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Carnival (Carnaval in Portuguese) happens in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Carnival lasts four days, beginning on Saturday, and ending on Fat Tuesday. Carnival Sunday is seven weeks before Easter Sunday. In 2006, Carnival start February 25th, and ran through February 28th. Carnival 2007 is scheduled to run from February 17th through February 20th. And in 2008, it wil happen even earlier in February, running from the 2nd through the 5th.
Carnival in Brazil dates back to 1723. But the Brazilian modern Carnival began around 1830-1840, and has become the biggest party in the world. Rio de Janeiro erupts with music, dancing, radiant colorful costumes, and even some half nude women. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world come to participate in Brazil’s Carnival.
There is the “Parade of Schools” each night starting at 7pm, and lasting to the following morning. These take place at the Sambadrome. Samba groups compete with the best schools parading on Sunday and Monday. Each Samaba school has about three to five thousand participants. Visitors can even join a school and participate in the parade for a price.
Besides the big parades, there are smaller spotaneous processions. Anyone can join in and the end of the bandas (marching bands of brass and percussion).
There are many costume balls, some public, some private, some for foreigners. The biggest of these balls takes place at the Copacabana Palace, and is pretty expensive.

Books about Rio Carnival:
Carnival In Rio : Samba, Samba, Samba

Carnival in Rio

One of the most common rumors about cruises is how much there is to eat. Well, those rumors are true! Maybe things are different on the smaller ships, but on the big ships like Carnival, you can literally eat 24 hours day!
For an example, let’s look at the food offerings on my last cruise on the Carnival Legend.
Start in the morning. You have a choice of going to a sit down breakfast, where you have choices of all kinds of breakfast standards including eggs cooked to order. They had this baked apple thing that was really good. The breakfast menu doesn’t change from day to day, but there any many things to order. I you don’t want to go into the dining room, they have a buffett breakfast on the Lido deck with various things like scrambled eggs, sausages, cereal, toast, orange juice, etc, etc, etc. Of course, you can always go and get pizza.
For lunch, they have more buffetts on the Lido deck. Burgers, pizza, and all kinds of stuff. They had this great potato salad at one station. One night they served baby back ribs that were very good. They usually offered burgers, and chinese food, and roast beef. One station made deli type sandwiches. And there was always pizza.
Dinner offered a different menu every night. They always had about a half dozen appetizers. Then there were couple different salads, followed by about a half dozen choises of entrees. They generally had a pasta, a seafood, a beef, a poultry, etc. If you were hungry, you could order multiple things. For example, the one night they had lobster and prime rib on the same night. I love both, and I ordered and ate both. If you try something and don’t like, tell the waiter, and they will bring you something else. Then they had desserts. There were usually a few desserts to choose from including a healthy choice.
Again, if you didn’t want to go into the dining room for dinner, you could hit the buffets on the Lido deck.
In the evenings, there were some buffet stations open on the Lido deck. After 11pm some nights, they opened the burger station. The pizza station was open 24 hours a day.
In addition to all this food, they also have free room service 24 hours a day. This menu is a little more limited.
All the above cruise food is free. But if you want to pay for food, they have a few stations where they will sell you food. For example, there was a sushi cart that cost money. And them there was another place that had some delicious looking cakes that cost money. But I never saw a reason to pay for these as there was so much good free food available.
And even beyond these little stations, they had a restaurant named The Golden Fleece. It was a little fancier than the dining room. The nightly menu was more extensive. but it cost I think around $30 a person. I never saw any reason to go eat in there as the food in the dining room very good. And it was free.
So do you get my point about cruise food? There is food on a cruise ship 24 hours a day!

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