Katz & Dawgs Unlimited

Our Cruise on the Royal Princess from Manaus, Brazil to Florida, via the Amazon River and the northeastern coast of South America and the Caribbean.
(January 30 to February 11, 2002)

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No, this is not the Royal Princess.

We   loved   our previous two cruises  aboard the M.V. Royal Princess,  so this year we came back to the same ship, and again to the very same cabin! This year, our cruise started in Manaus, Brazil, a thousand miles up the Amazon, and ended in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, via the Amazon and the Caribbean. The following is the day-by-day itinerary of the trip:  pictures are available at the italicized areas.

  1. January 29: Fly from Newark to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. to begin our travels to the Royal Princess. Took a photo of the expressway outside the hotel -- we were not going to see any more superhighways for the rest of the trip! This was to be a two-day trip to get to our ship: after arriving in Florida, we had a few hours to eat and sleep -- before getting up at 3 AM to fly again.

  2. January 30: More flying. This time from Florida, starting at 7:30 AM, and arriving in Manaus, Brazil in mid-afternoon. The Royal Princess clearly outclassed the local riverboats.

  3. January 31: After settling in overnight, it was off on a eight-and-a-half hour tour, first of Manaus, and then of the jungle and a village.

    First, by bus to the Opera House in downtown Manaus. [More photos of the Opera House: Ceiling of entry hall -- view of the balconies, from the first row -- details -- Steph wants floors like these -- ceiling of entry hall -- lots of wonderful furniture] The church across the street.

    Then the tour continued, onto a riverboat and to the Meeting of the Waters. The Amazon meets the Rio Negro, but the waters don't merge. Different density, and different rate of flow, keep the brown Amazon waters separate from the black Rio Negro. [Two more photos of the different colors of the water: second and third photos.] We got onto a "canoe" (a small motorboat seating about 8 or 9 tourists) and headed into the jungle. At times, we could see the boat in front of us. Mostly we saw the jungle -- looking up at tall trees or at the natives in their canoes (looking for handouts!). We kept going and going deeper into the forest, but continued to encounter more natives around almost every bend. Finally we came to our destination -- that is, a place wide enough to turn around and go back the way we came!

    After the canoe trip, we came ashore to take a walk on an elevated walkway to look down on giant lilly pads. Staring closely, we could see some were flowering. Under the platform we stood upon, we saw a canoe. And on the way back, we saw a flash of color -- a red butterfly which settled down long enough to take its photograph.

    On the way back to Manaus, we had lots of time to take photos of the shoreline of the river. We stopped at a small village where a parakeet ate lunch for the cameras. One house had a magnificant garden with flowers in bloom.

    Just before leaving Manaus, after dark, a photo of the riverboats at the dock. And our final view of Manaus, as the Royal Princess pulled away.

  4. February 1: The next morning, the ship's flag was raised several hundred miles downstream, at the small village of Boca da Valeria. The ship's tenders ferried us to the village. We watched as a riverboat went by, and the tender went further up the Valeria River to disgorge its load of tourists. Later, we too became tourists, and looked at some natives from our tender, saw the marina (and waited for the tender that was there to leave before we inched in). The locals loved dressing up for photos, and staring at us as we stared at them. (The kids did lots of begging, and posing, sometimes in costumes, with their animals -- sloths, monkeys, alligators, and parrots or parakeets.) The buildings, as elsewhere along the Amazon, were built on stilts including the church, but the electronics was simply secured into concrete in the middle of Main Street. Lots of crafts for sale -- Steph bought a jaguar, and Bill bought a boat. Back on the Royal Princess before sunset, Steph tried her hand at photos as the sun went down: The last canoe back to the village. (There had been canoes alongside the Royal Princess all day.) The river at dusk. The sun about to set.

  5. February 2: Overnight, went several hundred more miles, to Santarem, the third-largest port on the Amazon River. We took another riverboat trip into a backwater, watched fishermen and their homes. Some fishermen used nets, and some had sails. Some had big powerboats. Even Steph got caught up in fishing -- She posed for the camera, with her big catch, for which she won an award. On our way back, Bill photographed a photomontage and some water buffalo. Then back to the city, passing the cathedral, then to the pier, where stacks of lumbar smelled positively vile. Folks traveling on the riverboats brought their own hammocks to lounge upon. A final view of Santarem.

  6. February 3: At sea -- no photographs today.

  7. February 4: We visited Ile Royale, one of the three islands called "Iles du Salut" (Salvation Islands), most famous being Devil's Island, off the coast of French Guinea. One house looked like it was on the set of South Pacific. A deer strolled right past the tourists. We photographed the lighthouse on Ile Royale, and got somebody to photograph Two tourists (Bill and Steph). A guard house. A cemetery. More "wildlife". Then we finally saw some of the crumbling prisons. The outdoor cells looked spacious, but alledgedly held 20+ people each. We asked someone to photograph the two "prisoners". Then, Steph photographed Bill. Then we looked around inside the reconstructed cellblock.

    Please note: This is the end of the narrative, but there are lots more photos that can be accessed by clicking on the following button: Next slide and then clicking on the similar button on each individual slide.

  8. February 5: At sea -- no photographs today.

  9. February 6: Trinidad

  10. February 7: Dominica

  11. February 8: British Virgin Islands

  12. February 9: At sea -- no photographs today.

  13. February 10: At sea -- no photographs today.

  14. February 11: Leave the Royal Princess at Fort Lauderdale, Florida; take the bus to the airport for our flight home, which was delayed in departure due to high winds in the New York City area. Collapse.

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. . . as of February, 2002