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Gil Eanes Review

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Gil Eanes
4.0 / 5.0
4 reviews

Pros
Most drinks included in the fare
Cons
Set menus at meals
Bottom Line
Superb value-for-money on a modern, cosmopolitan ship

About

Passengers
132

Crew
25

Passenger to Crew
5.28:1

Launched
2015

Shore Excursions
0
Sails To
Sails From
CroisiEurope Cruise Deals
Jeannine Williamson
Cruise Critic Contributor

Gil Eanes Overview

Launched in 2015, Gil Eanes became the fourth river vessel from French-owned CroisiEurope to ply Portugal's Douro river. Two more have since joined the fleet -- Miguel Torga and Amalia Rodrigues -- which have a more contemporary feel. .

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Offering competitively priced itineraries, and more than a touch of French flair, the 132-passenger ship sails on five- and seven-night cruises out of Porto. Although the company is not as well-known as other operators, at least among North Americans, it was one of the pioneers of river cruising and celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2016.

In recent years CroisiEurope started marketing outside its homeland. Although most passengers are French, you can expect to meet a growing number of Americans, Aussies, Kiwis, Brits and other Europeans, which creates a fun, cosmopolitan vibe. Another big part of this international appeal is the onboard cuisine that features regional dishes and specialties, albeit restricted to set menus.

Smaller than ships that sail on rivers such as the Rhine and Danube, Gil Eanes doesn't have multiple dining venues, a spa, gym or other extras such as an enrichment program or onboard entertainer. However, the ship is well-designed with a bright, modern feel that makes the most of the available space. In a nod to the family heritage, contemporary wall decorations featuring funky designs created with feathers and colorful tiles are interspersed with artwork painted by CroisiEurope founder Gerard Schmitter.

The charming and friendly crew members -- French and Portuguese -- all speak excellent English and go out of their way to provide a great, personal service that includes bartenders remembering your favorite drink.

CroisiEurope cruises have a more laid-back atmosphere than some lines, with leisurely meals and a less rigid adherence to time schedules. This might initially grate with clock-watchers, but it makes for a very relaxing experience and encourages passengers to go with the flow and simply sit back and enjoy the delights of the Douro.


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Fellow Passengers

With its Gallic pedigree, around half of CroisiEurope's passengers are French, but in recent years the line has been marketing to English-speaking travelers and other European nationalities. Expect to see the remaining 50 percent of passengers coming from countries such as the U.K., U.S., Scandinavia, Germany and Holland. This creates a much more cosmopolitan atmosphere than ships that predominantly cater to the North American market. All public-facing crew members are bilingual -- with several speaking three or more languages -- and announcements are in French and English.


CroisiEurope Gil Eanes Dress Code

The ship has a relaxed, Continental atmosphere with no set dress code. By day, passengers wear casual slacks, jeans and shorts with T-shirts, plaid shirts, sweatshirts or sweaters, depending on the weather. Some wear similar clothing in the evening, with a weekly gala dinner as an excuse to dress up (although the emphasis is on smart casual rather than any kind of formalwear). Sneakers or comfortable shoes are a must. There is quite a lot of walking on excursions and the terrain includes cobbled streets, vineyards and other uneven surfaces.

Gil Eanes Inclusions

Daily shore excursions are included in the fare for U.S. passengers; they are not included in the price paid by U.K. passengers and guests booking in other countries. There is an open bar covering soda, alcoholic beverages, tea and coffee, which the exception of Champagne and a small number of premium wines and spirits that cost extra (€5 for a glass of Armagnac, €49 for a bottle of Moet & Chandon). Still bottled water is available on shore excursions.

Reflecting its French roots -- where tipping is viewed as a bonus rather than a given -- the line has a much more laissez-faire attitude toward gratuities compared with lines that cater to the U.S. market where tipping is an accepted norm. CroisiEurope does not include gratuities in the fares but operates an optional tipping policy, which is left entirely to the discretion of individual passengers. For guidance, the line suggests €5 to €10 per person, per day, and for passengers that want to tip, an envelope is left in cabins at the end of the cruise and there is a gratuity box on the reception desk. The onboard currency is the euro.


