Credit: Hazel Stubbs

Competition winner sails the Duoro river: 'A wonderful, memorable holiday'

Author: Lucy Abbott

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We catch up with our competition winner of a seven-night river cruise for two on River Douro with Riviera Travel worth £5,098.

Competition winner Hazel Stubbs was lucky enough to travel down the magnificent Duoro River in Portugal onboard the luxurious MS Douro Splendour departing for her adventure on August 21, 2022.

The cruise began in the historic coastal city of Porto, then into a sun-kissed land of olives, vines and medieval hilltop villages with a highlight stop on the way of the pretty town of Pinhão – the heart of the port-making region. Hazel then ended the cruise by travelling to the Spanish city of Salamanca.

The prize consisted of a seven-night cruise with eight guided visits and tours, including lunch and a flamenco show; a guided tour of Porto with a wine-tasting; tasting at a typical Portuguese quinta wine estate; and visits to Castelo Rodrigo, Mateus Palace Gardens and the city of Lamego.

We caught up with Hazel to see how she found the river cruise...

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What did it feel like to win the river cruise with Riviera Travel?

I was super excited to get the email telling me I had won!

I recall entering the competition and how the prize description was so well written.

I suffer from motion sickness, so cruising had not really been the most appropriate type of holiday to consider.

However, I had decided that it should be okay to try a river cruise and shortly thereafter I received the email announcing my win. Result!

Hazel sailed onboard MS Duoro Splendour. Credit: Riviera Travel

Did the river cruise meet your expectations?

Most definitely.

As far as my concern for motion sickness, there was very little movement on the ship so it really felt like being on a lake with calm waters.

There was a good balance of tours and time on board to relax.

What was the highlight of the river cruise?

Watching the crew prepare for going through the first few locks.

Each day brought something new. We enjoyed our massages as well as relaxing on the top deck while watching the beautiful scenery go by at a leisurely pace.

Hazel highlighted Salamanca as a stand-out port of call. Credit: Shutterstock

What was your favourite port of call?

Each stop had different features, it was difficult to pick a favourite!

The day trip to Salamanca was certainly an opportunity to get more regional history and a taste of Spanish culture.

The trip to Castelo Rodrigo was interesting and we got great views on the return journey.

Mateus Gardens were gorgeous for a walk among the flowers and, of course, the evening social at Quinta was fun.

Hazel and her partner enjoyed Riviera Travel's 'personal touch'. Credit: Hazel Stubbs

How did you find sailing with Riviera Travel?

There really seemed to be a personal touch. The staff and guides all looked out for everyone.

We also heard good things from fellow cruisegoers who had been on previous Riviera cruises.

How would you summarise your cruise?

We did have a great time and we enjoyed a wonderful, memorable holiday enhanced by speaking to different groups of people and hearing their anecdotes, at meals and on the tours.

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About Lucy Abbott

Lucy is an experienced cruise journalist, who has sailed on a variety of ships, from expedition to river – with her favourite being expedition cruising.

Lucy reports on what it’s like to be a young cruiser and is interested in new sustainable ways to cruise as well as how cruising is becoming accessible for all.

She works together with Kaye Holland to keep the World of Cruising website up to date with all the latest cruise news.