A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

April 17 -RIO de JANEIRO, BRAZIL

sunny 90 °F
View Serenity 6- WC 2015 on Swenigale's travel map.

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At noon we sailed into unforgettable Rio de Janeiro.

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Sugar Loaf Mountain juts up 1300 feet.

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The Christ the Redeemer statue sits atop Corcovado Mountain at 2400 feet. The statue is 130 feet high.

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It was the Friday afternoon before a long holiday weekend (but not Massachusetts' Patriots Day) and the streets were jammed as the Cariocas (Rio's residents) headed out of the city on vacation.

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Beautiful Copacabana Beach was emptier than usual, but it would be filled on Saturday.

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That evening on the ship we enjoyed a Samba show performed by local performers.

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Posted by Swenigale 13:55 Archived in Brazil

April 18 - RIO de JANEIRO, BRAZIL

sunny 90 °F
View Serenity 6- WC 2015 on Swenigale's travel map.

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Today was the start of the 6th and final segment of the World Cruise.

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We traveled an hour into the mountains to Petropolis, once the capital of the State of Rio de Janeiro.

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The Imperial Palace (now the Imperial Museum) was built as a summer residence by Don Pedro II, the last Emperor of Brazil.

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The Emperor himself.

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Pictures from Petropolis

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Sao Pedro de Alcantara Cathedral, one of the most famous churches in Brazil.

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Construction began in 1884 under Don Pedro and his daughter Princess Isabel, but the church only opened in 1925.

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Visitors paused to listen as the church organist practiced for Sunday services (we think - but it's a good story).

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Looking down upon the tile roofs of the old town

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Such a mixture of housing styles - there are also high risers in another section of the city..

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The 1884 Crystal Palace - made of metal and glass from France - a venue for ballroom dancing in the 19th century

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On our drive back to the port we had a last look at Copacabana Beach.

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As we passed, a life guard jumped from this rescue helicopter into the waters beyond the breaking waves - hopefully with a life saved.

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Good bye, Rio - good luck with the 2016 Olympics!

Posted by Swenigale 13:35 Archived in Brazil

April 20 -SALVADOR da BAHIA, BRAZIL

sunny 93 °F
View Serenity 6- WC 2015 on Swenigale's travel map.

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This is the largest city on the northeast coast of Brazil. The churches of the "Upper City" drew our attention as we slowly glided toward the dock.

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The huge bay is the world's largest harbor.

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The Handicraft Market is located in the Old Customs House just steps from our ship in "Lower Town".

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The Candomble figures represent African religious beliefs.

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The area was colonized by Portugal in 1549,and there are many magnificent buildings from the 17th through 19th centuries that have yet to be restored.

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For .15 Reals (5 cents) each the Lacerda Elevator whisked us to the Upper City.

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Crime and corruption are said to be huge problems in Brazil, but we felt plenty safe with police on every corner.

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Salvador was Brazil's first capital city. It was a major Portuguese colonial slave port.

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The Pelourinho District is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Sao Francisco Church, from 1597 - I can't believe we have actually been here twice! Thank you Crystal!

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Isn't she cute?

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Colorful fruit, artistically displayed

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An artisans' workshop

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We started walking in rain this morning and now we were glad to have umbrellas to shield us from the sun!

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In this square, the Place of the Pillory, thousands of slaves were auctioned to the highest bidders.

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Red Sox Nation in Salvador - this young man's family lives in Boston!

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Sunset over Salvador and its 365 churches

Posted by Swenigale 08:35 Archived in Brazil

April 24 -MACAPA, BRAZIL

semi-overcast 85 °F
View Serenity 6- WC 2015 on Swenigale's travel map.

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In 2013 we had sailed 1,000 miles up the Amazon River to Manaus. This year’s Amazon adventure includes 3 ports near the mouth of the river. Our stop in Macapa is a first for Crystal.

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The ship’s tenders docked in a boatyard in the town of Fazendinha, about a 30 minute drive south of Macapa.

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Macapa calls itself “The Capital of the Middle of the World” and this monument, Marko Zero, stands right on the Equator.

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Little Hästa sure gets around!

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Ruth leaning north, Ed leaning south :)

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We had toured briefly between rain showers and headed back to the ship before a drenching rain that turned everything to mud.

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The Amazon River is the world’s largest river in terms of water flow, responsible for about 20% of the earth’'s fresh water that enters the ocean.

