By way of an introduction, we are a middle aged couple (I call 64 middle aged) originally from the UK however, we relocated to a lovely Mediterranean island called Cyprus ten years ago. This is our 6th Silversea cruise we have not cruised with any other cruise line, this is our second time on the Whisper.
Monday 24th November: After a long trip from Europe (Cyprus) we finally arrived in sunny Barbados. We took a short taxi ride from the airport for our one night’s pre cruise stay at the Hilton Hotel Bridgetown, a comfortable hotel with our room overlooking the sea. The next morning we looked over the bay to see the Whisper docked and no doubt unloading passengers from its cruise.
At 13.00hrs (Tuesday) we left the hotel for the short drive to the dock to board the Silver Whisper for our 17 day trip down the Amazon. The drive from the hotel in a private taxi costs 20 Barbadian dollars, about 10US.
Arriving dockside boarding was fast and efficient as usual with Silversea. As you may know by now you have to fill in an Ebola questionnaire (countries visited).
By 13.45 we were sitting comfortably on the pool deck enjoyed cool beer and a classic burger, we know how to live!
At 14.00hrs we were informed our suite (651) was ready. On entering the suit our pre ordered drinks were ready, happy days. We sat on our sunny veranda enjoying a Prosecco while awaiting our suitcases. We don’t sail until 23.00hrs so plenty of time to relax and chill out. Bags arrived, unpacked introduced to butler, and ironed the crumpled shirts, muster drill 17.30.
The muster drill went OK as usual, 15 minutes is not much to ensure our safety while on board. Bit of a rush to our “meet and mingle” which was a bit of a letdown. With only six invited, two people couldn't make it but we met one other lovely couple from the US.
So onto our first eating experience of the cruise. We decided to eat under the stars so we chose hot rocks on the pool deck. Great service, had a juicy rib eye and king prawns, washed down with a Chilean red wine which was not to my taste, but plenty more to choose from. After a night cap of a rather large Remy Martin it was off to bed, early night to catch up on lost sleep.
Hope we are not boring the pants of fellow cruisers? Please ask if you have any questions, I will try and answer them for you. Looking forward to day two already!
Day 2 Wednesday. Are we having fun yet??? YES WE ARE!
Thank you for your kind comments on Cruise critic.
Can I apologize from the outset; I am useless at downloading pictures so it’s the narrative only folks.
Stats: 331 passengers on board. 182 UK, US 48 (damn yanks get everywhere) 27 Australians and a full range of other Internationals.
After a very comfortable sleep we awoke very early and had hot coffee delivered to our room to start the day. The ship sailed at 23.00hrs last night, not that I noticed I was in dream land by then!
We are due to dock at Bequia (pronounced Beckway,) at 08.00hrs. Beckway is the Carib word for “island in the cloud” part of Vincent and the Grenadines. The Island is the largest and most populous of the 32 Islands and Cays that makes up the Grenadines.
Just a quick note to mention the internet. We opted for the all singing all dancing package unlimited for 272 US dollars. Up to now it appears to be working fine, a tad slow this morning is that because we are at sea? The only down side is you can only have once device on at a time so, you have to log off and your Partner logs on, bit of a pain but hey ho in the bigger picture.
Exercise: A nasty word for some, but in an attempt to keep the weight down we went for a brisk walk around the deck for an hour, bit shaky while at sea but we are determined to stick with it, (right let’s see how long that lasts?)
Well enough of that walking nonsense!!! It’s a balmy 29 degrees, lovely sunny day. For those interested its 9 laps per mile on the top deck. We are now docked off Admiralty Bay one of the prettiest anchorages in the Caribbean. The capital is Port Elizabeth, a tiny town with Bars and shops where you can buy handmade souvenirs; we will go later this morning by tender.
I think there are three launderettes on board with 3 washers and driers in each, only one iron though. We don’t have the free laundry privileges yet! Mrs Fudge gets a mention here, she is off already to get our first wash load done, good girl. We are lucky, there is one only a few doors down, does not open until 08.00hrs.
Well that’s breakfast over and done with, full English for me, eggs Benedict for Mrs Fudge.
Shore excursions: For those who chose to do, if you have not prebooked any excursions make sure you book as you arrive on the ship. You should book a day or two in advance to avoid disappointment, we have booked for a rum/beach 3.30hrs trip tomorrow, hope we get at least one free sample???
The trip to shore was OK but not much to see and do. The whole experience was one hour, nice to leave the ship however to stretch the legs. After a light lunch its sun bathing time, going through the cocktail list slowly.
