Spirit of Chartwell by Ian Warren from GoCruise

Spirit of Chartwell by Ian Warren from GoCruise

Having booked a customer onto a Titan travel holiday early in July, I entered the booking reference into the draw to win a FAM trip with Titan, and was really pleased to win a place. It was even better when I found that it would be on the Spirit of Chartwell – aka The Royal Barge – sailing the Douro in Portugal, writes Ian Warren.

The Spirit of Chartwell is a hotel barge owned by Douro Azul, although is most famous for taking centre stage in the Diamond Jubilee Pageant on June 3, 2012. Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were on board tas it led a flotilla of over 1,000 vessels along the Thames.

Having been built in 1997, the barge started life on the River Rhine when it was known as the Vincent Van Gogh, before being purchased by the Magna Carta Steamship Company, which offered luxury river cruises on the River Thames. After playing a part in the Diamond Jubilee Pageant, it was subsequently purchased by Douro Azul and moved to a new home on the Douro River and is chartered on certain dates by a number of UK tour operators including Titan Travel.

There are 14 cabins with fixed twin beds, and one suite with a fixed double bed, giving a total capacity of 30 passengers. It is worth noting that there is no lift onboard and, as the stairs can be quite challenging, it wouldn’t really be suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.

Ian Warren on board Spirit of Chartwell

I was with a group of other travel agents, who had also won places, and Titan staff. We spent two nights in Porto at the HF Fenix Hotel, followed by three nights on the Spirit of Chartwell.

If you have any customers who might be interested in taking a cruise on the Spirit of Chartwell, then Titan travel have a great nine-night itinerary in 2016 called A Celebration of Lisbon and the Douro. This holiday gives two nights in Lisbon and a seven-night cruise on the Douro. They will be collected from their front door, and driven to the airport, and then taken home again at the end of their holiday, courtesy of Titan’s VIP Home Departure Service.

I was really impressed with the ship, and you could see why it was chosen from hundreds of other barges, to be the one used by The Queen for the Jubilee Celebrations. The cabins are really comfortable, with far more storage space than I had expected. I was especially impressed with the size of the bathrooms, which had a large walk-in shower with glass doors as opposed to a curtain.

On our second night, instead of having dinner onboard, we were taken to the ancient site Quinta de Avessada. The setting was fabulous, as it is on a very large plateau in the Village of Favaios, high up in the hills. We were greeted with music and given a drink of the local fortified wine. The evening was great fun, not least because of our host Luis Barros, who is known as the Portuguese ‘Mr Bean’. You can see in the likeness in this photo, which shows him with Edwina Coppock, who is the agency sales manager for Titan Travel.

Luis Barros, known as the Portuguese Mr Bean, with Edwina Coppock

This was a fantastic trip, and if you click on the following link you can see my full review and videos.

Titan really has an amazing variety of other tours on offer, and not just the fully escorted tours under the Titan Travel banner. They also have a range of holidays under the Traveller by Titan brand, for those guests who like a bit more independence.

Speaking as an agent, I have to say that Titan is a great company to deal with, as they have a great team of agency facing staff, and they pay excellent commission levels as well. They also give customers a great experience, making it a ‘win-win’ situation for you and your customers.

  • If you need more information about selling Titan Travel, or Traveller by Titan, contact Agency Sales at agentadmin@titantravel.co.uk or call 08009885156



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