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Lisbon Ocean Experience: Set Sail & Explore Biodiversity

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2 Berth Ensuite Cabin Per person



2 Person Cabin for Sole Occupancy



Embark Disembark Vessel DurationVoyage No
Thu 15-09-2022, 09:00Lisbon, Portugal Sun 18-09-2022, 10:00Lisbon, Portugal Santa Maria Manuela 3 NightsSM150922

A voyage for enquiring minds, fascinated by the beauty and diversity of oceanic and coastal habitats, energized by the prospect of harnessing the power of the wind, and excited by exploring Portugal’s cuisine and culture. 

The acclaimed Portuguese tall ship Santa Maria Manuela and global award-winning Oceanário de Lisboa have curated a unique voyage of ecological, maritime, and cultural discovery.  

Imagine an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of one of the world’s most celebrated aquariums, a sunset sail away from Lisbon’s historic shoreline, helming a classic 63-meter tall sailing ship under the stars, getting up close and personal with dolphin, kayaking under the jagged cliffs of Arrábida National Park, an eye-to-eye meeting with an octopus as you dive or snorkel in one of Portugal’s most pristine marine reserves, and celebrating this journey of environmental and cultural enlightenment guided by a marine biologist during a final sunset evening of local food and song.

  • Voyage
  • Vessel


  • Behind-the-scenes tour at the Oceanário de Lisboa
  • Swim in the underwater world of the Arrábida National Park and learn more about the unique and amazing biodiversity that lives there
  • Explore the coast of Sesimbra by kayak and discover the jagged landscape of cliffs, caves and beaches, all bathed by the crystal-clear waters of the Atlantic
  • Travel on the Sado Estuary and discover one of only three sedentary dolphin communities in Europe

Santa Maria Manuela

Vessel type / Rig Gaff Schooner
Guest Berths 50
Beam 33ft
Draft 18ft
Deck Length 173ft
Overall Length 225ft
Tonnage 992 tons
Year Built 1937
More about the Vessel

Voyage Description



A tall ship experience that could suit both experienced sailors wanted to sail a surviving example of Portugal’s maritime heritage, and beginners who want to try a large tall ship in the open blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. You are never far from the coast and the ship will be stopping in its home patch – along the Algarve Coast – but the sailing still has that ‘out there on the big blue ocean feel’ to it. Absorb the history whilst you learn the ropes on this 4 masted schooner built for the cod Fishing off Greenland. If you arte just looking for an interesting way to arrive in Lisbon and explore this facinating waterfront city, then this 2 day break could be added to a city break in Lisbon. Amaze your friends with your photos. More than just cafe life!



  • sail an original tall ship
  • early summer fresh sea air break
  • swim off the shipsaill up the Tagus and under Lisbon suspension bridge
  • Oceanário de Lisboa, Recognized three times as “the best aquarium in the world”
Snorkeing or Diving


Marine protection and the Oceanário de Lisboa

Recognized three times as “the best aquarium in the world” by Tripadvisor’s Travellers’ Choice, the Oceanário de Lisboa is a place that brings the ocean to the city through the nearly 500 marine species that inhabit it. The Oceanário’s mission is to encourage visitors to learn more about the ocean, making them aware of their own responsibility in conserving our natural heritage by changing their behaviour towards a more sustainable society.

The Lisbon Ocean Experience, founded in 2022 as a programme for ecotourism, aims to help to grow a wider community of ambassadors for the conservation of the ocean and marine ecosystems. By participating in this experience curated by Oceanário de Lisboa, you will also be supporting research and conservation projects by boosting financial sustainability, which will allow for a larger and full-time dedicated team and continuous long-term studies of marine species and ecosystems.

The Lisbon Ocean Experience starts with an immersive visit to the Oceanário de Lisboa, delving into the natural world from start to finish, including a behind-the- scenes exclusive tour – which is also an invitation to join us on a path together towards protecting marine biodiversity.

Lisbon is one of the European cities with the closest proximity to a wonderful and vast marine world.

At the Arrábida mountain, participants will fall in love with the sense of harmony felt here between land and sea. This natural park boasts the highest lime-stone cliffs in Europe, offering a place of incomparable beauty and rich plant life.

Among the dense vegetation that is unique to the Mediterranean region and the imposing mountain ranges that surround the coast, participants will be able to observe up close the colours and textures of the common octopus, be amazed by the fluorescence of the jewel anemones, that can be seen with the naked eye, and marvel at the pod of bottlenose dolphin which are resident on the Sado Estuary.


More about the Lisbon Ocean Experience

Our voyage starts in the company of one local and experienced marine biologist for a private behind the scenes tour of the award winning Oceanário. This immersive experience takes you on a contemplative journey through the underwater world to discover 8,000 sea creatures. There’s little wonder that the Oceanário de Lisboa has three times been recognized as the world’s leading aquarium, both for its content, and for its conservational and educational initiatives.

