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Copyright © 1995-2002 
Linda Coffman


Cruise Diva's CRUISE DIARY
~ Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires ~

"Flying Down To Rio"

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 widely. 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 celebrities. 

Rio de Janeiro, Sunday ~ November 24, 2002

Copacabana Palace

Only slightly jet-lagged, in no time at all I was strolling the promenade on Avenue Atlântica 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 mid-way to 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 Moët & 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 Moët & Chandon and began unpacking. By the time I'd stowed the belongings from my carry on, my suitcase arrived and the task was quickly complete.

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 board.

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 Days
Settle in on Silver Shadow and enjoy a sumptuous Thanksgiving dinner!

Back to the Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires Cruise Diary Index

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Cruise to South America

Tips for South America Cruise Travel

Cruise Line Profile - Silversea Cruises

Fun Facts about Silver Shadow

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Illustrations Courtesy of Silversea Cruises, Author's Collection, 
Copacabana Palace &