Avalon Alegria

I cruised the Douro on Avalon's brand-new ship

'Alegria' means happiness, and the ship exudes that in every aspect. It’s a beautiful, carefully curated vessel that incorporates all the usual distinct Avalon Waterways features but with a touch of Portuguese specialties throughout.

The 102-passenger ship has been designed and purpose-built exclusively for the Douro River. It boasts 34 signature Panorama Suites and 14 standard cabins, giving off a luxury resort feel from the minute you step on board.

The reception area is bright and welcoming, leading to the hub of the ship – the Panorama Lounge, where everything happens. During the day, the full floor-to-ceiling glass window provides the perfect backdrop for your afternoon coffee. Since there is no night time sailing on the Douro river, short repositioning happens during the day, and spending time in the Panorama Lounge ensures you won’t miss a single thing. When day turns to night, the lounge hosts a pre-dinner happy hour, where the bar serves a selection of complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for you to sip while listening to the Cruise Director debrief on the day and provide exciting information for the next day. The lounge also features the Panorama Bistro, which serves light breakfast and lunch, afternoon tea, and, if you have any room left, a late-night snack!

Panorama Lounge

Through the glass sliding doors at the front of the Panorama Lounge, you will find the Observation Lounge, a beautiful outdoor space perfect for catching some Portuguese sunshine, and it even features a swinging chair perfect for relaxation.

On the same deck but at the rear end of the ship is the Club Lounge, one of my favourite areas. It’s a quiet space onboard perfect for reading your book, catching up on emails, or playing one of the board games Avalon Waterways provides. It has its own coffee machine, vitamin water machine, and snacks are available constantly throughout the day. This area of the ship is open 24 hours a day, making it great for early risers or late-night snackers!


One of the most important parts of the ship is, of course, the suites. The cabins are 30% larger than industry standard, and most importantly, every bed faces the window, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the Douro valley experience. After early morning excursions and a delicious lunch, there is nothing better than relaxing around in your luxurious bed, looking out at the ever-changing scenery as you float down the river. This destination encourages relaxation and switching off, and the layout of these cabins is perfectly designed to assist with that. Everything else has been carefully thought out; full glass sliding doors, plenty of storage, USB ports next to the bed, soft lighting, and even a side table that adjusts to allow for casual drinks or in-suite dining.

Avalon Suite

Another hotspot on the ship is the sky deck, home to the Sky Lounge & Grill and pool. The upper deck has plenty of luxury seating and sun loungers, which is just perfect for this destination. The navigation bridge sits at the front of this deck, and it’s the ideal place to watch the captains work hard at navigating the locks along the river, including the impressive deepest lock in Europe, which you will pass through on any Douro itinerary.

Call Panache Cruises on 0161 513 8200 if you want to learn more about Avalon Waterways.

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