Rio Carnival and the Amazon River - GREAT
Veendam Cruise Review to South America
We went to Rio a few days before the cruise started and we fully experienced Rio Carnival by staying in Lapa (I highly recommend Lapa during Carnival). Rio Carnival is one big multi-day party where the locals put on crazy costumes and get totally immersed in the party atmosphere. We went to several block parties, the largest one predicted to have 1,300,000 people. We had a blast.
After we left Rio on the Veendam, we talked to a number of fellow cruisers who stayed within the confines of the official cruise excursions and didn't experience the Carnival party at all. For them it was just another cruise port, while for us it was a fantastic experience,
Cruising 1,000 miles up the Amazon River is the other main attraction on this trip. We enjoyed every bit of it. Where else can you fish for piranhas and hold sloths, monkeys, and alligators.
The other stops on this cruise I would consider to be "generic" cruise ports. The highlight for us was participating as "crew members" on an America's Cup sailboat while racing two other similar sailboats. We were "Primary Grinders".
As for the Veendam, she is showing her age. The cruise was not full, so the crew was stripped down to a bare minimum. Activities were few and far between as compared to our previous HAL cruises. Food at the Lido was mediocre.
The worst thing about Americans visiting Brazil is the getting the Visa. We sent in our passports four months ahead of time and didn't see them again until a few days before our trip began. Very expensive too!
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom