Five Things to Know About Aqua Expeditions' Aria Amazon Cruise Ship
Best for: High-end cruisers who want to explore the Amazon without giving up a single creature comfort
Sails: The Amazon River
At a Glance: It is difficult to think of a wilder place to visit than the Amazon—or a more luxurious way to see it than Aqua Expeditions’ 32-passenger Aria Amazon, just refurbished in 2015.
The Suites Have a Wall of Windows
The 16 sleek 250-square-foot suites were designed by Peruvian architect Jordi Puig (who also styled the rest of the ship). Every effort was made to bring the outside in: the floor is polished local timber, the sheets on the bed are Peruvian cotton, and the king-size bed faces a window that takes up an entire wall. There’s even a pair of binoculars so you can scan the water for pink river dolphins the moment you wake up.
The Excursions Are Life Changing
On a bucket-list level cruise, you know you’re in for some once-in-a-lifetime experiences: think fishing for piranhas, searching for pink dolphins and sloths, meeting with a shaman, snacking on Amazon caterpillars, and communing with manatees at a rescue center. All excursions are led by the ship’s Peruvian naturalists.
There’s a Whirlpool
After a day of biking through a Peruvian village or hiking through the sweltering jungle, you’ll want to cool off. You can head back to your air-conditioned suite or to the whirlpool on the observation deck—the perfect place to sip on a cocktail and watch the Amazon roll by.
The Food is Peruvian
Surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows, the chic restaurant never lets you forget you’re in the Amazon. Designed by executive chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, the menu is filled with Peruvian-inspired dishes like hearts of palm soufflé, Amazon bass tiradito, ceviche, and plantain and yucca gnocchi. The ingredients are indigenous too: about 70 percent are sourced from the river and the rainforest.
Jean-Michel Cousteau Might Be Onboard
Aqua Expeditions has teamed up with the famed French conservationist for several cruises on both Aria Amazon and its sister ship in Southeast Asia, Aqua Mekong. Along with watching screenings of his films, you’ll get to ask him about the wildlife you saw that day during evening Q&A sessions and might even end up kayaking down the Amazon beside him during an excursion.