In the convivial company of our marine biologist, crew, and new-found shipmates, enjoy the delights of Portuguese cuisine and be enchanted by Fado, a song declared by UNESCO as the ‘intangible cultural heritage of humanity’ in 2011.

Travel in the wake of Portuguese forefathers and learn to sail the Santa Maria Manuela as we voyage along Lisbon’s historic city shoreline, under the famous 25 Abril suspension bridge, heading south towards the Arrábida National reserve.

Explore the coast of Sesimbra by kayak and discover the jagged landscape of cliffs, caves and beaches, all bathed by the crystal-clear waters of the Atlantic.

Immerse yourself in the tranquil sea of Luiz Saldanha Marine Park and discover the unusually diverse ecosystem of this unique region. The dive or snorkel is enriched by an educational talk, by our resident marine biologist, on the conservation project, which is protecting this fragile ecosystem, making it one of Portugal’s most vibrant rocky reef systems.

Travel on the Sado Estuary and discover one of only three sedentary dolphin communities in Europe. The flotilla of about 30 bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) is frequently seen in the waters of Setúbal and Troia.

Meet local fisherman and learn how to choose, prepare, and cook the most traditional Portuguese fish dishes.

As the sunset sinks below the horizon with a glass of wine shared with shipmates on the deck of our historic four masted schooner, is there any better way to celebrate the end of this voyage of Portuguese discovery.

relaxing on a tall ship - but you are encouraged to help sail the ship
relaxing on a tall ship – but you are encouraged to help sail the ship

On a sailing voyage we never use the word itinerary, as skippers will always be aiming for the best sailing and shore landings for the forecast and most idyllic or sheltered anchors and ports. They are as keen as you to include some of the highlights described below, but you have to go with Mother Nature, not fight her. The description below is based on what we think might be possible, based on past trips, or experience, but nothing is guaranteed on a sailing voyage.

Santa Maria Manuela is sailing North from Portimaio on the Algarve coast with its cliffs, arches and golden beaches to the capital city of Portugal and Santa Maria Manuela’s home port.

Southern Portugal – Should be hot and sunny in June

For an early taste of summer and decent sailing breezes the Southern end of Portugal has been a tourist hotspot for years. 

Santa Maria Manuela’s new owners have given a lot of though into how to offer unique activity holidays on a tall ship over 200 feet long.  With the deck spaces to store water sports ‘toys’ and dive equipment on some specialist dive trips, the keen professional crew offer much more than the sail training experience. Adventure charter voyages are open for all age groups. The Portuguese are very hospitable people and want you to have a great time on their flagship

She has been restored to create a comfortable ‘mother ship’ with well organised hospitality team, but without compromising her ability to offer the real hands on tall ship experience. Even complete novices can be taught to become crew on one of the biggest schooners in the world. The huge gaff sails are traditionally rigged and it will take teamwork to set all sail on her 4 masts and  look magnificent. On passage, guest crew will be in working watches, participating in the sailing, steering the ship and lookout duties.

Santa Maria Manuela from the RIB
Santa Maria Manuela from the RIB

Santa Maria Manuela has a home port of Lisbon and uses her local waters to advantage. She offers mini ocean passages from Portugal out to the Madeira and the Azores island groups, as well as these coastal hops along the Portugal and Spanish coast. The ship has large ships RIB (rigid inflatable) to take you ashore to explore.There is plenty to do, or you can lie on a deck lounger after you have set sails and admire your hard work. The ship has kayaks and stand up paddle boards (SUP) and several of the professional deck crew have dual roles as water-sports instructors or guides.


tall ship port hopping in spain and portugal
tall ship port hopping in spain and portugal


The weather should be warm and sunny but the winds are typically from the North so you might have to tack quite a lot, or do a bit of strategic motoring.


Whether you are an experienced sailor or a complete beginner, the professional crew will train you to be guest crew from the moment you arrive, with the intention that everybody works together to sail the ship. The common thread to all Classic Sailing holidays is ‘Hands on’ participation on ships that use ropes, blocks and tackles and ‘people power’ to set sail.


We cater for a wide range of ages and physical abilities and how much you are expected to do varies a bit between vessels. See the vessel tab above which explains all about the ‘sailing style’ and what to expect in terms of hands on participation. There is a lot of information about day to day life, the ships facilities and accommodation on the vessel pages.


Every customer sailing with us will need to fill in basic medical questions on their booking application. If you are not sure if your current level of fitness and agility are up to a voyage, then please ring the Classic Sailing Office on 01326 53 1234 and we can chat through your concerns and possibly find options that might suit you better.


  • Skipper & professional crew
  • Personal Safety Equipment
  • Sailing Instruction
  • All meals, snacks and refreshments
  • Port and landing fees
  • Linen and duvets
  • Third Party liability insurance


  • Travel to Joining Port
  • Travel from end port
  • Alcoholic Drinks
  • Towels
  • Waterproofs

Start & End Port

Lisbon, Portugal

Yard of the Palace#

The exact location won’t be known until closer to the time, you will be informed by email once the exact position has been confirmed.

