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About EssexCruiser

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  1. Thanks bigmjh for the advice. Your guide sounds great! Fortunately we are not actually going to Brazil until 2009. But since we were thinking of going on a Carnaval cruise we knew we had to probably book it early. In the end, after some more research, we realized that if our primary goal was to actually see Rio, being there during Carnaval is a very bad idea! So we've booked for a later cruise that will still visit Rio but after Carnaval. I'm sure Carnaval is wonderful but 3 days of it might be too much of a good thing, especially if it makes seeing the city a pain, which appears to be the case. So we will certainly consider using your guide now that we have a year to plan!
  2. Thanks Gantam for the reply and information. As much as it would be fun to see Carnaval it sounds like a lot of work (and money). Not being the party types I suspect we'll probably have our full share of feathers and sequins after 2-3 hours anyway. But on the other hand the cruise would give us 3 days in Rio which is more than most cruise itineraries, so we're still curious to see if we can make it work. And one of our members has a big milestone birthday during the cruise and really wants to see Rio (there is a later RCCL cruise that also goes to Rio but it won't be during her birthday). I know that the main tour companies just about close down during Carnaval - I also discovered that Grey Lines don't run anything during Carnaval. But has anybody had any experience using private tours during Carnaval (e.g., South Sea Tours?). Are they reliable? I've heard that it's effectively a national holiday in Brazil during Carnaval so I wonder if it will be hard to find tour guides willing to work during this period?
  3. We are planning a South America cruise on RCCL that will be in Rio for 3 days (2 nights). It just so happens that it will be during Carnaval time, although that wasn't the main reason for taking the cruise. It will of course be exciting to see something of Carnaval, but on the other hand none of us in our group particularly like large crowds, but we're willing to give it a go. Our question is about shore excursions. Given the safety issues we are more likely to want to take organized excursions in Rio more than other ports. Usually we like to do our own thing, but common sense tells us that there is really a place where the over-priced shore excursions might make sense. I also started to check tour companies (e.g., Viatour) but noticed that most of them seem to shut down for about 6 days over the Carnaval period. Also, the ship appears to offer only a few basic tours but hardly any out-of-town tours (e.g., Petropolis) that are usually offered. So we're concerned that there will not be enough tours to fill up 3 days. Although we're excited about being in Rio during Carnival, if it means that it will be difficult to do regular sightseeing we'd probably rather forego Carnaval and take a different cruise. Does anybody have any experience of being in Rio during Carnaval - is it possible to easily do tours and sightseeing? And if so, is it so crowded to the point of being not enjoyable? I've also heard that Rio is even more dangerous during Carnaval than at any other time - can anybody comment on this? I had kind of hoped there would be safety in numbers (as long as we take the recommended precautions), but maybe not! Thanks for any tips and advice!
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