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Day P62, Thursday, March 7, 2019, Cruising the Amazon River

The Veendam is still at sea enroute to Fortaleza.  We had another gray morning.  We had gone into the ocean overnight rounding the Amazon Delta and were just starting into the river itself about 5AM.  When I looked at the TV display we were just barely in the Northern Hemisphere and as I went out on deck the lights of Macapa were just on our starboard forward quarter.  I rounded the bow and then went up the aft stairs to the Seaview Pool and watched my GPS as we actually crossed the equator, about 5:22AM.


We paused about 6 to pick up new pilots, waiting for quite a while as several were getting on and off.  Sunrise should have been about 6:30 but it was again cloudy and hazy; the only difference was that we could see land through the haze.


I walked a full 5 miles before heading up to the lido for a second cup of coffee.  Near the end of my walk I was startled by several blasts of the ship's horn; a local riverboat had crossed surprisingly close in front of us.


It was a surprisingly relaxed sea day with not a lot on the schedule.  Heather had some commentary on the river passage at 10; it was drizzling and windy outside, and actually a bit chilly so I mostly listened on my room TV.  At 11 Jim McParland had a talk on Iguazu Falls.  He took a little historical detour to talk about Guaira Falls, a spectacular cataract on the Brazil-Paraguay boarder that ceased to exist when a dam was built in 1982.  They would have been a great sight.

In his noon update Captain Jeroen indicated we were working against about a 2-3 knot current.  Vivianne Rowan had the day off but McParland had a second talk on Brazil soccer stadia at 2. I skipped it for another activity.  The "back of the house tour" was not as extensive as I had hoped (and I had a better one on my 2011 Prinsendam voyage) but it was still interesting.  We met in the deck 4 atrium for a walk along the I95 corridor the backbone of the ship's crew area.


There were several bulletin boards lining the corridor.  One had a calendar showing a pretty extensive list of crew activities.


We did not enter but popped our heads into one of the crew lounges.


We passed through a marshaling area where supplies are loaded and prepared for offloading at various ports.


We did enter several storerooms (coolers)--vegetables, bar stocks, and meats, and passed a panel where skids of supplies could be transferred to deck 3.


On the way out I passed a space where a cook was preparing vegetables for use.


After the tour I went to the lido for coffee and also walked to the upper decks.  The Amazon is very wide but there are many islands and there is usually land fairly close on each side.  The day had turned much nicer than the morning and on our port side there were some nice looking homes that I'm quite convinced were on islands.


The deluges of the rain forest have proved a bit much for the flat roof over the Lido Marketplace and the staff has needed to move some of the products on display there several times.  A fair sized crew was up on the roof checking out the situation.


The usual 4 of us were at table 19.  All were planning on tours in Santarem except me.  I chose the blueberry soup, New York striploin, and raspberry and almond tart.


We finished just after sunset but I decided to walk around the bow anyway.  It turned out to be some of the best colors I've seen for several days, even after sunset.


The featured entertainment was a second show by comedian Paul Adams.  He was good the second time around.


As a parting shot, I am actually writing and posting this on International Women's Day.  May it be a good one.



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Good morning Roy!

enjoyed your review this am👍 Our friends flew over Iguazu Falls and did a video for us and boy was it beautiful and alittle intimidating also! Glad your able to get 5 miles in yesterday and sunset was good for me😊 Today is International Womens day and I received from Regent Splendor of the Seas honoring their first female Captain from Italy!

Have a great day on March 8th! We woke up to heavy rain 🙄! Now it is sunny And supposedly no more rain! Hope so!

I want the CCERS on Eurodam to have a nice day prior to Sailaway tomorrow from my lovely city!


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Hope you soon get rid of those grey mornings.


Lovely colors for the sunset.


Roof leaking -- not good.  Hope they can get it fixed without too many problems.


Wonderful report and pictures.

