MS Andorinha Review and Specifications
Specifications of MS Andorinha
|Year built||2020 new ship|
|Builder||Vahali Shipyards Zasavica (Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia)|
|Class||Douro river cruiser|
|Owner||Scylla AG via Douro Azul|
|Operator||Tauck River Cruises Portugal|
|Speed||11 kn / 20 kph / 13 mph|
|Length (LOA)||80 m / 262 ft|
|Beam (width)||12 m / 39 ft|
|Decks with cabins||3|
Current position of MS Andorinha
Review of MS Andorinha
Scheduled for launch in 2020, Tauck Andorinha cruise ship is company's first-ever Douro River cruiser. The boat was specifically designed for passenger shipping operations in Portugal. MS Andorinha is a newbuild vessel with minimized passenger capacity in order to provide more spacious staterooms and public areas, thus a more intimate cruising experience with fewer guests and better crew-to-passenger ratio.
Currently, the shipowner Scylla AG charters the Andorinha ship to the US cruise travel company Tauck Tours.
History - construction and ownership
Tauck Travel is an US-based company (travel agency and cruise tour operator) specializing in river cruises and guided land tours. The company was founded in 1925 and currently headquartered in Wilton (Connecticut USA). The company is privately-owned and family-operated (by the Tauck family). It offers 140+ all-inclusive land excursions, European river cruises and small-ship ocean cruises (on chartered vessels), also family-themed travel vacations and African safaris in 70+ countries worldwide.
For the design and construction of MS Andorinha, Tauck Travel teamed with Scylla AG (shipowner). Riverboat's hull was build at Vahali Shipyard (in Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia), while ship's final outfitting will be done at the Hardinxveld Shipyard (in Hardinxveld, Holland). Ship's launch is scheduled for 2020-Q1.
Cruise itinerary program
Tauck Douro River cruises on Andorinha are grouped into 3 new itineraries (all leaving roundtrip from homeport Oporto City), including 12-day itinerary (7-day cruise plus two 2-night hotel stays / in Madrid and Lisbon), 8-day "cruise-only" itinerary, and 8-day "Tauck Bridges" (family-themed voyage with 4 summer departures - in late-June / early-July).
MS Andorinha ship has a total of 42 cabins, of which 12x 29 m2 (300 ft2) Tauck Suites on Diamond Deck (Upper Deck 3) and 20x 21 m2 (225 ft2) staterooms located midship on Ruby Deck (Middle Deck 2). The remaining cabins are with Portholes (non-opening windows) on Emerald Deck (Lower Deck 1), including 6x 19 m2 (200 ft2) and 4x 14 m2 (150 ft2).
All Middle-Upper deck staterooms are with slide-opening French Balconies (floor-ceiling windows that open to a railing). Cabins in categories 1 and 2 (on Emerald Deck) have Porthole Windows (non-opening) positioned high-up on the riverside wall.
All staterooms (regardless cabin category) offer as complimentary amenities en-suite bathroom (single-sink vanity with under-storage, glass-door shower, WC, multi shower head, hairdryer, premium bath amenities, razor-only outlet), hotel beds (2 twin beds convertible to double / Queen), ample under-bed space (for suitcases), large wardrobe, lounge area (with low table and 2 chairs), complimentary Internet and WiFi, complimentary mini-bar (soft drinks), flat TV with infotainment system, mirrored vanity table with chair, wireless phone, electronic safe box (in the closet), complimentary bottled water (supplied daily), individually-controlled air-conditioning, power outlets (220V / 110V). Suites have additionally a larger lounge area (with pull-out sofa) and larger bathroom (with bathtub).
Each cabin is equipped with a 42-inch flat HDTV (satellite reception) with an Infotainment system (in-room complimentary Internet, on-demand movies, real-time bridge cam views).
With a passenger capacity of 84, MS Andorinha carries fewer travellers in comparison to most major-company operated Douro River cruise ships. The boat has a more chief-level staff to ensure that Tauck's customers receive highest-level of service. As all Tauck-chartered riverboats, Andorinha's staff include one Tauck Cruise Director plus three Tauck Directors employed as tour guides.
