Fortaleza

Good handicfraft and nice beaches
Avenida Beira Mar, a wonderful beachfront
The Mercado Central

Find South America Cruises

Fortaleza

A pleasant climate and handmade shopping

shore excursion on your MSC South America cruise can be the opportunity to visit the languid state capital of Ceará, Fortaleza. It’s a sprawling city of over 2.5 million inhabitants, an oddly provincial place compared to its north-eastern rival Recife, despite its size.
The city itself contains an odd smattering of sights, but it’s the beaches, bar scene and shopping opportunities that make it an obvious pit stop on the route north – there’s plenty of good artesanato to be had, notably lace and leather, and Fortaleza is the largest centre for the manufacture and sale of hammocks in Brazil.

The city has initiated a spate of new projects designed to increase its tourist appeal still further in the next few years, including a new cruise ship terminal, beautification of the beachfront Avenida Beira Mar, a giant aquarium or Acquário (the third largest in the world), and the redevelopment of chic shopping street Rua Monsenhor Tabosa, completed in 2014.

Fortaleza’s year-round heat is mitigated somewhat by the constant sea breezes sweeping in from the Atlantic, making the beach districts even more enticing. Housed in the city’s old prison, completed in 1866 and in use to the 1970s, the Centro de Turismo is not a tourist office but a shopping mall of arts and craft stalls, selling everything from local lace and tasty cashew nuts to hand-crafted dolls, toys and more standard souvenirs. Quality is generally good and prices reasonable, and the main building is surrounded by the one-time exercise yard, shaded by mango trees – a good place to grab a fresh juice from the kiosk here.

MSC South America cruises also offer excursions to Fortaleza’s modern Mercado Central. It’s a wonderful place to explore, a huge complex holding hundreds of small stores, most selling the artesanato for which the city is famed.

Must see places in Fortaleza

Discover our excursions

4 results found

  • Discover Fortaleza & Central Market
    3.5 hrs

    FOR01

    You will be invited to make a historical and a touristy recognition of the city of Fortaleza. The Portuguese people were the first non-native settlers of Ceará, and their struggle with the Dutchmen for the Fort of Schooneborch, gave origin to the small village that would officially become the city of Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora da Assunção, on April 13th., 1726. Departing from the port you will visit the ancient and the youth Fortaleza, today the fifth Brazilian capital, with approximately 2.200.000 inhabitants, discovering the diversity and the beauty of the capital, that keeps its historical buildings, such as: the Metropolitan Cathedral, the President Castelo Branco Mausoleum, the Martyrs Square, the Statue of Iracema and the Dragon from the sea art & culture centre. A souvenir stop is included in the central market and a panoramic travel along the famous beaches; Meireles, Mucuripe and Futuro. Please note: Guest should cover shoulders and knees to enter the churches. Shorts and skirts are allowed as long as they are conservative. The Metropolitan cathedral may be closed without notice. Length of the excursion is approximately and the souvenir stop at the Central Market is approximately 40 minutes. Order of the tour and sites visited are subject to traffic conditions and local holidays. There are very few French, German and Spanish speaking tour guides in the city of Fortaleza, therefore your excursion may be in English or Portuguese.
      • Duration
        00 m

      • AdultsAUD $79Price per person

      • ChildrenAUD $55Price per person

      • AdultsNZD $85Price per person

      • ChildrenNZD $62Price per person

    • Discover Fortaleza & Futuro Beach 5
      hrs

      FOR04

      A combination excursion that will bring the best of Fortaleza; visiting the Metropolitan Cathedral, the President Castelo Branco Mausoleum, the Martyrs Square, the Statue of Iracema and the Dragon from the sea art & culture center. A souvenir stop is included in the old jail before heading to Futuro Beach, only 15 minutes away from Beira-mar Avenue where you will have approximately 2 hours to explore the wide extension of sand, swimming or just relax under the sun. Please note: The souvenir stop at the Central Market is approximately 30 minutes. The length of the tour and the free time at the beach is approximately 2 hours and will be defined by the tour guide. The order of the tour and sites visited are subject to traffic conditions and local holidays. Bars, restaurants and kiosks at the beach may require consumption for the use of toilets, chairs and umbrellas and some may not accept credit cards. Guests are advised to carry Brazilian currency (cash). This excursion will not be cancelled due to weather conditions (rain). The Metropolitan cathedral may be closed without notice. There are very few French, German and Spanish speaking tour guides in the city of Fortaleza, therefore your excursion may be in English or Portuguese.
        • Duration
          00 m