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2 hours ago, DeeniEncinitas said:

Good morning Roy!

enjoyed your review this am👍 Our friends flew over Iguazu Falls and did a video for us and boy was it beautiful and alittle intimidating also! Glad your able to get 5 miles in yesterday and sunset was good for me😊 Today is International Womens day and I received from Regent Splendor of the Seas honoring their first female Captain from Italy!

Have a great day on March 8th! We woke up to heavy rain 🙄! Now it is sunny And supposedly no more rain! Hope so!

I want the CCERS on Eurodam to have a nice day prior to Sailaway tomorrow from my lovely city!


I hope the rest of your day is dry and it carries over to a great sailaway.  I will ask one favor.  Can you let us know if they have chilled soups on the Eruodam or if perhaps it's just being done for the Grand Voyages.  Thanks


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27 minutes ago, rafinmd said:

I hope the rest of your day is dry and it carries over to a great sailaway.  I will ask one favor.  Can you let us know if they have chilled soups on the Eruodam or if perhaps it's just being done for the Grand Voyages.  Thanks


Absolutely Roy!!


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I ‘m currently on Volendam and so far no chilled soups.




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Day P63, Friday, March 8. 2019, Santarem, Brazil

The Veendam is on her last sea day on route to Fortaleza.  In the morning she passed Recife (she had stopped there on the way to Rio).  There was more sun Friday than most days but it is rising pretty late.  I completed a 6-lap walk in pretty much in darkness, and then returned to my cabin with most of my walking to occur ashore.

For all the Amazon ports this is my second visit after Prinsendam's Amazon Explorer in 2013.  There was not much of a sunrise at 6:45 but we were starting to come into Santarem and I stayed on deck to watch our arrival.  Santarem sits at the confluence of the Amazon and Tapajos rivers and we sailed up the Tapajos for a couple of miles to  the port.


As we pulled up to the dock the sun found a weak spot in the clouds.  There are 2 stops in this area, both Santarem on the way upstream and the suburb of Alter Do Chao on the way back.  In 2013 I had taken a tour to Tapajos National Forest from Santarem and a Santarem Highlights tour from Alter do Chao.  This time I did not sign up for any tours for either port.  There were 4 offered, the 2 I did on my previous visit, a riverboat cruise, and a tour of the 2 cities.


The port of Santarem is a bit of a strange animal.  There's a passenger terminal but it isn't for cruise passengers, it seems to primarily serve a couple of longer distance ferry boats going as far as Manaus and Belem.  There were several of those boats docked near us in the morning.


I was a bit surprised to see in the When and Where that the center of town was 2 miles away; I wasn't planning on quite such a long walk in the tropical heat.  I did have one order of business; I take a calcium supplement and had apparently miscounted my tablets before leaving home, so I was hoping to find a pharmacy.  Google maps found a couple of promising places closer to the ship and I left soon after we were cleared, about 8:15AM.  It is a strange port; there was a cargo ship in front of us moored to several concrete platforms (no dock) and loading sand from 2 barges docked alongside.  As we left we passed a number of souvenir stalls, and then went outside through the passenger terminal.  It felt like as I was bucking traffic as there was just one door and people were heading out to the ferries; flashing my ship card got me a break in the flow.


The terminal sits on a point of land that juts out about a half mile from the main shoreline.  Leaving the terminal that first half mile was past a Cargill Dock where there were elevators to load soybeans on a waiting bulk carrier.  Once at the end of that half mile I took a left turn and began following the shoreline.

A half mile down this road there was a big shopping center with a couple of pharmacies.  The second one had pretty much what I needed.  I could have called it a day but felt good and continued walking.  It was not the best of walking conditions.  The map showed a riverfront promenade but it started close to downtown.  It looked like it was being extended further along the Tapajos but as I walked most of it was a construction zone with just a short stretch of nice promenade near the end of my walk.


While the passenger terminal was at the port it appeared that most of the shorter river voyages started at a more formal harbor near the center of town where riverboats just seemed to pull up and collect passengers.  I didn't see any destination markings so I'll guess either the boats made lots of stops or people just knew which boat they would want.



The most prominent spot in town was the Cathedral, a blue structure built in 1761, Cathedral of Our Lady Conceicao.