As main facilities, the ship has Compass Rose (Main Dining Room Restaurant on Deck 2), Arthur's Restaurant (specialty / alternative fine-dining venue with indoor-outdoor seating, located aft on decks 3 and 4 /Sun Deck), Panorama Lounge (Bar-Saloon on Deck 3 with Bow Terrace), two Bars (one open-air / on Sun Deck), spacious top-deck sunbathing area with an outdoor heated Swimming Pool (midship on Sun Deck). Also on Sun Deck (aft), there is a shaded seating area covered with retractable awnings. Forward (adjacent to the Wheelhouse / Navigation Bridge) are the solar panels producing most of the electricity used on the ship. The sundeck area is served by its own Bar (outdoor).
The fore-located (at the bow) Terrace on Deck 3 is an outdoor lounge with open-air seating (tables and chairs). The Terrace is served by Panorama Bar and has direct access to Sun Deck (above). The adjacent Panorama Lounge and Bar is an indoor lounge with floor-ceiling windows, comfortable seating and complimentary beverage station (tea/coffee, mineral, and carbonated water, biscuits, pastries). Lounge’s evening entertainment program features live performances by guest entertainers (local musicians and dancers boarding the ship), talent shows (by the crew), night dancing parties. The Lounge also serves Tauck River Cruises' enrichment program by hosting daily lectures, media presentations and port talks (by boat’s Tauck Cruise Director) related to the cruise tour itinerary (ports and excursions offered ashore).
In the Lobby area (Deck 3 midship) between Panorama Lounge and the Suites are located 2 ship entrances (portside and starboard embarkation/debarkation areas), Reception (24-hour Guest Services Desk providing assistance, cashier services, information on daily scheduled tours and onboard activities), Cruise Director Office, and Shop (selling hand-made souvenirs, occasion gifts, travel essentials). Reception Desk also serves Tauck's excursions/tours and future cruise booking programs.
All cabin decks are connected via a staircase and an elevator. Smaller (aft) staircases connect decks 2-3 and 3-4 (Sun Deck). Four outside staircases connect Deck 3 with Sun Deck.
Tauck Portugal cruise tour deals
Tauck Andorinha cruise deals are inclusive of the following services and amenities:
- open-seating dining in Compass Rose (Main Dining Room), vegetarian and vegan meals are available upon request.
- specialty dining at Arthur's Restaurant (open for light breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
- (weather permitting) al-fresco / open-air dining (aft on Sun Deck)
- American Breakfast room service (complimentary for Suite Category 5 only)
- Complimentary snacks throughout the day (served between 10 am until 12-midnight)
- Unlimited shipboard beverages (including regional wines by the glass, beers, premium spirits, brand coffee, bottled water, soft drinks)
- enrichment lectures, live piano performances (nightly), in-cabin movies, cooking demonstrations, live entertainment (by local guest performers), "themed fun" nightly (dance parties, crew show)
- Complimentary Internet
- Laundry service is available at extra charge.
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Ship's name (andorinha) is the Portuguese word for a swallow species. These migratory birds return to Portugal in spring after spending the winter in North Africa. For the Portuguese, this word also symbolizes home, family, fidelity.
For season 2019, Tauck Travel offered for booking voyages on the following vessels:
- ocean ships - Star Breeze, Star Pride, Wind Star, Wind Surf, Silver Galápagos, Isabela 2, Santa Cruz 2, all Ponant ships
- riverboats - Esprit, Grace, Inspire, Joy, Savor, Treasures, Emerald, Sapphire, Andorinha
Vessel's construction (hull and superstructure) was done at the Vahali Shipyard in Zasavica (Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia). The 1923-founded Dutch shipbuilding company (Scheepswerf En Machinefabriek Vahali BV) owns and operates yards in Serbia (Belgrade, and Zasavica) and in Holland (Gendt). Vahali Shipyard Zasavica was officially opened in 2013. Following the construction in Serbia, the cruise ship was towed to Holland for final outfitting at Scheepswerf Vahali (Gendt).
Note: You can see the CruiseMapper's list of all river cruise ships and riverboats in the "itinerary" section of our River Cruises hub. All companies and their fleets are listed there.
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