South America is a continent rich in breathtaking scenery, from the lush tropical rainforests of the Amazon Basin to the towering peaks of the Andes and the coastal fjords of Chile and Argentina. It also boasts a stunning array of historical and cultural diversions. With that being said, it should not be surprising that traveling by cruise ship allows vacationers to experience the best of what this vibrant land has to offer. Although there are plenty of incredible South American cruises, these eight are not to be missed.
1. Princess Cruises – Star Princess – Cape Horn and Strait of Magellan Cruise
Princess Cruises’ Cape Horn and Strait of Magellan voyage traverses the southern tip of South America, mesmerizing guests aboard the Star Princess with breathtaking views of the brilliant blue-tinged Amalia Glacier as well as the impressive granite formations of Cape Horn. Shore excursions allow vacationers to explore the historic port town of Punta Arenas, trek through pristine wilderness at Tierra del Fuego National Park, or get up close and personal with rockhopper penguins in the Falkland Islands. Starting at $1,839 per person, it’s sure to be extraordinary.
© Brian Ralphs
2. Smithsonian Journeys – Zafiro – Amazon River Cruise
Smithsonian Journeys’ Amazon River cruise is a delightfully immersive experience providing travelers with an unparalleled glimpse into the resplendent natural beauty of this breathtaking river and its environs. Voyagers aboard the small ship Zafiro will be awestruck at the sight of river dolphins frolicking in the crystalline waters, along with sloths, squirrel monkeys, and other amazing creatures on land. Additionally, vacationers will tour indigenous villages throughout the Amazon Basin, learning about the region’s rich history and culture. It’s sure to be the adventure of a lifetime.
© Anna & Michal
READ MORE: Travel Profile: Paul Rivera of La Armada
3. Norwegian Cruise Line – Norwegian Sun – 15-Day South American Cruise
For value-seeking seafarers seeking to immerse themselves in South America’s natural and cultural wonder, Norwegian’s fifteen-day South American voyage from Miami to the Chilean port of San Antonio is an affordable getaway like no other. Guests aboard the Norwegian Sun can enjoy a variety of activities, as well as numerous shopping, dining, and entertainment options, in between such exotic ports of call as Cartagena and Santa Marta, Colombia. Shore excursions allow vacationers to experience Cartagena’s colonial heritage, learn about indigenous cultures at the Taironaka Indian Reserve near Santa Marta, or simply relax on one of countless beaches along the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. Starting at $829 per person for a December 2018 sailing, this is one journey not to be missed.
© Reg Natarajan
4. Holland America Line – ms Zaandam – Inca Discovery Cruise
Traversing the Pacific coast, Holland America Line’s Inca Discovery cruise blends world-class hospitality aboard the ms Zaandam with South America’s rich history, vibrant cultures, and undoubtedly spectacular scenery. Visitors to the charming city of Lima, Peru will be truly enchanted as they stroll past pre-Columbian ruins nestled amid colonial plazas and gleaming modern skyscrapers. Not to be overlooked, the archeological site of Pachacamac showcases ancient Inca architecture with ocean views providing a breathtaking backdrop, making this truly a voyage to remember.
© Emmanuel Dyan
5. Azamara Club Cruises – Azamara Pursuit – Carnaval in Rio Voyage
World-renowned for its colorful costumes, upbeat samba music, and festive atmosphere, the annual Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is the inspiration for Azamara Club Cruises’ thirteen-day Carnival in Rio cruise. In addition to experiencing this iconic festival, guests on the Azamara Pursuit can partake in a diverse array of activities on board, including culinary demonstrations and wine tastings. Shore excursions allow vacationers to immerse themselves in the picturesque tropical island paradise of Ilhabela and explore the lively metropolis of São Paulo; with staterooms starting at $4,499, it is not to be missed.
READ MORE: Travel Profile: Justin Furstenfeld of Blue October
6. Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Experience – Galapagos Southern Loop Cruise
Featuring a refined approach to cruising with luxurious accommodations and panoramic ocean views, Celebrity’s seven-night Galapagos Southern Loop cruise immerses guests aboard the 48-passenger Celebrity Xperience in the archipelago’s unparalleled biological and geological diversity. Off the coast of Floreana Island, vacationers can snorkel with sea turtles, rays, and colorful tropical fish, while on San Cristobal Island, they can marvel at the spectacular Cerro Brujo rock formation or simply relax on the island’s picturesque white-sand beaches.
© Paul Krawczuk
7. National Geographic Expeditions – National Geographic Explorer – South Georgia and Falkland Islands Cruise
Blanketed by glaciers and teeming with a dazzling array of life, South Georgia Island and the Falklands beckon to adventurous travelers worldwide. The National Geographic Explorer ventures deep into the heart of this breathtaking region, providing guests with unparalleled vistas of towering cliffs and seaside moors evoking those of Great Britain. Intrepid travelers can enjoy an interpretive walk led by an expert naturalist among vast colonies of king penguins, kayak in the coastal waters of the Falklands, and explore South Georgia’s colorful history as a starting point for Antarctic expeditions. Starting at $16,990 per person, it’s sure to be unforgettable.
© Brian Gratwicke
READ MORE: Travel Profile: Des Rocs
8. Rainforest Cruises – Tucano – Voyage to the Heart of the Amazon
Traversing the upper Amazon and its tributaries, this seven-day voyage immerses vacationers in the idyllic landscapes and awe-inspiring biodiversity of the Brazilian rainforest. Sailing aboard Rainforest Cruises’ Tucano from Manaus to Vila de Moura and back again, travelers will not only enjoy plenty of wildlife encounters and picture-perfect scenery, but also a variety of activities such as swimming and kayaking, along with piranha fishing, which is not for the faint of heart. With staterooms starting at $3,150 per person, it’s definitely an adventure like no other.
© Chris Parker