More people than ever are taking advantage of the popular “fly out – cruise – flyback” package deals that are proliferating the travel industry. A cruise is no longer confined to the super-rich, but falling more and more into the income bracket of ordinary working people. This is for two reasons, the first of which is the competition amongst the air carriers that have resulted in lower-cost fares, and the ease of obtaining deferred payments through the travel agent.
With this increase in cruise, popularity comes the choice of more destinations, and a change from a sea cruise to a river cruise can be a real uplifting and enjoyable experience. Why not cruise the historic rivers and canals of Europe and lap up the cultural atmosphere of bygone ages? Better still, why not get closer to nature and take a cruise on the River Amazon? Spend a night in a first-class hotel when you arrive in Brazil!
Before joining the cruise and a couple of nights in a hotel at the end to give time for more sightseeing and souvenir-hunting.
Health Tips: It must always be remembered that the River Amazon flows through tropical countries and therefore the usual health risks exist. It is essential that you check out the inoculation requirements and have your doctor administer them in plenty of time, particularly Yellow Fever and Cholera so that your cruise is not marred by health problems.
Selection Tips: As always, there are choices to be made, and one of the main ones to prolong your enjoyment is to select the direction of your cruise on the River Amazon. Because of the river current, it takes five days from Belem to Manaus going upstream and four days coming downstream. Take the upstream cruise!
Food Tips: The cruise companies provide every type of cuisine from full international menus to the many local dishes, particularly from fresh river-caught fish and the amazing quality of beef that South America is famous for. Part of the experience of getting the most enjoyment out of your Amazon adventure is sampling the local dishes, and you will be amazed at the flavor combinations. Apart from the traditional Rodizio Barbecue, try “Feijoada”, the Brazilian national dish of pork and beans, or “Vatapa”, a tasty fish stew.
Clothing Tips: In Brazilian society, style is everything and people take great care in their dress code. “Smart-Casual” is the rule at all times, whether going out to the local market, eating out, or attending a barbecue. Always make sure that your clothing is well ironed and changed often, the heat and humidity will take their toll and you can change from smart to sloppy in just a few hours!
Drinking Tips: Compared with international standards, alcoholic drinks are cheap on the cruises and there is the temptation to imbibe to excess. The national Brazilian drink, “Caipirinha” is a wonderfully refreshing drink made from sugar cane with limes served over crushed ice. Take care and don’t be deceived, it is also habit-forming and very potent! You will find that drinks such as whiskey and gin are available in “national” or “international” options. The “national” is so much cheaper and unless you want to throw your money away, is the best option as it is made from imported concentrate and bottled locally.