Cruises to Rio de Janeiro

121 Reviews
Rio de Janeiro (Photo:Aleksandar Todorovic/Shutterstock)

About Cruising to Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro has earned its sexy and scintillating reputation (and its nickname, "Cidade Maravilhosa," or "The Marvelous City") the easy way -- it simply lives up to it everywhere you turn. If you are browsing cruise itineraries to Brazil, you won't want to skip Rio de Janeiro. The dramatic landmarks of Sugarloaf and the Christ statue lording over spectacular stretches of famed urban beaches like Copacabana and Ipanema; delicious food and wine with a Latin flair; the sensual moves of samba dance and rhythms of traditional music on display every day of the year including, of course, the bacchanalian Carnival; and a passionate, cosmopolitan and, most of all, friendly people are only some of the ways that Rio constantly affirms its status as a favorite travel destination. In fact, in almost every conversation or poll about "favorite cities" in the world, Rio is at or near the top. That's probably why the Olympic Committee chose it to host the 2016 Summer Games.

While not the largest city in the 190 million-resident behemoth that is Brazil -- that honor goes to Sao Paulo -- Rio's six million diverse residents (called "Cariocas") are keenly proud of their city's stature. They are the most outspoken, lively and just plain fun people you'll probably ever encounter. The Cariocas' unmistakable joie de vivre and welcoming spirit is infectious, as they'll gladly share their local secrets on where to go to experience the most important architectural treasures, the most cutting-edge art museums, the most action-packed water sports, or the most memorable caipirinha (the national drink that packs a wallop). But this isn't surprising. Who wouldn't have an open outlook on life living in this perpetually sunny, joyful and fascinating melange of Portuguese, African, European and South American cultures?



Another definite advantage to visiting Rio and Brazil as a tourist is that it remains one of the few true travel bargains left today in this age of the declining dollar. Like its more dressed-up cousin to the south, Buenos Aires, Rio offers the opportunity to live grandly for a day or a week on a much smaller budget than in comparable cities like Paris or Rome, with reasonable prices for five-star accommodations, good bargain prices for world-class cuisine and wine, and the ability to shop until you drop when searching out the latest trendy fashion items and jewelry.



While inarguably exciting, visiting Rio is still equated with the word "danger" in some conversations. In reality, there are some safety concerns if you venture far out of the normal tourist quarters. But the overall situation for visitors has improved greatly in the past decade, and pickpocketing and mugging incidents are not common. So kick back and relax as you are drawn into Rio's magnificent orbit.



Note: To enter Brazil, U.S. travelers must have visas, which cost $140 - $160, depending on how application is made. Visas are valid for stays of up to 90 days at a time over a 10-year period. Visit the Brazilian Consulate's Web site for visa information.

  • More about Rio de Janeiro

  • Why Cruise to Rio de Janeiro?

  • Rio de Janeiro Cruise Port Facilities?

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More about Rio de Janeiro

Why Cruise to Rio de Janeiro?

Pros:

The port is a short distance from the museums, restaurants and nightlife of the downtown area

Cons:

The port area is not safe for walking around at night and petty crime is common

Bottom Line:

Offers easy access to the city, but it's a distance from the famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches

Rio de Janeiro Cruise Port Facilities?

There's absolutely no reason to stay around the pier -- it's a working cargo port with no services. Ships may arrange transportation to Copacabana, the Ipanema beaches, and the city center, or you can simply hail a taxi.

Good to Know?

Because Rio has been so famous for its relatively high crime rate -- particularly for pickpocketing -- this is a port of call where organized ship tours can be a good idea. But in recent years, the city government has made an effort to "clean up" the city, and there are abundant tourist police in major areas which has helped deter some crime. Whichever option you choose, absolutely leave anything valuable in your stateroom safe (including items like earrings, wedding rings and expensive cameras). Follow the lead of locals: When Cariocas go to the local beaches, they just carry a towel, sunscreen and some petty cash to buy snacks and drinks from the numerous beach vendors.

Getting Around?

The central part of Rio de Janeiro where the major sights are located is very walkable. Taxis are also readily available. While Rio has an excellent public transportation system (buses and metro), they can be tricky to figure out for first-timers. The metro extends along Copacabana beach and includes Ipanema.

Another option many cruise passengers have is free transportation, courtesy of internationally known jewelers; companies like H. Stern often offer complimentary roundtrip sedan rides to its jewelry store in Rio, which is in Ipanema -- the city's chic-est neighborhood. No purchase is required and passengers who don't buy aren't hassled about it. But if you do accept the free ride (cars go back and forth between the ship and the store all day), be courteous and at least browse the store before heading off to the beach or town.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The currency is the Brazilian real (pronounced rey-al; plural is reais, pronounced ray-eyes). There are plenty of ATM machines and exchange bureaus in town. Bank hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Credit cards are widely accepted.

Language?

Brazilian Portuguese. English is widely understood in hotels and shops. If spoken slowly, Spanish is understood by many residents as well.

Where You're Docked?

Cruise ships dock at the city's commercial port, Pier Maua. The downtown business district is within walking distance of the port.


Rio de Janeiro Cruise Reviews
We were blessed with fantastic weather in Rio so saw the city and the famous beaches at their best. We took two tours and both guides, Mariano and Wagner, were very good, with Wagner being particularly enthusiastic Read More
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Princess123
Bad timing of excursions with crowd and congestion in Rio. Overcast weather.Read More
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jgardh96
We used an independent company for tours and carnival tickets Do Brazil Right only 9 on the tour they were fantastic highly recommend. Read More
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Jilllowther
Craziest place I've ever seen. This place was non-stop partying. Be careful however. (I was there for Carnival!)Read More
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djack77494

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