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Avalon Alegria Review

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Colleen McDaniel

Avalon Alegria is a beautifully built modern river cruise ship designed specifically for sailings on the Douro River in Portugal. The 102-passenger ship is light and bright, thanks to its excellent use of panoramic windows throughout and an open design.

While the ship is a smaller version of Avalon Waterways’ boats that sail the Danube and Rhine rivers, it feels like the biggest win in the fleet, with staterooms that are almost perfect in size and layout, and an intimate feel because of comfortable, quiet nooks that allow you to gaze out at the passing landscape.

Avalon Alegria’s best feature might be its cabins, which are large by industry standards and have beds that face the water. The ship’s 37 Panorama Suites have floor-to-ceiling windows that open up to 7-feet wide, essentially making the whole room a balcony. This innovation makes the rooms feel incredibly special and spacious. Our only quibble is the lack of drawer storage and, with the four smallest, the tight space around the beds.

The best spots onboard include the Club Lounge and outdoor space of the Observation Lounge. The Club Lounge is located all the way at the back (aft) of the ship, and its 270-degree views allow you to watch the wake and scenery – with a coffee station just steps away.

Likewise, the outdoor portion of the Observation Lounge is located at the front (forward) of the ship. It has lots of comfortable seating (including a great swing chair), unobstructed views and even misters for when it gets hot.

The differentiator for Avalon Alegria in Portugal might be the line’s commitment to offering at least one active excursion in every port. This might include biking or hiking and will always be led by the ship’s Adventure Host.

Food onboard ranges from good to excellent. Guests will appreciate both the variety and the availability of Portuguese dishes at all meals.

Avalon Alegria was built to feel like an Avalon Waterways ship, something that can be difficult in the region because of ship building and operating requirements. It’s the line’s first ship sailing the Douro River, but will feel really familiar to cruisers who have been on other Avalon ships. The ship provides everything a cruiser would want for a comfortable, upscale journey though one of Europe’s most scenic river valleys.

Itineraries on Avalon Alegria Stick Strictly to Douro River

Avalon Alegria sails one itinerary, a seven-night roundtrip sailing from Porto, with stops in Regua, Pocinho, Pinhão and Aregos. Like all ships that sail the Douro River, it only sails during the day. All sailings include a day-trip to Salamanca, Spain. Your cruise will have a heavy vineyard focus, though Portugal's peaceful villages also will be a highlight.

Guests on Avalon Alegria can add on a three-night extension to Lisbon.

Deck Plans on Avalon Alegria are Efficient, Easy to Navigate

Deck plans on Avalon Alegria are smartly laid out, with lovely public spaces as well as some interesting hidden spots that make the ship feel more intimate.

At the top is the Sky Deck (Deck 4), which offers a heated swimming pool, bar and lots of conversation areas that face the river and lovely landscape. Alegria is the first Avalon ship to offer a swimming pool, a nice touch for summer itineraries in Portugal, where the weather can be steamy. (It’s also heated, for those chilly times.)

Cabins are located on decks 1 through 3, as are the main activity areas. The Royal Deck (Deck 3) is where you’ll find the Panorama Lounge, the hub of the ship most days and evenings. Here, you’ll have port talks, evening cocktails (there’s a happy hour every night from 5 to 6, where drinks are included), dancing and entertainment.

Our favorite little spot onboard, the Club Lounge, also is located on the Royal Deck. This area is small but mighty, with beautiful views from the back (aft) of the ship. The guest services desk also is located on Deck 3.

The Sapphire Deck (Deck 2) houses the ship’s main dining room. The Indigo Deck (Deck 1) offers a very small fitness center.


Passengers: 102
Crew: 33
Passenger to Crew: 3.09:1
Launched: 2024
Shore Excursions: 38

Sails To


Sails From


Included with your cruise fare:

  • All dining venues

  • Beer, wine and soft drinks at meal time

  • Coffee, tea and hot chocolate

  • Most shore excursions

  • A modified drinks menu at the daily happy hour

  • Daily fitness classes

  • Starlink Internet

Not included with your cruise fare:

  • Some premium excursions

  • Gratuities

  • Tips for drivers/guides in port

Fellow Passengers

The average age for cruisers on Avalon Alegria starts in the mid- to high-50s, but it’s not uncommon for younger or older guests to sail. Many are retired. Kids are a rarity. 

Guests tend to have similar interests and are well-traveled. The ship’s active programming means it appeals to passengers who want to keep moving in port and aren’t afraid to tackle activities like hiking or biking. 

Solo guests are common on Avalon Alegria, as Avalon Waterways routinely offers strong deals aimed at those passengers traveling by themselves. Solos will find other guests welcoming, though they also will be comfortable on their own. 

An elevator runs from Deck 1 to Deck 3, but the ship doesn’t have any accessible cabins. Douro River cruises, like other Europe river cruises, can be difficult for those with mobility issues, as cobblestone streets and sidewalks, uneven surfaces and a surplus of staircases abound. Wheelchair users will struggle on Avalon Alegria.

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More about Avalon Alegria

Where does Avalon Alegria sail from?

Avalon Alegria departs from Lisbon

Where does Avalon Alegria sail to?

Avalon Alegria cruises to Lisbon and Porto (Leixoes)

How much does it cost to go on Avalon Alegria?

Cruises on Avalon Alegria start from $2,812 per person.
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