Well, my wife and I are back from our third cruise with CroisiEurope - this time on the MS Gil Eanes on the River Douro - and it's been just as good as the previous two. The ship is magnificent, having only been launched in April 2015. Obviously, everything is very new, and the colour scheme (a pastel blue with mushroom) is very restful and very contemporary; it is everywhere, including the cabins.
The cabin was spotless with high quality fixtures and fittings and the beds are probably the most comfortable had on any holiday. The bathroom was gleaming. In particular, the shower needs a mention as it's very large and there is no shortage of (potentially very) hot water.
The food was excellent, although in line with company policy, there is no choice. Of course, if there's something people didn't like, an alternative was always available. Breakfast was more simple than we've encountered on other river cruises, but did not pose a problem. Local yoghurt, continental meat, cheese, bread and pastries and masses of fruit was more than enough for us. Now, if only we could persuade the continentals that a cup of tea requires boiling water . . . .!
The Douro is spectacular - on the cruise, the ship climbs up a total of 150 metres on the journey via 5 very impressive dams. The terracing on the mountainsides (they can't be called hills) is breathtaking. In quite a change from previous cruises, the ship's company is mainly from the country of cruising i.e. Portugal whereas, for example in Spain the crew seemed to be mainly Filipino. No matter, everyone was unfailingly helpful and very pleasant; it was a pleasure to be on board.
The locks in the dams dictate the ship's size, so it's 80 metres long (most river cruisers are 110 metres long). This means there is no room for a 'piano bar' at the rear. If the entertainment in the main lounge is not to your liking, then the only choices are the sun deck, some casual seating in the central atrium, a walk ashore or retire back to the cabin.
We did not go on any excursions, through choice, because we didn't want to miss any of the 205km (each way) cruising; the ship continues to cruise during some of the excursions. There is no night cruising.
A couple of 'quirks' did not detract from our holiday. First, it is impossible to fill the cabin hand basin with water as the plug is designed not to close, so one has to wash in running water. With the benefit of hindsight, we would now take our travelling plug, unscrew the one in the cabin and so be able to fill the sink - which would make shaving a bit easier. Second, there are no bedside tables (no room) so our night-time water supply had to be a bottle stood on the floor between the beds. A possible third quirk is that the ship only carries 1.5 litre bottles of water - a bit large to carry around. On both our previous cruises with Croisi, water (in 500ml bottles) was freely available - both from the bar or when leaving the ship.
In summary, we loved the cruise and we like Croisi (the other 6 people on our dining table were also on their third Croisi cruise) and will be travelling with Croisi again. We would definitely recommend the Douro cruise. However, prospective cruisers must be agreeable to a lack of open seating and no choice of courses at mealtimes.