amazon river map

900 Miles Up The Amazon Via Luxury Cruise Ship? Yes, You Can!

amazon river mapI’m sure all of us, in our fantasy worlds, see ourselves exploring the Amazon via some rented, diesel powered, rusted-out, clunker of a ship. A crew of hardened, perpetually sweat-coated Brazilians running the boat, cooking our meals, fending off evil jungle creatures and battling with warring natives and drug cartels.

Sweltering, unrelenting heat magnifying the blanket of disease carrying bugs, fortified by the iffy meals that provide us with creative and excruciating intenstinal issues. Don’t forget the water that is always full of parasites and real monsters that can really kill you.

Wouldn’t it just be better to take a cruise ship?

Yes, cruising is not just for the Caribbean anymore. In 2014, six different cruise lines and nine different ships will provide 15 chances to cruise in luxury up the Amazon River, as as far as Manaus, Brazil. That’s about a 900 mile one way journey from the mouth of the Amazon at the Atlantic Ocean. The purists won’t like it but even the purists would appreciate an air conditioned stateroom in the merciless Amazon heat and humidity.

2014 Amazon Cruises

ms maasdam holland america lineIn 2014, six mainstream cruise lines will make the journey to Manaus, Brazil at least once. Holland America Line is the leader with two ships providing five cruises. The two ships are the ms Prinsendam and ms Maasdam. Oceania Cruises and Seabourn Cruise Line are next with three cruises each. All Seabourn’s itineraries are via the Seabourn Quest while Oceania has both the Regatta and Insignia making the journey.

Regent Seven Seas has two Amazon cruises in 2014, one with the Mariner and one with the Navigator. Both Princess Cruises and Silversea Cruises have just one cruise each. Pacific Princess makes the trip for Princess and the Silver Whisper makes the journey for Silversea.

All of these ships are medium to small in size. typically, the Amazon leg is part of a longer South America cruise, world cruise or Transatlantic journey. For the most part, the Amazon portion takes the ships a total of seven days from leaving to returning to the Atlantic. Just the Pacific Princess and Seabourn Quest have cruises where Manaus is the port of embarkation.

This is not a straight, non-stop journey up the river. Stops are made along the way at Alter do Chao, Boca da Valeria, Pirintins and Santarem, along with Manaus.

These journeys are not for those without time or money. The shortest cruise, not starting or ending in Manaus, is 17 nights with all but one being 20 nights or more. Currently, you can not get on any of these cruises for less that $3,500 per person, plus taxes and fees. This is with Holland America and it is a time sensitive deal. Typically, you’re looking at $8,000 to $10,000 per person for the lowest level stateroom on any of these ships.

Manaus, Brazil

The city in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest was founded in 1669. Now, Manaus is the capital of the state of Amazonas and has a metro population of 2.3 million. Located 1,450 kilometres or 900 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean, the city is actually located on the Rio Negro.

There is not a chance that you will need a sweater or anything else remotely resembling warm clothing while in Manaus. The average daytime high temperature never drops below 30 degrees celcius. The all-time record nighttime low is 13 celcius.

In the summer of 2014, Rio de Janeiro will be the main host of the FIFA World Cup of Soccer. However, Manaus will be hosting some of the games.


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