We had a pleasant afternoon in the sun on the pool deck however, although there was plenty of staff on duty, in over four hours we were not asked for a drink, I had to go to the bar three times, okay four times.
We had a most enjoyable evening meal in La Terrazza but, the maître de gave us a mild rebuke for arriving thirty minutes early for dinner, naughty Mr and Mrs Fudge.
Another night sailing, 23.00hrs to St. Georges docking at 07.00hrs.
Day 3 Thursday. Port of St Georges, Grenada.
Happy Thanks giving to all our American Cruisers.
Nutmeg, Cloves, Cocoa, those heady aromas fill the night air in Grenada. Only 21 miles long and 12 miles wide the isle of spices, a tropical gem of lush rain forests and white sand beaches. St Georges is one of the most picturesque harbours you could wish to find.
Grenada’s Grand Anse beach is one of the regions finest beaches. The Island has friendly hospitable people and enough good shopping, restaurants, historical sites and natural wonders to make it a popular port of call. About one third of Grenada’s visitors arrive by cruise ship and that number continues to grow each year.
Grenada’s capitol is a bustling West Indian city, narrow streets lined with shops; wind up, down, and across steep hills. Brick warehouses cling to the waterfront, and pastel painted homes rise from the waterfront and disappear into steep Green hills.
We are on our first excursion this morning. 3hrs 30 minutes to the rum distillery combined with time on the beach. (59US Dollars) I hear what you are saying, we are cheapskates.
So, after a leisurely breakfast in our suite (a first for us) very nice it was too, served by our charming butler Janice, after our daily exercise of course, we are now looking forward to soaking up the Grenada hospitality, the population is about 110,000.
The on shore trip was well worth the 59US. 15 minute drive to the Rum distillery, great tour about one hour. The distillery was formed in 1937 and makes between 350/400 thousand bottles a year, yes, we did get a taster! Onto a lovely white private sandy beach, complimentary sun loungers, two complimentary drinks, fantastic setting. Called at the shopping mall on the way back, the locals are so friendly and warm. You do feel very safe here, everyone is polite and helpful, the drawback is we sail at 16.00hrs, could have spent all day here.
13.00hrs, back on deck, more eating and drinking, you would think we were forced into this life style? Lovely sunny day once again, Mrs Fudge is getting a nice tan!
It’s our first formal night this evening, a chance for Mrs Fudge to look fantastic in her best frock.
Just a little ditty, our Captain on this cruise is Luigi Rutigliano, a lovely guy; we sailed down the Panama Canal in 2012 under his captaincy.
After a formal introduction with our Captain Luigi and senior members of the crew in the theatre we had a very pleasant evening with a couple from Sweden. Unfortunately their luggage never arrived before we set sail; they are remarkably cool about it, what a start to the voyage!
After dinner we returned to the theatre and were entertained by “the voices” three female and three male singers. They sang a range of classical songs from West End shows, a very nice end to the day.
Day 4 Friday
We sailed from Grenada at 16.00hrs yesterday en route to Devils Island; it’s a long sailing almost two solid days at sea so we are looking to occupy ourselves on board. So long as I keep Mrs Fudge away from the boutique that will be fine (lol)
We have met a lecturer called Peter Damisch who we met previously on a cruise to the Antarctic in February 2013. A really nice guy, very knowledgeable, we are attending a lecture this morning about real pirates, should be interesting? Unfortunately it clashes with a bridge tour but we have done that before. Please note: I said earlier you must keep one eye on excursions and remember to fill out the appropriate form in plenty of time, even the complimentary tours; we almost missed out on Devils Island tomorrow because there is limited capacity on the tenders.
The lecture was very good indeed, very informative, quite surprising how many myths there are surrounding piracy, frightening though in the bad old days.
Well, I didn’t stop Mrs Fudge finding the boutique!!! I know there have been discussions on the forum about the boutique, but really it is very top dollar. It has changed beyond all recognition from the old style, everyone in there was making comment (negatively) about it, the guy serving looked most embarrassed, and I hasten to add we walked straight out.
There was a cooking demonstration this morning by one of the top chefs on board.
We have been invited to dine with the cruise consultant this evening in an attempt to resurrect our meet and mingle; Mrs Fudge wants to know why we are eating with the staff? (lol)
The sailing in the past 24hrs has been kind, nice sunny morning but cloudy this afternoon, there is a galley tour later today for those interested.
Although we are not there yet, here is brief description of Devil’s Island.
