How much do you really know about South America’s famed Amazon river? More than 4,000 miles long and home to an abundance of life, the river isn’t usually high on a cruiser’s bucket list. Aqua expeditions is changing that mentality, however. The cruise line unveiled Aqua Nera on friday, a ship set to sail the Peruvian Amazon. The luxury river ship was custom-built in Vietnam, the same as her sister ship Aqua Mekong, and adds the Amazon to the already impressive list of places Aqua Expeditions explores.
Last week, Porthole Cruise spoke with Aqua Expeditions founder and CEO Francesco Galli Zugaro about the state of expedition cruising and why his fleet has an advantage over others. You can watch that entire interview here.
About Aqua Nera
Aqua Nera features 20 suites on board and has a 1:1 guest to crew ratio that allows for a more personalized cruise experience. The ship was constructed in the record time of under a year, and ceremonially launched with a Buddhist blessing on July 29.
Unfortunately, the crew can’t sail a river cruise ship halfway around the world to its home on the Amazon. The ship will catch a ride on board a specially rigged ocean freighter from Hai Minh Shipyard in Ho Chi Minh City to Belém, Brazil at the mouth of the Amazon.
According to Zugaro, “Aqua Nera was built to be unparalleled in the world of small-ship expeditions”.
For her first voyage, Aqua Nera will navigate the entire length of the Amazon: a 15-day, 1,500-mile upriver journey to the Peruvian city of Iquitos, its new home port.
Aqua Expeditions partnered with Peruvian chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino to be the vessel’s head chef. Sometimes referred to as “jungle chef”, Schiaffino is known for his use of Amazonian ingredients and cooking styles at his restaurant Malabar in Lima, Peru. We often see luxury cruise lines incorporating local ingredients into their menus but having a chef with an expertise in using them is definitely a plus.
Guests will get up close to the flora and fauna thanks to on board naturalists who guide excursion through the world’s most diverse ecosystems.
The plan is to begin sailing in the last quarter of 2020. Aqua Expeditions is currently operating small ship river cruises in Asia and has modified their health and safety protocols on board.