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

Spendology - Widgets

Royal Barge on the Douro

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

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.

Key Features

Culture & Riverscapes
Exclusive Historic Small Ship
Complimentary Cabin Selection
Jules Verne Sightseeing
2 UNESCO Heritage Sites
Jules Verne Representative
All Inclusive Drinks Package Available

Special Events

Quinta Dinner & Tastings

Enjoy port tastings and a traditional Portuguese dinner at the Quinta da Avessada, an ancient site producing Douro wines in the vineyard village of Favaios.

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)

  • Key
  • B - Breakfast
  • L - Lunch
  • D - Dinner


The programme may be altered due to navigational factors with locks, water levels or congestion at certain sites.


per person in a twin main deck cabin
TAP Portugal from Gatwick

Date Price
May 12 £2995
June 9 £3095
June 16 £3295
June 23 £3295
September 22 £3295


Click here for 2024 departures

Supplements per person

Single Supplement

(limited availability)
Jun 16 & 23

(limited availability)
Jun £795

Single supplement £1895

Cabin Upgrades

 Royal Suite £495

Flight Options

TAP Portugal Business Class - On request
easyJet from Gatwick or Manchester - On request
Ryanair from Stansted - On request

Optional Excursions

Visit to Salamanca by road £50

Extension Options

Extra Nights - Porto
The Lodge Hotel (per night) £150
Single supplement £105
Arrival transfer add £25
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 £1145
Single supplement £285

Extra Options

Drinks Package £80

Enjoy selected white, red, rosé or sparkling wine by the glass, selected beer, house spirits and soft drinks.

Tour Only

Save £200 
Arrival or departure transfer add £25

Price Includes
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.

Not Included
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; Draft beer (alcoholic)/Bottle of beer (non-alcoholic); All cocktails (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) ; All long drinks: Whisky, Gin, Vodka, Brandy, Baileys & Rum; All non-alcoholic drinks; Water in your cabin; All coffee specialties (non-alcoholic); Hot chocolate & tea. Premium branded drinks and champagne are not included.


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Royal Barge on the Douro

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