The new Queen Isabel from Uniworld cruises the Douro in Portugal


Marilyn
Lovers of port wine should consider a cruise through Portugal’s Douro Valley, known for its production of port.
Portugal’s Douro Valley is a dramatic area with wild countryside reminiscent of a Gothic novel. Though the stretch of river may be picturesque, it proved horrifying for wine-laden boats in times past, when the treacherous, rock-strewn river offered almost nowhere for the ships to tie up or pull in.

Today, the Douro Valley is home to Uniworld Boutique River CruisesQueen Isabel, which navigates masterfully through the deep canyon of stone walls and arches in Portugal. Cruisers are taken through dramatic wooded slopes dotted by modern houses and ancient abandoned farmhouses, passing the traditional wooden boats of the region.

Gorgeous vineyards and olive groves set the stage for the cruise, where wine takes center stage and passengers can even participate in an olive harvest. From Queen Isabel’s sun deck, guests can take in stunning views of the passing countryside and marvel at the ingenuity of the river’s locks, including the 115-foot-deep Carrapatelo Dam – the deepest lock in Europe.

Portugal claims the title of being the oldest wine country in the world, as well as the country that created the first appellation system. Guests on the Queen Isabel will find themselves sipping ports day and night, both onboard the ship and at wine cellars along the trip. It is almost guaranteed that by the end of the journey, guests will understand the distinctions among the types of port, including white, ruby, tawny port, and vintage port.

Ready to cruise the Douro? Click here to start planning!