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Spirit of Chartwell

Portugal

© Spirit of ChartwellDeck © Spirit of ChartwellCabin © Spirit of Chartwell

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cruise on the Douro River

 

Unique, unspoiled, and even somewhat unknown describes Northern Portugal’s Douro River Valley. Extending from the country’s second largest city, Porto on the Atlantic Ocean, eastward to the Spanish border, this pristine and remote region is home to 5 separate UNESCO World Heritage sites and a variety of natural and manmade attractions.

Along with its natural beauty and serenity, cruising on the Douro River carries visitors past terraced vineyards and by medieval villages. Aboard the Spirit of Chartwell, enjoy a full touring program which offers opportunity to visit many highlight attractions throughout the awe striking region.

Spirit of Chartwell sets the standard for the highest quality intimate barge, cruising on Northern Portugal’s Douro River. The Spirit of Chartwell, very recently restored and redecorated for, and used by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, affords select travellers an experience worthy of its Royal Heritage. This thirty passenger vessel provides the finest imported interior furnishings and delivers classic elegance in a comfortable and stately ambiance.

 

Features

  • Piano Bar © Spirit of Chartwell30 passengers
  • 63.87 m x 6.7 m
  • 14 twin cabins: private bathroom with shower, hair dryer and independent air conditioning
  • 1 Royal suite (queen size bed)
  • Restaurant
  • Piano bar
  • Sundeck & Deck chairs

 

Location map

Douro cruise: from Porto to Porto

 

Cruise route    Points of interest

 

Sample itinerary: Porto to Porto – 7 nights cruise

Day 1

 

  • 17:00 – Embarkation in Porto
  • Welcome cocktail and dinner on board
  • Overnight in Porto

 

Day 2

 

  • Ship sails from Porto to Entre-os-Rios
  • Breakfast on board
  • Lunch and visit to Quinta da Aveleda

Market leader in the Vinho Verde Region, Aveleda is one of the largest wine producers in Portugal and annually exports more than half of its production to over 70 countries worldwide. The first records of the sale of bottled wine date back to 1870, with Manuel Pedro Guedes (1837-1899), known for his strong enterprising spirit and believed to be the founder of the business as we know it today. His work bore fruit and the quality of the Aveleda wines started to be recognised, as the gold medals won in the international competitions in Berlin (1888) and Paris (1889). Today the Guedes family still owns 100% of the company, always committed to maintaining this family legacy which spans several generations.

  • Ship sail from Entre-os-Rios to Pinhão

This is a small 19th century city. It is located in the heart of the Douro Valley and is the Economical and Geographical Centre of the Port Wine Region. Visit the train station and its beautiful Portuguese tiles (Azulejos) depicting the region’s local culture.

  • Lecture: Douro Region
  • Vintage Port Ceremony
  • Dinner on board
  • Overnight in Pinhão

 

Day 3

 

  • Ship sails from Pinhão to Barca d’Alva

This new town, was established in the 19th century. Located in the Natural Park of Douro International, Barca d’Alva offers magnificent natural landscapes.

  • Breakfast on board
  • Cooking class on board
  • Lunch on board
  • Excursion to Castelo Rodrigo

Castelo Rodrigo, located at about 2200 feet above sea level, is one of Portugal’s 12 historical Parishes. Its streets are typically medieval, very narrow and steep, and one can still find 16th century façades and Manuelino style windows. 

The Romans were the first to build a fortress here. The village became part of the Portuguese territory in 1297, during the reign of King Dinis. Throughout the centuries, Jews, Arabs and Christians have all peacefully coexisted in this small city and have created the social fabric of Castelo Rodrigo. There are still signs of this peaceful cooperation such as on the Sinagoga (the Synagogue Street) which dates back to the 16th century, during the time of King Manuel I, when a Jewish community of about 300 people escaping the inquisition and local Christians lived together in peace during this terrible time. 

The area has an economy based on agriculture (cereals, olives and olive oil), cattle rising, the granite trade and cheese production. Wine has been produced in the region since started in the 12th century by the monks and now there is a modern wine cooperative. In 1991, the white wine Quinta do Cardo won a Golden Medal.

  • Dinner on board
  • Portuguese fado and folk music show
  • Overnight in Barca d’Alva

 

Day 4

 

  • Breakfast on board
  • Trip to Salamanca with Flamenco show and lunch

Salamanca, a city rich in traditions, is situated in the centre of the “Castilla y León” region. The city was founded by Celtic-Iberian tribes on the banks of the Tormes River. First occupied by Romans and then Arabs, Salamanca was finally reconquered by Christians in the 12th century. Afterwards, during the 13th century, the Iberian Peninsula’s oldest university was created here and the city’s stature was greatly increased.

The city has been visited repeatedly by kings, princes, bishops and artists who have all contributed to its enrichment over the centuries and this is why Salamanca is known as a “live museum”. Visiting Salamanca takes one back to the middle ages. However, along with this city’s impressive history, monuments and buildings are also its 40,000 international students who give it a multicultural, cosmopolitan and modern feeling. In 2002, Salamanca was Capital of the Culture and the city is World Heritage since 1988.

