Douro- Day 6 on Viking Helgrim

image from Julie Hatfiled

  The air was brutally hot yesterday when we left the Helgrim, left the Douro River, left Portugal, and slipped into Spain. In the course of a two-hour bus ride, we changed landscapes, changed customs, changed cuisines and changed languages. Example: For the ritual “Good morning,” we reversed the Portuguese emphasis on the first syllable “(O. .. la) to the Spanish emphasis on the last syllable of the same word, as in “o.. . .LA.” Hello Salamanca! …

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Douro- Day 5 on Viking Helgrim

image courtesy of Julie Hatfield

  An ecumenical cistern in the medieval fortress town of Castelo Rodrigo, just a few hundred yards from the Spanish border, has a message for the political squabblers in the US. Congress. We had trudged up a hill in the hot sun to the center of the little town when our guide pointed the structure out. The cistern, a stone tank now in ruins, contained water used for religious ceremonies by all of the town residents. There …

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Douro- Day 4 on Viking Helgrim

image from Julie Hatfiled

  There’s good money in port wine, evidently. And the top of a mountain is a great place to produce it. We left our Viking riverboat today in a bus that took us for a white-knuckle ride on a narrow road through a series of hairpin turns, up, up, and up. “Don’t look down,” our guide warned (we all looked down, terrified). Our destination was the famous Sandeman winery, perched on the top of a mountain surrounded …

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Douro- Day 3 on Viking Helgrim

image from Julie Hatfield

  Our knowledgeable, erudite tour guide had one more piece of information to impart about Porto, her native city, as the bus headed back to our Viking riverboat for lunch. “You should know that the people of Porto have a nickname that goes back many years,” she said. “We are known in Portugal as ‘the tripe eaters.’” The nickname was given to the city’s residents, she explained, when the good parts of slaughtered animals were given to …

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Seabourn Continues to Elevate its Award-Winning Culinary & Guest Experience, Welcoming New Champagne Partner Montaudon

image courtesy of Seabourn

  SEATTLE, July 17, 2019 – Seabourn, the world’s finest ultra-luxury travel experience, continues to raise the bar high on the art of fine food and beverage service at sea with the introductions of new brand partners this year, including the brand’s legacy of well-known Champagne service with Montaudon Brut across the entire fleet. The new Montaudon Brut will be available across all Seabourn ships by the end of this summer season. “Our clientele is extremely well-traveled, …

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PONANT Announces Partnership with the Musée du Louvre to Launch Two New Cultural Cruises in 2020

image from PONANT

  July 16, 2019 – PONANT announces a new partnership with the Musée du Louvre to offer two exceptional new cruises in 2020 on the themes of discovery and transmission. Through itineraries carefully designed by PONANT and onboard programming with curators and department directors from the Louvre, guests will discover the ancient lands that have inspired the museum’s collections. The two sailings through the Adriatic and the Persian Gulf will depart in August and November 2020, respectively. …

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Douro- Day 2 on Viking Helgrim

image from Julie Hatfield

  Yes, Virginia, there IS a real Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and it’s in Portugal! On our way from Lisbon to Porto, 130 miles north of Lisbon, the Viking bus that was taking us from our Lisbon hotel to our ship in Porto made a lunch stop in the ancient town of Coimbra. There, on top of a mountain, as we stepped out of the bus, were a group of University of Coimbra law students …

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10 Reasons You Want to Play Pub Trivia Aboard Ship

stock photo from Pixaby

  If you’ve never played pub trivia, now is a good time to take the plunge. To start, buy into the concept British homes are generally smaller than yours. The neighborhood or village pub serves as the community living room. People show up in the evening to socialize. Organized pub trivia nights are just one of the ways they keep life interesting. If your ship has lots of British people aboard, chances are there’s plenty of scheduled …

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Douro- Day 1 on Viking Helgrim

image from Julie Hatfield

  Not every great day on a Viking river cruise is spent on a river. We spent the first day of our “cruise” on dry land – in the beautiful city of Lisbon, Portugal. We are signed up to cruise the Douro River from Porto to Barca d’Alva, but – since everyone on the cruise flies into Lisbon, 195 miles away from Porto, our point of embarkation — Viking did the sensible thing: scheduled a multi-optional tour …

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PONANT and INTERPOL Partner to Enhance Maritime Security

image from PONANT

  July 15, 2019 – INTERPOL is expanding its I-Checkit program in partnership with PONANT cruise line as part of efforts to further strengthen security for the global cruise industry. The phased roll-out of the I-Checkit passenger screening system across PONANT’s cruise operations began July 1, 2019, following the successful completion of a three-month pilot phase that concluded in March. The integration of I-Checkit into PONANT’s global passenger check-in process will enable INTERPOL to undertake the secure …

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