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Best cruises to South America

6 stunning adventures to Peru, Brazil, Chile, the Panama Canal and more.

South America’s size lends itself to a whole host of cruising opportunities: a short blast around the Horn, an intimate adventure to visit the Indigenous communities of the Amazon — or the chance to step foot on Antarctica. Surrounded by two oceans — the Atlantic and Pacific — and topped by the Caribbean Sea, it comes as no surprise that a cruise is one of the best ways to get the most out of everything this diverse continent has to offer.

Book a cruise to South America with Holland America Line, MSC or Princess if you’re on a budget, since these operators commonly have cruises for less than $100 a day. If you’re ready to splurge, book a luxury small ship cruise with Seabourn or Silversea.

Ports with cruises to South America

Florida is the only US state that regularly offers cruises to South America. This is mostly because of the distance — you’ll need at least 12 days to sail from the continental United States to South America. Most cruises to South America actually start in South America — capital cities like Lima, Peru or Santiago, Chile.

These ports usually have lots of cruises to South America for you to choose from:

  • Buenos Aires, Aregntina
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Itajai, Brazil
  • Lima, Peru
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Miami, Florida
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Santiago, Chile
  • Santos, Brazil
  • Ushuaia, Argentina
  • Buenos Aires, Santiago, Montevideo, Ushuaia, and the Galapagos are some of the most popular ports to visit in South America.

Traveling during COVID-19
The CDC continues to advise caution when traveling within or outside the US, though it no longer requires self-quarantine or a COVID-19 test for fully vaccinated travelers as of April 2021. It recommends that you delay travel if you are not fully vaccinated to protect yourself and your family from getting or spreading the virus.

When traveling, follow safety measures that include wearing a mask in public, social distancing and washing your hands. If you are diagnosed with, have symptoms of or are waiting for COVID-19 test results — or are otherwise at risk of illness — do not attend gatherings or travel for 14 days.

Our favorite cruises to South America

Cruise lineCruiseItineraryPriceBook
Princess CruisesAndes & South America — 17 days
  • Santiago, Chile
  • La Serena, Chile
  • Pisco, Peru
  • Lima, Peru
  • Manta, Ecuador
  • Puntarenas, Costa Rica
  • Los Angeles, California
From $1,099 per person

You can also cruise from LA to Santiago

Book now
MSC CruisesSouth America — 4 nights
  • Buzios, Brazil
  • Ilha Grande, Brazil
  • Santos, Brazil
From $389 per personBook now
Holland America LinePanama Canal & Inca Discovery — 17 days
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Oranjestad, Aruba
  • Panama Canal (cruising)
  • Fuerte Amador, Panama
  • Manta, Ecuador
  • Callao, Peru
  • General San Martin, Peru
  • Coquimbo, Chile
  • Santiago, Chile
From $1,649 per personBook now
SeabournSouth American Treasures — 9 days
  • Callao, Peru
  • Islas Ballestas, Peru
  • Pisco, Peru
  • Punta Islay, Peru
  • Matarani, Peru
  • Arica, Chile
  • Iquique, Chile
  • Antofagasta, Chile
  • Isla Pan De Azucar, Chile
  • Santiago, Chile
From $4,500 per person (airfare to and from cruise ports included)Book now
SilverseaSouth America — 16 days
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Cozumel Quintana Roo, Mexico
  • Belize City, Belize
  • Roatan Island, Honduras
  • Puerto Limon, Costa Rica
  • Panama Canal (cruising)
  • Fuerte Amador, Panama
  • Machala, Ecuador
  • Guayaquil, Ecuador
  • Salaverry, Ecuador
  • Lima, Peru
From $6,400 per personBook now
MSC CruisesSouth America — 7 nights
  • Itajai, Brazil
  • Punta Del Este Uruguay
  • Buenos Aries, Argentina
  • Ilhabela, Brazil
  • Itajai, Brazil
From $559 per personBook now

Best cruise lines sailing to South America

Multigenerational families, adventurous solo travelers, long-term voyagers and those who prefer the finer things in life will all find something to suit them on a cruise to South America.

Best for families: MSC

MSC’s large cruise ships house a range of activities to keep children of any age entertained. The young ones will have a ball in the kids’ clubs, manned by trained professionals, while the older ones can head to the video games rooms and teens-only parties to find some cruise buddies their own age.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover Card
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for exploring Patagonia: Holland America

If the Andes Mountains and beautifully serene deserts of Patagonia are calling your name, you’ll be in good hands with Holland America. From the port of Buenos Aires, you can spend 15days or more exploring Chilean Fjords, Falkland Islands and Argentina's glaciers before grabbing a flight home from San Antonio.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover Card
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for circumnavigating the continent: Princess

Along with its smaller bite-size cruises around South America, Princess is offering a fantastic opportunity to embark on a 50-day voyage around the continent in 2020 and 2021. Setting sail from Fort Lauderdale, Florida guests will visit more than 18 ports along the east and west coast of the continent and sail through four different oceans before disembarking in Los Angeles, CA.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Discover Card, JCB
Price ($-$$$):

