Amazon Cruise


The Opera House (Teatro Amazonas) was the first structure in Manaus and was completed in 1896. 


Friday, February 12th

We didn’t have any shore excursions planned today, so just got off the ship and walked around for about 2 hours.  We walked to the Metropolitan Cathedral of our Lady, Justice Palace and Opera House; we shopped at an eco-store and saw the clock towers on our way back to the ship.  Manaus is about 1,000 miles from the mouth of the Amazon and is the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas.  About 1.7 million people live in Manaus.  It has an interesting history.  Around 1890 the value of rubber became known and the town quickly became extremely wealthy.  The boom only lasted for 25 years and the natives who were employed by the rubber barons were horribly mistreated.  In the early 1900s an Englishman, who posed as an orchid collector, smuggled rubber tree seeds out of the country.  He started growing rubber trees in British colonies in southeast Asia, and soon the Brazilian rubber industry went bust.  In 1967 Manaus was made a duty-free zone.  Today shipping and transportation along the river as well as eco-tourism are important to the economy.  Manufacturing is also a big industry as many electronics such as televisions, computers and cell phones are assembled here.  The climate here is oppressive for many who visit, but the temperature only averages around 85 degrees.  It’s the humidity of 95% that makes us so uncomfortable.

Saturday, February 13th

We’re extremely glad that we decided to book this cruise round-trip out of Fort Lauderdale.  The flights for people who are disembarking today were delayed for many hours by the snow in the U.S.  The people coming in on the same charter will miss a whole day in Manaus as they probably won’t arrive until tomorrow.  We hope the weather is better in the U.S. on the 27th when we fly from Fort Lauderdale to Atlanta and then home.  We went for a walk into Manaus this morning in search of our favorite souvenir--Christmas tree ornaments.  We looked at many sidewalk vendors’ wares.  If we had been in the market for underwear, shoes, hardware, cell phones, hammocks, clothing, fabric, meat, vegetables, fruit, a live bunny, chick, guinea pig or dog, we would have had success.  We finally found a refrigerator magnet that we can convert to an ornament.  Brazil is very strict about things made of wood being taken out of the country, and most little trinkets they’re selling are wooden.  These shops cater to the locals and the market areas were full of shoppers today, who are probably in town for Carnival.

Sunday, February 14th

Happy Valentine’s Day! The passengers who were scheduled to disembark and embark yesterday finally did so this morning, about 25 hours late.  We had a relaxing morning and took a tour of Manaus in the afternoon.  We first stopped at the Opera House, which is the most famous attraction in the city.  It took 17 years to build (1879-1896) during the rubber boom.  The rubber barons tried to impress in many ways including all their finery and carriages from Paris.  We’ve been told that Enrico Caruso sang here, and were also told that he wouldn’t come ashore because of a cholera epidemic.  Materials for the Opera House came from Europe, including some marble from Carrera, Italy.  The marble, tiles, metals, curtain from Paris and all other building materials except wood served as ballast in ships coming from Europe.  Shipments of rubber made the return trip.  After touring the Opera House we went to the Indian Museum, which was quite a modest museum with a small collection of Indian artifacts.  Next we went to the Military Zoo, which is run by the army.  We saw quite a variety of animals but most were caged and hard to see.  Manaus is an interesting city, but it was difficult to get nice pictures, as all power and phone lines are above ground and graffiti is everywhere.

We had overcast skies and sunny skies during our days in port in Manaus.  The weather is boring--hot and humid.



Manaus - Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady

Manaus - Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady

Manaus - typical market street

Manaus - Justice Palace

Tile in St. Sebastian Square represents the confluence of the Negro and Solimões Rivers

St. Sebastian Square near Opera House

Manaus - market street

Manaus - Customs House

Manaus - meat market

Manaus - busy port

Manaus - Municipal Market (being renovated)


Manaus - Opera House

Manaus - Opera House

Manaus - Opera House

Manaus - Opera House

Manaus - Opera House (roof)

Manaus - Indian Museum

Manaus - Military Zoo (monkeys)

Manaus - Military Zoo (spotted jaguar)

Manaus - Carnival floats

Manaus - sleeping in hammocks

© Jay 2020