I decided with the construction it might be easier to return on streets a couple of streets in from the river and thought they did turn out to be a bit better walking.


As I started walking back in a couple of blocks the theater was sitting in front of me.  I don't know a lot about Theatro Municipal Victoria but it appears to be used on a fairly irregular basis.


A few blocks later there was a second church, Sao Raimundo Nonato, dating from 1926.  I returned to the ship just before 11, and spent a pretty quiet afternoon soaking up the air conditioning.


All aboard was 5:30 but everyone was ready a bit before that.  We had just started to release lines as I went to dinner.  All 4 of the regulars were there and the other 3 had done boat tours.  I could see both of the churches I had visited as we headed back to the Amazon.  I chose the Pineapple Pina Colada soup, the Pineapple glazed ham and the pistachio ice cream.


The featured show was a repeat performance by the Jack Pack.  I was a bit drowsy but saw more of it than their first show.


My parting shot will be a reminder to most of my readers that Saturday evening will be a time for many of us to set our clocks forward.  I'll be bucking that trend and setting mine back for our visit to Manaus and for a little while I'll be on the same time as I would at home.



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 Roy:   Been following your travels for a long time but 1st post to you.  I think you will be in Manaus in a day or two.  Manaus is the site of a ship explosion during WW two that took hundreds of sailors lives & injured many more.   On Nov., 1944, the ammunition ship, US Mount Hood blew up in Seeadler Harbor which sunk other US ships as well & damaged many more.  My uncle was on the Mt. Hood.   I have often wondered if there was any sort of memorial or grave yard in the area to mark this event.   I know you love to walk around & explore so if you see any mention of this event maybe you could post a photo.  By the way the cause of the explosion was thought to be human error according to the Navy.   And thanks for writing about your travels. I enjoy reading your reports.  

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Day P64, Saturday. March 9, 2019, Boca de Valeria, Brazil

The Veendam is in Fortaleza. With what would be an early day ashore I went up to the promenade deck to walk 1 ½ miles before the crew closed off the deck to prepare the tenders.  I finished well before sunrise but it was very cloudy in any case.

There had been some changes since my 2013 visit, some temporary and some permanent.  The permanent change was quite welcome.  I was on one of the first tenders over, before 7:30 and found that the rickety dock we had used in 2013 was replaced by a very nice floating platform with a small snack bar (it was closed).  The river level was also much higher and the town had a bit of a swamp feel to it.


A couple of prominent landmarks are just past the tender dock.  One of the first things I did was step into the church for a look.


There were no formal tours at Boca de Valeria, but a number of locals were offering river tours in their boats (pretty much everyone has a boat, mostly with outboard motors).  I was in one of the smaller ones, a 3-seater with a roof over the back 2 seats.  I ended up in the front seat but there was no rain and really not much sun.  Most of our tour was through channels perhaps 100 yards wide.


About a half mile from town we detoured to the right into a marsh area where we stopped next to lilly leaves about 6 feet in diameter.  We also saw a number of birds.  One of the ducks caught a fish while we cruised past although I was a bit slow with my camera.


The population of Boca de Valeria is only about 120 but when a cruise ship visits many of the people in the area come by, give boat rides, greet visitors, and sell their crafts.  The town had been pretty deserted when I arrived but as we motored away we passed a steady stream of local boats on the way to Boca.  They were all sizes and most had outboard motors.  They used a single cylinder motor with a long propellor shaft that stuck almost straight out, the tip just barely sitting in the water.  The middle picture in the collage has a closeup.


The end point of my tour was about 1 ½ miles from Boca and we passed several little settlements, just a few houses each.  At least one of them had a little church.


The people with the boats did not speak English but they all had similar signs, "30-minute river tour for $5".  I'd consider that a bargain even as offered but mine ran about 45 minutes.  When I returned the craft stalls were all pretty well occupied.  


The 2 key buildings (church and school) are right next to each other.  I had not visited the school before the boat tour but did afterwards.


