The 32-passenger Aria Amazon debuted in 2011, joining sister Aqua Amazon as the second luxury ship custom-built by Aqua Expeditions (in collaboration with Peruvian architect Jordi Puig) for the Amazon River and its tributaries. Slightly larger — at 147 feet and accommodating 32 passengers (versus Aqua Amazon’s 130 feet and 24 passengers) — Aria Amazon provides a five-star base from which to experience the wonders of the Peruvian rain forest.
What We Love
It Feels Bigger Than It Is: Aria’s onboard vibe outshines its diminutive size thanks to a welcoming lounge, ample outdoor deck space, and well-designed staterooms that cover a generous 250-square feet and include panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows.
The Indulgences: There’s an on-deck Jacuzzi and a small exercise room with a treadmill and stationary bike, as well as a daily array of fresh juices, gorgeous coffee table books to peruse in the lounge, and a made-for-Instagram sunset Champagne toast that takes place midriver among lily pads.
Best Known For
Guided Adventure: Onboard naturalist guides share their love of all things rain-forest-related during motorized skiff excursions. Birders will be overjoyed, while spotting squirrel monkeys, three-toed sloths, pink river dolphins, and pythons is also on the agenda — as is fishing for piranha.
Superb Regional Cuisine: Overseen by Lima-based executive chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffano and executed by dedicated onboard staff, Aria’s menus celebrate the flavors of Amazonia. Expect dishes such as roasted pumpkin, hearts of palm, and avocado; catfish ceviche; plantain and yucca gnocchi; potato “causa” (a terrine with tuna, eggs, or other fillings); and tender grilled “paiche” (a local river fish).
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Who It's Best For
Nature-Loving Couples: The Peruvian Amazon, as experienced onboard Aria, offers equal parts action and relaxation for twosomes who like their luxury with a dose of adventure.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
There are No Port Calls, Per Se: Aria’s three-, four-, and seven-day itineraries leave from Iquitos, Peru, Amazonia’s largest city. But aside from rain-forest hikes, a visit with schoolchildren at a local village, and a stop at an animal rescue and rehabilitation center, excursions are mostly experienced seated in an eight-person skiff — river safari style.
Donna Heiderstadt is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Coastal Living and Islands.
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Aria Amazon at a Glance
- Line: Aqua Expeditions
- Number of Passengers: 32
- Ship Size: Small
- Launch Date: 2011
- Refurbish Date: 2015