View Full Version : South America to South Beach - Symphony Apr 2006

June 21st, 2005, 08:56 PM
Does anyone have any experience with this itinerary (Buenos Aires to Miami, 16 days, Apr 13 - 29, 2006)? The price is great, with lots of sea days, which I love, and I have never been to South America. I'd like to try to book next week while we're on the Symphony in Norway, so any comments are welcome.


June 21st, 2005, 10:22 PM
I did something similar on the last leg of the 2003 world cruise. We went from Cape Town across the Atlantic to Rio, up to Salvador, visited a couple of Caribbean islands, to FLL and finally to NY. Personally, I found Rio and Salvador to be rather scary with many warnings about crime. The ship's photographer was attacked and threatened with broken beer bottles (all her equipment was stolen---and she was actually with a ship's tour when this happened). A few passengers were robbed/pickpocketed. I was quite disappointed by how dirty Rio was---lots of trash in the streets and loads of graffiti. Crystal took very good care of us, but even with that I was uncomfortable with being in Brazil---perhaps it might be that I travel as a single and maybe couples might not feel as uneasy. You will definitely find those that love Brazil, but I'm just not one of them. SugarLoaf was lovely as is the statue of the Christ up on the mountain, and many ladies found good deals on jewelry, but Brazil hasn't been one of my favorite ports.

I'm looking forward to seeing Buenos Aires because I'm considering the itinerary before the one you're considering.

June 21st, 2005, 10:22 PM

I did that cruise (actually the same one back to back!) last winter. The Symphony sailed from Ft. Lauderdale to Buenos Aires and back again. I was lucky enought to be on both segments. I too had never been to South America and, for me, the cruises were a great introduction to the continent. We had the opportunity to vist Rio and two other Brazilian cities. There WERE a lot of sea days but there was so much to do on board--many more activities than I recall from more port intensive cruises. If you decide to take this April cruise, do try to schedule a few days post cruise in Buenos Aires. Even though the ship overnighted in BA, it was not enough time to enjoy this delightful city.

If you have specific questions, I'll try to answer them.


June 22nd, 2005, 01:01 PM
I, too, was interested in that itinerary, but my parents visited Rio and a few other Brazilian ports on a cruise and have urged me not to do it. They said that it was dirty and dangerous and it is not a place they would like to return. However, they do recommend Buenos Aires very much.


June 22nd, 2005, 01:08 PM
We are doing the Manaus to B A (including an Amazon River cruise) 15-day cruise March 1, 2006. I've been reading other cruise line boards about this and they all seem very favorable except for Rio (where we have an overnight stay). It just so happens that the overnight is on my birthday and I was hoping to go out on the town to celebrate, but I am having serious doubts. I may spend my birthday night on board and go to the Palm Court or casino instead. By the way, for Brazil, my Crystal booking confirmation says we need not only visas but innoculations. I asked my travel agent, and he said to ask my doctor. What kind of innoculations might we need.
This is from she who is afraid of needles!!!

June 22nd, 2005, 03:19 PM
Brazil does require a visa. This was implemented after the U.S. instituted an entrance fee to our country for Brazilian (and others) citizens. Regarding innoculations, we were not required to get any but this was last November and, of course, things may have changed.

I'd also like to weigh in on the Brazilian cities discussion. Is Brazil one of my favorite countries? No. But do I think it's worth a visit? Absolutely! We did all our sightseeing on Crystal's shore excursions but did go into Rio independently during the day with no problem (we were two women). Crystal did warn passengers not to wear jewelry, particulary pierced earrings as they can be pulled off the ear lob. However, I've had to heed that type of warning in other countries. Regarding dinner at night in Rio, I would suggest, Judith, that you speak with the ship's concierge. He/she could give you the most up to date info. If you decide to go, you might think about booking a car and driver through the ship and having the concierge make dinner reservations for you. BTW we followed the concierge's advice about dinner in Buenos Aires and had a lovely time. The restaurant knew we were on Symphony and took extra special care of us.


June 22nd, 2005, 07:23 PM
We did Symphony from Barbados to Buenos Aires. We thoroughly enjoyed the run of sea days that this cruise involved. We stopped in one or two small ports in northern Brazil [slightly primitive, colonial] and then were on to Rio.