From 1852 to 1948 the main penal colonies were established on the three French lles du Salut to hold the most notorious criminals and political outcasts. Those who were sentenced to seven or more years and survived were required to remain in French Guiana for life. Of 80,000 prisoners sent to the Islands some 50,000 died here. The prisoners were left mainly unguarded due to strong currents and sharks making it almost impossible to escape. Devil’s Island is but one of the infamous penal colonies off the lles du Salut archipelago. On the almost inaccessible Devil’s Island political prisoners such as Alfred Dreyfus were held in isolation. The prisoner who became world famous was Henri Chamere, immortalized in the movie Papillon for supposedly being the only convict ever to have escaped the “Green Hell”.
Pathways allow you to walk around the Island in about 45 minutes, among the overgrown prison cells and other buildings. Recent renovations include a small museum; the trip to the Island is complementary.
Day 5 Saturday
After a pleasant evening last night with our new friends and Enzo the SS cruise consultant, we ate in the MDR after which we had an early night. Still sailing of course towards Devil’s Island, we should anchor off there around mid-day.
More exercise and a lighter breakfast than usual, I’m sure my waistline is expanding by the hour not the day!! Looking forward to another night on the pool deck tonight “hot rocks”. We do like this option because it’s very informal and you get to cook your own food the way you like it, no complaints if you overcook it or ruin it!
Arrived just off the Island about mid day, nice cocktail reception and band on the pool deck by SS followed by a really nice lunch, (Lobster risotto) was one of the dishes, very humid here which was what we expected.
We were under the impression we were actually visiting Devil’s Island, in fact you are taken to the Island next door Ile Royal. After a tender ride of ten minutes you have at least 2/3 hours to wander at your own leisure.
Warning: If you are infirm or unsteady on your feet you may not appreciate the climbing. There is a path you can walk around the Island but it can be quite steep for those with those with walking difficulties, a good pair of walking shoes or training shoes is highly recommended. Unfortunately one person took a really nasty fall, we hope he is OK?
Once on the Island there is a hotel/bar, museum, church, souvenir shop (expensive) old cell ruins and plenty of wildlife to see. We spent almost two hours exploring the Island and enjoyed the adventure. SS still offer the fruit punch on the dockside before rejoining the tender.
We set sail at 1800hrs bound for Macapa, another day at sea this evening and Sunday docking at 07.00hrs Monday morning. Cloudy afternoon but just enough time for another “insane” cocktail.
Another juicy rib eye steak rounded off another great day on the Whisper.
Day 6 Sunday
A lazy day on the ship beckons:
A mad rush for the sun beds, the sea is calm, the temperature is between 29/32c partly cloudy. All hell let loose this morning when someone reserved a sun bed then did not occupy it for some time. Another couple came along and turfed the other person’s goods off. The ship’s crew were called to settle the matter. It is very rude to reserve a sunbed and then leave it unattended for a long time, selfish in my humble opinion.
Another pleasant lunch followed by water volley ball in the salty pool. A poolside quiz to guess how many miles the ship has travelled between point A to point B, I was out by some 300 miles, glad I am not steering the ship!!! (lol)
By 16.00hrs and a drink (or two) afternoon clouds roll in, it’s time for a siesta in the comfort of our own suite.
Looking forward to the La Terrazza this evening, a really pleasant atmosphere in there, making sure we do not get there too early and risk having our knuckles wrapped again!
Our next port of call is Macapa, purely to clear the Brazilian authorities, this is what I call the business end of our cruise, it’s been a nice trip thus far, but really the Amazon is what we came to experience. We then move onto Satarem, I have included a brief description of our stay there.
The first settlement in Santarem was a Jesuit mission built in 1661. The next arrivals consisted of a group of confederate refugees. They came to Santarem after the American civil war in the hope of creating a new slaving state. Few of them stayed very long but they left their mark in certain family and trade names. In the 1920’s during the rubber boom, Henry Ford spent 80million US dollars to establish an enormous rubber plantation for the production of car tyres. The project ended in disaster when many of the workers died of malaria and Ford realized there were too many obstacles to overcome
Today it is the third largest City in the Amazon, one of the major attractions is the “meeting of the waters”.
Day 7 Monday
Finally in Brazil, just docked in the Amazon delta while we receive clearance from the Brazilian authorities.
Lovely hot day already, clear skies, no bugs to talk of yet thankfully. The “International sun bed Incident” seems to have blown over, boy do we get exciting days while on board, let’s see what today entertainment is? Mrs Fudge looks resplendent in her Hawaiian frock this morning for breakfast.
