November 2010 update: Pink Fleet is no longer available for tourism. As of July 2010, the ship has been used exclusively for scheduled corporate and social events, complementing those services as offered at Eike Batista's Marina da Glória.
If you've ever dreamed of seeing Rio de Janeiro from a cruise ship, you can start with Pink Fleet. The five-star ship offers tours of Guanabara Bay and reveals its top historic and natural attractions.
The company is an entertainment offshoot of the EBX Group. The holding is owned by Brazilian businessman Eike Batista, who went from #142 in 2008 to #61 on 2009 on the Forbes World’s Billionaires list.
Batista is a Minas Gerais native who profusely expresses his love for Rio, his adopted hometown, in words and actions. He's pulled out all the stops with Chinese food in Mr. Lam, is restoring the historic Hotel Glória to reopen it as the Gloria Palace and heavily investing in Clean Lagoon, the ongoing environmental recovery of Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas.
Launched with a big party at Marina da Gloria on Dec.18, 2007, to which Eike Batista wore a bright pink shirt, Pink Fleet is also available for events.
Pink Fleet Ship
Three years of planning and R$35 million went into the launching of Pink Fleet. Built in Germany, the 400-passenger, 180-foot long ship was adapted at the Lürssen shipyard in Germany. Lürssen is a fourth-generation business with a tradition in luxury yachts and special ships, like patrol boats.
The ship is equipped with updated technology and follows ecologically correct principles, such as water-saving devices. It is wheelchair-accessible.
There are four decks. The Lagoa Deck has the Corcovado Hall, the Pão de Açúcar Hall and a restaurant.
The Copacabana deck has an external bar and the Maracanã Hall with a lounge, a dance floor, and two shops - H.Stern and Dufry.
The external Ipanema deck has strategically placed tables for great sightseeing, and it's where you can buy hot dogs made by Rio de Janeiro's famous Geneal.
The Leblon deck offers great views of the Rio de Janeiro coast and Guanabara Bay attractions.
Yann Lesaffre, manager of Pink Fleet (and also of Mr. Lam), says that Pink Fleet passengers are "a mix of families, older adults and middle 30s public, with varied backgrounds."
Lesaffre notices that international passengers "are always amazed by the singular skyline of Rio in a different point of view. The most popular attractions are the Sugarloaf, the Rio-Niterói Bridge, Ilha Fiscal and the old defense fortifications around Guanabara Bay," he says.
The tour also includes views of Marina da Glória, purchased in 2009 by Eike Batista; Praia Vermelha (Red Beach); Santos Dumont Airport.