The Ohio State University Alumni Association

Romance of the Douro River

June 9 – June 20, 2018


Explore the remarkable cities and towns of Portugal on this enriching journey that showcases the country’s history and heritage.

Portugal led the world during the Age of Discovery. Now it is time for the world to rediscover Portugal’s stunning beauty, rich tradition and warm people. Spend three nights in Lisbon and walk in the footsteps of the world’s greatest explorers before launching a five-night cruise of the Douro River, aboard the exclusively chartered MS Gil Eanes. Your journey concludes with two nights in vibrant Porto. Visit Lisbon’s Hieronymite Monastery and the Tower of Belém. Discover pretty Coimbra and the esteemed university in Óbidos. Explore Douro Valley wine country, which produces rich port wine. On several days, enjoy a choice of excursions that allow you to sample port, explore historic cities and delve into the local culture. Expert lecturers enhance your experience with scholarly and cultural insight. This well-crafted journey includes first-class accommodations in Porto, Lisbon and aboard the ship. All meals are included during the cruise and include beer and wine with lunch and dinner. For solo travelers, there is no single supplement.

Tour highlights and included features

  • Three nights in Lisbon, Portugal, at the first-class Sofitel Lisbon Liberdade.
  • Five nights aboard the exclusively chartered, first-class MS Gil Eanes.
  • Two nights in Porto, at the first-class Hotel Infante Sagres.
  • Ten breakfasts, six lunches and five dinners; wine and beer with lunches and dinners on the ship.
  • Discovery excursions, including a choice of PERSONALIZE YOUR CRUISE options, highlight the local culture, heritage and history.
  • Expert-led Enrichment programs enhance your insight into the region.
  • Free time to pursue your own interests.
  • Welcome and Farewell Receptions to mingle with fellow travelers.
  • Clearly hear your English-speaking guide with your own VOX headset.
  • Tipping of guides and drivers.

Dates June 9 – June 20, 2018

Cost $3,395* (From price. Airfare is not included. All prices are per person, based on double occupancy, and early booking deadlines. Dates, itineraries, and prices are subject to change.)

Type Land and Cruise

Region Europe

Activity level


Contact Addie Natalie
800-852-TOUR (8687), ext. 3




AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Lisbon, Portugal. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: LIS.

Meals - Appropriate in-flight meal service

Arrive at Lisbon Airport. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the designated meeting spot, where an AHI Travel representative will meet them. The meeting location will be provided with your final documents.

Transfer to Sofitel Lisbon Liberdade. Please note if you arrive at the hotel before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.

Tonight, meet your fellow travelers at a Welcome Reception.

Accommodation - Sofitel Lisbon Liberdade
Meals - Appropriate in-flight meal service

View on map

Enrichment: Portuguese Explorers. The Age of Discovery belonged to the explorers who sailed under the Portuguese flag. These 15th- and 16th-century adventurers opened new trade routes, set foot on previously undiscovered lands and brought wealth and glory to Portugal.

Discovery: Lisbon. Lisbon’s port launched many world-changing expeditions. Walk in the footsteps of famous explorers, and discover Portugal’s seafaring heritage at the Hieronymites Monastery and Tower of Belém, both magnificent examples of Portuguese architecture of the time. Construction began on the monastery in the late 15th century, the dawn of the Age of Discovery. The monks offered spiritual support to the world explorers setting out on their great adventures. The nearby Tower of Belém was built to commemorate the Vasco da Gama’s pivotal journey as the first European navigator to sail from Europe to India. See the 20th-century landmark, the Monument to the Discoveries, which honors several individuals who played integral roles in Portuguese exploration.

Free Time: Spend the rest of the day getting to know Lisbon at your leisure. For a sweeping view of the city, head to the Alfama neighborhood. Built on a steep hill below Lisbon’s Castelo de São Jorge, Alfama is the oldest section of the city. The uphill walk can be a challenge, so you may wish to hop on the No. 28 tram for a ride to Alfama and save your legs for a leisurely stroll as you make your way down. If you wish to go straight to the castle, ride the free Elevador do Castelo, which takes you from downtown Lisbon up to the castle.