Best for solo travelers: Costa

With more people than ever choosing to explore the world by themselves, Costa is making every effort to accommodate them. Over half of its fleet offers affordable solo cabins including suites on Costa Fascinosa and Costa Pacific that are set to sail South America in 2020/2021. You’ll also be invited to a series of exclusive parties to meet other like-minded solo adventurers.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for cruising through the Amazon: Seabourn

Hosting no more than 450 people at once, Seabourn’s intimate cruise ships are ideal for visiting a few off-the-beaten-track destinations, including the largest city in the Amazon, Manaus. Lasting anywhere from 15 to 45 days, you can visit this untouched gem of Brazil no matter how much time you have to spare.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, American Express, Discover Card
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for shorter luxury cruises: Silversea

Silversea offers nine-, twelve- and eleven-day cruises from Buenos Aires to Punta Arenas or Ushuaia, all of which are perfect for an introduction into the wonders of this southern continent. Shorter cruises don’t mean lesser amenities, though, as all suites are spacious, dining options fantastic and some even come with a private butler.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

How we picked the best cruises

We’ve taken the time to siphon out the best cruise liners heading to South America this year so you don’t have to. We used our own first-hand experiences, as well as the opinions of travel blogs, online reviews and travel websites, to bring you the most up-to-date information.

With so much to see on this vast continent, cruises with well-curated and carefully chosen itineraries came top of our list. Afterward, we checked out the full range of facilities offered such as cabins, restaurants and daily entertainment, and assessed the quality and range of shore excursions. Finally, we made sure the price point reflected the quality of what was on offer so you can be sure you’re getting the best value.

When is the best time to go to South America?

Summer in South America falls during our colder months, making it the perfect destination to escape those winter blues. The cruising season begins around late November and continues until early May. There’s no need to worry about peak season and overcrowding, the continent is so big that you’ll rarely see another cruise ship docking in the same port as you.

Do remember, that South America is vast, and while this is generally the best season to cruise for the best overall weather conditions, you might find temperatures in the south to be a little cooler, and there may even still be some snow on the mountains.

What are the must-do cruise excursions in South America?

Shore excursions around South America attract those in search of isolated natural beauty, wildlife encounters, and the odd vibrant city here and there.

  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Perhaps one of South America’s most well-known names, Rio promises fantastic city beaches and vibrant streets. Take the trip to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain for unbeatable city views.
  • Ushuaia, Argentina. Found almost as south as you can get in South America, Ushuaia is the gateway town to the fantastic glaciers in Tierra del Fuego National Park.
  • Galapagos, Ecuador. Sitting off the coast of Ecuador, this small cluster of islands are some of the most protected in the world and are teeming with wildlife including giant tortoises, Darwin’s finches and sea lions.
  • Manaus, Brazil. Jump onboard a much smaller boat to explore the winding Amazon River, keeping a beady eye open for monkeys, crocodiles, and sloths.
  • Lima, Peru. Visit the UNESCO world heritage ruins of Machu Picchu with a guided tour to the Sun Gate, Intihuatana and Temple of the Condor.

Current cruise deals

Expedia.comExpedia.com

Disney cruises from $705 per person to the Caribbean

T&Cs apply.

Last verified

PricelinePriceline

Disney Cruise Line deals starting from $213/night to Caribbean and other destinations

T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Expedia.comExpedia.com

Save up to 25% on select Bahamian, Caribbean and Baja cruises with Disney

T&Cs apply.

Last verified

CruiseDirectCruiseDirect

Carnival cruises starting from just $55/night to the Bahamas and other destinations

T&Cs apply.

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Expedia.comExpedia.com

Carnival cruises to the Caribbean starting from $179 per person

T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Expedia.comExpedia.com

Save up to 83% off Carnival cruises to the Caribbean

Caribbean cruises from 4-7 nights from $179 per person. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

PricelinePriceline

Up to $1,000 to spend on board with Norwegian Cruise Line

Just book your next cruise vacation with Priceline Cruises and get up to $1,000 to use as a liquor, dining, and spa credit, along with other purchases made on the ship! T&Cs apply.

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CruiseDirectCruiseDirect

Last minute cruise deals from $33/night

Cruises from 3 to 15+ nights available from multiple lines. Get great deals on prime ships, routes, and rooms for bookings from a week or more out.

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Avoya TravelAvoya Travel

Royal Caribbean sale: Buy 1 get 1 60% off cruise fares, up to $150 free onboard credit and kids sail free

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Last verified

Deal ends

Sandals ResortsSandals Resorts

Mothers day sale 2021: Get a free 60-minute couples massage

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Deal ends

Bottom line

Choosing when, where and how to spend your time in South America can be overwhelming. When you’ve decided on what to do, check out these latest deals that can help you to save money on your cruise fare.

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