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Saturday, 2 April 2016

Cruise and Land Tour in Portugal - July 14th/15....

The breakfast buffet at the IH was the best one on this trip.  In addition to the buffet, one could order whatever one wanted.  I ordered Eggs Benedict with potatoes and bacon and also had two small waffle wedges, one with blueberry compote and the other with strawberry.  I had the usual orange juice, coffee and mini-pastries.  

The entire AMA group left at 8:30 in two buses for Oporto, where we would embark on the river ship AMAVIDA.

We stopped at Fatima for sightseeing and lunch.  When I stopped here on the Trafalgar tour on July 9th, I missed taking photos of the Chapel of Apparitions, which is where the claimed apparitions of the Virgin Mary actually occurred in 1917. 

For lunch, Gelato ice cream.

The cruise was on the Douro River, along which many of the vineyards are located, and this was a wine cruise.  One of the highest locks in Europe is on the Douro, but the other five locks are all much smaller than on larger rivers.

Cruise ships on the Douro are therefore smaller and are not allowed to operate at night.  The smaller the ship is, the fewer the conveniences for passengers relative to ships on larger rivers.  The cabins, dining room and lounge are smaller and the ships on the Douro carry smaller supplies of food.

But AMA conducted a very nice tour on the Douro - the AMAVIDA was only a few years old and was a nice and comfortable ship.   Importantly, there was a very good coffee machine for espressos and cappuccinos.

There was a nice welcome dinner.   There was hearty bread and olives and for the amuse bouche, I had the octopus salad.  For the appetizer, I had the prawns and mushrooms.  The pumpkin cream soup with almonds was nice.  For the main course, I selected the baked sea bream with roasted potatoes - it was excellent.   The wine was excellent and unlimited.   I had the “sericaia” with black plum sauce. - the sericaia is a southern Portuguese dessert and was like a slice of custard pie.

After the lunches and dinners, they put out near the coffee machine, a tray of wonderful chocolate balls.  They were the richest and best pieces of chocolate that I have ever had.  But one was like a second meal - I tried not to look at the tray, but failed three times during the cruise.

Photos belong to Phil Bianco 

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