Elective Activity: Fado Dinner. Savor a delicious dinner of Portuguese cuisine and enjoy a fado performance. Fado is a traditional music genre, featuring melancholic and soul-stirring guitar and vocal arrangements. Available at an additional cost.

Accommodation - Sofitel Lisbon Liberdade
Meals - Breakfast

Enrichment: Portugal Today. Learn about current events that are shaping contemporary Portugal.

Free Time: Enjoy a full day at leisure in Lisbon, which has so much to offer. Once you are done exploring the city center, head to Chiado, the cultural heart of the city. This neighborhood boasts many theaters and bookshops. Stop at one of the many cafés to take in the scene. This charming area of Lisbon has been a magnet for writers, artists and other creative types since the 19th century. An Elective Activity also is being offered.

Elective Activity: Sintra, Cascais and Estoril. Visit the village of Sintra to see the exquisite 19th-century European Romantic architecture and landscape architecture. UNESCO has recognized Sintra’s integration of architecture and parkland as being influential in the development of parks and gardens in the rest of Europe. Continue to the picture-perfect towns of Cascais, where lunch is served, and Estoril. Cascais and Estorial are a popular summertime retreats for both Lisbon residents and international visitors alike. Take in the pretty beaches and coastline. Available at an additional cost.

Accommodation - Sofitel Lisbon Liberdade
Meals - Breakfast

Depart Lisbon today.

Discovery: Óbidos. Explore the pretty town of Óbidos, where the city’s architecture seamlessly blends styles from the Middle Ages onwards. Sitting atop a coastal hill, this location was settled millennia ago for its strategic location. In the 13th century, King Dinis presented the town to his wife as a gift. For centuries after that, Portuguese queens were the custodians of the town, beautifying it and lavishing attention upon it. It is known as one of the most beautiful towns in the country.

Continue to Coimbra.

Enjoy a taste of traditional Portuguese cuisine at a restaurant in Coimbra.

Discovery: Coimbra. Built atop an ancient Roman city, Coimbra occupies an important location along the Rio Mondego. The city was Portugal’s medieval capital, and in 1290, the doors to its prestigious university opened. Visit the the University of Coimbra. A highlight of the day is the Joanine Library. This baroque jewel, built in the early 1700s, is visually stunning with its gilded flourishes and ornate decorations. Some 300,000 books line the shelves of the library’s three large rooms. The library is still in use today.

Continue to Porto to embark the MS Gil Eanes.

Join a Welcome Reception and Dinner to kick off your cruise.

Accommodation - MS Gil Eanes
Meals - Breakfast, lunch and dinner

View on map

Enrichment: Douro Wine Country. Portugal’s most famous wines come from this region. Discover the local winemaking tradition.

Enjoy lunch aboard the ship.

Personalize Your Cruise | Choose one of the following excursions.

• Cultural Porto and Port Wine Tasting. Explore the vibrant city of Porto. Visit the Palacio da Bolsa, the historic Stock Exchange, and the Igreja da São Francisco, the Church of St. Francis. This former convent church was built in the Gothic style. When designers remodeled it during the baroque period, they kept the rose window, which remains today. Visit the adjoining museum of sacred art, followed by a visit to a wine cellar in Vila Nova de Gaia to learn about the wines made in this region. Enjoy a tasting before returning to the ship.

• Porto by Tram and Flavors of Porto. Trams are a popular way to get around Porto. Hop aboard one today and explore the city all the way to the mouth of the Douro River. Visit the Museu do Carro Elétrico, a showcase of the trams’ history in Porto. See Americanos, the city’s oldest cars pulled by horses, and much more. The excursion concludes with a tasting of local specialties.

