Yes, you will definately need a visa for Brazil (doesn't matter whether you are there for 2 hours or 2 weeks !!). The visas are good for 5 years, though. You
cannot apply until 90 days prior to your First stop in Brazil - we used "www.Itseasypassport" service out of NYC - had ours back in less than 7
days - other parts of the country are different. Each consulate has it's own
rules/regulations which can be very confusing.
Yes, we were on the RCCL Mariner of the Seas from Jan. 4th to Feb. 3rd and
there were about 50 passengers who were denied boarding in Florida due
to lack of the visa. Had to travel at their own expense to Miami and lose
3 days of their trip before meeting the ship in St. Maarten. I understand
the cost was about $ 1000 per person - OUCH !! (Rumor had it on the ship that RCCL reimbursed these folks for some of the expense - not positive about that).
The question of the Yellow Fever shot is another matter. At the time of our
cruise - there was a stop in Costa Rica and the yellow fever was DEFINATELY required. (If you were getting off the ship). However, many
passengers who did have the shot were never asked to prove it. Also,
check with your local International Travel Clinic for the most up to date
info - when we traveled the shot was a "recommendation but NOT a requirement" - my DH and I are both over 60 years of age and have significant
health issues so we were eligible for an exemption letter from our personal physican.
You are still REQUIRED to get the yellow "international certificate of vaccination" booklet from the travel clinic where the proper area has to be filled
out - again signed and done by your personal physician -
We did get our tetanus updated and our first Hepatits A shots, though.
I am more concerned about the conditions of food handling expecially
traveling out of the country.
Your best source of information is the consulates for each of the countries
you are visiting - DO NOT depend on the cruise line to give the most
update information - it is the passenger's responsibility to obtain all necessary documents and vaccinations before sailing. We found out the
hard way - many calls to RCCL gave us many different answers - and the
cruise line never made mention of the Brazilian visa until TWO WEEKS
prior to sailing. From my own experience - that is not enough time
to get the visas unless you live in the same city as the consulates and even then - they are NOT issued the same day.