Not only was the Radiance shiny on the outside, it glowed on the inside with multiple mirrored surfaces that make the interior appear larger than it is. I caught myself bumping into its many reflecting fun-house walls, chalking up my clumsiness to jet lag and an overnight flight. We’d gotten off to a rocky start in Chicago where thunderstorms had our Lufthansa 747 sitting on the tarmac for more than an hour. Both of us were imagining an O.J. Simpson sprint through the massive Frankfort, Germany, airport for our connecting flight to Porto. Thankfully the gate was close by so only the long queue at passport control had us nervously checking our watches.
Portugal is a popular destination now and the Douro has become a hot cruise itinerary. Our weeklong cruise will be a roundtrip, Porto east into Spain and back to Porto. We didn’t have time to see much of Porto on our arrival, so I’m looking forward to exploring the city on our return. After dinner, the captain took us on a short sunset cruise along the city’s shoreline, whetting my appetite for more. From the Radiance’s sundeck we saw church spires poking above orange tile roofs, houses and apartment buildings in a range of hues terraced into the steep banks of the river. Laundry flapped from clotheslines and residents waved as we cruised by. We passed under the massive arch of the Arrabida Bridge that carries six lanes of traffic over the river. Open in 1963 near the mouth of the Douro, it’s made of reinforced concrete and measures 1,618 feet in length and 230 feet in height. It has been designated a national monument.