In an industry-first, Crystal Cruises is offering guests the opportunity to celebrate a private Sunday mass at the remote Our Lady of Aparecida Chapel, situated at the base of Rio de Janeiro’s most famous monument and one of the world’s Seven Wonders, the Christ the Redeemer statue. With the Rio to Miami “Exotic Amazon” voyage starting on Sunday, March 10, a local shipboard overnight on embarkation day allows for services to be held at 5 pm. Participation is limited to just 15 guests.
The spiritual expedition is the latest rare travel experience to be added to the luxury line’s new collection of “Boutique Adventures,” intimate shoreside experiences available only to Crystal travelers. Crystal’s Land Programs team spent more than a year seeking approval for the event, ultimately requiring sign-off from Rio’s diocese – which was finally secured this January. The church made a special exception for Crystal’s English-speaking, onboard priest, Monsignor Davis, to lead services, instead of the usually-required Brazilian clergy.
“As soon as I saw the space in 2011, I knew that bringing our guests there for worship would be a way to help them connect to this iconic landmark in a deeply personal way,” says John Stoll, vice president of land and port operations. “It is a testament to the dedication and reputation of Crystal and our tour partners that we have been able to secure this opportunity and get the chapel to open their doors just for us, when they haven’t for anyone else in this way before.”
The chapel was built for the statue’s 75th anniversary and named for the patron saint of Brazil. It’s located some 2,300 feet above the sea, offering incredible views of the city and the lush vegetation below. Crystal’s tour takes the intimate “congregation” through Rio and the Tijuca Forest, up Corcovado mountain, to reach the chapel and statue. A local theological expert will serve as guide for the day, offering perspective on Biblical culture and Brazilian religion.
The Private Mass at Corcovado: Christ the Redeemer excursion is available for $145 per guest. The 21-day voyage overnights in Rio de Janeiro; visits the Brazilian cities of Salvador da Bahia, Alter de Chao, Parintins, Manaus, Boca de Valeria, and Santarem; spend several days sailing the Amazon River; and calls at Devil’s Island, Barbados and Key West before disembarking in Miami. All-inclusive, luxury cruise fares for the 21-day voyage start at $9,415 per guest if booked by February 28.
Crystal Cruises, 888-799-4625, www.crystalcruises.com