For most of 2020 (and let's face it, 2021), we've let our screens transport us to other places. Armchair travel became the preferred form of travel because it was the only way to travel for a while. For families, a near-weekly crop of new streaming shows and first-run releases distracted from venturing outside.
But one of Disney's latest theatrical debuts coincided with a tentative return to travel and could be a reason to inspire a family to book a cruise.
A Jungle Cruise.
The theme park attraction that inspired the movie is being renovated to remove its outdated and offensive tropes of native culture, and that is another reason why it's a good time to experience the Amazon jungle.
In the film version of "The Jungle Cruise," Frank Wolff (played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) captains a riverboat transporting Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) and her brother along the Amazon River in search of a tree with healing abilities.
The thing is, the Amazon really does contain trees and plant life with incredible healing abilities. And while the creatures that dwell there aren't suspensefully supernatural or computer-generated in nature, they are pretty unbelievable.
If a family was intrigued by the far-flung antics in "Jungle Cruise," why not book a real-life Amazon River adventure?
Adventures by Disney
A bit of a no-brainer here, Disney offers family-friendly river cruise and land experiences through its Adventures by Disney brand. For kids 7 and up, Disney has two different Amazon River experiences, either six or 11 days. The five-night Amazon Escape explores Ecuador with activities like nocturnal hiking and a canopy tower walk. The longer itinerary also includes an amazing four days in the Galapagos Islands. Both cruises depart from Quito, Ecuador, sail on the ship Anakonda and includes a Disney movie night onboard.
Dates are available this December for the 10-night cruise, starting from $10,639 per child (12 and under) and $11,199 per adult. The five-night itinerary is new and sails in 2022, starting from $3,559 per child or $3,749 per adult.
Delfin Amazon Cruises
Affiliated with Relais & Chateaux, Delfin might not immediately strike advisors as kid friendly. But to the contrary, the line accepts children over the age of 7 and includes an educational coloring book to get them excited about the Peruvian Amazon. Cooking classes, fishing, stargazing and local community visits are some of the activities customized to include kids. Sailings are short, just three or four nights, which means guests won't feel trapped on a boat with antsy offspring. Ships sail the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve in Peru, which boasts 5 million acres -- and pink dolphins.
Price and availability: Dates in 2021 and 2022 are available and start from $3,000 per person for a three-night sailing from Iquitos, Peru. Children under 11 are eligible for a 20% discount, but gratuities run a suggested $120 per person.
We're not out of the woods (er, jungle?) yet regarding the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which can make traveling with children, especially those under 12, an additional challenge. Regulations for international travel are constantly changing, and everyone in the party will be subject to testing. Prior to boarding an international flight to Peru, everyone must present a negative result from a molecular test taken within 72 hours or an antigen test taken within 24 hours.
Ecuador has similar requirements, with a negative PCR test required no more than three days before travel into the country or proof of vaccination no less than 14 days prior. Additionally, all airline passengers to the U.S., 2 years and older, must provide results from a negative Covid-19 test taken within three days of travel.
However, if you're up for an adventure, follow the fine print and do your homework regarding entry requirements, the reviews for your jungle cruise might just get two thumbs up.