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Cruises to Manaus

Manaus (Photo:Uwe Bergwitz/Shutterstock)

About Manaus

Manaus is the largest urban area on the Amazon. It is also the most important Amazonian port and the capital of the state of Amazonas. With 1.5 million people, it cannot be called a city by Brazilian standards (two million people are required for that designation), but it bustles like a major metropolis. The city is one more surprising sight on an Amazon cruise of many surprises, standing as it does in the middle of the Amazon, surrounded by rivers and rain forests. It lies at the critical juncture of the Rio Negro and the Amazon Rivers, and serves as the port for the entire region.

The town has quite a history. It was a small river village during the 1600's, populated mainly by indigenous peoples. Around 1669, because of its strategic presence on two major rivers, Portugal established a small fort in the town. Manaus grew steadily, increasing in importance as a port and, in 1850, it was named the capital of the Amazonas state. But toward the end of the 19th century, fortune smiled. Rubber trees grow throughout the region (and at that time, only in the region), and with the introduction of rubber vulcanization for use in the growing automobile industry, the city prospered along with the rubber barons who settled there. Much of the significant infrastructure in the town (such as the Opera House) was built by wealthy families who tried to convert the town into the Paris of the tropics. Unfortunately, an Englishman smuggled some rubber seeds out of the country, successfully transplanted trees to Malaysia, and the monopoly ended. The invention of synthetic rubber in the 1920's completely finished off the rubber industry and the high times in Manaus were over.

Recently, Manaus has again emerged as an important commercial center. It continues to be the main port serving the Amazon region; it is also a duty-free zone and the center for travel into the Amazon.

Manaus is a mix of crowded residential areas, bustling markets, office buildings, banks and traffic-filled streets. The town begins at the river's edge and extends outward and upward in a melange of curving streets, narrow alleys and mysterious walkways.

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74 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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128 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
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Scarborough, Devil's Island ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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21 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
Rio de Janeiro
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Maceio, Recife ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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DAY 1: New York

40 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
New York
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Hamilton, Barbados ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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24 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
Miami
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Tortola, Antigua ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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12 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
Manaus
Visiting:
Parintins, Santarem ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking Ocean Cruises
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34 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Santos, Rio de Janeiro ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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25 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
San Juan, St. Barts ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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25 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
St. Maarten, St. Lucia ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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12 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
Manaus
Visiting:
Parintins, Santarem ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking Ocean Cruises
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16 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
Manaus
Visiting:
Parintins, Santarem ...
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Cruise Line:
Silversea Cruises
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45 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
San Antonio
Visiting:
Puerto Montt, Castro ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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12 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
San Juan
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Antigua, St. Lucia ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking Ocean Cruises
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21 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
San Juan
Visiting:
Barbados, Devil's Island ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking Ocean Cruises
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21 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Punta del Este, Montevideo ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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51 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
Lima
Visiting:
Pisco, Coquimbo ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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25 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
St. Kitts, Guadeloupe ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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24 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Hamilton, Barbados ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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31 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Newport, Provincetown ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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15 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
Manaus
Visiting:
Boca dos Botos, Parintins ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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Cruise Critic Favorite

12 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
San Juan
Visiting:
Antigua, St. Lucia ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking Ocean Cruises
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33 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Montevideo, Punta del Este ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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31 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Montevideo, Punta del Este ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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21 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Itajai, Peraty ...
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Cruise Line:
Silversea Cruises
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31 Night
Cruise to Manaus

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Montevideo, Rio Grande ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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Why go to Manaus?

Pros:

As far up the Amazon River as an ocean-going cruise ship can get, base for exploration upriver

Cons:

Hot and humid, the city itself has only a few cultural attractions

Bottom Line:

A great place for a river-and-jungle tour, less ideal for independent wandering ashore

Manaus Cruise Port Facilities?

The dock is connected to the shore by a covered bridge, and then a new, high-end (and delightfully air-conditioned) shopping center, Hidroviaria International Terminal. H. Stern and other upscale retailers are well represented; there's also a bar and an Internet/phone center. But a quick exit brings passengers immediately onto the streets of the city.

Good to Know?

The heat and humidity. The city has no real differentiation between seasons; it is either rainy season or not, but it is always hot and humid. Also, Manaus is on a hill, so walking anywhere means walking uphill. Wear loose clothing (shorts and T-shirts are fine) and a hat, use sunscreen liberally, drink lots of your own bottled water, and take occasional breaks from walking. And a related warning: Cultural buildings are either not air-conditioned or only minimally so.

Getting Around?

All of the main sights are within walking distance of the dock.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The real (or reais). ATM's are usually found in bank lobbies, especially along the Rua 24 de Maio; there are none in the market areas. Many ATM's take only cards with credit card logos. Unless you plan on spending a lot of cash in restaurants or shops, you can survive with a small supply of U.S. currency. Most cultural sights take both reals and dollars. And even in the markets, someone is always eager to exchange dollars for the local currency.

Language?

The official language is Brazilian Portuguese. Although not many residents speak English, the attendants in most attractions do. There always seems to be someone nearby in the markets to translate as needed.

Where You're Docked?

Ships dock at the Porto Flutuante (floating docks), an ingenious structure that rises and falls with the greatly fluctuating river level. A stone retaining wall at the end of the bridge from the dock indicates the high water marks from 1902, when it was built. The town begins at the docks. Check out the number and sizes of riverboats that are docked with your ship; Manaus is the market center for the entire Amazon region, and river dwellers travel up to five days to buy supplies there.


Manaus Cruise Reviews

PEverdell
Sail Date: Nov 2018
We saw the meeting of the waters as we came in to Manaus from the ship. Interesting but not much to it. Returned to ecological park for back river tour.... Read More
jjessie
Sail Date: Jan 2020
Good overall but saw very little wildlife and the rain forest walk was a bit sterile. Make sure you are well covered with Deet etc. We were bitten despite this and it is a Malaria area... Read More
dlemke
Sail Date: Oct 2019
Tour very good scenic giving good understanding of area... Read More
dlemke
Sail Date: Oct 2019
Zoo was small but very informative as to their purpose of rescue... Read More
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