The guided city tour will take us to visit the the University, House of Shells and the beautiful “Plaza Mayor”, formally a site of bullfighting and now a popular gathering point for locals and visitors alike. The tour also visits the Gothic ‘New’ Cathedral – a name which serves as a testimony to the city’s age and rich history – since this ‘new’ building was constructed in the 16th century to replace the original 12th century Salamanca Cathedral. During your free time, you may opt to also visit the Old Cathedral to take in its classic Romanic architecture.

  • Dinner barbecue on board
  • Overnight in Barca d’Alva

 

Day 5

 

  • Ship sails from Barca d’Alva to Régua

Existing since the Roman occupation, Régua was primarily developed during the 18th century, Marquês do Pombal era. Backed by Marão mountain chain, Régua is the official centre of the Port Wine growing region. A must-see is the Casa do Douro, where the history and production of Port Wine is depicted in its stained-glass windows.

  • Breakfast on board
  • Lecture: Portugal History
  • Trip to Mateus Palace and Gardens

The tour proceeds to land owned by the last Count of Vila Real. In the Gardens of Mateus Palace, you have the chance to discover the connection between Mateus Rose Wine and this beautiful 18th century house. Here discover that, although still owned by the Count of Vila Real, the palace has served as a Cultural Foundation called “Casa de Mateus” (The House of Mateus) since the 1970’s. The foundation’s main aim is the preservation of the villa, study of its archives and the promotion of cultural, scientific and educational activities. The manor displays liturgical vestments, a collection of silver reliquaries (18th century), a woodcraft altar (17th century), ivory images of Our Lady of Conception (17th century) and a “Descent from the Cross” (18th century), amongst several other images and curiosities of religious nature. You will have a chance to also see Portuguese, French and English furniture as well as paintings from the same period. After this tour, enjoy free time in the beautiful palace’s gardens, amongst Portugal’s most beautiful.

  • Dinner at a wine production Quinta
  • Overnight in Régua

 

Day 6

 

  • Breakfast on board
  • Tour to Lamego

Lamego, an old town rich in history, is small and picturesque, warm and very charming. Its Cathedral Sanctuary is one of the most important places of pilgrimage in Portugal: the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies. Built in the second half of the 18th century over the remains of a 14th century chapel, it is an excellent example of Portuguese baroque style. Embracing the whole town from the top of the hill is the Cathedral’s impressive staircase, with nearly 700 steps. It is beautifully decorated with enormous panels of blue and white tiles. In addition to the shrine, you will visit, the Gothic Cathedral. If you feel like it, you can also visit the Lamego Castle and its Cisterns and tour the Town’s Museum. 

The town is also famous for its gastronomy: the smoked ham, the “bola de Lamego” (a bread filled in with smoked ham); roasted kid with oven-made rice; regional cakes and the very well-known sparkling wine called “Raposeira”. Time will be given at the end of the tour to explore the narrow and winding streets of the town or simply watch the world go by from one of the outdoor cafes.

  • Ship sail from Régua to Entre-os-Rios
  • Lunch on board
  • Lecture: Portugal Today
  • Dinner on board
  • Overnight in Entre-os-Rios

 

Day 7

 

  • Ship sails from Entre-os-Rios to Porto
  • Breakfast on board
  • Lunch on board
  • Porto city tour

This tour introduces Porto, the capital of the North of Portugal. We’ll drive through its narrow streets to find 16th century arcaded buildings and Baroque churches and chapels. We will cross the city’s iconic 19th century iron bridge, built by the school of Gustave Eiffel. The city tour will also take us along the coastal road of the Atlantic to the mouth of the Douro River, located at “Foz”. There, this posh neighbourhood of Porto presents its fashionable Villas and Manor Houses.

Before returning to Vila Nova de Gaia, we visit the city’s cathedral. Located on the top of the Penaventosa hill, with an amazing view over the river, the cathedral construction started in the late 12th century and continued until the 17th century. And the building continued receiving changes to its style until the 20th century. Inside you can find beautiful examples of golden carved altarpieces and paintings from the Nasoni period.

The tour ends with a visit to one of the Port Wine Lodges, located in Vila Nova de Gaia, where the group will have opportunity to see the old casks full of Port and have a sample of this delicious, world famous Portuguese wine.

  • Capitain’s dinner
  • Overnight in Porto

 

Day 8

 

  • Breakfast on board
  • Disembarkation

 

Photo Gallery

Cruise Fares

Spirit of Chartwell cruise fares for 2017:

 

7 night cruise – Full board – Double cabin: from €1,995 per person
Single supplement: from €825
7 night cruise – Full board – Royal Suite: from €2,820 per person

 

Included in the fare:

– Cruise, accommodation and full board with drinks
– All on board activities
– Off ship dinner events
– Wine at off ship events
– All tours with guide and/or tour escort

 

 

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