Children and others in town were posing with their pets for a dollar donation.  I stopped at one place with a pretty bird.


One of the houses at the edge of town had a "come on in" sign on it.  I did not take photos inside but it was quite plain with electricity, a simple kitchen and bedroom.  It was brightly painted and quite visible from the ship.


When I arrived about 7:30 there was hardly anybody at the tender dock.  By the time I left around 9 it was bustling with activity.  I think I timed my return to the ship about right as it started to drizzle on the tender ride back.


The last tender was at 1:30 and started back about 1:30 with the anchor chain starting to come in about 1:40.  We have almost 24 hours onboard before our arrival in Manaus.  I went to the lido for tea about 3:30 and we were just passing Parintins where we will stop on Tuesday.


There were just 3 of us at table 19 with Sherita taking advantage of the voyages final Sel de Mer night in the Pinnacle Grill.  All of us had gone ashore but I was the only one to have ventured onto the local boats.  Table 19 will be empty Sunday as some of us have tours returning late and the rest will be leaving early for the Opera House.  My selections were the caesar salad, pot roast, and cherry strudel.


The featured entertainment was the MacDonald brothers with a second performance.  Most of the program was 50's and 60's pop (Beach Boys, Elvis) with a distinctly Celtic touch, along with some traditional Celtic music.  Since we gain an hour overnight I may try to catch part of their second show if I finish this post a bit early.

My parting shot is based on a bit of a coincidence I noticed.  The Crystal Serenity begins the final leg of their World Cruise in the coming week and I got a peek at their entertainment.  May their guests enjoy the MacDonald Brothers as much as the people on the Prinsendam have for the last week.




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Glad you adventurous do ride in one of those small boats.  I know I wouldn't do it.  


Love the pictures of the buildings and children with their pets.

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Running behind again.  I've put today's photos in a folder but haven't chosen them yet (that becomes the "outline" for my post and I'll be ashore most of tomorrow.


Day P65, Sunday, March 10, 2019, Arrive Manaus, Brazil

The Veendam is at sea from Fortaleza to Santarem, passing Recife in the morning.  I was on deck early but walking was a bit problematic as the crew alternatively had one side or the other of the promenade deck closed off.  I didn't walk much but did come back on deck for sunrise (about 6:15).  It was ok but not spectacular.


Heather provided commentary as we approached Manaus.  There are a lot of cargo docks; they don't seem to be very busy but creating them was a priority of a previous Brazilian regime.  The area has been declared a free trade zone and much of the traffic is parts coming in and finished goods leaving.


We had our Interdenominational worship service at 9.  When it ended we were just at the dock.  I went for a walk soon after we cleared about 10.  At this port tour buses can come to the ship but the rest of us must take a shuttle bus to the terminal (mostly a ferry terminal but also handling cruise passengers.  The Cathedral was right across the street.  I did not attempt to enter as Mass would have been in process.


I wanted to get a look at the Teatro Amazonas.  The pink and white building with a big dome is about a half mile away and sits above the street with a ramp at the front where cars can drive up.


Another church sits across the street, San Sebastian.  The church would be quite pretty at night.


My return was along one of the main thoroughfares, beyond the port to the main (Lisbon) market.


Docks with an array of ferries to virtually the cities of the region ran about a half mile from the market to the cruise terminal.  I noticed that one of the boats, Sao Bartolomeu V, had been with us in Santarem.  While these boats have a very few cabins most people stretch hammocks from hooks on the ceiling.


I returned to the ship about 12:30 and lunch was primarily roast turkey from the lido.  From the top deck I could see the Lisbon market and the Cathedral but not the Teatro.


There was a Brazilian dinner in the dining room although I did not partake.  My dinner was a bit strange and earlier, salad, a burger from Dive-In, and ice cream.


The featured entertainment on the ship was a local Dance team.  I opted instead for the featured entertainment off the ship.  About 100 people met at the Showroom a little after 6 and boarded 3 buses to the Teatro Amazonas.  The hall reminds me a lot of the Teatro in Buenos Aires but I noted a couple of differences.  I didn't get a real tour of the facility but I don't think the lobby areas (multiple there) are as extensive in Manaus but it appeared that all the rings of balconies were actual box seats while much of that space in Buenos Aires was just standing room.


