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Tauck’s latest riverboat, ms Andorinha, embarked on its first scheduled cruise along Portugal’s Douro River this August and celebrated with an official christening ceremony.

Guests traveling on the cruise line’s 12-day Exploring the Douro, plus Lisbon & Madrid itinerary were unexpected guests of honor at the surprise ceremony, where two long-time Tauck employees became godmothers of the ship. Tauck President Jennifer Tombaugh and Chief Culture Officer Sharyn Cannon have been with the company for more than 20 years, and were selected as godmothers for their embodiment of Tauck’s ethos of caring for others.

“In crafting our itineraries, we work extraordinarily hard to find fun and unexpected experiences for our guests and craft them into our journeys,” said company CEO Dan Mahar, in a press release statement. “It’s very gratifying to surprise our guests with a sense of wonder and delight, and for this lucky group of guests, we were able to provide an especially memorable experience.”

The Andorinha was purpose-built specifically for the Douro River, and its design and decor are inspired by the Douro Valley’s culture and climate. The riverboat accommodates just 84 guests in 42 cabins, which is approximately 33 percent less people than other cruise lines’ Douro ships of a similar size, which typically accommodate up to 112 passengers.

The ship features a sun deck with canopied Balinese day beds, an infinity-style pool that’s five-times the size of the plunge pools featured on Tauck’s other riverboats, and an outdoor grill to host casual barbecues. The sun deck also features a pop-up restaurant that rises from the stern of the ship on hydraulic lifts, and serves steakhouse classics and regional menu items.

The cruise line is offering two Douro River itineraries aboard the Andorinha in 2021. The 12-day Exploring the Douro, plus Lisbon & Madrid itinerary bookends a 7-night Douro cruise with 2-night hotel stays in Lisbon and Madrid; while the 8-day Villages and Vintages: Cruising the Douro River Valley cruise visits Porto, Pinhão, Guimarães, Peso da Régua and Côa Valley. New for 2022 will be the 8-day Douro Discovery: A Family River Cruise in Portugal plus Madrid, designed specifically for families.

“We already had incredible demand for our planned debut on the Douro in 2020,” said Mahar. “With those travel dreams deferred to this year, and with all the other pent-up demand for travel resulting from Covid, interest in our Douro cruises is unprecedented. We look forward to sharing this beautiful part of the world with our guests, and we encourage advisors to secure their clients’ space quickly as inventory is not likely to last.”

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