Fashion: For the ladies who like to treat themselves, there is a guy on the pool deck making handmade specialist Italian sandals, prices start at 380US dollars (yikes). One lady has already had three pairs made.
Golf enthusiasts: Later in the cruise Silversea are offering a round of golf at a Hotel resort actually in the Amazon. Now, I am a very keen golfer however, at 499US Dollars I can forgo my golf for three weeks. Mrs. Fudge is trying to encourage me to play but I think it’s because she has one eye on the sandals. (lol)
One of the Chefs sculptured a Dolphin out of a huge piece of ice on deck in about 25 minutes very clever indeed, kept the punters occupied.
For seasoned cruisers out there you will know that on this cruise if you cross the equator, Silversea recognise this by carrying out a ceremony on board. It begins, “you are hereby summoned to the court of King Neptune”
The entertainment team were in full costume and asked for six volunteers to take part in the mock ceremony. Yours truly duly obliged and was subjected to a court hearing. As the Silver Whisper sails across the oceans of the world there are promises that we are sworn to keep.
When we cross the great divide between the North and South we respect King Neptune of the deep.
So today we ask king Neptune, to bless the Silver Whisper as we cross the Equator line once more. The sinners (me) must confess and their punishment is due as they submit to King Neptune and his law. Consequently the whole ship and the crew witnessed a ceremony never seen before.
We received a certificate from Silversea to commemorate the event.
The sun continues to shine, 33 degrees today, lots of happy smiling faces consuming lots of lovely bubbly.
This evening we experienced another first, dining in our suite. At 19.30hrs dead on time there was a knock on our door and our evening meal arrived. We chose something different a Beef Curry, very nice it was to washed down with a cool bottle of Pinot Grigio. The food was fantastic; as good as you can get in the MDR or any of the restaurants, a big thank you to the staff of Silversea.
Day 8 Tuesday
As ever Silversea arrive punctual in Santarem, actually 30 minutes earlier than planned, docking at 07.30hrs. There are at least three shore excursions to choose from, but we decided to do our own thing today.
There are complimentary shuttle buses running from the quay side into town every thirty minutes, another opportunity for local sightseeing and to stretch the legs. We are still on top of our exercise routine thankfully; Mrs Fudge even did an extra 4 laps this morning!!!
It’s a light breakfast today in our suite; we will be leaving the ship dollars in hand in case we see something to buy?
After a 15 minute bus ride we arrived in town. A hustle/bustling noisy but friendly place where you did feel safe to walk around. Lots of shops most selling local goods, I.e. clothes, footwear, supermarkets, chemist/pharmacy. We did shop in one supermarket who did not take US dollars, however we did find a money exchange place.
Understandably English was not widely spoken, it was difficult to converse. We only stayed one hour as most people did, not a great deal to see however, it was a pleasant change to being on deck.
Just to let you all know, you may remember in the past you could purchase toiletries on board, they are now hidden away in a small cupboard and the stock is very limited indeed. This town maybe the only time you have to replace your own requirements for the rest of the cruise.
After a very nice lunch in La Terrazza it’s time to chill out on the pool deck. The cocktail list is getting smaller, the “Silver Spirit” was nice but, I keep returning to the Insane, a real favourite.
Another lovely meal in the MDR, certainly more little bugs around in the evening. Half way through the cruise already and so much to enjoy and see.
Day 9 Wednesday
Today we dock at Boca Da Valeria, the gateway to Manaus. Located between Santarem and Manaus, Boca Da Valeria is the entrance to the Valeria Channel (Boca meaning mouth) the channel leads to Lake Valeria, which marks the border between the States of Amazonas and Para. While the ship is at anchor, a colourful picture unfolds as canoes with the local population come out to meet the ship, providing additional excitement to our Amazon experience.
There are no facilities to operate any organized excursions. Approx 75 people live in this village, surrounded by the great rain forest of the Amazon basin. Life here is a startling contrast to life in Brazil’s modern Amazonian cities of Santarem and Manaus.
Tips: The sun is extremely hot now, please remember to pack plenty of sun block, the temperature is well into 37/38c or over 100f. Also, it is very wise to pack repellent spray, the bugs are definitely here and biting.
Because we are docked off a remote Island, the ship advises that it is customary to offer small gifts such as pens, pencils, sketchbooks Etc. We would have packed such items had we know beforehand. We did supply soft drinks, Silversea pens, Bvlgari soap, and Virgin airlines upper class toilet bag!
