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Spirit of Chartwell

Precious few river cruise ships can claim to have the same elegance and class as the Spirit of Chartwell. With her superb interiors of polished wood and early 20th century charm, this barge is fit for royalty.

Spirit of Chartwell

The Spirit of Chartwell began life as a ship navigating the Rhine river in Germany, known as the Vincent van Gogh. Taking inspiration from vintage trains which operated up and down the Côte d'Azur, the Spirit was decorated in classic 1920s style, and docked at various cities and towns up and down Germany. She was then bought by an English investor, who brought her to England with the aim of operating on the River Thames.

In 2012, the ship's pedigree was elevated further when the Spirit of Chartwell was picked for Her Majesty the Queen's Diamond Jubilee River Pageant to take her and the other members of the Royal

Family along the Thames. In honour of the occasion, the barge was refitted, restored and refurnished by a Dutch shipbuilder to bring out the British elements in the ship's design. Redesigned in the style of the 17th century royal vessels, the Spirit of Chartwell was transformed into the official royal barge in time for the celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee, recognising the 60th anniversary of the Queen's 1952 accession.

This royal presence can still be felt throughout the ship even after it began sailing on the Douro in Portugal, with reproduced portraits of the Queen and selected furnishings which lined the corridors for the Diamond Jubilee Pageant.

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Douro Cruise on the Spirit of Chartwell

Iconic port wine, enigmatic cities and Portuguese charm, all on a ship used by Her Majesty the Queen, makes this cruise one to remember. Discover the unique culture of the golden Douro river on board the exclusively chartered Spirit of Chartwell as you visit quintas, explore villas and sample Portuguese delicacies.

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The ship itself

Exuding regal charm, imperial elegance and tasteful sophistication, there are few better ways to experience the golden beauty of the Douro River than from the decks of the Spirit of Chartwell.

The ship takes inspiration for its interior design from a variety of different luxury trains. This is obvious from the 1920s-inspired décor which lends a private club feel to the corridors, bar and solarium, adding to the exclusive feel of the ship. Chaise longues, gentle wood panelling and panoramic windows make this the perfect environment for sitting back and relaxing with a drink alongside your fellow passengers.

The Spirit of Chartwell is made up of three decks, each serving an individual purpose. The base-level Staterooms Deck is home to the 14 classic double cabins; retire here after a day of excursions and watch the river scenery drift by your window in comfort. The second deck is the Saloon Deck, and here you can find the Somerset Maugham Piano Bar, the lounge and the George Bradshaw Restaurant and Lounge, as well as the impeccable Royal Suite. As night falls, this is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy a nightcap, accompanied by background piano music. The top deck is the Sundeck, where you can make the most of the glorious Portuguese sun and views across the countryside from the comfort of your deck chair, or enjoy the Charles Dickens Solarium.

Dining on board the Spirit of Chartwell

With any river cruise, dining is a vital part of the experience. On the Spirit of Chartwell, meals are taken in the George Bradshaw Lounge and Restaurant on the Saloon Deck. Continuing the ship's luxurious ambience, the restaurant features private and shared dining arrangements, with two-person booths for an intimate dinner, and tables serving up to eight for a more social affair. Great care has been taken to showcase the scenery the Spirt of Chartwell passes through, with large windows to watch the vineyards, hills and villages of Portugal float by.

Your on-board cuisine is produced with Portuguese culinary culture in mind, making use of local, fresh produce picked up at each docking point. To accompany your meals, a selected range of beers, wines and soft drinks are included with lunch and dinner. After the Captain's Dinner, your experience is heightened by the beautiful music of a professional folk band playing traditional Portuguese songs.

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