Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The 'Royal Barge' On The Douro

Escorted tour specialists Titan Travel have announced the launch of a series of exclusive arrangements enabling travellers to sail on one of the most famous river ships in the world – Spirit of Chartwell.

Made famous in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012, the ‘Royal Barge’ was seen around the world hosting Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family during the Thames Pageant. Now, it is making new waves, sailing on the beautiful Douro River in northern Portugal, with a number of departures exclusively chartered by Titan.

The fabulous ‘Douro River Cruise on the Royal Barge’ package offers either a 3 or 4-night cruise on the Douro, combined with a 3 or 4-night stay in the royally-connected Pousada de Amares – Santa Maria do Bouro.

The Spirit of Chartwell is a unique vessel, with a distinctive chocolate and cream livery. Its interior was inspired by the Rene Lalique 1929 Pullman car ‘Côte d’Azur’, with exquisite glass panels, classical figures and lovingly restored Pullman Express armchairs in the lounge and restaurant. Here, guests are served a delicious selection of cuisine as they take in unrivalled views of the river from the large panoramic windows. The intimate vessel has 20 staterooms, each with en-suite facilities and rich cream mahogany finishes.

The royal theme continues with a few days at the stunning Pousada de Amares, a restored 12th century monastery in an enviable location on the border of the scenic Peneda Gerês National Park. From the inside of its imposing granite structure, five statues of Kings of Portugal can be seen, bringing to life the pousada’s vibrant history of royalty and opulence.

On the first night of the trip, Titan will set the mood for the week with a welcome cocktail dinner party on board. The following day, there is an optional visit to the Mateus Palace and Gardens, after which guests can enjoy a special dinner at Quinta da Avessada in Pinhão. Further highlights include an alfresco Portuguese barbecue dinner on board; an optional visit to the city of Lamego and a visit to the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remedios.

Transferring to the Pousada de Amares, there is an excursion to Braga, where sights include the 18th century Neo-Classical Bom Jesus do Monte church, before dinner in the Pousada’s Convent’s Kitchen restaurant in the evening. On the final day, there is the option to take a full-day excursion to the Peneda Gerês National Park, with spectacular natural views and sites of many prehistoric and Celtic settlements.

This cruise is available on selected dates in June, September and October and costs from £1,595 per person for a 3-night cruise (full board), and 4-night stay in the pousada (half board) including flights, the services of a Titan tour manager and Titan’s VIP Home Departure Service, transferring travellers from their front door to the airport and back, wherever they live in the UK.

For more info visit www.titantravel.co.uk, or for more river-cruising ideas, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's river cruise specialists.