Thinking of a River Cruise ? Why Not Try Portugal!

Two major river cruise lines that cater to North Americans will be expanding into Portugal in 2013.Industry giant Viking River Cruises this week announced plans for a new 10-night tour that combines a cruise on Portugal's Douro River with several days in Portugal's capital, Lisbon.

The Viking "River of Gold" program, on the 124-passenger Viking Douro, will include visits to the vineyards of Porto on the Douro as well as the Portuguese towns of Bitetos, Regua, Pinhao, Barca d'Alva and Castelo Rodrigo. A visit to the medieval Spanish city of Salamanca also is part of the trip. 

Also adding sailings on the Douro for the first time in 2013 is AmaWaterways. The line is launching a 108-passenger vessel on the river called AmaVida that it says will have spacious suites of up to 323 square feet. The fast-growing line has yet to announce itineraries for the voyages. 

Flowing from Spain to the Atlantic Ocean, the Douro River is home to the Douro River Valley -- a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its rambling vineyards clinging to steep slopes, where grapes are grown to make Portugal's famed Port wine.