By Jeannine Williamson, Cruise Critic contributor
In 2007, Aqua Expeditions launched Aqua Amazon and pioneered the first cruises on the Peruvian stretch of the world's longest river.
Four years later, sister ship Aria Amazon set sail. Offering passengers similar high levels of comfort, the striking matte-black-hulled vessel operates three, four and seven-night itineraries year-round.
The interior was designed by leading Peruvian architect Jordi Puig and has a sophisticated boutique hotel-style ambience that incorporates natural wood flooring, a neutral color scheme and soft lighting.
The 16 suites, divided equally between the first and second decks, measure 250 square feet each. They all have polished timber flooring, floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows, sitting areas and air-conditioning. Bathrooms have rain showers and are stocked with organic products. There are four interconnecting suites for families.
Meals are served in the dining room, aft on the second deck, and passengers can choose to sit at a table for two or dine at larger tables. The relaxing observation deck has an indoor lounge with large, comfortable sofas; a bar; a library; and a sun deck with a whirlpool. Other amenities include a small exercise room and shop that sells local handicrafts. The vessel also has an onboard paramedic.
There is no Wi-Fi, although cruisers can sometimes connect to the Internet via the roaming functions on mobile phones. There's no phone signal in remote areas, but the ship's satellite phone is available for emergency calls.
Fares include all meals and drinks -- soft beverages, house wine and beer -- excursions and transfers to and from the ship when arriving or departing on recommended flights. International air travel is not included.