The ship had booked the entire main floor of the Teatro and I think it was pretty well filled.  There were a number of other people (I suspect some from the ship and others from town) in the various boxes but the Teatro probably came pretty close to a sellout.  My seat was in the second row and the stage was quite elevated so my eyes were within an inch of the height of the stage floor.


The program was the Amazon Jazz band, about a 20-piece ensemble playing about an hour of jazz.  At the start of each piece the conductor would give a bit of an introduction, first in Portugese and then in English.  Most of the music was unfamiliar to me, one exception was "The Girl from Iphanema".  The other was "Tequila" and we had the vocal part.  The conductor was quite emphatic in his gestures when our turn to chime in came.


We were back on board just after 8:30 and I headed up to the lido for ice cream (dinner ends at 8 but the ice cream stand stays open until 9.  After that I got a Diet Coke while Stevie played in the Crows Nest and then called it a night.

I'll take my parting shot from the Opera House.  I took a photo as the band was taking it's final bows and a couple of things occurred to me as a subscriber to the Baltimore Symphony.  There has been a recent controversy on the Holland America forum on Cruise Critic about dress codes.  I am used to having the Baltimore Symphony musicians in suits, gowns, or tuxes and was quite surprised at how casually the musicians were dressed.  It had absolutely no effect on my enjoyment of the concert and I've always felt any casually dressed dinner companions I've had over the years were much better company than their empty chairs would have been.   I had the opposite reaction to the other difference.  The band was 100% male while the Baltimore Symphony musicians are almost equally split and for the last several years we've had a female music director.  Maestro Marin Alsop has been a
real breath of fresh air.  That's a difference that needs to spread through the music world.





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Yesterday I got worried if you were all right.  I kept hunting down 2 and 3 pages to find your daily report with no luck.  Glad you are okay and just falling behind in the reports.


Manaus doesn't sound like much of a port but the buildings are sure big and lovely.


Lovely evening excursion you took. Nice to have a chance to visit another city's Opera House and listen to their music.  


Great pictures.

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Still running behind but hoping to catch up tomorrow (likely late in the day--we lose an hour tonight.


Day P66, Monday. March 11, 2019, Leave Manaus

The Veendam is just outside the mouth of the Amazon.  I had a relatively early tour (meet 7:45AM) and only walked 1 ½ miles, planning on walking more in town after the tour.  My walk ended about sunrise which was a bit of a dud.  When I returned to my cabin I turned the TV to the stern view and a bit longer of a wait would have been rewarded.


The agenda for the morning was a rainforest riverboat tour.  I think about 70 of us walked across the pier and boarded the Paraiso Verde and set off downstream on the Rio Negro.  One of the things I thought was interesting was the Columbia, an apparently unused freighter that was caught with some contraband and seized by the national police.  


About 40 minutes into the trip we passed a point where we started to encounter water from the Amazon.  It was not "the" mixing of the waters but was the best view of it we would get as the weather was still nice.


Just after 9 we pulled into what was essentially a floating restaurant complex.  There was a gift shop but our main purpose was to transfer to canoes for a more intimate look at the area.


Each canoe had 5 rows of 2 seats and a simple roof over the top.  It was a bit of an exercise getting into the seats with a drop down from the dock and a bit of a squeeze getting between the dock and the boat roof.  Each boat had an outboard motor and we mostly traveled through channels about 100 yards/meters wide.


We saw quite a few birds along the way with a number of species and some flew away just as I was getting my camera ready.


We went down one narrow channel and stopped at some huge lilly pads.  The guide lifted one a bit and there were nasty sharp spikes on the underside.  


Just past the lilies we turned around, nosing into some marsh.


We passed a few little villages (hamlets might be a better term) as we explored the passages.  I was left to wonder, some of them might be high and dry during the dry season and they might need an ATV or something to get around for part of the year.  The guide did say there have been even higher levels on occasion and some people may need to move in with relatives for a while when that happens.


