This was our first river cruise and proved to be most enjoyable overall. The scenery was wonderful, the weather glorious, the staff were friendly and helpful and we had a superb cabin - number 325. The general organisation on board was mostly good, the excursions we did were excellent and we enjoyed the flexibility to join a group when sightseeing or explore on your own. The coach was also most comfortable. The evening dinner at Quinta da Pacheca was most enjoyable.
There were, however, some disappointments and surprises:-
1. The breakfasts and lunches were far more enjoyable than the dinners! A "superb 4 course dinner" as advertised was certainly not served. The vegetarian food showed little imagination, although hey did try to accommodate my requests. The waiting staff, although very friendly and helpful, did appear rushed and more often than not we had to serve ourselves with our wine which was held in a communal cooler serving other tables too. There appeared to be a distinct lack of vegetables to accompany the meat and fish dishes. The choice of dessert was very poor - often fruit/cheese and only one other.
2. We were astounded on our first morning to be woken by the extreme engine noise - not merely loud, but quite deafening. We were unsure how other areas of the ship fared in comparison.
3. Daily briefings were somewhat tedious, although our tour director, Carmem was a lovely lady. One felt obliged to attend in case important information was missed, but it was most inconvenient to disturb our relaxation on the sun deck. We felt it would have been better to impart the information in written form.
4. The sun deck was most relaxing, but surprisingly there was no bar service.
5. We were also surprised when the sun deck had to be completely evacuated at one point and for quite a long time owing to lack of clearance at a lock and a bridge.
The cabin was beautiful. We were a little concerned that the door entry cards contained the cabin number, but believe this was probably easier for reception staff when exchanging them for a boarding pass when going ashore?
We did get changed in cabin 302 before our departure to the airport and have to say it was extremely small - scarcely any space to move around the beds, little storage space and a tiny bathroom.