When we went to the port in Manaus to check it out, the guy selling the tickets gave us a ride in a little speedboat to where the Liberty Star was docked. We scrambled from the speedboat up the side of the big boat, climbing on the big tires and over the rails... and we were hooked! "What a fun adventure this is," we thought. This was before we established the definition for "adventure."
Most locals hook up hammocks for the ride, but we decided to go big and get our own cabin. Not one of the cabins with bunk beds, but the "Master Suite" with a double bed and private bathroom with a shower. We even talked him down a bit on the price, so for just $500 we were going to cruise down the Amazon in style.
Just so you don't make the same mistake we did, here are some details on the unpleasant surprises. But make no mistake, I'm glad we did it and I'm grateful to have had this experience.
Unpleasant surprise #1: The bathroom uses river water. Brown, stinky, unfiltered river water. We wouldn't even wash our hands in there, so no way were we taking showers. For five days. No showers for five days.
Unpleasant surprise #2: Not only is the food horrible, it's expensive. We had heard that 3 meals a day were included in the price on most boats. Not on the Liberty Star! Hello chips and cookies for breakfast lunch and dinner.
Unpleasant surprise #3: The pipe. In the room. Rattling with the vibration of the engine. All day. All night. Like being inside a snare drum.
So after five days of boat life, we were relieved to arrive in Belém. Another grand adventure under our belts!