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Gil Eanes Ratings

CategoryEditorMember
Cabins4.04.3
Dining4.04.3
Entertainment3.03.5
Public Rooms5.04.8
Fitness Recreation1.03
Family2.0N/A
Enrichment1.04.3
Service5.04.5
Value For Money5.04.8

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Awards and Recognition

CroisiEurope Gil Eanes Member Reviews

Kiwiroo
Sail Date: Aug 2018
The Gil Eanes is a modern ship (built 2015) with compact but comfortable rooms and good bathroom. Rooms on the two upper decks have large sliding windows.... Read More
f2s
Sail Date: Jul 2019
This was an exclusive group booking by BrandG sailing down river to Oporto. First glance showed this to be a new modern and smart boat with decent top deck and small cool shallow pool. The top deck needed... Read More
carolsamela
Sail Date: Jul 2016
I just returned from one of the best experiences one can have, spending 7 days cruising on the Douro river on the Gil Eanes. My experience about the ship was nothing short of spectacular.... Read More
lellystuart
Sail Date: Jul 2015
Slightly nervous because the ship is French and the vast majority of passengers are French. The Douro river is wonderful. The ship spent 3 night in Porto which was too long and passengers wanted to... Read More

CroisiEurope Fleet

Gerard Schmitter
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

4 reviews

A modest but comfortable ship that carries 176 passengers in 88 simply furnished cabins and offers a very French set menu at lunch and dinner.

View All CroisiEurope Gerard Schmitter Cruises
Indochine
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Launched in 2008 and completely refitted in 2012, Indochine is owned and operated by CroisiVoyages, part of French-owned and family-run CroisiEurope.

La Belle de Cadix
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

The Belgian-built La Belle de Cadix is dedicated to the Guadalquivir River and Gulf of Cadiz, actively cruising through all but high-summer months.

La Belle de l'Adriatique

CroisiEurope's La Belle de l'Adriatique, a 198-passenger oceangoing vessel, was purpose-built for coastal cruises and sails to Greece, Croatia, Montenegro and Cyprus.

CroisiEurope La Belle de l'Adriatique Cruises to the Mediterranean View All CroisiEurope La Belle de l'Adriatique Cruises
Infante Don Henrique

The 142-passenger Infante Don Henrique is one of three CroisiEurope river vessels that sail on Portugal's Douro and measures 246 feet in length.

Victor Hugo

The 98-passenger Victor Hugo is one of a pair of smaller ships in CroisiEurope's fleet of European river cruise vessels designed for shallower rivers.

Lafayette
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Lafayette is a sleek and stylish vessel and a departure from CroisiEurope's usual style in that its 84-passenger capacity is lower than the usual 100 to 180 range.

La Boheme

The 160-passenger La Boheme, which sails on the Rhine and Danube, CroisiEurope's 160-passenger Leonard de Vinci, which sails on the Rhine and Danube, offers French-inspired meals and an all-inclusive open bar.

Loire Princesse
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

CroisiEurope was the first to design a river cruise ship to navigate the Loire River, and the result is the spare but stylish Loire Princesse.

Gil Eanes
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Offering competitive prices and French flair, CroisiEurope's 132-passenger Gil Eanes sails on five- and seven-night cruises out of Porto.

Leonard de Vinci

CroisiEurope's 160-passenger Leonard de Vinci, which sails on the Rhine and Danube, offers French-inspired meals and an all-inclusive open bar.

Cyrano de Bergerac
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

CroisiEurope's MS Cyrano de Bergerac cruises the Gironde estuary out of Bordeaux, sailing the Garonne and the Dordogne rivers, principally to visit wine-growing areas.

Beethoven

The 180-passenger Beethoven, which sails the Rhine and Danube, is one of five vessels in CroisiEurope's large fleet of European river cruise ships that measure 360 feet.

Douce France
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

CroisiEurope's Douce France, a 160-passenger vessel based on the Rhine, operates eight-night cruises between Amsterdam and Basel, travelling through Holland, Germany and Switzerland.

Modigliani

CroisiEurope's Modigliani, a 160-passenger vessel based on the Rhine, operates eight-night cruises between Amsterdam and Basel, travelling through Holland, Germany and Switzerland.

Monet

South Beach Miami vibe with lots of outdoor spaces, nine eateries, condo-style cabins and a five-slide waterpark; other highlights are low-cost Wi-Fi and full-sized bowling alley.

Symphonie

CroisiEurope's Symphonie, a 162-passenger vessel based on the Rhine, operates eight-night cruises between Amsterdam and Basel, travelling through Holland, Germany and Switzerland.

Botticelli

CroisiEurope's 151-passenger Botticelli operates on one of Europe's most famous rivers, the Seine. It boasts spacious public areas and an emphasis on its French heritage.

France

CroisiEurope's 160-passenger France operates on one of Europe's most famous rivers, the Seine. It boasts spacious public areas and an emphasis on its French heritage.

