Queen Mary 2′s ‘Route to Rio’ Cruise Launches Cunard’s 2006 Historic South American ‘Path of Magellan’ Voyages

January 15 and April 3 Rio Sailings Offer Two Chances to Travel Famous Route

VALENCIA, Calif., July 7 /PRNewswire/ — When Queen Mary 2 departs New York on January 15, 2006, her guests will be embarking on an historic voyage to the bottom of the world on the largest ship to ever cruise around Cape Horn.

Queen Mary 2′s New York to Rio sailing is the first leg of the 38- or 36-day adventure, and will offer guests a colorful blend of the Caribbean and Brazil on the ship’s journey southward. Alternatively, guests have the option of departing from this dazzling South America city on the last leg of the 38- or 36-day eastbound reverse itinerary, departing Rio on April 3, and arriving in Ft. Lauderdale on April 13 and in New York on April 15.

“Cunard’s 2006 South American liner voyages are the pinnacle of civilized adventure, offering a mesmerizing glimpse into the experiences of history’s greatest explorers, while guests enjoy the Cunard hallmarks of opulent surroundings, fine dining, and renowned White Star Service(TM),” says Jan Swartz, senior vice president of customer service and sales for Cunard Line. “‘Route to Rio’ is an exciting kick-off to Queen Mary 2′s maiden foray into the rich history and traditions of South America.”

Tracing a two-day path along the Eastern Caribbean, guests arrive in the charming capital city of “Basseterre, St. Kitts,” considered one of the most picturesque colonial cities in the Caribbean. Here, visitors enjoy Brimstone Hill Fortress, a magnificent 17th century citadel offering panoramic views of the coastline, countryside and neighboring Caribbean islands. One of the best preserved historical forts in the Americas, it is a 300-year-old fortification perched 780 feet above sea level. The second largest fortress of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, Brimstone Hill was the site of more battles between the British and French than any other in history. Other must-see sights include the batik studio in secluded Romney Gardens and, for hikers, a guided tour up St. Kitts highest peak, Mt. Liamuiga, an extinct volcano.

The voyage continues to “Bridgetown, Barbados” the next day, where the island’s rich British history is reflected in its architecture and attitude. Orchid World inspires quiet meandering along fragrant, winding paths while Andromeda Gardens is home to an outstanding collection of tropical plants. Travelers with a penchant for history will enjoy a glimpse of Gun Hill, a former British lookout post, and the 300-year old sugar estate, Sunbury Plantation House.

From Barbados, Queen Mary 2 cruises the Atlantic for four days before sailing into port in “Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.” Designated a world heritage site by UNESCO, Salvador is a historic and fascinating city that is particularly engaging to those who appreciate architecture. A walking tour through the cobblestone streets of Pelourinho, the city’s historic district, reveals the highest concentration of Baroque architecture in Latin America. Churches, manor houses and buildings date back to the 17th century, affording a glimpse into the lives of wealthy sugarcane planters. On the Itapagipe Peninsula, the 18th century Bonfim Church draws thousands of visitors each year. Shoppers enjoy Mercado Modelo, featuring shops selling traditional handicrafts such as Brazilian lace, embroidery and hammocks.

Following another day at sea, Queen Mary 2 reaches “Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.” One of the world’s most exciting cities, Rio is also one of the most beautiful. From Carnival to samba, Rio captures the energy and excitement of the Brazilian Rivera at its best. Here, must-see excursions include visits to Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer Statue, two of Rio’s most prominent landmarks; the Sambodroma District, home to Rio’s legendary Carnival parades; and famed Copacabana Beach. Other Rio excursions include a visit to 19th century Petropolis, the mountain retreat of Brazil’s last emperor, and a tour of the historic Imperial Palace.

Fares for the 12-day “Route to Rio” segment begin at $2,799 per person, double occupancy.

Cunard Line’s 2006 “Path of Magellan” South American Liner Voyages feature two 38-day (36 days if embarking in Ft. Lauderdale) eastbound and westbound “South American Odysseys,” bringing guests around Cape Horn via the Drake Passage, Beagle Channel and the Straits of Magellan, calling on 15 ports in 12 countries in total. The 38-day westbound voyage departs New York on January 15 and the 36-day voyage departs Ft. Lauderdale on January 17. The eastbound journey reverses the itinerary, beginning in Los Angeles on March 8 and concluding in Ft. Lauderdale on April 13 and in New York on April 15.

Queen Mary 2 is the largest (151,400 tons), longest (1,132 feet), tallest (236 feet), widest (135 feet) and most expensive ($800 million) passenger vessel ever built. There are 1,310 suites and cabins available in degrees of style and comfort ranging from pampered elegance to almost unimaginable luxury in the ship’s famed Grill-level accommodations. Queen Mary 2 brings together like-minded travelers who relish the Cunard hallmarks of impeccable White Star Service(TM), fine dining, sophisticated adventure and legacy of historic voyages and transatlantic travel.

For more information about Cunard or Queen Mary 2′s 2006 ‘Path of Magellan’ South America itineraries, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to www.cunard.com.

Cunard Line has operated the most famous ocean liners in the world since 1840. Cunard vessels have a classic British heritage and include the legendary “Queen Elizabeth 2″ and “Queen Mary 2.” “Queen Victoria” joins the fleet in 2007.

Cunard Line is a proud member of “World’s Leading Cruise Lines.” The exclusive alliance also includes Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Costa Cruises, Windstar Cruises and The Yachts of Seabourn. Sharing a passion to please each guest, and a commitment to quality and value, member lines appeal to a wide range of lifestyles and budgets. Together they offer exciting and enriching cruise vacations to the world’s most desirable destinations.

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