The sister-ship to CroisiEurope's Miguel Torga (launched in 2017), Amalia Rodrigues brings the same kind of modern, contemporary and easygoing river cruise experience to Portugal's Douro River Valley. CroisiEurope is one of the few lines to actually own and operate its own river cruise ships in Portugal (other lines must contract with a Portuguese company).
Like all CroisiEurope ships, European influence is present throughout Amalia Rodrigues. Roughly half of the line's passengers are French, but CroisiEurope also has a steady following of past passengers from the U.K. and North America as well as European countries like Belgium, Italy and Switzerland. Expect a veritable United Nations traveling onboard, all served by a friendly crew. Announcements are made in French and English, and crew speak both French and English (in addition to a multitude of other languages).
Together with Miguel Torga, the Amalia Rodrigues is substantially more modern than CroisiEurope's other vessels on the Douro, most of which debuted nearly two decades ago. There isn't anything overly lavish about this ship when compared with the likes of the line's North American competitors, but CroisiEurope beats them handily when it comes to price -- making the new Amalia Rodrigues great value.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served in the ship's window-lined main restaurant. Meals are open-seating and service is good, but those used to the sprawling, multichoice menus on other river cruise lines should be aware that one choice is typically only offered for each meal. Meals are served at set times, so being punctual is very important.
Dietary requests can be catered to, but the line recommends informing it well in advance so that other ingredients can be sourced -- and this goes for vegetarians as well. That said, if there is something on the menu that doesn't really appeal to you, staff typically try their best to come up with an on-the-spot alternative.
CroisiEurope includes drinks with meals onboard, along with most bar drinks. This includes cocktails, spirits, beer, wine and port wine, but excludes premium vintages. Bottled water is provided free of charge in cabins and prior to shore excursions.
Cabins aboard Amalia Rodrigues are snug but well-designed. All offer river views and are equipped with a retractable TV (a clever use of space), bathrooms with showers, toiletries and a hair dryer.
That's pretty much it on the amenities scale. Most passengers are here only to sleep, and the snug size of these cabins will ensure that you do likewise. Still, they are pleasant enough, with soothing colors and decor and beds that can be positioned as two twins or one queen.
With the exception of four suites and an accessible cabin, all staterooms measure 143 square feet. The ship's four suites measure 204 square feet and are situated in a commanding position at the back of the ship.
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The Sun Deck is primarily used as a vantage point for admiring the passing scenery. A pool is located all the way at the stern, and lounge chairs are set up when conditions permit.
This is very much a "make your own fun" type of cruise. With the exception of some casual evening entertainment in the lounge, most passengers will be busy on excursions ashore, or wine tasting events or independent excursions in the evenings.
No provisions are made aboard the Amalia Rodrigues for families, and the wine-centric itinerary is unsuitable for guests under the age of 18.
Amalia Rodrigues sails eight-day voyages along Portugal's Douro River Valley, round trip from Porto, Portugal.