Queen Isabel Entertainment & Activities
As is the case onboard most river ships, evening entertainment is largely limited to live piano recitals given by the resident musician (on a real piano, as opposed to a keyboard) and occasional local musical performances.
Shore excursions (included in the cruise fare) are generally excellent. The local company -- DouroAzul, which owns the Queen Isabel -- commands a fleet of brand-new, luxurious coaches, complete with reclining leather seats, that whisk passengers directly from the ship to lofty wine estates, picturesque villages and the cities of Salamanca and Guimaraes. The friendly, professional cruise director ensures that all passengers are well looked after, that their Quietvox radio receivers are working and that the pace is suitable. Younger, more active passengers might find there isn't quite enough time spent in each destination, but more mature travelers find the excursions to be well timed.
Queen Isabel Public Rooms
The bright, comfortable lounge, located on the Main Deck at the very front of the ship, is Queen Isabel's primary public area. In addition to plenty of comfortable sofas and chairs, prettily upholstered in pale blue and cream materials, there are six tables arranged on a small outdoor terrace leading out from the lounge, ideal for enjoying sunsets or a light lunch on a fine day. The friendly bar team keep cruisers content with cocktails and local wines, and there's an adequate selection of books for readers to borrow, ranging from novels to reference books about local birds. Next to the lounge is a shop selling carefully selected, tasteful local products like jewelry and wine glasses.
Queen Isabel Spa & Fitness
The sun deck is large, furnished with comfortable teak loungers, and features a large shaded area and a small pool. The pool is only about thigh deep, so it's better suited for paddling than swimming. (There is a powerful Fastlane jet to create an adjustable current against which to swim, enabling so-called "endless swimming." Unfortunately, we found the pool too shallow even for that.)
Queen Isabel has a very small fitness room with a treadmill, exercise bike and some free weights. A small cabin located opposite the gym is used by the resident physiotherapist and massage therapist for well-priced treatments, including Swedish massages and aromatherapy.
Queen Isabel For Kids
Queen Isabel does not cater specifically to children, but children are welcome onboard.