Cruise Diva's CRUISE
~ Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires ~
Normally it's impossible to figure
out who the other passengers are on any given airline flight and, although
we have a
destination in common, our purposes for boarding a flight can vary
However, waiting in line for the gate agent to check my Brazilian
visa, it became apparent that I would be spending
the next week with a number of my fellow Delta fliers. Introductions
began as we recognized one another by the distinctive black leather
Silversea document cases we held.
I prepared my tote bag carefully,
tucking in socks, a sleep mask, earplugs, and
inflatable pillow for
the long, overnight flight to Rio. Upon arrival, Silversea representatives were on hand to greet
the "Beaches & Boulevards" cruise guests after we passed through
baggage claim, passport control and Customs. Transportation
also awaited and we were whisked off to hotels on Copacabana
Beach. In my case, it was the Copacabana Palace. Since 1923, this
venerable Mediterranean-style landmark hotel has housed royalty, world leaders, and
Janeiro, Sunday ~ November 24, 2002
Only slightly jet-lagged, in no time
at all I was strolling the promenade on Avenue Atl‚ntica along with
other tourists and too many Cariocas to count. The beach forms
a stage for the
sensuous lifestyle of Brazil's most famous city. With one lane of the
wide beachside boulevard closed to traffic on Sunday, walkers, joggers, and bicyclists
share the thoroughfare as well as the Burle Marx mosaic sidewalk,
crafted in the image of rolling waves. Spirited games of volleyball and soccer
were in progress on the broad sandy beach, while everywhere families
shared picnics, enjoying the sunshine and one another. Tucked
between mountains, Rio is a dense maze of high-rise apartments and
the beach is everyone's front room. On a sultry summer afternoon, it's
an agreeable lifestyle.
Back at the Copacabana Palace, the
shaded poolside restaurant offered a cool spot for sipping a cup of strong
coffee and more people watching. My husband Mel's opinion is that
Brazilian women are the most beautiful in the world and he's right on
the money. Whether in thong bathing suits, or something more
conservative, they are truly stunning.
It was a long day, but it wasn't
complete until after a late dinner in the Copacabana Palace's
exquisite Restaurant Cipriani--the place to be seen and indulge in
choice Italian cuisine.
Rio de Janeiro
& Embarkation, Monday ~ November 25, 2002
Always the most exciting day of any
cruise, we opted to make the most of the morning by engaging a driver
to take us to Corcovado for a splendid view of the city from the base
of the Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) statue. Motor coaches
can't make the steep climb to the end of the road and those on organized tours are let off
take the cogwheel train. After the ascent, there are still steep
staircases to the 2,300 foot summit where the
statue and viewpoints are. With four-wheel drive, our vehicle chugged
up the winding road and dropped us off at the upper level near the
topmost train station. The climb of about 200 steps was certainly worth it; the view is
breathtaking, as is the sleek, modern figure of Christ. Rising more
than 700 feet with outstretched arms, the statue has embraced Rio's
residents since 1931.
Back at the hotel, we gathered our
luggage and joined other guests to transfer to Silver Shadow. It's a
treat to embark in leisurely fashion, with escorts to relieve us of
hand luggage and lead the way. In Rio's cruise terminal, it's also
handy to have someone to run interference between you and the
multitude of jewelry merchants, souvenir sellers, and tour operators. I
must say that they are friendly and take "no" with a smile.
Had we desired, we could have chosen to accept their free shuttle to
jewelry stores, where the sales people are pleasant but schooled in the
art of the deal.
Following the briefest of check-ins,
I was on board and sipping from a flute of MoŽt & Chandon
champagne. First stop was Reception where security photos were
snapped. Next, was my Silver Suite where I refilled my champagne flute
from the waiting bottle of chilled MoŽt & Chandon and began unpacking. By
the time I'd stowed the belongings from my carry on, my suitcase arrived and the task was quickly
Alarm bells signaled guests to their
Muster Stations for the mandatory SOLAS drill, even though we would be
docked for the night in Rio. It finally felt like
our cruise was underway, though, especially when members of the Cruise Critic
Internet message boards met in the Panorama Lounge to get to know each
other in person. That was a great beginning to our first night on
Rio de Janeiro,
Tuesday ~ November 26, 2002
Another must-do in Rio is Sugar
Loaf Mountain and I decided to take the ship's half day tour of the
city's sights as well as the cable car ride to the 1,200 foot Sugar
Loaf summit. With photo stops along the way, the coach made its way
through Rio's tangled web of traffic. The tour highlight was the
exhilarating cable car ride and spectacular view.
Thank goodness our tour was complete
shortly after noon as the day turned decidedly breezy and lightening
signaled imminent rain. Just before our 6:00pm sailing, wind buffeted
Silver Shadow with gusts strong enough to send at least one deck chair
sailing overboard. By the time we cast off, the storm had past and it
was time to prepare for the first of two formal evenings.
Captain Bencina greeted guests at the
Welcome Cocktail Reception before introducing his officers and staff
in the Athenian Lounge. I joined new friends for a delicious dinner,
beginning with Sevruga caviar and moving on to curry clam soup and
prime rib tender enough to slice with a butter knife. Our dining table
was festive--this sailing has numerous young singles on board, as well
as a nice mix of North Americans, Europeans, and South Americans. It's
quite a sophisticated and cosmopolitan grouping of all ages, with even
a few teens included.
The first of the week's shows, "Swingtime,"
featuring the Jean Ann Ryan Production Team followed dinner.
Afterwards, our party moved first to The Humidor for cordials and then
the Panorama Lounge where the sounds of the Silver Whisper Quintet
were a quiet backdrop for our conversation.
Tomorrow we're at sea and I'm looking
forward to relaxation and a full slate of activities.
Next -> Sea
Settle in on Silver Shadow and enjoy a sumptuous Thanksgiving
Back to the Rio
de Janeiro to Buenos Aires Cruise Diary Index
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Cruise Line Profile - Silversea
Fun Facts about Silver
Courtesy of Silversea Cruises,
Copacabana Palace & AnitaVacation.com