South American Cruises

Jul 1, 2015
2015 / June 2015

Exploring South America can require the full resources of the independent traveler or the fortitude of the backpacker. It’s a rewarding but vast continent to cover. Fortunately, cruise lines offer a less demanding, more luxurious alternative, enabling visitors to sample a wide range of exotic attractions spread across the varying terrains and cultures of some 17 nations.

While South America encompasses many of the world’s best cruise destinations — from the jungles of the Amazon and the fjords of Chile to the beaches of Brazil and land’s end in Tierra del Fuego — this continent ranks far behind the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and even Alaska and Asia in terms of cruise ship deployments. Nevertheless, big cruise lines such as Holland America and Princess sail significant members of their fleets on a regular basis each year in this region. And so do several smaller international luxury lines. This yields a number of intriguing itineraries for passengers seeking to cover multiple major destinations in the relatively uncrowded waters of the Southern Hemisphere, especially November through February, when it’s summer in that part of the world.

One convenient choice is to sail down the west coast of South America via the Panama Canal from Fort Lauderdale on Celebrity Cruises. Departing Florida Dec. 5, the 2,170-passenger Celebrity Infinity visits the walled colonial city of Cartagena, Colombia, on its way to Colón, Panama, and a transit of the Canal, emerging on the Pacific Ocean side in Manta, Ecuador, a beach and party town favored by windsurfers. The Celebrity Infinity continues south with calls on historic Lima, Peru, and on Chile’s “City of Eternal Spring,” Arica, reaching its final destination, Valparaíso, just before Christmas. Valparaíso is Chile’s official Cultural Capital, a UNESCO World Heritage site and “Little San Francisco,” its hills inundated with funicular lifts.

Several luxury lines ply a more popular South American route, along the Atlantic coast. Silversea Cruises runs its 540-passenger Silver Spirit from Bridgetown, Barbados, to Buenos Aires, Argentina, with a departure Jan. 25, 2016. The 21-day voyage visits the fabled Devil’s Island penal colony in French Guiana and makes numerous stops in Brazil — at Fortaleza, at the fortress of Natal and at “Brazil’s Venice,” Recife, with three days at anchor in Rio de Janeiro. There are visits to Uruguay as well — at colonial Montevideo, the modern capital, and at Punta del Este, the “Monaco of South America,” near the largest seal colony in the South Atlantic — before arrival in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital of tango and wine tasting.

Brazil has recently become the focus of several other luxury cruises that visit South America’s sun-drenched Atlantic coast in the winter. Crystal Cruises celebrates a 15-day Brazilian Holiday Dec. 19, 2015–Jan. 3, 2016, aboard the 960-passenger Crystal Symphony. Setting out from San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Crystal Symphony brightens the holidays with time in Trinidad and Tobago and stops at Devil’s Island, Fortaleza, always-dazzling Recife and, ultimately, Rio. Regent Seven Seas also focuses on Brazil this winter with a 21-night cruise setting out from Rio for Miami. This cruise on the 708-passenger Seven Seas Mariner features an enrichment program conducted by Smithsonian Journeys, highlighted by an eight-day cruise up and down the Amazon River, one of South America’s premier cruising destinations.

Oceania Cruises offers its own Brazilian Adventure departing a bit earlier, with a 25-day cruise on the 684-passenger Regatta Nov. 4–29. This voyage begins and ends in Miami and includes a trip up and down the Amazon River, along with plenty of overnights in the Caribbean on both ends.

Perhaps the most adventurous South American cruising itinerary includes both sides of the continent with a round-the-Horn trip through the turbulent Tierra del Fuego. Oceania Cruises devotes 16 days to a sailing from Buenos Aires on the Atlantic to Valparaíso, Chile, on the Pacific on the 1,258-passenger Marina. The Dec. 22, 2015–Jan. 7, 2016, swing around South America’s southernmost point makes a stop at Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands and Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world and the gateway to Antarctica. The same cruise takes passengers through the spectacular Chilean fjords.

