Tauck building ship to sail the Douro

Tauck will offer its first river cruises on the Douro in Portgual next year with a new ship featuring fewer but larger cabins than any other major line on the river, the company said Tuesday.

The Andorinha, Tauck’s first new ship in four years on the first new river for the company since launching Seine cruises in 2014, is being designed and built for the Douro. The ship will be 263 feet long with 42 cabins accommodating 84 guests. All but four of the cabins will be at least 200 square feet.

“At Tauck, we measure success by the quality of the experience we provide our guests, and one of the best ways to ensure a warm, relaxing and engaging atmosphere on board is to avoid crowding too many guests into a limited space,” said Tauck CEO Dan Mahar.

Riverboats sailing the Douro average 260 feet in length and accommodate as many as 130 passengers, Mahar said.

“That’s 55% more guests in the same space,” said Mahar, “and you just can’t deliver the same level experience or ambience with those kinds of numbers.”

Even though the Andorinha will have fewer guests than other ships, it will still have more director-level personnel to ensure Tauck’s guests enjoy the highest levels of care and service, Mahar said.

He said the ship also will have design features to make it suited to cruising the Douro.

“In terms of infrastructure, we’re excited to have some surprises in store that will truly differentiate us,” Mahar said.

Tauck will offer three itineraries aboard the Andorinha: a 12-day journey that bookends a seven-night Douro cruise with two-night hotel stays in Lisbon and Madrid, an eight-day cruise-only itinerary and eight-day Tauck Bridges family cruises in late June and early July. Itinerary details and pricing will be released later this year.

The ship will have twelve 300-square-foot suites on the upper Diamond Deck, twenty 225-square-foot staterooms primarily on the vessel’s Ruby or midlevel deck. The lower deck will have six 200-square-foot cabins and four 150-square-foot cabins.

The Andorinha will also feature the Panorama Lounge, Compass Rose restaurant for fine dining, and Arthur’s, a casual restaurant named for company chairman Arthur Tauck Jr.

The Adorinha is named for a species of swallow that returns to Portugal each spring after wintering in Africa.

Tauck’s longtime partner Scylla is designing and building the ship.