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Aboard the Santa Maria Manuela we offer environmentally conscious hands-on sailing and island-hopping voyages, diving expeditions and sail training experiences.  No previous sailing experience is necessary, with guests invited to get involved in all aspects of sailing under the careful guidance of our professional crew.

In 2022 the Santa Maria Manuela received a complete comfort renovation which, below deck, makes the ship one of the most modern and comfortable tall ships in the world, whilst complementing the ships unique heritage.


The wheel is astern of the bridge, the nerve centre of the Santa Maria Manuela, allowing the captain to give directional instructions to the helm (driver). From here the helm also gets a clear view of the whole deck and the sails, and can keep an eye on the sailors as they trim for best speed. 

Guests are invited to take the helm by day or night.  Its an incredible feeling to be in command of this 1930s 4 masted schooner as she ploughs through the waves. This is also a popular place for guests to socialise with a glass of wine in hand as the sun sets.


The bridge is the nerve centre of the Santa Maria Manuela, and is located next to the wheel allowing the captain to give directional instructions to the helm (driver). From here the captain also gets a clear view of the whole deck and the sails.  The SMM is equipped with modern navigation and communication systems, but we are obliged to also carry paper charts on which the officers of the watch plot our course.  Guests are always welcome on the bridge, and there is nothing our offices like more than to give instruction in navigation, weather forecasting or how to use a sextant.


It was in these wooden boats that the fishermen spent twelve hours in the cold, often lost in fog that covered the chilly waters of Newfoundland and Greenland. The doris were numbered with lotts drawn by the fishermen at the beginning of each campaign. The most superstitious refused some numbers as bad luck. The sailors fished several miles away from the Ship, carrying only a piece of cod and bread to eat. Fishing was done by handline hundreds of meters long loaded with hooks and bait. The more cod they caught, the higher the profit for the fisherman.  Competition was rife, but it wasn't without risk.  It was not uncommon for overlaiden dorys to sink taking their catch and their master to a frozen and watery grave.   


The deck once housed 50 dories loaded one on top of the other, with space still for gutting and cleaning the day's catch before it was salted and racked for the long journey back to Portugal.

Today the Santa Maria Manuela's deck is known as one of the widest open decks amongst the tall ship world. The recent addition of some comfortable bench seating, some of which convert into buffet tables, and a bar allow the ship to be easily converted into a natural event venue for festivals, and an ideal host ship for environmental expeditions, film locations and business events. 

The bench seating around the aft skylight offers the helm some welcome company creating a convivial atmosphere. The bench on the poop deck, hidden from the wind by the steering house, offers shelter for those looking for some privacy.

The deck is 62 meters long and is easily adapted for all event solutions. Her capacity alongside the quay is 70 seated for dinner under awning and 200 on foot.


Food is an important part of the Santa Maria Manuela experience with our chef offering a delicious selection of Portuguese and international dishes.  

The galley is fitted with the state-of-the-art catering facilities capable of producing 195 hot meals each day. There are two pantries and a main galley located near the bow.


Historically, this room was where the ship’s officers dined and planned their cod fishing campaigns.  The captain sat at the head of the table according to the protocol.

On the wall we see historic pictures of the SMM, a board with the name of all captains and a photograph of Manuela D'Orey, the wife of Vasco Albuquerque d'Orey who named the ship after her as she gave him 16 children. There is also a historic chart of the fishing grounds of Terra Nova, preserving knowledge of the best spots which was jealously guarded from other competing ships. 


Every cabin aboard the Santa Maria Manuela is unique, with space, design and art giving each an individual style of its own in complement to the ship’s heritage and voyages.  All are carpeted, air conditioned and soundproofed for comfort.  

The ship has a capacity for 44 guests to sleep overnight, with every cabin having an ensuite shower and heads (toilet).  Most beds measure 190cm X 80cm.

Cabin facilities:

Ensuite shower and heads (toilet) / Cupboard / Reading light / USB / European two pin plugs / Privacy curtains / Carpet / Air conditioning / Soundproofed / Towels and bed linen / Daily cleaning


The Salon Terra Nova is the heart and soul of the SMM.  The bar is a perfect spot to discuss the days adventures and share sailing stories, and our barman is always keen to show off his cocktail making skills. 

This area consecutively seats 38, (plus 5 at the bar) for meals with cushioned sofas offering enough comfort to relax.

Folding tables allow guests to dine in groups, or ‘a deux’ for those looking for a little more privacy.

The self-service buffet area includes the latest catering service facilities, guaranteeing hot and cold cuisine is served at the appropriate temperature.

At 80 m2 this flexible room can be used to host dinners, company meetings, film screenings or presentations. It is equipped with a retracting large LCD HD screen for film nights or presentations.


We have two Zodiacs aboard which are used to access the shore or as dive boats during our diving expeditions. These are coded for 14 pax including 2 crew, and have capacity for 8 divers including all equipment

Kayak and Fishing Equipment

There are a number of inflatable kayaks and Stand Up Padel Boards aboard for use when the SMM is at anchor for those with adventure in mind.  Two floating decks facilitate access to the water, and the ships extensive collection of fishing equipment is always readily available.