatly apartment areas feature Romanesque late Gothic baroque and Rococo additions the streets are clean and open as your lejos are on most every street and sometimes add considerable color the train stations lobby is beautifully decorated with the traditional blue as you label the station is very popular and well used by locals port wine is a turn synonymous with the douro valley port wing comes only from a demarcated region of the upper douro valley stretching about 62 miles to the spanish border the discovery of port dates from the 17th century when British merchants added brandy to the wine to prevent it souring in transit back to England they found that the stronger and sweeter the wine the better flavor it acquired port wine was born Brill compañero is one of the oldest and more traditional wineries visiting here is a good chance to taste and find your favor occasionally they open the old gate behind this are the really aged cobweb tracers the older it is the paler more delicate and less fruity and needless to say the more expensive the pork will be after our wine aperitif a wonderful lunch at everyone's favorite the majestic restaurant the mood is light the music soft and all appropriate for our continuing visit of Portugal you'll see all of this Anor on a nama water eighties River cruise you