From baroque castles to beautiful bucolic villages, from hilltop medieval ruins to valleys cloaked in the vineyards of age-old wine estates, from mountain scenery to ocean shore, enjoy the ever-changing landscapes of this unique Royal Barge cruise on the Douro
Day 1 – Porto
Day 2 – Entre-os-Rios
Day 3 – Pinhão
Days 4 & 5 – Barca d'Alva
Day 6 – Régua
Day 7 – Porto
Day 8 – Return Flight
Sailing up and down the Douro is always enchanting, but few cruises compare with Jules Verne’s Royal Barge experience. The MV Spirit of Chartwell carried Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in the Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the Thames in 2012. Now this elegant and sophisticated little ship carries a maximum of just thirty guests along the Douro, its sun deck a perfect viewing platform for the river’s remarkable scenery.
As it flows through a 2,000 year legacy of winemaking, the river meanders around the sun-soaked slopes of its famous valley vineyards, from which, in times gone by, flat-bottom boats would brave the rapids to carry the wine to the river mouth. Now tamed and shelved with five dams and locks, it is a serene journey from the port wine cellars, bell towers and beaux-art buildings of Porto, to the uppermost Portuguese port on the river, Barca d’Alva, its sleepy quayside lining a lazy bend in the river.
In between, we sail beneath the Douro’s seven bridges, cross the Carrapatelo, the highest of the dams, float through super-scenic UNESCO listed landscapes, and go ashore to medieval villages, the Mateus Manor House, port wine tasting at a renowned Quinta, and Lamego’s Moorish castle, museum and holy shrine.
Culture & Riverscapes
Exclusive Historic Small Ship
Complimentary Cabin Selection
Jules Verne Sightseeing
2 UNESCO Heritage Sites
Jules Verne Representative
All Inclusive Drinks Package Available
Day 1 Fly from your chosen airport to Porto and embark on the MS Spirit of Chartwell for seven nights. Baroque churches, bell towers and beaux-art buildings seem to sit on each other’s shoulders on Porto’s riverbank hills, the country’s second largest city straddling the Douro. Sights worth seeing include the 14th-century São Francisco church and port wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia. Overnight in Porto. (D)
Day 2 After a city tour of Porto, which includes a visit to a port wine cellar, we cruise upstream, crossing the Crestuna-Lever Dam and floodgate enroute to an overnight mooring at Entre-os-Rios, where a bridge links the rural riverbanks. Enjoy a traditional Portuguese show on board. (B, L, D)
Day 3 The royal barge navigates the 35metre-high lift of the Carrapatelo Dam as we cruise to Régua, from where we visit the 18th century Mateus Manor House, a beautiful little baroque palace, set amid gorgeous gardens. We continue toward Pinhão with time to marvel at one of the most beautiful Railway stations in Portugal. After a scenic drive we arrive for dinner at a local Quinta. (B, L, D)
Day 4 After morning cruising passing the Valeira Dam, an afternoon excursion takes you to the charming medieval village of Castelo Rodrigo, nestled on a hillside beneath its battle-scarred castle. Sturdy gateways still stand, though little is left of the city walls, a former turret is now a clocktower, and two churches and a stone fountain can be found along its rough-cobbled lanes. Two nights moored in Barca d’Alva. (B, L, D)
Day 5 A day at leisure lets you choose to relax on board and enjoy Barca d’Alva, or take an optional road tour into Spain to visit the UNESCO World Heritage City of Salamanca. With free time to explore the area around the majestic Plaza Mayor, a guided tour of the medieval old town includes the 15th century Casa de las Conchas (‘house of shells’), and the 16th-17th century Gothic ‘New Cathedral’ (£50). (B, L, D)
Day 6 We begin our return journey, sailing downriver through the Pocinho, Valeira and Régua Dams, and pausing for a wine tasting visit to Quinta do Seixo, the home of Sandeman port. Special Portuguese dinner on the barge. Overnight in Régua. (B, L, D)
Day 7 Today’s excursion is to ancient Lamego, where a 12th century castle crowns one of its two hills, the Episcopal Palace is now the town’s museum, frescoes and Flemish tapestries adorn the Gothic cathedral, cafés and monuments line the broad Avenida, and all is overseen by the church of Our Lady of the Remedies, atop an astonishing baroque staircase, 686 steps high and embellished with blue and white tiles. Sail to Porto for overnight. Farewell Jules Verne drinks aboard. (B, L, D)
Day 8 Transfer to the airport for your return flight (or to the hotel of your chosen extended stay). (B)
The programme may be altered due to navigational factors with locks, water levels or congestion at certain sites.
A luxury barge owned by Douro Azul with a mainly Portuguese crew (official on-board language is English), built in 2000 and refurbished in 2010 especially for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee celebrations on the River Thames. Smaller than most Douro cruise vessels, these departures in the favoured season are reserved exclusively for the guests of Jules Verne.
Enjoy traditional Portuguese and continental cuisine in an elegant one-sitting dining room with wine, beer and soft drinks included at dinner. Breakfast and lunch are normally buffet and dinner is waiter service. Reception, bar, lounge, sun deck, shop and WiFi (free/limited). The ship normally sails in daylight hours only.
