South America Cruises

Vibrant cities, awe-inspiring natural wonders and no shortage of adventures await on our South America cruises.

Always exotic and now more accessible than ever, South America welcomes travellers with its own distinct rhythm. No two countries in the continent are alike, each offering a unique blend of history, culture and cuisine, making it the perfect choice of destination for a cruise holiday.

From the soul-stirring strains of the tango on the boulevards of stately Buenos Aires to the frenetic samba-fuelled boardwalks of Rio de Janeiro, South America promises to deliver a raft of sights, sounds and experiences with flair, verve and gusto.


South America Cruise Itineraries

Unlike many other cruise destinations, you won’t find many South America cruise itineraries operating for anything less than ten nights. The continent is vast, and even choosing to focus on one region will often involve two or three days at sea.

The most common departure ports for South America cruise itineraries are Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, with cruises also available from San Antonio in Chile and Lima in Peru. Voyages for the Chilean Fjords and Antarctic Continent will leave from either Ushahia or Santiago. Galapagos Islands cruises involve a flight from Quito or Guayaquil, with embarkation in Baltra or San Cristobal.

Regardless of which itinerary you choose, South America is brimming with bucket list highlights. Approaching Rio de Janeiro by sea is unforgettable, with the statue of Christ, the Redeemer looming large over the city. Montevideo is an often overlooked beauty, offering a distinctly European flavour and a stunning Old Town full of rich architecture.

Buenos Aires is one of the most visited cities in South America, and it’s easy to see why. There’s an unmistakable Parisian air to its wide, tree-lined boulevards and mouth-watering array of delicatessens and eateries. Of course, no visit to Buenos Aires is complete without a spot of Tango, so make sure you book a shore excursions to indulge in this Latin passion.

In Peru, journey thousands of feet up the hinterland and discover fabled Machu Picchu; unfolding like something from an Indian Jones movie. Alternatively, choose to explore intoxicating Lima and find out for yourself why it’s rated as one of the world’s top culinary cities.

To see South America’s natural wonders, visit the Chilean Fjords and Patagonia where jagged mountain ranges are reflected perfectly in glassy, silent lakes and fjords. Or, choose to a cruise on the Amazon and tour cities like Manaus, which emerges from beneath dense shrouds of jungle undergrowth. By contrast, Angel Falls in Venezuela will amaze as a teeming cacophony of boiling water and flying spray thunder down its colossal facade.

The best time for South America cruises

The cruise season for South America traditionally runs between November and late May, though the best time to cruise depends on which part of the region you want to visit. For instance, February and March is the optimum time for cruising Brazil due to the much-celebrated Carnaval season. Countries in the northern reaches of the continent, such as Venezuela and Colombia, are also best visited during this period.

Chile and Argentina are popular cruise destinations throughout the southern hemisphere’s summer months between December and March. Voyages to Antarctica and the Chilean Fjords will depart during this time, with the weather becoming more autumnal into late March.

There are two seasons for Amazon River cruises; high season, the low season between June and December and the high season from December to May. Many prefer to cruise the Amazon during the low season as the reduction in water levels allows for great opportunities to explore the deep rainforest jungles.

The Galapagos Islands are perhaps the only destination in South America that do not have a ‘best’ time to visit. Voyages to the region operate year-round, and it’s really up to you to decide on the type of climate you’d like to experience. Between June and November, the region welcomes cooler and drier while December to June is warmer and wetter.

Cruise lines that offer South America Cruises

Nearly all of the major cruise lines offer South America cruises. Ultra-luxury lines such as Regent Seven Seas, Silversea and Seabourn have been cruising the region for years and are great options if you want fantastic all-inclusive onboard value.

Celebrity Cruises, Holland America and Azamara also operate South America cruises, while those seeking an expedition-style experience should look at the itineraries offered by Hurtigruten, Lindblad and Ponant Cruises.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines sail to South America on longer itineraries from Liverpool and Southampton, and these immersive itineraries are perfect if you would prefer not to fly. Likewise, both P&O Cruises and Cunard both visit South America on World Cruises departing from Southampton.


Book Central America cruises with us

For more information regarding cruises to South America or to receive a quote for a future voyage, please call us on 0800 008 6677 or make an online enquiry for one of the itineraries featured below.

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