We took an early morning tender to the Island. We were greeted by two lines of children all ready to personally escort you around the Island. The whole tour took about 30 minutes; we passed a small church, a school and a few wooden shacks. I don't think I have seen so many children in one location; it seemed like hundreds, in fact there are hundreds, all smiling, and of course looking for small gifts. Silversea say the Island has about 75 inhabitants, more like 750; the population has obviously grown since the last census. (lol)
Local boat trips are offered on their motorized canoes, the going rate is about 5US dollars for 30 or 60 minutes, a trip around the Island. We did not take this offer in the morning however; friends of ours did the trip and persuaded us to return in the afternoon to do it, it was the best 5US Dollars we have spent in my lifetime! This trip is a MUST for this stop, fantastic scenery, wildlife, and an experience never to be forgotten, 60 minutes of pure heaven. Why Silversea don’t promote this I have no idea?
Pink dolphins appeared around the ship during the day.
Tonight is Venetian night which is of course a formal night, another opportunity for Mrs. Fudge to wear a nice frock and all her finery, weighed down with diamonds and jewellery.
There are 182 Venetian guests on board, one couple with over 600 days with SS, two couples with over 250 and quite a few with over 100, SS must be doing something right!
Day 10 Thursday
The days are flying by now, getting fatter by the day but really who cares, you don’t cruise for 17 days and not expect to put on a pound or two, still managed to get into my penguin suit last night though!
Still on an overnight/morning sailing heading for Anavilhanas, the world’s largest river archipelago.
About 60 miles upstream from Manaus lies the world’s largest river archipelago. There are hundreds of Islands, covered in thick vegetation, with a myriad of small creeks all formed by the ever changing waters and the seasons. When the Rio Negro is low, White sand beaches are revealed, as well as the roots and trunks of the trees.
As a natural paradise, it allows visitors to experience the unique ecology of the Amazon including an amazing variety of vegetation and fauna, such as monkeys, sloth and exotic birds that make their habitat in the tropical forest.
History: In 1981 it was promoted to the category of Ecological Station, and since then it is part of the group of Conservation Unities of the lower Rio Negro. In 2008 it promoted to National Park status.
Forgot to mention last evening in the MDR they had a band playing all through the dinner. Unless my memory is failing I don’t recall that happening on any of our other cruises? What was even more strange is that the male escorts on board were visiting each table and asking for partners to dance, this was during the meal. Not wishing to sound like a spoil sport but, it did stifle the art of conversation. Apparently this does not happen on all the other ships, but its proving so popular they may extend it.
Did you know?
The average depth of the Amazon is 20 mtrs, although it can reach 75 mtrs in places. The Whisper only needs 7 mtrs draft. Another odd fact is rather morbid: If unfortunately someone passes away while in this region, the Brazilian Authorities are a nightmare to deal with, the paperwork and cost apparently is prohibitive, I will be sticking to water today to keep sober (that’s a lie)
12.30 We finally dock off shore 60 miles North of Manaus.
Today is the only day SS cannot offer an alternative to their excursion: You can swim with the dolphins and visit a local village for 179 US dollars, (3 hrs) the rest of us stay on board to consume even more Insane cocktails and eat huge steaks. Apparently at least half the guests or more on board will be taking the excursion. Local boats are already moored alongside to convey the guests to their destination. It was like a ghost ship in the afternoon, the bartender was almost bored!
Unfortunately feedback from those who went on the trip was not good. Many people have lodged a complaint with SS that the trip was not good value for money; the first boat back was well within two and a half hours.
At 18.00hrs we arrive at the very busy bustling port of Manaus, we dock in one of the most vibrant quaysides you have ever seen, local ferry boats line the quay side, greeted by many locals eager to capture the moment the Whisper arrives.
Yet another first, (how many firsts can you have??) an evening in Le Champagne. SS do not miss a trick, the one and only telephone call we have had reminding us of our reservation in the restaurant. I have to admit though there is a waiting list so that’s understandable.
I can understand why Le Champagne is so popular, with only Seven tables and so many guests the meal was outstanding, the scallops and lobster thermidor were just divine, the only down side was that a French couple came in and were adamant they had made a reservation, the lady did create a scene in the restaurant but was politely turned away.
We are here for approx two full days, happy days for Mrs Fudge to catch up on shopping! Mr. Fudge will be hiding the credit card (lol) she tells me she is only here to purchase genuine Brazil nuts, let’s see how that pans out shall we?
Manaus is the capitol of the state of Amazonas and the hub of the whole Amazon region. Located on the banks of the Rio Negro the meeting of the waters takes place four miles from Manaus, where the Rio Solimoes meets the Rio Negro to become the Amazon.
