By Jeannine Williamson, Cruise Critic contributor
The 142-passenger Vasco de Gama is one of three CroisiEurope river vessels that sail on Portugal's Douro. The ships, which also include Infante Don Henrique and Fernao de Magalhaes, each measure 246 feet in length. In 2015, they'll be joined by another sister vessel, Gil Eanes.
Vasco de Gama, which was built in 2003 and refurbished in 2010, sails on five-night itineraries.
There are 71 cabins -- each measuring 129 square feet -- which are divided between 38 on the upper deck, 19 on the middle deck and 14 on the main deck. They all have double beds that can be configured as twins, floor-to-ceiling picture windows, showers, TVs, hair dryers, safes and air-conditioning.
In addition to the three cabin decks, there's also a sun deck. The panoramic lounge, with a bar and dance floor, is on the middle deck, and the dining room is on the main deck. Other onboard facilities include a shop and an elevator. Wi-Fi is available at additional cost.
CroisiEurope places a lot of emphasis on its French heritage, and meals onboard are inspired by French culinary traditions. Three-course lunches and dinners feature many of the country's classic dishes. And with Alain Bohn, the company's head chef, serving as an active member of the French culinary association Maitres Cuisiniers de France -- which champions French food and drink -- you can expect the menu to be decidedly French. Lunches and dinners are set menus, and breakfast is buffet-style, featuring baguettes, yogurt, muesli and cold cuts among the options.