Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ 35-night D1405 ‘Amazon River & the Beaches of the Caribbean’ cruise, departing from Southampton on Boudicca on 22nd March 2014, is the perfect getaway for any wildlife enthusiast looking to experience something ‘a bit different’ on their holiday. Boudicca’s Amazon adventure will take guests far up the Amazon River, deep into the heart of the rainforest, teeming with exotic flora and fauna. It will also visit some of the world’s finest islands in the Caribbean, including Barbados, St. Lucia and Dominica, offering beautiful beaches and the chance for some welcome relaxation in the sun.
Very few cruise lines are able to offer guests this sort of in-depth Amazon experience. Because Fred. Olsen’s Boudicca is a smaller-sized ship, she can take guests further up the Amazon River, where the people, culture and colourful wildlife never fail to inspire.
This unique cruise offers a great combination of exploration and relaxation, with the exotic sights and sounds of the Amazon, coupled with the sun-drenched beaches of the Caribbean. Boudicca will call at the three Amazon ports of Santarém, Manaus and Parintins, set deep in the tropical rainforest. ‘Amazonia’ covers over seven million square kilometres throughout South America, and if it were a country, it would be the ninth largest in the world. It has been described as the ‘Lungs of our Planet’, because it is responsible for producing more than 20 percent of the world’s oxygen.
After departing from Southampton, Boudicca stops in Funchal (Madeira) and Santa Cruz (Tenerife), before an Atlantic crossing to Brazil, where the first port of call is Santarém, on the banks of the Tapajós River. One of the most extraordinary sights here is the confluence of the dark Rio Negro and the silty upper Amazon rivers, which both flow alongside each other without mixing, creating two very distinct bands of different-coloured water.
Next is an overnight stay in the Amazon’s largest city, Manaus (Brazil) – now well-known to England football fans as host to the team’s ‘World Cup’ opening ‘Group D’ match against Italy in June 2014. This city of more than a million people, located nearly 1,000 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean, was once one of Latin America’s most prosperous populations, thanks to the lucrative ‘borracha’ – a natural latex, harvested from rubber tress, used to make, amongst other things, car tyres. In Manaus, guests can take time to visit the colourful Opera House or, for the more adventurous, book onto the overnight ‘Jungle Lodge Adventure’ tour. This ‘once in a lifetime’ experience takes guests deep into the jungle, to stay in the world’s largest tree top hotel, right at the heart of this wonderful destination*.
Boudicca then continues onto Parintins (Brazil), rich in Indian culture, which is celebrated each June with the ‘Festival do Boi-Bumbá’, or the ‘Amazonia Folklore Festival’, second in size only to the Rio Carnival. Fred. Olsen guests can take an organised shore tour and experience their very own private performance of the ‘Boi-Bumba’ at the Parintins Convention Centre, where they will be offered the typical Brazilian tipple of ‘Caipirinha’, before taking their seats. With song and dance, colourful costumes and ‘Bumba’ sounds, this captivating story of the ‘Boi-Bumba’ will unfold in front of the eager audience, with performers celebrating the joy of life with a mesmerising display. At the end of the stunning show, guests can join in with the dancing, or have their picture taken with the actors resplendent in their beautiful costumes.
The Caribbean beckons next, with arrival in Bridgetown, Barbados. Boudicca calls into pretty St. George’s (Grenada) and buzzing Castries (St. Lucia), before visiting Roseau, Dominica, where guests can venture into the dense tropical rainforest on the island, which soars to 4,700 feet, to discover the rich plants and wildlife, deep lakes and glittering waterfalls.
Philipsburg in St. Maarten is the next stop. An island amicably shared between Holland and France for centuries, it is a shopper’s paradise, with everything on offer, from beautiful jewellery to electrical goods.
En route back to Southampton, the last port of call is Ponta Delgada in the Azores; the island was once an important staging post between Europe and the Americas.
Prices for this cruise start from just £2,700 per person (limited availability), which is based on two adults sharing a twin, inside cabin, and include accommodation, all meals and entertainment, plus port dues. Guests can also choose to upgrade to the ‘all-inclusive’ drinks package for just £10 per person, per night**.
Fred. Olsen was delighted to be voted ‘Best Affordable Cruise Line’ and runner-up ‘Best Cruise Line’ in the ‘Cruise International Awards 2013’, and ‘Best Value for Money’ in the Cruise Critic ‘Editors’ Picks UK Awards 2013’.
*Includes all transfers (by regional boat), accommodation, all meals and activities, such as exploring the magnificent Amazon and its small creeks and estuaries by motorised canoes, plus a local English-speaking tour guide.
**See the website www.fredolsencruises.com for full Terms and Conditions.
Fred. Olsen Cruise Line operates in the UK with four intimately sized ships for a more personal cruising experience.