Judith, I think you might enjoy Rio.It's true that you can't wear your jewelry and that you need to hold your $$ close to your chest, but Corcovado & Christ the Redeemer statue are quite interesting sights. The city pulsates. The people are friendly. If you are hesitant you might hire a guide for the day rather than miss it....or if you are interested in purchasing Harriet Stern jewelry, that company will supply a guide for the day. Our dinner table
[all 8] hired a van for the evening and went dining plus took a short walk
near Copacabana [?sp] beach. Buy some astrud gilberto tapes and get in the mood! You will need a visa and you will need one or more innoculations; I seem to recall yellow fever but am not certain of this.

Buenos Aires is an enchanting, cosmopolitan city. A visit to a tangeria
is a must. It also is convenient to explore the falls from here.

We really loved this cruise.
If you can't decide by next week, you can always hold the space or at least take an open onboard booking.

June 23rd, 2005, 02:07 PM
We sailed Rio to Manaus this year on Seabourn Pride. Visas are required for entry into Brazil and are available through Brazilian Consulates. Yellow fever shots are also required for Amazon travel and malaria medication is highly recommended for the Amazon. The CDC site lists recommended shots, etc. for Brazil (as well as most other countries worldwide) and also has a listing, by US city, of physicians speciallizing in travel medicine.

We thoroughly enjoyed Brazil and her people. We spent two nights pre-cruise in Rio and never felt threatened, although we were cautious and never strayed far from Copacabana and typical tourist sites (Sugarloaf and Corcovado). For an excellent churrascaria dinner, try Porcao (the one near Sugarloaf); it is especially fun with a group, large or small.

June 24th, 2005, 07:24 AM
Judith, the advice that you were given about seeing the doctor is absolutely correct. The shot is for Yellow Fever. It is not big deal. I had one about 10 years ago, the first time I went to Rio.

South America is wonderful. I have been there two times.

In terms of Buenos Aires, yes, it is a very cosmpolitan city. Its architecture is very european. The good news for US travelers is that the exchange rate is very favorable. When we were there this past February, we had some outstanding meals. Yes, I would not recommend wearing nice jewelry and I would be careful with wallets, etc. We did walk around Buenos Aires during the daytime but we made sure we walked around the safe areas but at night we went to nearby restaurants. If you want to take a taxi cab be sure that someone calls for one. Do not, I repeat do NOT just flag a taxi yourself that is passing by.

I would say the same thing about Rio. I would stay close to the hotel at evening and be very observant and not walk around with any jewelry. Of course, I would say the same about other places such as Rome or some places here in the US.

Finally, for your cruises, check out where you are going and what the weather will be like for each segment of your cruise as the weather will vary based on time location. On our cruise, many people had the wrong type of clothing as they made assumptions without fully researching each stop.

I will tell you that South America is one of the prettiest places that we have visited, with wonderful people.

If you need to use an Internet Cafe they have great rates. For one hour of Internet connection, you pay either $1.00 or $2.00.


June 24th, 2005, 10:33 AM
Judith, I did need a visa for Brazil, but not yellow fever shots. We probably didn't need the shots because we were not cruising on the Amazon. Those who did safaris in Kenya while on the world cruise, also needed proof of yellow fever vaccination because Brazil requires anyone coming into the country, who have been in certain locations in Africa, must be vaccinated. Since I didn't do the Kenyan safari, I didn't need the vaccination.

June 28th, 2005, 08:28 AM
We did BA to Rio this past January on Oceania. I agree with the previous posts that Buenos Aires requires more than just one day. The same with Rio. We hired a car and driver and had a wonderful time in Rio and never felt uneasy. We didn't go out at night but spent the whole day touring. The other ports on this cruise were rather primative and wouldn't recommend doing shore excursions. Enjoy the ship on these days.


June 29th, 2005, 08:25 PM
Hi all,

I'm new to this board because, being a dedicated HAL cruiser (somewhere around 20-22 cruises aboard HAL ships - S class only, you couldn't get me aboard the new Vista class - too many passengers), I've always been curious about Crystal and got to thinking "you've got the money why not use it?", so I started out by checking out your board. I'm sorry to see that some posters, on other threads, are lamenting the changes taking place on Crystal but then HAL and all the other lines are experiencing the same thing. The world is changing and we just have to learn to live with it.