There were 2 guides on the Paraiso Verde and we had gone out as 2 groups of 4 canoes each.  I was in the first group and we had great weather and returned about 10.  A huge rainstorm came up about 10:15.  The first 2 canoes of the second group came back just before it started while the last 2 caught a bit of the rain.  It was so hard that the people in the last canoe got very wet just
disembarking onto the covered dock.

We had planned to be at the landing for a while for craft shopping but our time was extended due to the rain.  The place had a nice looking lunch buffet (a private tour had dined there Sunday) but it was not on our tour and in any case still too early for lunch.  Once we boarded the crew said another storm was coming and our departure would be further delayed.  The sides of the boat are open but tarps can be rolled down to give some protection from the weather.  The tarps are partially down in the upper half of the photo while the lower deck picture was taken earlier in the day.


Our wait had been pretty long but we eventually shoved off.  Unfortunately, from that time the rain never really stopped.  We went down to the "official" meeting of the waters point but the weather was so bad there was not really much to see.  Our scheduled return was 12:30 but with all the rain delays it was almost 2.  I had planned to go out and explore a bit around the terminal but between the delayed return and the weather I just went to the lido for lunch.  While we were gone an interesting cruise vessel, the 148-passenger Iberostar Grand Amazon had docked at the ferry terminal.  I don't now much about it but it looks interesting.


All aboard was 4:30 and we let go our lines about 4:45.  I stayed out on the lower promenade deck as long as I can but when 5:30 came decided I could not stay until we reached the meeting of the waters.  Kathi joined us again at table 19.  Most of the others had done a private tour and were mostly indoors by the time the rain started.  I chose the chicken noodle soup, veal parmigiana, and raspberry tart.


The featured entertainment was singer Lorraine Brown.  She was pretty good.


I'll take my parting shot from the ferry system.  Actually, it doesn't seem to be much of a system but a conglomeration of individual operators.  I've seen accounts of people who have used the system and there's a lot I like but also a lot that sends shivers up my spine.  My biggest hurdle would be the booking system as there doesn't seem to be a single agency and everything appears to be in person or by telephone, and not in English.  My other big concern would be security; sleeping is generally in hammocks and I would feel VERY uncomfortable in an environment where the only way to secure my passport would be to keep it physically on my body 24 hours a day.  While I've done a fair amount of ferry travel and loved it, it's all been in more familiar environments.  I would love to do it but can't imagine it actually happening.



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Your excursion really turned into an adventure.


As much as I love wildlife, no way could I handle that canoe.


Sleeping in a hammock on a ferry -- another no-no.  Having to keep my passport on my body the entire time -- I would be afraid that I would sweat it up and ruin it.


Great pictures.

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Day P67, Tuesday, March 12, 2019, Parintins, Brazil

The Veendam passed Macapa (mouth of the Amazon) in the morning and spent the day headed upstream towards Santarem.  I walked about 1 ½ miles early planning for a bit more but occasional showers kept getting in the way.

We dropped our anchor about 7.  When we were here in 2013 Captain Gundersen had explained that Parintins and Alter Do Chao were long tender rides for opposite reasons.  At Alter Do Chao on Wednesday the ride will be long because the Tapajos River is shallow and we cannot get close.  On the other hand, in Parintins the Amazon is very deep, too deep near the shore to use an anchor and we needed to anchor to the other side of the river where it was a bit more shallow.  We were also using shore based tenders rather than our own tender boats.  There were at least 3; the one I used the most was Salmo91.  The boats were similar but not identical with two levels mostly just open space, a very steep set of stairs between decks, and lots of plastic chairs.


Something unusual about Parintins is it seems to be traditional for the Sea Scouts to show up and direct traffic as well as helping any passengers who need it if the ramps are steep or slippery.  They are a coed group with a large range of ages grouped together, probably elementary school through the late teens.