The city we see today is primarily a product of the rubber boom. When steam navigation in the 19th century opened up the jungle, it spurred the rubber industry and mass immigration. Under governor Eduardo Riberto the famous Opera house and broad avenues were built.
For the rich it was a place of sheer luxury, palaces and grandiose mansions were erected and time was passed with elaborate entertainment, dances and concerts. By the turn of the century it was an opulent metropolis run by elegant people who dressed and housed themselves as fashionably as their counterparts in any large European city.
In 1899 saw Manaus as the first Brazilian city to have trolley buses and the second one to have electric streetlights. As a river port, Manaus presents an unforgettable spectacle. The cities most famous attraction is the Opera house, at a cost of 3 million US dollars and 17yrs of construction completed in 1896 it has recently gone through a restoration program and now shines once more in its original splendour.
We have decided to “eat in” again this evening, we enjoyed the experience so much, fish cake Provencal, lamb curry and crème Brule, us Brits know how to push the boat out, all washed down with a nice bottle of Billy Billy, my favourite nine quid Australian Shiraz.
There are still some nice touches on deck, the cool flannels, the fruit kebabs, there are some subtle changes to our previous cruises with SS but really minor changes, scones were not on the afternoon tea menu, (shock horror) and unusually not many of the staff know us by our names, not that it bothers us, still very polite though.
The walk from the ship to town is only 5 minutes. Once again it’s a very vibrant busy noisy city with lots of tourist tat on show. Unfortunately the local currency is hard to come by; most places do not accept US dollars. When we found the Opera house about 20 minutes walk from the ship, we did find one exchange place almost opposite there the name is PARCAM exchange, and there is also tourist information very close by. Once at the Opera house, you book a ticket, there are organised tours every 15 minutes or so with an English speaking guide. The cost is 20 real or 5 dollars for two people. There are concessions for those over 60, that includes me but not Mrs. Fudge.
You know I do not upload photos, Google, Manaus-Iranduba Bridge over the river Negro, one of the most fantastic bridges we have ever seen, spectacular.
Please note: There are excursions on offer by SS which cover all the sights you can visit, one is a half day tour for 119 US dollars including the Opera house.
The visit to the Opera House is a MUST see, you cannot leave Manaus without seeing it.
Stop press: No in dining for us tonight, the chef cannot make it! I thought SS was a “can do” cruise line, Mrs. Fudge is well upset and now has a huge big lip; we had better go into town and look for something to buy instead? We have still not found any Brazil nuts!!!!!
Manaus is truly manic, so many people but you feel safe walking around, no hassle, no bother.
The evening was complete with another hot rocks evening, not many on the pool deck.
Day 12 Saturday
An early start to the day, we have booked an excursion to the “meeting of the waters”
Venturing into the Amazon tributaries offers an unforgettable up close look at the areas vast ecosystem. Our half day excursion explores the Islands and narrow channels of the tropical forest, included are a glimpse of the giant water lilies on Lake January and a look at a natural phenomenon, the meeting of the waters. The cost is 99dollars; it’s 4/4.5 duration. We leave at 08.30 should be an interesting trip.
Before we left the ship the SS rep made mention of an unfortunate incident yesterday, a female guest had a gold necklace snatched from her while in town. I do realize this can happen in any big city not just here. It just reinforces how careful you have to be when leaving the ship to explore.
We boarded a two deck type of ferry boat, the organizers are Amazon Explorers, and there were about 40 of us on board. Because we have two days here you can choose which day you want your trip(s) Top tip: Take a towel with you, on board there are cheap and cheery plastic seats, you get a numb backside after a while. There are drinks for sale on board, (free water) and the bathrooms are clean.
Once on board there were two very good English speaking guides who talked about Manaus and the surrounding areas in general. Manaus has a population currently of 2.2 million, I’m sure 1.1 million are near the quay side! We sailed for just over 1 hour when we reached the meeting of the waters, a great photo opportunity as you would expect.
After the meeting of the waters we sailed to a small Island called January Lake, we are now on the ship about 1hr 50mins. Once at the Island we transferred to small motorized canoes, about 10 persons to a boat, we then had about 40 minutes very close to the water and the land looking at the flora and fauna, this was a great experience. Looking at the houses on stilts was fascinating.
Did you know?
When the river rises it can raise up to about 17 metres, in 2009 it raised 30mtrs and caused floods and havoc. As you leave the Whisper look for a board on your left side, it shows you the height of all the water over the years.