Make sure you take a note of the ship’s phone number to get in touch with them if there are any problems on the day.

Lisbon is a marvellous City, grand architecture and the Yard of the Palace shown above, narrow streets that climb up the hillside, jump on one the historic trams is it winds it away along the lanes.

Trams in Lisbon

Kit List

Below is a recommended travel packing list for a sailing voyage.

See bottom of page for Diving Holiday Kit List


  • Sailing Instruction 
  • Safety Equipment (Life jackets and harnesses)
  • All meals to include cooked breakfast, lunch, dinner and refreshments throughout the day.
  • Bed linen, duvet, towels for cabin (but please bring your own beach towel)

What is Not Included

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Travel to and from the start and end port
  • Optional trips or tours taken ashore unless otherwise stated
  • Alcoholic Beverages , but you can purchase drinks from the bar (you can set up a tab and pay at the end). 

What to Bring

For any destination north of Cape Verde warm and waterproof clothing is very important, as it can get cold during sailing, especially at night, even in the summer. A waterproof and windproof jacket is recommended to help keep warm and dry. Waterproof rubber soled boots or shoes are also recommended to keep your feet dry and warm. It is a good idea to bring two pairs of shoes in case one gets wet as salt water soaked shoes take a while to dry.

Madeira, Portugal and the Azores in summer can get pretty hot and it is easy to get sunburn at sea as the air is clear. The Cape Verde are in a tropical climate so a good sun screen is essential.

Please remember that space on board is limited and pack accordingly. Pack comfortable and practical clothing for all weather circumstances, the key is layers!! It is recommended to pack in a soft bag that can be easily stored away as there is no room on board for suitcases. Electricity on board is European 2 pin sockets, please be sure to bring any adaptors you may need. 

Passports, Visas and Insurance

If you voyage is sailing in foreign waters, you will require a full passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the end of the voyage. You will be responsible for obtaining any necessary visas.

We have Third Party Liability Insurance and recommend all those sailing with us to take out relevant travel insurance to cover their voyage. 

Medical Conditions and Special Diets

Please inform us in advance of any medical conditions you have and medication which you might need to bring with you. If you have any special dietary requirements it is essential you inform us prior to your voyage. We will make every effort to cater for all diets with prior notice.

Personal Items

This is a list of the items we recommend you bring with you.

  • Warm hat and sun hat
  • gloves - either sailing gloves or gardening type gloves
  • Wet weather clothing – water proof and windproof jacket
  • Clothing – enough clothing for all weather circumstances (think layers!!)
  • Trainers or deck shoes
  • shorts and t shirts
  • nightwear (ear plugs ?)
  • Toiletries
  • Towels
  • swimwear (googles are useful)
  • Sun cream
  • Sunglasses
  • Sea sickness medication
  • Personal medication
  • Book
  • Small torch (head torches are good!)
  • Camera
  • Log book (if you have one)
  • Valid passport (voyages outside the UK)
  • Travel insurance


  • Musical instruments 
  • games or cards
  • book/kindle

You can buy Santa Maria Manuela caps on board.

Diving Holidays on Santa Maria Manuela - Kit List

Please note the ship will only be carrying scuba diving equipment on the specialist diving voyages. 

On a diving voyage - Bottles and weights are included in the voyage price.

If you need diving equipment other than bottles and weights it is €150 extra

Nitrox costs €5 euros a dive

Classic Sailing will expand on this kit list shortly.



Santa Maria Manuela is a new vessel to the Classic Sailing fleet. We first became aware of her at the Tall Ships Race Fleet visit in Torbay in 2016. She has new owners who are incredibly proud of the ships history and are developing many new roles for the ship with a major niche in adventure holidays and oceanographic expeditions that benefit the world's oceans.

First Hand Knowledge

Classic Sailing co-founder Adam Purser has recently sailed on board a dive expedition in Cape Verde. He spent quite a bit of time getting to know the ship, its style of operations and the characters in the crew. You can speak to him in Classic Sailing UK Office on 0044 (0)1872 580022

New friends on Adam's voyage
New friends on Adam&#039;s voyage

Customer Feedback

Here are a few customer comments from previous trips. We hope to have many more soon.

Terrific crew & ship and a lovely passage to the Azores. Crew & Guests very good and patient with someone who only spoke English. It would be difficult to find a better one. This is a terrifically well run vessel, or was on this trip. Excellent accommodation, well serviced by a professional crew. All very friendly, helpful and willing to give information throughout. Many opportunities to get involved in most aspects of the ships operation & involvement in the vessel's past history.The Island was beautiful and rather unexpected. Best wishes & Good Luck for the future.Very many thanks"
Keith H. 28-04-18

We had a terrific and adventurous time on board during the Sachsen Sail 2018 in the Bay of Biscay. Thank you to all Santa Maria Manuela crew members and maritime greetings from Leipzig, Germany. " Mario L. 25-09-18

Un voilier merveilleux avec un équipage très sympathique .Merci pour tout" Marie-francoise A. 05-09-18


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