The terminal in Parintins is at the end of a floating pier which serves tenders, tour boats, ferries, and supply barges.  The ramp to shore was very steep in 2013 when the river was low; this time it was pretty close to level.


There were just 2 tours offered, a morning 2 ½ hour highlights tour for $75 and an afternoon Boi Bumba show for $100.  I had done the highlights tour last time and decided just to walk a bit on my own.  It was a challenging walk as the intermittent showers continued and the maps did not turn out to be very useful.  I did eventually find the Bumbadromo, where the Boi Bumba festival is staged each June.  The stadium holds 35,000 people with seats for the blue team on one side and for the red team on the other.  There are sculptures of characters from the legend in front, and as I neared the ship I passed the Convention Center where the festival is staged for cruise ship passengers.


Parintins has a relatively new cathedral, midway between the Bumbadromo and the port.  It was only completed in 1981.  I returned to the ship for lunch about 11.


The Boi Bumba show was at 2 and the doors opened at 1:30.  There was a prop at one side where people could pose for photos.


As advertised, the show (about 1 hour) was LOUD, especially from my seat in the first row.  There was nearly nonstop dancing, sometimes approaching acrobatics.  I got the feeling from some facial expressions that this was just a job for some while others seemed to be having the time of their lives.


The band was mostly percussion although I regularly saw a guitar and some other instruments may have been hidden behind the screens.  There were 2 singers.


There were a number of floats, mostly representing fearsome characters.  I did not really understand how they related to the legend which centers on the killing of a bull and a need to bring it back to life.  The annual competition between the teams is to come up with a new and innovative way to tell the story.  The show we saw depicted the blue team.


At one point the bull came out and interacted with the people in the stands.  People in the front row had a chance to briefly pet it.


The finale was a dance with many of the patrons called out to dance with the characters.


The last tender was at 4 and we pulled up the anchor about 4:40. In his sailaway update Captain Jeroen added a bit of information about the tendering.  There is quite a bit of debris in the Amazon there and frequently poor visibility due to rain in the wet season and fires in the dry season.  Using the shore based tenders started a couple of years ago and prevents quite a bit of damage to our tenders.

Kathi joined us at table 19.  At was a popular night for starters as the 5 of us got a total of 9 starters (make that 10 as one person got a third starter as her main course). My choices were the pineapple/kiwi/strawberry cup, wild berry soup, strip loin steak, and carrot cake.


The featured entertainment was a sort of string quartet calling themselves "Graffiti Classics".  They were sort of a comedy classical group and were pretty good although a bit too gimmicky for my tastes.


As a parting shot I hope for a quick answer and solution to whatever is going on with the 737 Max.  I know several people expect to use it to get home and wish them a safe flight without too many travel disruptions.



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Wonderful report.


Sorry you had rain in Parintins.  All those steep stairs and ramps would kill me now that I am older.


That show looked wonderful.


Great of you with the prop. I don;t mind sitting on plastic chairs.


No worries about the new 737 max planes.  They have all been grounded in the US.


Great pictures.

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Hi Roy😊

Sorry for not chiming in!!

Our WiFi is awful on this cruise😞

I promised to reply to you in regards to the cold soups.

So far none. Your berry soup looked good👍 I give you credit to walk on your own in town! Sorry to hear about all the debri in the water. 

Hope you get this. 

We walk every morning 5 miles👍 Kicking back relaxing. This is our 3rd time doing this cruise . 

Have a enjoyable rest of your cruise and I will be following you on your up coming cruise!

Thanks also for helping Jacqui while she does her last cruise to the Med on Prinesdam!



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Day P68, Wednesday, March 13, 2019, Alter Do Chao, Brazil

I was on deck early and got in about 1 ½ miles of walking before the deck was closed to prepare the tenders for launching.  I went back out around sunrise (6:45) and it was pouring rain.  About that time I also heard the anchor chain being released. The Veendam arrived in Santarem about the same time.

There were 2 tours offered, both to the Santarem area.  A Santarem city tour was $80 and a visit to an Arboretum $100.  Neither tour interested me (I had done the Santarem tour in 2013).  My plan was just to explore the town a bit on foot and perhaps take a dip at the beach which was supposed to be nearby.  

