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Spirit of Chartwell

Enjoy an exclusive river cruise fit for a Queen on the Spirit of Chartwell, a Royal Barge. Used by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations on the River Thames in 2012, the Spirit of Chartwell now resides on the River Duoro in Portugal and you can book an exclusive cruise with exciting excursions to experience this regal barge.

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.

Key facts

  • Built: 2000
  • Decks: 3
  • Length: 63.87m Width: 6.7m
  • Classic Double Cabins: 14
  • Max. passengers: 30
  • Speed: 12 knots

Exclusive cruise on the Spirit of Chartwell

Sail from Porto to Quinta da Aveleda on this regal barge cruise, relaxing on board and enjoying the unique landscapes and attractions of Portugal on the way. Absorb the colourful castles and palaces of Sintra, and discover the unique culture of the golden Douro river on board the exclusively chartered Spirit of Chartwell.

From port tasting in Porto, and culinary demonstrations in Regua, Portuguese folk music shows, and our guided tours and quality excursions include visiting the impressive Baroque architecture of these beautiful towns along the banks of the river Douro. 

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The cruise

If it's a truly regal river cruise you're looking for, there's no better option than the Spirit of Chartwell. Boasting the sumptuousness of a classic luxury yacht, it was designed to evoke the timeless grandeur of a 1929 Côte d'Azur Pullman railway carriage and is a deluxe river vessel that has been built to the very highest standard. Commandeered by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in 2012 to celebrate her silver jubilee, it wears its royal pedigree proudly with many majestic touches throughout. 

The experience

Food served on board

Your on-board cuisine is produced with Portuguese culinary culture in mind. 

Exciting excursions and free time to explore including:
  • Dinner at the Vinum restaurant
  • Sunset harbour cruise in Porto
Suite luxury

Our tour has a small friendly group with a maximum of 30 passengers, with 14 classic double cabins to retire to after a day of excursions.

Folk Music Drum

Enjoy historical tours and a Portuguese music show which features a delightful performance of folk music.

About the ship

Built in 2000 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.

Fine dining

With any river cruise, delicious 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.

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.

More information

The Spirit of Chartwell began life as a ship navigating the Rhine river in Germany, known as the Vincent van Gogh. She was then bought by an English investor, who brought her to England with the aim of operating on the River Thames.

The scenery on offer on our tour though is very different to anything you'd see along the Thames. From vibrant Porto with its bustling waterfront to the serenity of secluded vineyards, this intimate ship takes you directly into the heart of the Douro Valley and gives you plenty of opportunities to explore sun-drenched Quintas, Spanish strongholds and hill-top towns that look down over the winding river below. And once back on board, you'll be treated to sumptuous meals of multiple courses, all served alongside free-flowing local wines for a true taste of Portugal. 



Dressed in classic 1920s and 1930s style, with ample room and tasteful furnishings, cabins on board the Spirit of Chartwell are a delight to stay in. Mahogany finishes, brass decorations and elegant colour scheme define each of the 14 classic staterooms and the Royal Suite, and as a special touch, the wall lights are taken from the famous SS France, one of the longest cruise ships in history.

Each cabin features a private bathroom and a power show, while the amenities include a television, a hairdryer and individually-controlled air conditioning.

Royal Suite - Saloon Deck

The Royal Suite aboard the Spirit of Chartwell can be found on the Saloon Deck, and this elevated positions grants some sublime panoramas across the winding Douro, offering views of the rolling vineyards and pretty Portuguese towns. The suite also offers more space, a larger window and a large double bed.

Stateroom - Stateroom Deck

Boasting an understated elegance, the staterooms on the Spirit of Chartwell are available with twin beds. They all feature a television, a trouser press, air- conditioning and an en-suite bathroom.

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