Rio de Janeiro cruises come in a variety of types, and since they originate out of any number of world ports, travelers from around the globe can entertain the option of enjoying them. On a cruise to Rio, you will usually stop at many other interesting world destinations along the way, with your point or origin having a lot to do with where you might go before or after you actually get to Rio. Start your cruise in Buenos Aires, for example, and you might make stops at Uruguay's capital city of Montevideo and the lovely Brazilian colonial town of Paraty before you pull into port at Rio itself. The best time to take a cruise to Rio no matter where you arrive from can include late February or early March is when Carnaval gets under way, depending on the year. You can always take a Rio Carnaval cruise and pull into port while the world-famous festivities are going on.
December through March is the peak travel season in Rio de Janeiro. This is summertime in the southern hemisphere, and as you might imagine, it's the best time to enjoy Rio beaches such as Ipanema and Copacabana. While most Rio de Janeiro cruises visit the city during this peak period, there are also some options during the other months of the year. Regardless of when you opt to take your cruise, Rio is bound to impress the second that you pull into port. This magnificent city on the sea boasts plenty of fine attractions, and its spectacular setting only makes it that much more enticing.
Whether you take a Rio Carnaval cruise or you opt instead to pull into port when this lively festival isn't going on, there will be plenty of ways to fill your time onshore. As is common on most cruises, passengers will have the chance to book onshore tours for Rio through the cruise company. Among the attractions that are often featured on these tours are Corcovado Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain, and the city's main beaches. You might also get to do some shopping and enjoy a traditional churrascaria lunch during your sightseeing tour. Churrascarias are Brazilian restaurants that serve up savory grilled meats in healthy supply. On a cruise to Rio, other tours might see you visiting a favela (shantytown), doing some hang gliding, hiking through the world's largest urban forest (Tijuca Forest), or catching a soccer game at the famed Maracana Stadium.
Large cruise ships that are more akin to floating cities than anything else are used for Rio de Janeiro cruises, so your time at sea shouldn't be boring. More often than not, dining, shopping, and even doing a little gambling are among the ways to stay busy onboard, and comfortable cabins make relaxing an easy endeavor. Your cruise to Rio will likely dock at the Praca Maua, or Maua Pie—the city's main docking point. This port is a short walk from the heart of the downtown business district, which means that you won't have to go far to check out some of the lovely downtown churches or the museums that can be found in the Flamengo neighborhood. Taxis are readily available at the cruise port if you aren't up for walking, taking a bus, or hopping on the metro to get to your intended destination. Should you be taking a Rio Carnaval cruise, it shouldn't take too long to the get to the Sambadrome from the cruise port, which is good news. This large venue is where the main Carnaval celebrations take place.
There aren't a lot of Rio de Janeiro cruises that originate in the United States, though it is possible to find a few from time to time that depart from larger cities like Los Angeles or New York. Outside of the US, cruises that include a stop at Rio can originate out of Venice, Lisbon, Dubai, or even Istanbul, just to name some of the possibilities. It's also possible to take a cruise that originates in Rio itself. Relatively short three-day cruises that originate and end in Rio most often feature stops at the Brazilian destinations of Ubatuba and Ilha Grande. Both of these destinations are excellent places to enjoy some outdoor activities, such as hiking and scuba diving.