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Tauck has unveiled the first images of the ms Andorinha riverboat’s interiors, which will sail exclusively along the Douro River. The images showcase the ship’s decor and design details, which are influenced by elements of Portuguese culture. The ship’s name is also rooted in local culture. Andorinhas are a species of small migratory swallow that travel to Africa every winter and return to Portugal each spring. The birds mate for life and return each year to the same nest, and small porcelain figurines of andorinhas have become a national symbol of family, fidelity and home.

“The Andorinha is a truly beautiful vessel,” said Tauck CEO Dan Mahar, in press materials “and I love the fact that—while she’s distinctly different from every other ship in our fleet— she’ll still be instantly recognizable as a Tauck riverboat to guests who’ve sailed with us before. We’ve successfully brought our intimate and casually elegant style of Tauck river cruising to the Douro,” Mahar concluded, “while still incorporating authentic local influences that truly inform and enhance the experience.”

The Guest Experience
The Andorinha is set to sail on its first cruises along the Douro in April, following its christening in Porto on March 31. As with its other riverboats, Tauck is again offering more suites, more spacious public areas, and a less-crowded, more intimate onboard ambiance, rather than maximizing passenger capacity and revenues.

The Andorinha will accommodate just 84 Tauck guests, versus up to 112 passengers—or 33 percent more people—on other cruise lines’ Douro ships of the same approximate size. Even with fewer guests aboard, the Andorinha will still have more director-level personnel to ensure Tauck guests enjoy the highest levels of care and service. Like other Tauck riverboats, the Andorinha will be staffed by a Tauck Cruise Director and three Tauck Director guides.

Guests sailing on the Andorinha will be accommodated in 42 cabins, including twelve 300-sq.-ft. suites on the upper Diamond Deck, and twenty 225-sq.-ft. staterooms primarily on the vessel’s Ruby or mid-level deck. The remaining accommodations (six 200-sq.-ft. cabins and four 150-sq.-ft. cabins) will be on the lower or Emerald Deck.

Andorinha Suite, showing azulejo-inspired wall art, carpeting and throw pillows; plus grapevine-inspired wall lamps and wallpaper panels. (Photo courtesy of Tauck.)

2020 Itineraries
Tauck is offering three Douro River itineraries aboard the Andorinha in 2020; a 12-day journey that bookends a 7-night Douro cruise with 2-night hotel stays in Lisbon and Madrid, an 8-day “cruise-only” itinerary along the river, and an 8-day Tauck Bridges cruise designed specifically for families.

Design Influences
A recurring design theme on the Andorinha is the traditional painted ceramic tiles, or azulejos (Arabic for “polished stone”), which were brought to the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors and gained widespread popularity in Portugal during the 1500s. Azulejo tiles adorn several areas of the Andorinha, including its main Compass Rose restaurant and Arthur’s, an alternative dining venue on the ship’s Sun Deck. Fabric facsimiles of the tiles accent one wall of each cabin, with the cabin’s throw pillows and carpeting continuing the theme. Within the ship’s soaring atrium, railings, carpeting and lamps suspended from the ceiling all boast curving patterns reminiscent of azulejo designs.

Andorinha ceiling light, with brass grapevine “branches” cast from actual grapevines. (Photo courtesy of Tauck.)

The azulejos are perhaps most dramatically presented, however, in a hand-painted tile mosaic map depicting the Iberian Peninsula and its surrounding oceans. Located in the Andorinha’s reception area and reminiscent of early navigational charts, the 3-ft. mosaic pays tribute to Portugal’s rich maritime heritage of the 15th and 16th centuries.

A second recurring theme aboard the Andorinha are grapevines, reflecting both Portugal’s 2,500 years of winemaking traditions and the continued influence of viniculture on Portuguese society today. Cabins and suites all feature wall lamps with decorative metalwork suggestive of grapevines, and each lamp is backed by accenting wallpaper panels that also echo the theme. More prominently, the Andorinha’s reception area features a large, circular, domed ceiling light seemingly entwined in grapevines. Some four feet across, the fixture was crafted exclusively for the Andorinha with brass “branches” that were custom-cast from actual grapevines.

Throughout the Andorinha, numerous furnishings have been sourced from top-tier Portuguese suppliers, ranging from some of the ship’s lighting fixtures and furniture to the luxury Portus Cale toiletries provided in each cabin. Finally, and along with the Andorinha’s decor and furnishings.

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