I received an email from a travel company offering the fabulous seven-day cruise on the MS Douro, exploring the fantastic views of the vineyards along the Douro River. Including flights out of Gatwick Airport and the cruise itself, the quoted price for the cruise, leaving on 27th October, was £1,399.
Having lived in Porto I know it doesn’t cost that much so I checked. If you take Easyjet from Gatwick to Porto (a great service that’s usually reliable), leaving on 26th October and returning on the 2nd, you will pay about £152 per person including a suitcase.
You can book the cruise direct with the operator, Douro Azul, for the price of €995, which is £775 at the time of writing. By my calculation, that’s a saving of about £470 each.
The lesson, then, is that you shouldn’t take package prices at face value. Find out how much the same package would cost you to put together yourself.
Of course if you make your own booking, you could pick a cheaper day to fly and spend a few days in Porto, hiring a car and visiting the museums and markets and getting out of town to Guimarães, Braga and Barcelos, as well as enjoying the glorious sandy beaches.