Seabourn Quest

Seabourn Quest © Seabourn Cruise Line

Seabourn makes an extensive series of interconnected South American sailings, setting out Oct. 15 from Fort Lauderdale. The all-inclusive, 450-passenger Seabourn Quest begins its long southern excursion with a 15-day cruise through the Caribbean and up and down the Amazon River, then crosses the equator for other cruise segments highlighted by visits to Rio, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, the Falkland Islands, the Strait of Magellan and the Chilean fjords, finally reaching Valparaíso, Chile, a total of 56 days later on Dec. 20. From there the Quest reverses course and rounds Cape Horn again on a 24-day voyage to Buenos Aires that takes in South Georgia Island, Patagonia and Antarctica. The Seabourn Quest continues its South American peregrinations for several more months, finally returning to Fort Lauderdale in late March 2016.

For those with an ambition to see it all, Regent Seven Seas offers a 72-night circumnavigation of the entire continent, Miami to Miami, Jan. 13–March 25, 2016. Striking out for the Pacific via the Panama Canal, the Seven Seas Mariner visits Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, the Falklands, Uruguay, Brazil, the Amazon River and the Caribbean — an exhaustive roundabout that can be broken into 12- to 33-day segments.

Whichever route passengers choose for cruising in South America, they will find mountains to equal those of Alaska, beaches as sunny as any in the Mediterranean, cuisine as tantalizing as that of Asia and cultures as varied and exotic as those in the remotest regions of the globe — a perfect getaway to take off the chill of winter.

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

© Ukrphoto | Dreamstime.com

News
Sep 15, 2019

Cunard Launches Exclusive Musical

Cunard premiered the musical Top Hat aboard Queen Victoria last week. Next week, the musical premieres aboard Queen Elizabeth. The musical is slated to appear exclusively on Cunard ships for the next four years.

© GNTO

The Island of the Knights

Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.

Lufthansa. Photo: Alexander Efisko | Dreamstime.com

Feature
Sep 15, 2019

Lufthansa Launches Innovative Carbon Offset Program

Lufthansa is starting an innovative new carbon offset program, Compensaid, which will allow customers to purchase CO2 neutral aviation fuels. The platform allows customers to replace the fossil fuel of their flights with sustainable aviation fuel.

Desert. Photo: Galyna Andrushko | Dreamstime.com

Daily
Sep 15, 2019

Shop New Desert-Inspired Capsule Collection From The Luxury Collection

The Luxury Collection again teamed with artist Sofía Sanchez de Beta to unveil an exclusive capsule collection, this time with 54 pieces inspired by the Arabian Desert and Emirati culture. The ready-to-wear line includes an array of separates created with Dubai’s climate in mind, such as lightweight blouses and tunics, flowing jumpsuits, long skirts and dresses.

To New Heights

United Airlines announces a number of new routes.

LG Pay. Photo: Piotr Swat | Dreamstime.com

Feature
Sep 14, 2019

LG Pay

With more mobile pay options like Apple Pay and Venmo becoming commonplace, electronics manufacturer LG is getting in on the action.

Hawaiian Airlines. Photo: Ajdibilio | Dreamstime.com

© Brett Critchley | Dreamstime.com

Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas. Photo: Jason P Ross | Dreamstime.com

Santa Monica, California. Photo: Tupungato | Dreamstime.com

© GNTO

The Island of the Knights

Sponsored Content

Google Search. Photo: Viorel Dudau | Dreamstime.com

Feature
Sep 13, 2019

Google Expands Price Comparison Tool

Google announced last month it added additional features to its price comparison tool. The tool helps users plan trips and compare rates. The new features include one that shows whether the price of a planned flight plus accommodations is low, average or high.

© VanderWolfImages | Dreamstime.com

News
Sep 13, 2019

Singapore Airlines Begins Non-Stop Service Between Singapore, Seattle

Singapore Airlines launched its non-stop service between Singapore (SIN) and Seattle (SEA), Sept. 3. Seattle is Singapore Airlines’ fourth U.S. destination following Los Angeles (LAX), New York (EWR) and San Francisco (SFO) to receive non-stop service to and from Singapore.

Beach access ramp for wheelchair on South Beach, Miami. Photo: Alkan2011 | Dreamstime.com

Daily
Sep 13, 2019

Florida Beaches Put Accessibility First

For those without accessibility issues, going to the beach can be simple. There’s nothing to do but pack up your gear, head to the shore and walk out onto the sand. For those who may be inhibited, however, the beach poses more of a challenge.