With four decks and just 15 cabins, Aqua Blu presents a yacht-like nimbleness as it sails the waters of Indonesia. Refitted by Dutch yacht design guru Cor D. Rover, 198-foot-long Aqua Blu is outfitted with some features that are rare on ships of its size, such as stabilizer fins, outdoor lounges, hot tubs and two motorized skiff rafts for easy landings ashore.
Inside, passengers will be hard-pressed to find elements that show the ship's age. A complete interior refit makes use of modern materials, wood veneers and soft lighting, lending a slightly Scandinavian flair to the vessel's public areas and staterooms.
Aqua Blu is also equipped with onboard kayaks, paddleboards and gear for snorkeling and diving. A small spa and fitness center are also featured onboard.
Aqua Expeditions pairs with well-known chefs that craft cuisines representative of the diverse areas of the world in which its vessels sail. At press time, the name of the chef for Aqua Blu had yet to be announced.
The line did reveal that the cuisine will showcase sustainably sourced seafood from the waters of East Indonesia. Passengers will be treated to casual on-deck barbecues, relaxed outdoor dining and more formal plated dishes in the ship's dining room on Main Deck. Room service is not available.
Three different cabin categories are offered aboard Aqua Blu, each of which features a bathroom with walk-in rain shower, organic toiletries and a closet outfitted with an electronic safe.
All suites offer a design that bridges the gap between yacht-like nautical and luxury hotel. Expect to find niceties like wood flooring, soft accent lighting, padded headboards and carpeted areas near the bed.
Category III suites are the smallest onboard, coming in at 129 to 150 square feet apiece. Located on the Main and Lower Decks, these rooms only feature twin beds that cannot be made into kings or queens. They're also outfitted with smaller porthole windows.
Category II suites move up substantially on the accommodations scale, offering 236 to 333 square feet of living space and the possibility to arrange beds in king or twin configurations. Suites have sofas and small sitting areas, with selected suites offering expanded living areas for lounging. It is worth noting that some suites are equipped with large oval windows, while others have smaller porthole windows.
Category I suites measure between 269 and 333 square feet each. The largest accommodations on the vessel, they come with king-sized beds, a small sitting areas with a sofas and either large round or rectangular ocean view windows.
Two sets of interconnecting suites are available for families or friends traveling together, and suite 302 features a large walk-in closet that other Category I suites lack.
On Aqua Blu's sun deck, passengers will find the customary open deck space and both shaded and unshaded seating options, along with cozy yacht-like sofas and a top-deck barbecue space. There is also an onboard hot tub, as well as day beds for lounging during the daytime or stargazing at night.
Entertainment aboard Aqua Blu is a low-key affair, typically revolving around pre- and post-dinner cocktails. Don't expect to find production shows or even much in the way of live music in the evenings. The real entertainment is in the surroundings of Indonesia and the relaxed, informal ambiance onboard.
Aqua Blu sails seven- to 12-night voyages through Eastern Indonesia, including trips to Komodo National Park -- home of the Komodo dragon, the largest living lizard at a length of nearly 10 feet.