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Invitation: Explore Portugal’s Douro Valley with Chef Michael Bonacini

Gourmet food inspires the luxury cruise line Emerald Waterways’ Star-Ship latest all-inclusive itinerary: an eight-day journey through Portugal with Masterchef Canada’s Chef Michael Bonacini. 

Chef Bonacini (Canoe, Auberge du Pommier, Leña) won’t just be hobnobbing on board: the Canadian culinary icon will act as your guide to the sights, sounds, and tastes of the Douro Valley. “Portugal has established itself one of the world’s top culinary destinations,” explains Bonacini, “It feels fitting that we will have the opportunity to enjoy the region’s fresh and flavourful seafood as we sail through the Douro River.”

What’s on the itinerary? Sip cocktails on the sundeck as the sun sets over the Portuguese skyline at a private cocktail reception hosted by Chef Bonacini. He will lead shopping (and tasting) expeditions through the historic Salamanca market. Using local ingredients, the Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality co-founder will whip up a live cooking demonstration of regional cuisine. A bespoke dinner menu onboard the ship restaurant, prepared by Chef Bonacini, will be inspired by the bold flavours and classic dishes of the area. Additionally, two lucky guests will win the chance to cook alongside Chef Bonacini.

The route, departing August 2020, begins in the vibrant city of Porto, then whisks passengers down the Douro River, through Régua, Pinhão, and Vega de Terron. Finally moving guests through the Northern Portuguese landscape to Salamanca, Spain. The region is one of the world’s oldest wine regions, so expect scenery of sinuous vine terraces that hug the rolling green hills on the riverbanks.

Emerald Waterways’ itineraries are designed to subtract the stresses of travel. Prices include airport transfers, tips, and gratuities. Daily excursions are unique, varied, and thoughtfully curated, with a distinct focus on culinary exploration.

A real bonus is the boutique-size of the ship: with just 112 passengers, the trip feels like a VIP dive into one of the world’s most exciting wine regions.

The journey starts on August 8, 2020.For more information on this culinary adventure, go to

SPECIAL HOLIDAY OFFER: Guests who book their spot on this special departure by March 31, 2020 will receive free round-trip airfare to Porto or $1,000 off the price of the cruise. Additionally, guests who book by January 11 will receive a complimentary drinks package valued at $250 per couple.