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Old 10-26-2004, 08:22 PM
Oggy Boy Oggy Boy is offline
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For travelers in search of excitement, Brazil’s Amazon River exerts a powerful attraction. Teeming with exotic wildlife, indigenous cultures and impressive natural wonders, the region also affords visitors a wide variety of experiences impossible to duplicate anywhere else on earth. And sailing the Amazon aboard the ultra luxury Seabourn Pride is a far cry from the travails of early explorers, and from the rather spartan conditions one might expect even today in the heart of the Brazilian forest.

According to Captain Karlo Buer, Master of the Seabourn Pride, the Amazon is “… the most exotic itinerary we sail, in a way, because it’s so different from everywhere else. I mean, where else can you go water buffalo riding, piranha fishing and alligator hunting?” Yet for all the pulse-quickening adventure just beyond the ship’s railing, on board guests are spared no indulgence or pampered pleasure.

The 16-day voyage from Manaus, Brazil to Fort Lauderdale, Florida begins on February 27, 2005, nearly a thousand miles from the sea. Nearby, two smaller rivers meet: the light-brown Rio Solimoes and the black-tinted Rio Negro. For miles, the two colors of water flow side by side, before they come together to form the Amazon. By contrast, back on board, guests can ask their stewardess to draw them a soothing Pure Pampering bathing experience from Molton Brown.

Next day brings Parintins, and a complimentary Exclusively Seabourn shoreside event—a special Boi Bumba folkloric festival similar to Rio’s Carnaval, complete with colorful samba schools in vivid regalia, dancing to energetic music. After all that pageantry, guests can look forward to a sumptuous dinner designed by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer, perhaps capped by a trio of Crèmes Brulees en Parade, in white chocolate, dark chocolate and milk chocolate caramel.

The port of Santarem provides other opportunities to experience the Amazon basin. A visit to Maica Lake reveals water buffalo farms, flooded forests, native homes and, with luck, a glance at some rare Amazon pink dolphins. Guests can even try their luck fishing for voracious piranha. Or visit the Amazonian Center for the Preservation of Wildlife, which cares for rescued or injured wild birds and animals such as tapirs, marmosets, squirrel or spider monkeys, tortoises and wild pigs, along with parrots, macaws and perhaps a majestic Harpy Eagle, until they can be returned to the wild. If the weather cooperates, this might be a good night to enjoy Movies Under the Stars on deck.

Pausing at the mouth of the Curua Una River next day, Seabourn Pride allows guests the rare chance to travel up this tributary in double decker riverboats. Passing flotillas of the huge Victoria Regia water lilies, they come to the tranquil village of Pacoval, to visit the local Caboclos, of mixed European, African and Indian races.

Seabourn Pride is also able to navigate the North Breves Narrows, a cut between the mainland and an island that brings the jungle-clad banks close on either side as the ship leaves the river for the Atlantic. The perfect time for a glass of complimentary French champagne, toasting Amazon adventures added to a lifetime of travel memories.

A stop at Devil’s Island off the coast of French Guiana shows that what was once a notorious prison is now a rather pleasant place to spend a few hours.

The adventurous options continue as Seabourn Pride threads her way up a chain of the Caribbean’s most appealing islands: Barbados, St. Barts and St. Thomas. Each island offers optional excursions that include submarines, helicopters, snorkeling, sailing and exploring the backcountry in a 4WD vehicle.

Seabourn’s Signature Delights continue, as well, with complimentary Massage Moments on deck, invigorating fitness classes and wellbeing treatments in The Spa at Seabourn, relaxing hours spent listening to music or audio books on the Bose Wave CD player in the ocean-view suite and much more.

With Early Booking Savings up to 35%, fares for the 16-day cruise start from $6,594 per person, based on double occupancy of a 277-square foot ocean-view suite.

For more information, contact a travel agent