15 air-conditioned, outside cabins with private facilities, safe, hairdryer and satellite TV. 14 twin main deck cabins (130 sq. ft.) and one double Upper Deck Royal suite (194 sq. ft.). Select your preferred cabin at the time of booking.
Stay at the luxurious 5-star The Lodge Hotel in Porto. Excellently located in the historic heart of Vila Nova de Gaia, with centuries-old Port wine cellars waiting to be discovered. Restaurant, bar, outdoor pool, WiFi (free) and 119 air-conditioned rooms with hairdryer, safe, mini-bar and satellite TV. Breakfast included. City tax is payable locally, currently €2 per person per night.
The Cradle of Portugal - Pre-Cruise Extension
Stay at the 4-star Hotel do Parque perched high on a hilltop overlooking Braga and surrounded by gardens, with access into the town by road and funicular. Sightseeing includes tours of medieval Braga, Viana do Castelo and Ponte de Lima. An accommodation tax is payable locally, currently €1.50 per person per night.
Day 1 Transfer to the Minho region and stay three nights in the Hotel do Parque.
Day 2 Visit medieval Guimarães and Braga. (B)
Day 3 Visit Viana do Castelo and Ponte de Lima. (B)
Day 4 Transfer to the MS Spirit of Chartwell. (B)
4-star hotel perched high on a hilltop overlooking Braga and surrounded by gardens, with access into the town by road and funicular. The hotel serves breakfast only but a hotel nearby, under the same management, has a restaurant serving lunch and dinner. 49 air-conditioned rooms with mini-bar, hairdryer and satellite TV.
Pousadas of Portugal Extension
Extend and stay in charming historic accommodation with two nights in Condeixa-a-Nova and three nights in Queluz. Includes 6 UNESCO sites with visits to Coimbra, Fátima, Batalha, Tomar, Nazaré, Alcobaça, Óbidos, Lisbon and Sintra.
Day 1 Disembark and travel towards Condeixa-a-Nova for a two-night stay at the Conimbriga Hotel do Paço. Visit Coimbra, including a tour of the university. (D)
Day 2 Visit the Catholic pilgrimage site of Fátima and the impressive Gothic monastery of Batalha. Continue to Tomar with time to explore the medieval town and the Convent of Christ independently. (B)
Day 3 Visit the historic monastery of Santa Maria in Alcobaça via Nazaré. Visit the ancient walled town of Óbidos with free time to explore. Three nights at the Pousada Palácio de Queluz. (B)
Day 4 Morning tour of Lisbon including Terreiro do Paço, Belém and Alfama district. Afternoon at leisure to explore Lisbon further. Evening optional Fado show with dinner (£50). (B)
Day 5 Half day visit of Sintra and its National Palace. Panoramic drive through Cabo da Roca, Cascais and Estoril. (B)
Day 6 Transfer to Lisbon airport for the return flight to London. (B)
A former noble manor house from the 16th century with large gardens and located near Coimbra. Restaurant, outdoor pool, WiFi (free) and 43 air-conditioned rooms with hairdryer, mini-bar and TV.
Formerly used by the Royal Guard of the Court in the Palace of Queluz, known as the ‘Portuguese Versailles’ and located 12kms from Lisbon. Restaurant, WiFi (chargeable) and 26 air-conditioned rooms with mini-bar and satellite TV. An accommodation tax is payable locally, currently €2 per person per night.
per person in a twin main deck cabin
TAP Portugal from Gatwick
Supplements per person
REDUCED SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
May 12, Jun & Sep £795
Single supplement £1895
Royal Suite £495
TAP Portugal Business Class - On request
easyJet from Gatwick or Manchester - On request
Ryanair from Stansted - On request
Visit to Salamanca by road £50
Extra Nights - Porto
The Lodge Hotel (per night) £140 (May £105)
Single supplement £140 (May £105)
Airport-Hotel-Boat/Boat-Hotel-Airport arrival or departure transfer add £25
Pre-Cruise Extension - The Cradle of Portugal
3 nights £385
Single supplement £125
Post-Cruise Extension - Pousadas of Portugal
5 nights £1015
Single supplement £285
Drinks Package £80
Enjoy selected white, red, rosé or sparkling wine by the glass, selected beer, house spirits and soft drinks.
Arrival or departure transfer add £25
Air travel and taxes, port charges, transfers, 7-night cruise, full board on cruise vessel, complimentary tea/coffee on board, drinks at dinner, excursions, Jules Verne Representative, local expert guides and representatives. If our specially negotiated airfares are unavailable at the time of booking, a supplement may apply.
Travel insurance, optional excursions, tipping, any government taxes or compulsory charges introduced after publication.
Drinks Package Includes: House Brands - House wine (red, white, rose); Open sparkling wine; Beer/Draft beer; All cocktails (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) ; All long drinks; All non-alcoholic drinks; Water in your cabin; All coffee specialties (non-alcoholic); Hot chocolate & tea.
Please complete this form and a member of our sales department will contact you as soon as possible to confirm your booking and take payment. Our opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 5.30pm and Saturdays 10am to 2pm