In 2001, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises was the first North American river cruise company to pioneer Portugal and Spain’s UNESCO World Heritage Douro River Valley. Similar to many of the destinations Uniworld has entered, they were the first river cruise company to offer an all English-speaking staff onboard and to include fully-guided excursions - many standard features in the river cruise industry today. Over the last decade, the destination has grown tremendously, and Uniworld’s 10-night Portugal, Spain and the Douro River itinerary has become one of their best selling programs.
Uniworld continues to pave the way in this region working closely with their partner, Douro Azul—the dominant ship owner on the Douro River. This long standing relationship and Uniworld’s excellent reputation in the region has allowed Uniworld to always have the best and newest ship sailing on the Douro. In 2013, Uniworld will continue this tradition of excellence and leadership by introducing another new build, the Queen Isabel. The Queen Isabel will replace the Douro Spirit, which Uniworld inaugurated in 2011.
Uniworld’s Queen Isabel will have a 118 passenger capacity, slightly less than the Douro Spirit, but this will allow Uniworld to offer more junior suites—18 junior suites at 215 sq. ft. and two bigger suites at 323 sq. ft.—on the top deck that will feature full balconies. Additionally, the Queen Isabel will have a more classic Old World style and elegance similar to Uniworld’s other ships in Europe, which are all uniquely designed and decorated. “While the Douro Spirit is a chic and modern ship, the Queen Isabel will have a design scheme more representative to our other ships with classic and traditional luxury,” states Guy Young, President of Uniworld.
Uniworld named the ship Queen Isabel after one of Portugal’s most beloved queens from the late 13th - 14th century. “It’s only befitting such a splendid and regal destination is named after one of Portugal’s well-loved queens. I am quite confident the Queen Isabel will be very well received when she launches in spring of 2013,” furthers Young.