Once back to the ferry boat we had an opportunity to browse the local stalls to purchase local handicrafts Etc, visa is widely accepted as was US Dollars. After purchasing the statutory Brazil Amazon t shirt for 10 bucks it was back on board for the 45 minute sail back to the Whisper.
We arrived back at the Whisper at 13.15 so almost 5hrs, well worth the money. We headed straight for Le Terrazza for a buffet lunch; the world and his wife were in there! By the time we got served to roast duck was finished as was the sushi, two of my favourites, a shrug of the shoulders meant there was no more coming, bread and jam it was then!
After “lunch” we went in search of Brazil nuts for Mrs. Fudge, bearing in mind the ship sails at 6pm!
We found a local indoor market, turn left off the quayside walk 400yds, a building with a red roof, hooray Brazil nuts, 10 real a bag. Armed with our nuts we headed back to the ship, as we got within 200yds the heavens’ opened with a dirty little shower, thankfully one of the SS staff was on hand with an umbrella.
A wet afternoon but who cares, it’s a lovely cruise with lovely people, what is not to like with SS.
We sail away at 6pm from Manaus, thank you for a lovely two day stay, your hospitality was outstanding, you are very welcoming city with warm and friendly people, onwards and upwards to our next port of call, Parintins.
Once again an evening in the le Terrazza restaurant with a very nice couple we have met from Preston, true Northerners not like Southern softies (LOL)
Day 13 Sunday
We had a nice surprise when we left the restaurant last evening, the crew had decked out the stairwells with Christmas decorations and garlands, and it begins to put you in the festive mood.
The small village of Parintins lies on Tupinambarana Island, which is part of a large river archipelago in the mid Amazon, 250 miles East of Manaus. In existence for two centuries, Parintins is rich in Indian culture that is represented in the celebrated annual Boi- Bumber festival. It has a population of 100,000 so it can't be that small!
It is a ritual of magic, mystery, passion and faith that has been held here for over 80yrs, inspired by local legends. A stadium Bumbodromo was built in 1988 to accommodate the over 40,000 spectators that come and take part in the festival each year. Silversea has arranged an exclusive performance, enacting the show with all the exuberance and vibrancy normally displayed in the Parintins festival, unfortunately the power went out after 20minutes and that was that, end of the show.
We docked at 11am, its tender transport should you wish to leave the ship, there is an excursion but we are doing a self exploration again today. A few of us have bandied together to hire a small boat to explore.
Well the idea of the small boat never transpired! We could not find one boat owner to take us anywhere. Not a lost cause however, we took the 5 minute tender ride to the town and were greeted by the local tourist guys.
We were asked to go on a three wheel bicycle ride, two persons to each bike, it’s a 1 hour ride around town; we negotiated the cost from 10US Dollars per person to 10 for two. What a great idea this was, 7 of us went in a group, you visit 4 places of interest.
First a church (closed) secondly a huge new stadium which holds a bull fighting festival, then onto a coral built in 1988 it’s a rehearsal for the main stadium which is sponsored by Coca Cola. What is strange that the stadium is Blue, the only place in the world where the cola signs are in Blue, Red is not allowed in there? The whole hour was a real hoot, especially in a group; the town was literally a ghost town even though it was a Sunday.
Back on board for lunch around the pool deck, back to lovely sunny days, 102 degrees in the hot sun, we sail at 17.30 for our next port of call.
At last! Another pleasant evening “in suite” dining experience, SS finally acknowledged you can order the same day and still present a very decent meal, we decided the dress code was casual, in fact very casual.
Day 14 Monday
We have our last land trip today, a place called Alta do Chao. This is a very brief stop, we don’t dock until 08.00hrs and we sail by 12.30pm. Already the cruise is winding down; we are beginning to receive our disembarkation notices and other paperwork to ensure we have a comfortable finish to our holiday.
This village enjoys a lovely location amid lush vegetation above the Tapajos River. The small settlement consists of rustic native cottages dotting the fringe of a tropical forest. Thanks to its beautiful sandy beach and the rivers amazingly clear water it has become a popular local weekend resort.
During our call we take the tender ashore and enjoy a refreshing swim or explore the village. The village has a good selection of indigenous art and crafts, many of the items are from the now closed museum, local souvenirs can be purchased and the village can be explored on your own.
For sun worshipers, what a fun morning that was! Arrived on shore bright and early to a wonderful white sandy beach as described by SS. There is a beach to your right as you leave the tender, but we were directed to an even nicer beach. Go on the walkway to the top, turn immediately left, go 200mtrs to an unspoiled beach with shallow fresh water to swim.
