Abstract: Discover what cruising on CroisiEurope is about. A cruise line and ship review of MS Miguel Torga that offers 6-to-8-day cruises through the Douro Valley.
About the cruise line
CroisiEurope is a family-owned company that has been in operation since 1976. International travelers will like the laid-back vibe, which I found refreshing as a North American cruiser. This might not be the perfect cruise for first-time river cruisers from America, but it would be for those that have an affinity for all things French or perhaps, potential cruisers who want to experience another style of river cruising (a non-herding approach found on some of the competition). The shipboard ambiance is laid back with a feel like you are visiting family.
There is no doubt that CroisiEurope has pioneered river cruising in Europe. As Europe’s largest and most experienced river cruise line, cruise passengers will encounter warm hospitality, gourmet French cuisine, comfortable accommodations, and a well-executed land discovery program.
Since CroisiEurope is a French cruise line that caters to the European market, expect to hear French spoken on the ship. However, don’t let that deter you from booking. I speak three languages and French is not one of them. Did that stop me from having a great time? No.
A large number of crew and staff are multilingual. I did not have an issue communicating in English and with my Google Translates app, I could understand everything. A large number of guests also speak many major European languages, but English seems to be a common language. Tours were conducted in French and English, so there was never a missed step. In fact, I found that I liked the bilingual instruction when our English-speaking group did not have their own guide. It gave a sort of natural pause, that allowed me to slow down a bit to really savor the sights and sounds of the tour.
Case Study: MS Miguel Torga ship review
I attended the inauguration of CroisisEurope’s MS Miguel Torga in April right before the new vessel welcomed guests onboard for the first time. The ship was built in 2016 at the Sambre and Meuse Shipyard in Namur and is a “5-anchor” rated ship, which means that it reflects the brand’s highest standards. The anchor rating can be thought of as the cruise line’s version of a “star” rating. The MS Miguel Torga joins four other sister-ships in the fleet to sail the river Douro from Porto, Portugal.
Portugal’s “Golden River” is dotted with colorful scenery, history, culture and lots (and lots) of vineyards.
The MS Miguel Torga cruises from the mouth of the river Douro at the Atlantic Ocean to the Spanish border. Look forward to experiencing the picturesque Douro Valley, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Learn about this historical winemaking region in the comfort of CrosiEurope’s new river cruise ship purpose-built for cruising the Douro Valley from Porto with stopovers in Regua, Pinhao, Vega de Terron, Barca d’Alva, Salamanca, and Ferradosa.
What would your ideal river cruise ship stateroom look like?
Chances are you will want to have plenty of space and a view. On the MS Miguel Torga, you get both.
Your MS Miguel Torga cabin has a neutral color palette and plenty of glass that helps lighten the space and also the cabin looks more spacious. I like the artwork of the local Porto area that was on my wall, in fact throughout the ship there is graphic art that ties the local community to the ship. Bringing the outside into the ship is a great design choice because it helps tell the story of the region and that helps to connect the traveler with the locale.
Cabins have exterior views, a double bed that can be separated into two twins, armoire, flat-screen television, hair dryer, safe and private bathroom. There are four suites and one cabin for persons with reduced mobility.
The lavatory is well designed. High-end fixtures from brands like Hansgrohe and streak-proof glass shower doors.
Besides 66 double-occupancy cabins (including four suites) that can accommodate 132 passengers, there is a lounge with scenic views, a restaurant that offers panoramic windows, a boutique, sun deck with chaise lounges and a large 258 square foot pool.
The interior designs for CroisiEurope’s modern ship were completed in Strasbourg by local companies. The MS Miguel Torga’s contemporary design hosts a neutral color scheme with punches of red, which are an accent in honor of the Port wine from the region. The use of natural light helps adds to the ship’s overall chill vibe. and open spaces provide extra space for passengers to relax.
Don’t miss visiting the bow of the ship to enjoy a nice outdoor lounge to enjoy the navigation and local life along the riverbanks.
Dining: French Cuisine, European Flair
CroisiEurope dining room. Photo by Carrie Finley Bajak.
Breakfast buffet with fresh pastries and bread. Fresh fruit, cheeses and meats, dried fruit and nuts, eggs and breakfast sausages.
Lunch and dinner include a 3-course sit-down meal prepared by the cruise line’s chefs. There is a fixed menu of local specialties, prepared on a daily basis from fresh ingredients. Both lunch and dinner meals are paired with excellent complimentary wines. With advance warning, the kitchen can accommodate special diets. In fact, I had vegetarian options half the time while onboard even though I did not alert the cruise line in advance.
MS Miguel Torga At-a-Glance
Year built: 2017
Length: 262 feet
Width : 37 feet
Number of cabins: 66
Capacity: 132 passengers
Onboard amenities: Lounge with large picture windows, restaurant, TV, gift shop, elevator, sun deck with chaise lounges. Air-conditioning throughout entire boat and in each cabin, central heating, free onboard Wi-Fi