Seagoing Ships Go to the Amazon

The Amazon’s exotic cultures and wildlife draw increasing interest By: Marilyn Green
The Sea Dream II will sail the Amazon River. // © 2012 SeaDream Yacht Club
The Sea Dream II will sail the Amazon River. // © 2012 SeaDream Yacht Club

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The Amazon, the second-longest river in the world, is surrounded by a rainforest that holds more than one-third of all the species on earth, including amazing animals, river dolphins, trees that glow in the dark and more. With travelers increasingly looking for exotic and authentic experiences, interest in the region is strong and, in addition to expedition cruises, some of the mainstream lines are sailing on the huge river, catering to guests who want more amenities onboard than the small ships offer or feel more comfortable on a familiar cruise line and want to use their loyalty privileges.

Holland America Line has a series of cruises that sail on the Amazon, including the Maasdam’s 23-day Amazon & Carnaval Explorer departing Jan. 18 from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. to Rio de Janeiro, the 26-Day Amazon & Carnaval Explorer departing Feb. 10 from Rio de Janeiro to Fort Lauderdale and the Prinsendam’s 26-day Amazon Explorer roundtrip Fort Lauderdale, departing Nov. 26.

Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity will sail a 21-day Exotic Amazon cruise departing from Rio de Janeiro after an overnight on March 10 and calling in Salvador da bahia, Alter do Chao, Parintins, Manaus, Boca da Valeria and Santarem, Brazil, followed by Devil’s Island, Bridgetown (Barbados), Key West, Fla., and ending in Miami.

SeaDream Yacht Club is offering a second season of February and March cruises onboard the 112-guest SeaDream II.

“SeaDream’s maiden Amazon River voyages sailed in 2012 and were extremely popular. Due to demand, we decided to return to the Amazon in 2013. In fact, the 2013 Amazon schedule was enhanced with more voyage selections (from 7 to 20 days long) and unique, Upper-Amazon voyages sailing seven-days roundtrip from Iquitos, Peru,” said president Bob Lepisto.

Ports for the two 20-night Upper Amazon cruises between Barbados and Iquitos, include Leticia, Colombia; Panelas, Brazil; Jutai, Brazil; Santo Antonio do Ica, Brazil; Amatura, Brazil; Monkey Island, Colombia; Pebas, Peru; Devil's Island, French Guiana; Parintins, Brazil; Manaus, Brazil; Panelas, Brazil; Leticia, Colombia and more.

Oceania Cruises’ Regatta is cruising the Amazon on the 25-day Exotic Amazon roundtrip from Miami, departing Nov. 10; in addition to cruising the Amazon River for two days, the ship will call in Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Castries, Saint Lucia; Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago; Santarem, Brazil; Boca da Valeria, Brazil; Manaus, Brazil; Parintins, Brazil; Alter Do Chao, Brazil; Devil’s Island, French Guiana; Bridgetown, Barbados; St. Johns, Antigua; Gustavia, St. Barts and San Juan.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises is also offering cruises to the Amazon on Seven Seas Mariner. The 72-night Circle South America itinerary, departing Jan. 7, visits more than 30 ports including the: Alter do Chao, Boca da Valeria, Manaus, Parintins and Santarem, all in Brazil. The ship‘s 22-night Spirit of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro to Miami, departs Feb. 26, visiting seven ports in Brazil, five of which are on the Amazon, as well as a few locations in the Caribbean. And Mariner’s 35-night Best of Brazil sails Buenos Aires to Miami, departing Dec. 20, 2013 and calling in 20 ports, five of which are on the Amazon.

Seabourn Sojourn will end her winter/spring 2013 Patagonian Passage cruises with a positioning sailing up the east coast of South America including in-depth cruising of the Amazon. On March 5, the ship departs Buenos Aires for a 20-day Brazil & The Amazon voyage ending in Manaus. Ports of call include Montevideo, Parati, two days in Rio, Buzios, Vitoria; Salvador da Bahia; Recife, Natal; Santarem and the Anavilhanas Archipelago.

The following cruise is a 15-day Amazon  & Caribbean Isles cruise from Manaus to Fort Lauderdale. Ports are full day in Manaus, Parintins, (complimentary Boi Bomba Carnaval-style event ashore) Santarem; Curua Una; Brazil; Devil’s Island French Guiana; Barbados; Iles des Saintes Guadeloupe; St. Barts and Jost Van Dyke.

Princess Cruises’ 2013 schedule includes a Jan. 3, 14-day cruise from Manaus to Fort Lauderdale and a Dec. 23 cruise that can be taken as a 14-day itinerary from Fort Lauderdale to Manaus or a 28-day cruise roundtrip Fort Lauderdale.

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