Updated on Sep.13, 2012
Venturing along major rivers of the Amazon aboard a luxury cruise ship is the experience offered by the Iberostar Grand Amazon, launched in Brazil in 2005. Iberostar, Spain's largest touristic enterprise, also has hotels in Bahia.
The ship is part of the Grand Collection, the highest Iberostar category - which includes luxury hotels and resorts, all exclusively for grown-ups. The 70-foot ship with a tonnage of 2,200 has 72 luxury cabins measuring about 248 square feet and two 538-square-foot suites, spread over three passenger decks.
Among the ship's amenities are two restaurants, two bars, a ballroom, two swimming pools, a fitness room and a lounge. The ship is wheelchair-accessible. The design, by architects Fernanda Salles and Gilles Jacquard, highlights regional art.
The Iberostar Grand Amazon has updated safety systems and crew members go through extensive training. All crew members and guides speak English, and most guides also speak French, Spanish, German, Italian and other languages. One of the guides speaks more than 20 languages.
The Iberostar Grand Amazon team includes biologists and expedition leaders who are experts in Brazilian fauna and flora, jungle survival and indigenous cultures.
The cruises are all inclusive; rates cover food, drinks, excursions and performances. The Iberostar Grand Amazon leaves from the Manaus port, usually for two kinds of itinerary. Longer trips are also available occasionally.
Solimões River Cruises:
The three-night cruise (Friday to Monday) on the Solimões River includes hiking in the Manacapuru region, where travelers can see ancient trees and plants cultivated by riverside communities; piranha fishing in the Jacaré Lake; bird watching tours; nighttime hiking; hiking on the trails of Janauacá, where travelers can observe the meeting of the waters of the Negro and Solimões Rivers and the local flora, local dwellings and rubber tapping areas.
Negro River Cruises:
The four-night cruise on the Negro River includes a visit to the Anavilhanas Archipelago, one of the largest river archipelagos in the world; encounters with pink dolphins in Novo Airão; free time in Praia Grande, a river beach with white sands; nighttime motorboat rides; hiking in the forest; bird watching; a visit to an indigenous community; a folk show; and a visit to the meeting of the waters.
IBEROSTAR Grand Amazon:
Porto de Manaus, Amazonas