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Tourists wanting to get a taste of the Royal life will soon be able to do that thanks to a cruise company based in Portugal. The Spirit of Chartwell barge on which the Queen enjoyed spectacular views during her Diamond Jubilee celebrations has been bought by a Portuguese cruise company and will soon offer short river cruises.

In preparation for the Diamond Jubilee in June last year, the barge was treated to a makeover spend of over £1million which ensured the boat was quite literally fit for a Queen. Over six months the opulent barge was decorated with royal colours, flowers and gilding. A centre piece velvet coat of arms featured an estimated 500,000 gold buttons. Aboard their luxury barge, the Queen and Prince Philip enjoyed the sights and sounds of the floating celebratory pageant amongst an impressive one thousand boats of various sizes. The pomp and ceremony of the day was somewhat dampened by torrential downpours however.

Though the Spirit of Chartwell is now in the hands of a Portuguese company, the boat's original owners planned to put her to work in the UK after the Jubilee. It was hoped that the former Royal barge would be able to provide high end cruises from Kent to Surrey along the Thames. This was ruled out when permissions could not be negotiated for access to a key section of the Thames at Richmond. London's loss though, is Portugal's gain.

The ex-Royal barge is now owned by Portuguese company, DouroAzul. The company hopes to maintain the elegance and sophistication of the vessel's previous life and have maintained as much grandeur as possible although many of the intricate features were removed shortly after the Jubilee event.

Among the features that passengers will experience aboard the barge are a Royal suite, five star cabins and a restaurant. They'll also be able to enjoy the stars too with an open air top deck. Among the features that have had to be replaced is the front end of the barge, which it is reported can now be found in a museum. A replica true to the original has been created.

The company will offer a number of different cruises along the Douro River near Porto, Portugal, with a starting price of £362 for two nights rising to just over £2,000 for a week's stay aboard. At least wannabe Royals won't have to find a King's ransom to enjoy the trip.

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