Be advised: Aqua Amazon is no longer in operation due to an accident in July 2016.
When Aqua Amazon launched in 2008, she brought a new level of luxury to the Peruvian rainforest, and a 2015 upgrade heightened that sense of luxury. The flagship vessel of Aqua Expeditions, the ship has gorgeous rooms, excellent food, expert guides, and plentiful adventures (all of the brand's hallmarks). During three-, four- or seven-night cruises, guests — just 24 per cruise — spend most of their days outdoors: hiking, fishing for piranha, bird-watching, skiff expeditions. The most adventurous can even swim with pink dolphins.
What We Love
The Staterooms: Designed by Peruvian architect Jordi Puig, the 12 spacious suites (which measure a minimum of 230 square feet) have a clean-lined, contemporary design and floor-to-ceiling windows that frame the Amazon.
The Crew: With a nearly one-to-one staff-to-guest ratio, service on the Aqua Amazon tends to be superlative — right down to the details. Housekeepers remove stray hairs from hair elastics when they make up the room and take such pride in their towel art that they offer towel-folding workshops. On occasion, the crew busts out their musical instruments for impromptu dance parties.
Best Known For
Deep Dives into Nature: At just 130 feet long, the Aqua Amazon deftly navigates the Amazon's tributaries. The guides are knowledgeable naturalists with an infectious passion for flora and fauna. Brand-new skiffs allow for more comfortable excursions.
Serious Dining: The food is far better than what you'd expect on an expedition cruise. Rock star chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino (of Malabar Lima fame) conceived the cuisine. The well-executed dishes, including hearts of palm soufflé and plantain and yucca gnocchi, are made from native ingredients sourced from the surrounding waters and forests.
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Who It's Best For
Couples: The vessel's intimate setting and pampering indulgences have honeymoon — or anniversary — written all over them.
Nature-Loving Families: Aqua Amazon welcomes children over the age of 7. There are interconnecting rooms to accommodate groups, and youth-friendly excursions such as encounters with three-toed sloths at an animal rehabilitation center.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
There’s Little in the Way of Culture: These treks in the Amazon are designed for nature, not for civilization. There might be a quick stop for shopping in a village or a tour of the floating homes in Iquitos, but most days are spent exploring the jungle.
Ann Abel is a Brooklyn-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Departures.
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Aqua Amazon at a Glance
- Line: Aqua Expeditions
- Number of Passengers: 24
- Ship Size: Small
- Launch Date: 2008
- Refurbish Date: 2015