Anyway, my late husband and I "did" the San Diego to Rio 35-day cruise a few years ago - down the west coast of South America and around Cape Horn, not through the Canal. I, too, am one of those people who doesn't care for Rio. It's a beautiful city, although even the most expensive areas are "decorated" with grafitti (some of it dated and the dates stretched back five years or more and the graffiti was still there!). However, we took a ship sponsored shore excursion and I must say that I never felt threatened while ashore, unlike Panama City last year where I did feel threatened. I wore my Gucci watch and a simple pair of pearl stud earrings (pierced) and nobody even gave them a second look (maybe not expensive enough?:D ). Rio was hot and humid but the statue of Christ the Redeemer was very impressive and the view from the Corcovado was amazing. We did take the Sugar Loaf mountain trip but could see nothing from the top because of the fog. The trip ended up, naturally, at Sterns Jewellers where the prices were out of sight, to put it mildly, but there was no pressure to buy and their "Folklorico" area has some very reasonably priced items for souvenirs or presents for the folks back home. I certainly wouldn't forego a trip just because Rio is one of the ports.

On to Buenos Aires - oh, one of my favorite cities in the world. It is extremely cosmopolitan and certainly deserves it's nickname "Paris of the South". It's a beautiful city with wonderfully friendly inhabitants. I would most certainly love to go back there anytime.

I see now JusttheTwoofUs that maybe my post is too late for you to read before you left on the Symphony for Norway but I hope that you decided to go for the trip. I too love the sea days and I'm thinking that I may even be on the same cruise:)

July 14th, 2005, 08:11 AM
Well, we've booked this cruise for next April. I'm hoping to combine it with a few days before in Buenos Aires and visit with friends in Florida afterward. While we were on the Symphony in Norway, one of the breakfast waitresses was from Buenos Aires and she raved about her hometown..Recommended that if we had the time we go out to one of the ranches where you can see the gauchos.

When it gets closer, I'd be happy to start a thread to see if anyone else is going on this cruise. Our experience with the CruiseCritic gang on the Norwegian Fjords cruise was great! It's a wonderful way to start your cruise.


July 14th, 2005, 08:39 AM
Phyllis, I was just in Bueno Aires earlier this year, after disembarking from a cruise that we were on of South America. It is a wonderful city. Wonderful people, food, and things to do with a European flavor. There is much to do and to see.


July 14th, 2005, 10:45 PM
This year we did the west coast of South America and so decided we would do the East Coast in 2006.... I have a friend that goes to Rio at least once per year. He raves about it. Yes there can be problems with crime.... Don't let your guard down and don't venture out on your own unless you hire a car. All of the major tourist attractions are pretty decent, but don't EVER venture out with anything of value -- cameras and especially NOT jewelry or watches -- or cell phones.

Care should always be taken when visiting cities like Rio... safety first. This won't keep us from going. We have heard so much about Rio. Always be aware of your surroundings and it's always best to do the tours the ship arranges!

We hope to see some CCers on the cruise.

July 15th, 2005, 07:09 AM
Which cruise are you taking in 2006. We are on the Amazon River cruise that goes from Manaus to Buenos Aires and includes an overnight in Rio. According to Crystal air/sea they are planning a charter flight from Ft. Lauderdale or Miami there February 28, 2006/March 1, 2006 with commercial flight back from B.A.

July 15th, 2005, 07:37 AM
To add xxzzy's comments, I tell people when visiting these ports (Rio, Buenos Aires, etc.) to be street smart. When you are walking around, stay on the main streets, be observant of those around you, do not take any nice jewelry with you, and have limited money with you and men keep wallets in front pockets and women keep purses close to you.

With that said, South America is wonderful. Just be observant. Of course, I could make similar comments about selected cities around the world and in the US.


james j feller
July 19th, 2005, 03:16 PM

We are thinking of doing this same cruise, i got a "hold" on it now with my travel agent.

We been on one CRYSTAL cruise and fell in love with it compared to other lines.

You can't beat the price on this cruise.

I can get a guarantee "E" cabin and i did a little better than what CRYSTAL wants, also air was good.

Hope to hear from you.


July 19th, 2005, 07:20 PM
Which cruise are you taking in 2006. We are on the Amazon River cruise that goes from Manaus to Buenos Aires and includes an overnight in Rio. According to Crystal air/sea they are planning a charter flight from Ft. Lauderdale or Miami there February 28, 2006/March 1, 2006 with commercial flight back from B.A.

We are on this cruise (the South America to South Beach). We have already made our flight arrangements to Leave Ft. Lauderdale on April 11th (my birthday) to arrive in Buenos Aires the day before the cruise. Ashame it goes back to Miami -- and not Ft. Lauderdale. We really enjoy a 10 minute ride back to the house after the cruise. Back from Miami, it will probably be 45 minutes to an hour...

Would love to meet you one of these days... have see you around the board a lot.