Cruise through the Douro Valley to Regua.

Savor a delicious dinner aboard the ship.

Accommodation - MS Gil Eanes
Meals - Breakfast, lunch and dinner

View on map

Discovery: Vila Reál. Enjoy a scenic drive through the vineyard-covered countryside to the charming town of Vila Réal. In the town, enjoy the architectural variety of its churches before stopping to try Cristas de Galo, the pastry for which the town is famous. Visit the Solar de Mateus, an 18th-century baroque palace featuring the frilly architectural flourishes of the time. Stroll through the opulent halls and enjoy a walk through the manicured gardens.

Passengers re-embark in Pinhão after the excursion.

Lunch is served onboard.

Enjoy an afternoon of scenic cruising through the Douro River Valley, the country’s most famous wine region. This evening, cross the border into Spain and continue to Vega de Terrón, Spain.

Enjoy dinner on the ship.

Accommodation - MS Gil Eanes
Meals - Breakfast, lunch and dinner

View on map

Personalize Your Cruise | Choose one of the following excursions.

• Salamanca City Tour. Explore the historic university town of Salamanca. Step inside the ornate cathedral before continuing to the famous university for a tour. Enjoy lunch and free time in Salamanca before returning to the ship.

•Salamanca by Bike. Take a guided bicycle tour through Salamanca. Ride along the Río Tormes and the Old Town. Visit the cathedral and the university. Enjoy lunch and free time before returning to the ship.

Return to Vega de Terrón to board the ship, which departs for Barco d’Alva, Portugal.

Accommodation - MS Gil Eanes
Meals - Breakfast, lunch and dinner

View on map

Discovery: Porto’s Wine Road. Drive through the scenic Alto Douro wine region. Visit the towns of São Salvador do Mundo and São João da Pesquiera. Stop at a quinta, a winery, for a port wine tasting.

Passengers re-embark in Folgosa after the excursion.

After lunch on the ship, take in the scenery as you cruise toward Leverinho, where the ship will dock overnight.

Enjoy a farewell reception and dinner aboard the ship.

Accommodation - MS Gil Eanes
Meals - Breakfast, lunch and dinner

View on map

The ship arrives in Porto this morning.

Disembark the ship.

Personalize Your Cruise | Choose one of the following excursions.

• Guimarães, Cradle of Portugal. Discover Guimarães, the birthplace of Portugal’s first king and the nation, on a walking tour through this charming town. Step inside Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira. This 14th-century church was built by the order of King João I in tribute to the Virgin Mary after he won the Battle of Aljubarrota against Portugal’s Castilian enemies. Visit the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança, an opulent estate in the city. Enjoy some time at leisure in Guimarães.

• Douro Hike and Port Wine Tasting. Take a guided hike along the Atlantic coastline and the Douro. Pass through São Pedro da Afurada, a typical fishing village, where you can see daily life in motion. Along the way, enjoy a beautiful view of Porto and Ribeira Square. Continue to the renowned Port wine cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia. Enjoy a tasting at one of the cellars before ending your hike back at the ship.

This afternoon, transfer to the Hotel Infante Sagres.

Accommodation - Hotel Infante Sagres
Meals - Breakfast and lunch

View on map

Free Time: The day is yours to explore on your own. You may wish to visit the Ribeira district to see more of the port cellars. Take a stroll down Avenida dos Aliados, the preferred spot for locals to meet friends at one of the many cafés, shops and galleries. Your Travel Director can offer suggestions.

Join your fellow travelers at a Farewell Reception.

Accommodation - Hotel Infante Sagres
Meals - Breakfast

After breakfast, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer depart for Porto Airport for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.

Meals - Breakfast and appropriate in-flight meal service

*Itinerary subject to change due to local conditions.


Contact Addie Natalie at Ohio State Alumni Tours:
Phone: 614-292-2372 or 800-852-TOUR (8687), ext. 3

Space is limited. Book your tour now!