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The river is an important transportation avenue for Macapa which has few roads connecting it to the rest of the Brazil: and yet Macapa is home to 500,000 people!

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Looking out the tender’s back window

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More rain on the way- the rainforest is true to its name!

Posted by Swenigale 07:55 Archived in Brazil

April 25 -ALTER do CHAO, BRAZIL

sunny 86 °F
View Serenity 6- WC 2015 on Swenigale's travel map.

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We anchored at noon near the altar-shaped hill for which this port was named. The tenders had been lowered into the water and guests waited for an announcement that we were free to go ashore.

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The town is basically a beach resort - although the beach is underwater at the moment. The water is high but, paradoxically, the water at the pier is currently too shallow for our tenders!

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So - no stopping in this port - and on to Santarem. I parked myself out back until it got too hot -I was on the lookout for pink dolphins.

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No dolphins sighted - just this guy fluttering near me!

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This is our hallway as you look toward the bow of the ship.

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Looking back toward the stern

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Our home for the past three months

Posted by Swenigale 06:25 Archived in Brazil

April 26 -SANTAREM, BRAZIL

sunny 83 °F
View Serenity 6- WC 2015 on Swenigale's travel map.

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Sunday morning in Santarem is a quiet time - businesses are closed, and the church is full. These birds captured our attention.

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Interesting sleeping arrangement

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We soon found out that the place to be was the Fish Market.

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We had heard that some pink and gray river dolphins hang out here expecting fish scraps.

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The absolute highlight of our day -

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Shrimp, anyone?

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Eww - obviously these are bottom feeders!

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This city of almost 300,000 people is "an important regional market center in the Lower Amazon located midway between the larger cities of Belem and Manaus".

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Brilliant yellow!

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The muddy color of the Amazon is in stark contrast to the water in the Rio Tapajos. The rivers eventually mix but first they flow side by side in the "Wedding of the Waters".

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Houses in the water

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Posted by Swenigale 09:45 Archived in Brazil

April 28 -DEVIL'S ISLAND, FRENCH GUIANA

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French Guiana's prison islands, the "Green Hell", consisted of three islands called the "Iles du Salut". We visited Ile Royale, the administrative island where less dangerous prisoners were kept. The island seen on the right is Ile St. Joseph where more dangerous prisoners were kept. Out of view at the moment is "Devil's Island" for the most dangerous men and for political prisoners such as Alfred Dreyfus.

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Collectively the islands are now called Devil's Island, made famous by the book and movie "Papillon".

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In the years as a penal colony (1852-1946) only 30,000 of the 80,000 men sent here survived. Today it just seems like a paradise. The following photos were taken in our 2 hour walk around the island.

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The cemetery was for guards and their families.

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Ile du Diable (Devil's Island) can be seen here in the background. It is totally inaccessible due to rocky shores and rough currents.

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We returned to the tender pier along the shore with Ile St. Joseph nearby. It is hard to imagine the island of today as the disease-infested equivalent of a death sentence for so many.

Posted by Swenigale 05:15

April 30 -BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS

sunny 88 °F

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Traveling Northeast, ever closer to Miami and home - a brief stop in the Lesser Antilles

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A final chance to swim at a tropical beach - negotiations for a taxi underway -

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Beautiful Payne's Bay Beach

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We snorkeled with sea turtles and tropical fish, just off shore!

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Sand crabs were pretty active today (they are larger than you think!).

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Posted by Swenigale 10:45 Archived in Barbados

May 1 -CHARLOTTE AMALIE, ST. THOMAS, USVI

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Our final port – back in United States territory! Face to face US immigration inspection took place for all guests and crew before we went ashore. It was quick and efficient.

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Today was the start of a two day cultural celebration in St. Thomas – most stores were closed, and Serenity is the only ship in port! Sometimes there are as many as seven!)

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A children’s parade was held before we arrived and later the carnival will be up and running with an adult parade and fireworks scheduled for tomorrow.

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Hästa’s final photo shoot – posed with a half-sized “Little Mermaid”, a node to the Danish part of the island’s history. Tonight we will sail away for two days at sea as we wrap-up this amazing journey. Thanks for virtually travelling with us. Oh, the places we have been!

PS: You may recall we were unable to share many pictures from the African segment of this world cruise.

We hope to get some up very soon – they are some of our favorites.

Posted by Swenigale 13:35

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