I got breakfast about 7:30 and tendering had started.  I was ready to go when it started pouring again.  I finally left the ship about 8:30.  The tender ride was about a mile and ended a bit strangely.  We had a short boardwalk which ended in a stretch of soft sand, followed by a longer boardwalk and finally a little shelter with very primitive restrooms.


My first look at Alter Do Chao was not very positive.  Judging by our view of the ship with a number of what looked like hotels I thought the town was to the south (right) of the tender dock and I went that way.  What I saw was not at all attractive, many streets changing abruptly to dirt, large vacant spaces, and just a few small stores.  It soon started to drizzle and I returned to the dock.


When I was first at the tender dock there was not much activity (and there had been only 3 people on my tender) but it picked up during my stay with a number of vendors displaying their wares.


The drizzle eased up enough that I decided to try the other direction from the landing.  It turned out to be the right choice as there were more stores and more people.  It was several blocks to the church, a fairly plain structure built in 1896 and restored in 2011.  Across the alley from the church there was a general store.  I noted that about half of the products advertised on the signs were insecticides.


The main town square was directly across the street from the church.


The main street was just a short block away from a bay.  A spit jutted into the bay from the opposite shore and appeared to be lined with little thatched shelters which were almost totally under the high water level.


A sort of promenade ran back along the bay almost to the tender landing.  A number of locals were on the promenade offering boat tours.


The promenaded ended at a beach that was perhaps a 5-minute walk from the tender pier.  It looked inviting but nobody was in the water and I took that as a sign that coming back for a swim was not likely a good idea.  I took a quick dip in the lido pool after returning to the ship (about 10:30).


It would be a big day for poultry as I centered my lunch plans on the roast turkey being served at the Lido Carvery.  Most of the afternoon was spent catching up on some internet business.

All aboard was 4:30.  In his sailaway message Captain Jeroen confirmed that our encounter with the Veendam in Santarem would be more than perfunctory and we would pass there about 6PM which was also their departure time.  I passed the word to my waiters that I would be at the table only for desert and headed up to the upper decks.  I mostly watched our sail down the Tapajos from deck 13 forward but headed down to the Lido Marketplace at 5:30 for a fruit cup and parmesan chicken, pretty much the same things I would have ordered in the dining room.  After finishing the food I headed down to the Seaview Pool.

We got our first look at the Veendam a little after 6 and went past her about 6:15.  I noticed that the bulk carrier CS Sonoma which was sitting very high in the water as sand (I think) was loaded into her holds from barges next to her was still there but now appeared almost fully loaded.  The Veendam was still moored but a small boat was next to one of the off-dock mooring platforms getting ready to release her lines.



I could see large crowds on both Veendam's forward and aft outer decks, and could see a lot of camera flashes from her decks and verandas.  Veendam gave the first horn blast about 6:10 and Prinsendam quickly responded starting about a 5-minute symphony of sound from both ships, long and short and both alternating and simultaneous.  (Confidential to the Holland America sailaway addicts--I think Captain van Eersten would have been very impressed with the tooting).


I was not long at table 19.  It was just Patty and Sherita for dinner and they were already on their deserts when I arrived.  I opted for the blueberry sundae but excused myself pretty quickly as there appeared to be a promising sunset in the offing.


I did not really see the sun and actually turned the camera away from the best colors but there was a very nice color in the sky right behind the Veendam which was turning upstream while we turned downstream and was almost at right angles to us.


The featured entertainment was "digital magician" Jamie Allan.  His tricks largely involved things he was doing on an I-phone.  I decided I had seen enough after 20 minutes.


As a parting shot, our encounter with the Veendam seemed a bit like a passing of the torch.  Once the Elegant Explorer leaves the fleet she will be taking on many of her itineraries.  The Veendam is far from my favorite ship but what makes a cruise great are the itinerary and the crew.  I wish the Veendam's current and future passengers wonderful memories.



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