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Arrive: Tue 20 December 2022 / Depart: Tue 20 December 2022 at 19:00
As you’ll be able to appreciate when you cruise the Atlantic Ocean with MSC Cruises, in its position on the southern shore of the magnificent Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro has, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most stunning settings in the world. Extending for 20km along an alluvial strip, between an azure sea and forest-clad mountains, the city’s streets and buildings have been moulded around the foothills of the mountain range that provides its backdrop, while out in the bay there are many rocky islands fringed with white sand. The aerial views over Rio are breathtaking, and even the concrete skyscrapers that dominate the city’s skyline add to the attraction. As the former capital of Brazil and now its second-largest city, Rio has a remarkable architectural heritage, some of the country’s best museums and galleries, superb restaurants and a vibrant nightlife – in addition to its legendary beaches. A shore excursion on your MSC South America cruise can be the opportunity to visit the Pão de Açúcar. The Sugar Loaf Mountain rises where Guanabara Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. Its name may simply reflect a resemblance to the moulded loaves in which sugar was once commonly sold. Alternatively, it may be a corruption of the indigenous Tamoya word Pau-nh-Açuquá, meaning “high, pointed or isolated hill”. On the top of Corcoavado Mountain instead the Art Deco statue of Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), arms outstretched in welcome, stands 30m high and weighs over 1000 tonnes. It was supposed to be completed for Brazil’s centenary independence celebrations in 1922, but wasn’t actually finished until 1931. In clear weather, fear no anticlimax: climbing to the statue is a stunning experience, with the whole of Rio and Guanabara Bay laid out before you.
Arrive: Wed 21 December 2022 at 07:00 / Depart: Wed 21 December 2022 at 19:00
As you approach the low-lying, whitewashed colonial port of Vila do Abraão in Ilha Grande with your MSC cruise ship, the mountains rise dramatically from the sea, and in the distance there’s the curiously shaped summit of Bico do Papagaio (“Parrot’s Beak”), which rises to a height of 980m and can be reached in about three hours. There’s really very little to see in Abraão itself, but it’s a pleasant enough base from which to explore the rest of the island. Ilha Grande comprises 193 square kilometres of mountainous jungle, historic ruins and beautiful beaches, excellent for some scenic tropical rambling. The island is a state park and the authorities have been successful at limiting development and maintaining a ban on motor vehicles. Ilha Grande offers lots of beautiful excursions along well-maintained and fairly well-signposted trails, but it’s sensible to take some basic precautions. Carry plenty of water with you, and remember to apply sunscreen and insect repellent at regular intervals. According to legend, the pirate Jorge Grego was heading for the Straits of Magellan when his ship was sunk by a British fleet. He managed to escape with his two daughters to Ilha Grande, where he became a successful farmer and merchant. However, in a fit of rage, he murdered the lover of one of his daughters, and shortly afterwards, a terrible storm destroyed all his farms and houses. From then on, Jorge Grego passed his time roaming the island, distraught, pausing only long enough to bury his treasure before his final demise. If there is any treasure today, though, it’s the island’s wildlife: parrots, exotic hummingbirds, butterflies and monkeys abound in the thick vegetation.
Arrive: Thu 22 December 2022 at 07:00 / Depart: Thu 22 December 2022 at 17:00
Ilhabela is an archipelago off the southeast coast of Brazil. The main island, Ilha de São Sebastião, is known for beaches like Castelhanos, Curral and Jabaquara. On the island's west coast, Ilhabela city is home to the white-and-blue Nossa Senhora d’Ajuda church. In vast, forested Ilhabela State Park, trails lead to Gato and Água Branca waterfalls. Offshore dive sites include the Aymoré and Velasquez shipwrecks.
Arrive: Fri 23 December 2022 at 09:00 / Depart: Fri 23 December 2022
Next stop: Brazil! An MSC cruise will have you discovery this colorful Country, by docking in its second port located between Porto Alegre and Sao Paulo: Itajaí, in the state of Santa Catarina. Founded by the Portuguese coming from Madeira and the Azores, the city is located on the banks of the rio Itajaí-Açú and, being an important export trade point, it is a strategic hub of Brazilian economy. Itajai is also a city full of history, as you will see by walking through its historic center, rich in traditions thanks to the old fish market, and visiting the imposing church of the Santissimo Sacramento. Brazil is renown above all for its beaches. An excursion will take you to Praia Brava, between Itajaí and Balneário Camboriú. Known for its natural beauty and the clear sea, this beach is the ideal destination for relaxation, whether you just want to sunbathe or swim between the calm waves. A little further south is Balneário Camboriú. This is one of the capitals of tourism of Santa Caterina that during summer can reach even 1 million inhabitants. Av. Brazil is a vibrant shopping street, while Atlantic Avenue runs along the beach with its sidewalk in pavê like the one in Copacabana. Here, you can stop in a bar or restaurant to admire the sea and the island of Cabras, just offshore. For nature lovers, the area around Itajai offers the Parque Unipraias Camboriu. An excursion will take you to the Barra Sul Station, where you can take the cable car to Morro de Aguada at 240 meters of height and to the Mata Atlântica station. There are various paths to take to immerse yourself in this forest and come in contact with the Brazilian flora and fauna or the youngest visitors can cross it on board a sledge. Downhill the destination is the beach of Praia das Laranjeiras, the ideal place to enjoy some free time.
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