The 96-passenger Scenic Azure launched in April 2016 as Scenic's purpose-built vessel for Portugal’s lock-filled Douro River. The sleek, airy Scenic Azure has a vitality pool on the sun deck, a fitness center, and a wellness area. With the push of a button, the king-size adjustable beds turn into recliners for watching TV and movies. Touch another button, and the cabin’s floor-to-ceiling window opens to a spacious private sun terrace, from which you can admire the steep terraced vineyards, verdant olive trees, orchards, and lively ancient cities.
What We Love
All-Inclusive: Your fare on this luxury line includes all alcohol — even the drinks in your minibar, which a butler restocks daily — plus shore excursions and gratuities. (Basically, everything offered on board except a haircut or massage is included.)
Dining Options: Despite the small size of the vessel, it has six dining choices, including room service. In addition, in Portobellos Restaurant, the line arranges a candlelit dinner in a luxe wine cellar, complete with a fado performance. And the day the ship sails to Salamanca, Spain, guests are treated to a tapas lunch and flamenco.
Best Known For
Multiple Tour Choices: Typical river cruises include a basic walking tour of the city, but Scenic provides a variety of shore excursion selections. Visit the museum in the Coa Valley, or opt to go kayaking on the Sabor River or to a lecture on almonds instead. No desire to visit a sardine canning plant or cork factory? Choose to spend the day exploring Crystal Palace Gardens.
GPS Hand-Tailored Devices: Every itinerary is accompanied by one of the ship’s local English-speaking guides, and — since each cabin comes with two GPS handheld devices with earphones that broadcast the tour — you can hear your guide from 25 feet away.
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Who It's Best For
Mature Couples: Leave the kids at home and join other fun-loving couples and groups of friends. Scenic Tours is owned by an Australian, and fun-loving Aussies make up a large portion of the passengers.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
No Bikes on Board: Although most Scenic ships have cool electric-powered bikes for passengers to borrow, you won't find them on Scenic Azure. The two-lane roads in Portugal are steep and full of winding hairpin turns, making them much too dangerous for bicycles.