We travelled independently to Oporto the day before our cruise was due to start and did some sight-seeing before taking a taxi to the quay at Quebrantoes to join the Fernao de Magalhaes. Warning - there is nothing else at Quebrantoes and it is not within easy walking distance of the main part of Oporto, so don't go to the boat too early.
The reception they gave us was very welcoming and our cabin was up to our expectations. The quality of the food throughout was good, though not exceptional. The price of drinks on board, including after-meals coffee, was excessive. The vessel was sparkling clean and modern.
The trip along the Douro and back took us through suburban Oporto, rolling green hills, vinyards and then empty, wild countryside. The locks were impressive indeed in terms of the ascent/descent, one being 39 metres ! Yet our progress was hardly delayed because of the extremely efficient operation of this modern system.
Of the tours, "Oporto by Night" was disappointing in its scope, but student parties throughout the city centre may have been a factor here. There was, pleasingly, no overlap between that tour and the one of the following day around Oporto, which, like the others, was reasonable value for money. They were all most interesting, especially the visits to the port lodges and vinyards. The marvellous views up in the mountains down onto the river, which were a feature of all the tours along the river, gave us lasting memories. We had been to Salamanca before so we chose not to do this tour, remaining instead where the boat moored at Barca D'Alva and occupying ourselves with walks in the village (very small with no tourist attractions beyond its bars/restaurants) and the surrounding country lanes, including crossing the bridge leading into Spain to the quay at Vega Terron, where there is just the quay and nothing else !
The evening entertainment on board was very well organised. The crew evening was amusing and we applauded their bravery in putting sketches together for our entertainment. The Spanish evening and Portuguese evening were both of a high standard, with the latter being exceptional in music, singing and dancing.
Too soon we were back in Oporto where they kindly allowed us to remain on board waiting for the taxi to take us to our mid-day train to Lisbon.
We recommend this river cruise to all those who have an interest in Portugal and port wine, gorgeous scenery and a lazy 5 days in some luxury.