        • AdultsAUD $45Price per person

        • ChildrenAUD $35Price per person

        • AdultsNZD $52Price per person

        • ChildrenNZD $39Price per person

      • Futuro Beach 4 hrs

        FOR06

        Depart from the port and head straight to “Praia do Futuro”. This famous and typical Brazilian beach is well known by the “barracas” which are rustic kiosks restaurant type, which offers provides toilets, beach chair, food and drinks and the barracas are usually rustic because they are built right on the sand. Over 3 hours of relaxation to walk the sand, taste the local cuisine, relax under the sun or take a swimming. Please note: Bars, restaurants and kiosks at the beach may require consumption for the use of toilets, chairs and umbrellas and some may not accept credit cards, guests are advised to carry Brazilian currency (cash). Lunch is not included in this excursion. There are many optional tours sold at the beach by independents, it is advisable to carry Brazilian currency. MSC Cruises cannot be liable or responsible for any optional tour bought during the free time at the beach. The length of the excursion and the free time will be subject to traffic conditions and will be defined by the tour guide. This excursion will not be cancelled due to weather conditions (rain). There are very few French, German and Spanish speaking tour guides in the city of Fortaleza, therefore your excursion may be in English or Portuguese.
          • Duration
            00 m

          • AdultsAUD $42Price per person

          • ChildrenAUD $32Price per person

          • AdultsNZD $45Price per person

          • ChildrenNZD $35Price per person

        • Van with driver and guide (10 seats) – 4
          hours

          SOMETHING SPECIAL

          FOR14

          Disembark in the port and have a vehicle with a professional driver waiting for you, your family and friends. Create your own tour and enjoy your day with a vehicle at your disposal. Please note: Vehicle, driver and gasoline included up to 75kms, it does not include tickets to any touristy attraction or lunch. The advertised price for this service is per vehicle, not per passenger. The driver speaks only Portuguese and the tour guide speaks English or Portuguese. The service without tour guide is not available for Grand Voyages. The departure of service can be requested for any time during the time call.
          • Limited seats

          • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

            Difficulty Level
            Easy

          • Duration
            4 h

          • AdultsAUD $662Price per person

          • ChildrenAUD $662Price per person

          • AdultsNZD $732Price per person

          • ChildrenNZD $732Price per person

        The excursions in the programme are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this programme is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise. 
        Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.
         
        Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

        North Brazil

        Nature reserves and colonial atmospheres
        Nature reserves and colonial atmospheres

        Brazil’s north-east has definitely benefited from the nation’s economic boom and is now a region on the rise.

        Despite having the most dazzling coastline in South America, a buzzing beach scene and an exuberant culture that blends samba, reggae and African influences, the area, divided politically into eight separate states, has not been spoilt by tourism. 

        A cruise to Brazil’s north-east will show you the major cities along the coast: some, such as Recife, Olinda, São Luís and Fortaleza, have a deep colonial heritage; others, such as Maceió and Natal, have developed mostly in recent decades. All of these cities have their own city beaches plus more idyllic and deserted resorts hidden up and down the coast. The Ilha de Fernando de Noronha, hundreds of kilometres offshore, is one of the finest oceanic wildlife reserves in the world, an expensive destination but perfect for ecotourism.

        The smallest Brazilian states and long ignored by travellers, Alagoas and Sergipe have developed rapidly in recent years. Though lacking the romance of Rio and Salvador, the two state capitals of Maceió and Aracaju offer fine beaches and a smattering of history, while some genuinely well-preserved colonial towns are a short bus ride away.