Renoir
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

CroisiEurope's 158-passenger Renoir operates on one of Europe's most famous rivers, the Seine. It boasts spacious public areas and an emphasis on its French heritage.

Seine Princesse

CroisiEurope's 138-passenger Seine Princesse operates on one of Europe's most famous rivers. It boasts spacious public areas and an emphasis on its French heritage.

Camargue

CroisiEurope's Camargue, a 148-passenger vessel based on the Rhone and Saone, operates cruises through the South of France. It boasts spacious public areas and an emphasis on its French heritage.

Mistral

CroisiEurope's Mistral, a 158-passenger vessel based on the Rhone and Saone, operates cruises through the South of France. It boasts spacious public areas and an emphasis on its French heritage.

Princesse d'Aquitaine

CroisiEurope's Princesse d'Aquitaine, a 138-passenger vessel based on the Gironde River, operates cruises through southwest France. It boasts spacious public areas and an emphasis on its French heritage.

Michelangelo

CroisiEurope's 158-passenger Michelangelo sails Italy's Po River and Venetian Lagoon. It features spacious public areas, as well as complimentary bar drinks during the day and house wine, beer and drinks with meals.

Mona Lisa

The 98-passenger Mona Lisa is one of CroisiEurope's smaller ships, designed for shallow rivers. It operates cruises on the Tisza, Elbe, Danube and Rhine Rivers.

Fernao de Magalhaes

CroisiEurope 142-passenger Fernao de Magalhaes operates cruises along Portugal's Douro. All 71 cabins feature convertible double beds and floor-to-ceiling windows.

Vasco da Gama (CroisiEurope)

CroisiEurope 142-passenger Vasco de Gama operates cruises along Portugal's Douro. All 71 cabins feature convertible double beds and floor-to-ceiling windows.

Europe

CroisiEurope's 174-passenger L'Europe operates cruises on the Danube and Rhine Rivers. It offers complimentary bar drinks during the day and house wine, beer and drinks with meals.

Vivaldi

CroisiEurope's 174-passenger Vivaldi operates cruises on the Danube and Rhine Rivers. It offers complimentary bar drinks during the day and house wine, beer and drinks with meals.

Raymonde

Raymonde, one of CroisiEurope's 24-passenger hotel barges, sails the Marne Canal and the Saint-Martin Canal, in Paris. It includes select alcoholic beverages and soft drinks in its fare.

Madeleine

Madeleine, one of CroisiEurope's 24-passenger hotel barges, traverses the canals of Provence, following the wine route from Avignon to Sete, and stopping at villages along the way to sample local foods and wines.

Anne Marie

Anne Marie, one of CroisiEurope's 24-passenger hotel barges, traverses the canals of Provence, following the wine route from Avignon to Sete, and stopping at villages along the way to sample local foods and wines.

Toum Tiou

Toum Tiou is operated by CF Mekong River Cruises, a subsidiary of CroisiEurope. The 24-passenger ship's low draft allows it to access remote villages and the Gao Canal that flows into Saigon.

Toum Tiou II

Toum Tiou II is operated by CF Mekong River Cruises, a subsidiary of CroisiEurope. The 28-passenger ship's low draft allows it to access remote villages and the Gao Canal that flows into Saigon.

Lan Diep

Inspired by the Mekong's ancient tradition of riverboat building, the 44-passenger Lan Diep boasts a traditional Colonial style with wood finishing and a metal hull.

Jeanine
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Jeanine, one of CroisiEurope's 24-passenger hotel barges, operates cruises along France's canals and rivers. A 2013 refurb made it one of the most modern barges on the water.

Elbe Princesse
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

CroisiEurope's vessel is powered by two paddlewheels with an shallow draught of four feet to enable sailing the tricky Elbe and Vltava Rivers between Berlin and Prague.

Indochine II
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Launched in 2017, Indochine II is a small river ship dedicated to sailing itineraries along the Mekong in Cambodia. Styling is classic with modern amenities.

Deborah
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

CroisiEurope's 22-passenger barge ship built in 2016 offers decadent dining and pleasant accommodation traveling through France's Loire River canal.

Amalia Rodrigues

CroisiEurope's sixth ship on the Douro brings more of the line's European sensibilities and charm to Portugal.

La Belle Des Oceans

French river cruise line CroisiEurope has purchased the former Silver Discoverer and intends to refit it as the company's second oceangoing ship, La Belle des Oceans. It will enter service in spring 2020.

Zimbabwean Dream

CroisiEurope's newest vessel on Africa's Chobe River allows for European-style comfort while sailing one of the world's most often-overlooked waterways.

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