Don’t forget to take a bottle of your favourite tipple with you, we had a nice bottle of Prosecco, another couple took a bottle of Rose. We were joined on the beach by the Master of the ship Luigi, we had yet another photo opportunity, and I asked the captain, “Why can’t we stay until 4pm? As quick as a flash, he replied “what time is your flight”?
Our last day ashore was very pleasant indeed relaxing under the sun. Clean environment with friendly locals, dollars are once again accepted if you buy late souvenirs or nick knacks.
For those seasoned SS cruisers you may like to know that SS will not be hosting a pool deck BBQ. Of all the SS cruises we have been on SS do not operate one on the Brazil cruise. The official line is the hot climate, the bugs, the inclement weather, Etc Etc. For us it is a disappointment, one of the highlights of the cruise in my humble opinion, oh well there are other options.
Another grill night tonight with four newly formed friends, the rib eye steaks are very nice as is the Billy Billy Red wine; it’s a tough life on SS. We looked at the temperature for the UK, 4/5 degrees, freezing cold; thank heavens we return to Cyprus, not as hot as here but very pleasant. Our 5 cats will be so pleased to see our suitcases, and we hope us of course?
With our cruise almost at an end, with all the land excursions over, it will be difficult to write anything you seasoned cruisers don't already know. I have mentioned most of life on board and the Whisper in particular. Please feel free to fire off any questions you have about the cruise or the Whisper, I will try my best to answer them.
This blog is dedicated to the most a wonderful lady Judy Abbott, who we had the pleasure to meet on the Silver Cloud in 2011, one of Silverseas most memorable Cruise directors.
Day 15 Tuesday
Thank you all for your kind comments, I also enjoy reading Cruise Critic, I have gleaned some valuable information from other travellers.
The Captain is racing along to meet our deadline in Barbados; today’s highlight is a British Pub lunch in the restaurant after pool volleyball at 11am. The guy making the sandals is doing a roaring trade; thankfully Mrs. Fudge is not tempted!
Well, the highlight of the cruise: A sing along at the British Pub event, soggy fish and chips, limp Steak and Ale pie washed down with Newcastle Brown Ale (and another insane)
The voices sang good old traditional songs, Summer Holiday, my old mans a dustman, get me to the church on time, pack up you troubles in your old kit bag. I can hear you all tapping your feet already and humming the songs. Are we having fun, or are we having fun???
We were joined by a lovely couple from Sweden who were totally perplexed by the whole event, but they did join in, good for them.
Nothing to tempt us for the main restaurant menu this evening so it’s a Pizza in our suite with friends.
Day 16 Wednesday
Oh my god, almost the end of the cruise:
Did you know?
The Amazon is 18 miles wide at its widest point wherever that is? Allegedly, we have consumed 25% more Red wine than on any other Amazon cruise, boy the Brits can drink can’t they!
According to the Cruise director SS will not be holding any BBQ nights on any of the cruise ships because the food is outside and needs refrigerators Etc.
Our last formal evening this evening, an invitation to sit with the International Hostess, time to put on our best finery.
A fun afternoon around the pool deck with even more pool volley ball, how much excitement can we have??? The Captain has indicated a pretty large swell this evening during dinner should be fun!
As usual the Masters fair well get together in the show lounge with most of the staff and crew, music from Andrea Bocelli singing “time to say goodbye” there won’t be a dry eye on the ship.
Last day of fun tomorrow and then packing!! All good things must come to an end.
Day 17 Thursday
That’s it folks, all over bar the shouting. We have met some wonderful people, made some new friends, seen some fabulous places and would without a doubt recommend this cruise to anyone.
We have just completed the statutory SS questionnaire, most of our feedback was very positive indeed, one or two minor hiccups which you would expect on any holiday/cruise experience.
Overall we do love SS, are we tempted to “jump ship” to another cruise line? We are very tempted, only to compare prices/quality Etc.
Happy cruising to those who have booked a future cruise, you never know we may cross each other’s paths? I am sorely tempted to book a future cruise while on board; we have of course booked the “floating deposit” for a future cruise.
The cases are almost packed; we vacate the suite by 08.00hrs, slung off the ship by 10.00hrs, off to the Hilton Hotel to spend the day before our Virgin Airlines flight at 18.30hrs. Of course we may be there earlier to take advantage of the business class lounge.
Good bye and bon voyage...
Your good friends Mr. and Mrs. Fudge.