Big River, Huge Adventure
Exploring the Amazon on a luxury cruise ship is probably the way to go.
By Michael Collins
I knew that the Amazon was a big river. Fourth grade geography taught me that. I also knew that Brazil’s longest river is at the heart of the world’s most famous rainforest. But as our flight broke through the clouds on our descent into Manaus, I got to see firsthand how enormous this spider web of waterways really is.
My pace quickened as I anxiously gathered my belongings, eager to embark on the mythical nautical roadway I would call home for the days ahead. Speeding across old town Manaus, I passed the famous neo-baroque opera house and then the banana market before arriving at the colorful waterfront. Here, boats from every tributary descend and return to all points on the compass that the Amazon allows. Scrutinizing the neighboring rows of nested homemade boats and wooden ships along the dock, the van stopped before Iberostar’s Grand Amazon, its crew quickly stepping forward to help me aboard with my bags and other travel gear.
Setting Sail for Adventure
The beautifully appointed Grand Amazon features three decks of cabins, and I noted the great level of detail in the construction as I through the passageways. It quickly became apparent that one benefit of a ship this size is the level of camaraderie that develops between fellow passengers. And why not? Shared experiences of this magnitude have been known to be the genesis of lifelong friendships.
I reached my cabin and immediately appreciated the large sliding glass door and balcony that allowed me to view every detail of our passage up and down the river. Luckily, we didn’t have long to wait as the twinkling skyline of Manaus slipped from view and the sun dissolved into the murky horizon before us.