There are daily excursions on Miguel Torga's eight-day round trip cruise from Porto. Day one commences with boarding from 5 p.m., after which there is an evening cruise to discover Porto by night. Most days after that, passengers have the choice between a Classic coach/walking tour and a Discovery tour. Discovery tours are new for CroisiEurope on the Douro in 2017, and have a more active emphasis, such as touring Salamanca by bike and hiking along the Atlantic Ocean.
In Porto, for example, there is a choice between a guided tour of Porto (Classic) and touring Porto by tram and visiting the tram museum (Discovery). In Regua, the choice is between an excursion to Guimaraes (Classic) and hiking along the Douro (Discovery). In Salamanca, the Classic excursion is a tour of the city and its cathedral and the Discovery tour is a more active cycle tour.
* May require additional fees
Excursions need to be reserved in advance and are more expensive if you book onboard, rather than at time of booking the cruise. The Discovery tram tour of Porto, for example, is 42 euros at time of booking, and 56 euros onboard. Salamanca by bike is 88 euros in advance and 118 euros onboard. The Classic tour of Porto is 32 euros in advance and 42 euros onboard. The Classic tour of Salamanca is 63 euros in advance and 84 euros onboard. This is the longest tour, at 10 to 11 hours' duration, because Salamanca is some distance by coach from where the ship docks.
Generally there's a new tour guide in each destination and guests are provided with Vox Tours audio sets so they can hear everything the guide says, even if not at their side. The guide generally switches between French and English, although larger national groups will be given a dedicated guide speaking only their language. Those with limited mobility could struggle with the walking parts of the tours as the terrain is not always flat.
Daytime and Evening Entertainment
As you would expect from a river cruise, the scenery is the entertainment, with passengers happy to soak up the views as the ship plows its course along the river. A series of locks provides a chance to marvel at feats of mechanical engineering. There is a daily picture quiz, themed around film stars or global tourism landmarks, offering the chance to win a bottle of Portuguese favorite Mateus rose.
Evening entertainment is inspired by the ship's Douro location, and most evenings after dinner there is a program inspired by traditional folklore, with local performers showcasing their talents and the region's history. CroisiEurope staff provides commentary, explaining the stories behind the songs. When it's dancing, expect audience participation by the end. In Porto, the focus switches outside the ship, with an evening cruise to discover the city all lit up at night.
There are no onboard lectures or workshops.
There is one bar/lounge on the Middle Deck with panoramic views. This leads into a small outside area with seating at the bow of the ship. The lounge is relaxed and informal, with sofas arranged in sociable configurations around coffee tables. It feels spacious, with plenty of natural light. The dark red color scheme for the furniture and cushions is reminiscent of a ruby port wine, but not too overbearing, blended with more neutral tones. There is a large TV showing CroisiEurope footage from various itineraries around the world.
The bar is positioned by the entrance of the lounge, with stools along two sides. There is a featured daily cocktail, a well-known recipe such as Sex on the Beach or a pina colada. This is complimentary, and you can have house wine, beer, coffee and tea all day here. The bar typically stays open until midnight, and there is a small dance floor, used mainly by the local entertainers.
The Sun Deck runs the length of the ship and has a mixture of chaise lounges and tables and chairs. Miguel Torga is the first ship on the Douro to have a large 24-square-meter (258-square-foot) pool. This is hydraulic, because it needs to be lowered to fit under the lowest bridges. At the start and end of the season, the pool is heated. Chaise lounges are positioned under a canopy, another fixture that must be removed for the lowest bridges, along with the railings. The Sun Deck is the only area of the ship where smoking is permitted. Bikes are loaded onto the ship for special themed bike cruises.
Guest services are located on the Middle Deck at the entrance to the bar, where there is also a large glass cabinet, filled with Portuguese souvenirs, plus postcards and stamps for sale. The reception desk is manned day and night. There is no laundry service onboard so bring enough clothes for the week.
Miguel Torga does not have a spa onboard, nor are there any fitness facilities or workout classes.
CroisiEurope welcomes children of all ages, but does not actively promote to families. It's not really a ship that's set up for anyone younger than 16. There are no interconnecting cabins and no dedicated children's facilities. A teenager with an interest in cultural destinations and eclectic food tastes would integrate well but it wouldn't suit those needing age-appropriate entertainment and fussier dietary requirements.