Debuting in 2013, the 118-passenger Queen Isabel runs routes along the Douro River, past terraced vineyards and sloping estates. Named after one of Portugal's beloved female sovereigns, the ship has lavish interiors: two suites measure 323 square feet, and 18 junior suites at 215-square-feet have step-out balconies, and all staterooms are appointed with iPod/iPhone chargers and players, L’Occitane bath products, bathrobes, and slippers.
What We Love
Lots of Inclusions: Uniworld's cruise fares package shore excursions, gratuities, alcoholic beverages, and pre- and post-cruise extensions. On a visit to medieval Salamanca, Uniworld even gives each passenger 15 euro to purchase lunch at the restaurants or cafés in the Old City.
Special Excursions: These curated experiences are a good way to get a taste of the local culture and cuisines. For example, guests have dinner with the matriarch of the winemaking family of Quinta da Avessada.
Best Known For
Picturesque Itinerary: The route along the Douro River is gorgeous, with dramatic scenery and plenty of opportunities to sample the famous wines, produced in the region for more than 2,000 years, which has earned it the status of a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Alfresco Dining: Don’t miss dining in the ship’s alfresco area in front of the main restaurant. (The crew turns on the heating lamps on cool evenings.) Make reservations well ahead; tables become scarce as the word spreads.
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Who It's Best For
Wine Lovers: Wine is a major theme on this cruise, with frequent tastings, lectures, and visits with winemakers on the daily agenda.
Photographers: The Douro cuts through countryside that could be the setting of a romance novel — dramatic and stunningly beautiful. Cruising through the lock at the 115-foot-deep Carrapatelo Dam is also a breathtaking experience that's worth Instagramming.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
It's a Chartered Ship: Because Queen Isabel is chartered from the local company DouroAzul, you may see a softened version of some of Uniworld's signature hallmarks. Frequent travelers of the brand will notice the difference, especially in the more subdued decor.
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Queen Isabel at a Glance
- Line: Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
- Number of Passengers: 118
- Ship Size: Small
- Launch Date: 2013