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23 Aqua Expeditions Cruise Reviews

We had already booked a 12 day Galápagos Adventure with another company. Our travel agent suggested the Aria post cruise as we were already in South America! The Aria is state of the art, gourmet food, 4 enthusiastic knowlegable guides, ... Read More
We had already booked a 12 day Galápagos Adventure with another company. Our travel agent suggested the Aria post cruise as we were already in South America! The Aria is state of the art, gourmet food, 4 enthusiastic knowlegable guides, and adventures galore. Imagine breakfast floating on the Amazon, paddling a dugout canoe with a tarantula swimming alongside, Mimosas in a skiff at sunset and nighttime searches for anacondas! I kid you not! It is worth every cent and memories will remain forever! Please do not buy Jaguar handbags from the locals. You cannot bring them back through customs! But do buy their silver jewellery, fruits, nuts and beaded earrings. Customs also confiscated spices, seed necklaces and bracelets. The Aria Amazon had a great little gift shop with a tasteful selection of both costume and expensive jewellery at fair prices. Meant to have a massage but no time! Be sure to attend cooking class and a Pisco Sour workshop! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We read about the Aqua Mekong in the Andrew Harper Hideaway Report and decided to make it the centerpiece of our tour to Vietnam and Cambodia. We came at the perfect time of the year, at the very end of the rainy season when the weather ... Read More
We read about the Aqua Mekong in the Andrew Harper Hideaway Report and decided to make it the centerpiece of our tour to Vietnam and Cambodia. We came at the perfect time of the year, at the very end of the rainy season when the weather was perfect and the water high enough to make it into the Tonle Sap Lake to see the floating villages. The boat itself was just fabulous, our room extremely well appointed and the public areas delightful. The staff was uniformly excellent and the excursions fascinating, it was truly a life-changing experience to kayak past floating villages and realizing we are some of the only westerners these children had ever seen. If you’re wanting to cruise the Mekong River, I highly encourage you to go with Aqua Mekong, rather than Viking or Uniworld. We are big Uniworld Fans, but in this area of the world, the experience on the Aqua Mekong is more specialized and authentic. David Thompson, the famous Thai chef, developed the menus and the areas we visited are exclusive to this ship. We saw no other boats on the river the entire trip until we got to Siem Reap. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We booked this cruise directly with Aqua Expeditions, and the reservation team was very reactive and helpful. For the two hour transfer from Ho Chi Minh to the ship, we had opted for a Mercedes S-class transfer, which was excellent. ... Read More
We booked this cruise directly with Aqua Expeditions, and the reservation team was very reactive and helpful. For the two hour transfer from Ho Chi Minh to the ship, we had opted for a Mercedes S-class transfer, which was excellent. The ship is gorgeous, with plenty of indoor and outdoor space. We had chosen a double cabin, which means that one cabin was set up as a living room and the other one as a bedroom. Consequently, we also had two bathrooms, which was extremely convenient. We were very happy to have chosen the double cabin, as the cabin otherwise would feel very small. However, other guests seemed perfectly happy with their cabins. The gym is obviously small and only offers some cardio equipment, but it was sufficient for a few days. I had three massages during the cruise, which were excellent. The free laundry service was great. There were only 18 guests (+38 staff) on this cruise, and we quickly got to know each other and it almost felt like travelling with a group of friends. Excursions are offered in the morning and afternoon, and there are often different options to choose from. The excursions were extremely well organised. We particularly enjoyed the bike rides, which was a great way to explore the country side. The biking was pretty easy as it always took place on a flat solid surface, and the bikes are well maintained. There are not really any big sights to be seen. The excursions are all about exploring the local life and people, and enjoying the beautiful surroundings. The food was really great with a variation between Asian and western dishes, sometimes served on the outside deck. The free flow of good wine and beer was a great feature. The service was truly outstanding. The wait staff quickly learned our names, and it was a very warm and personal service. Wifi is only available in public areas, and the speed varies a lot. We had asked to reservation team to provide local SIM cards for us, and it worked very well. It was an unforgettable experience, which I highly recommend. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
5 members of my family went on the cruise in Cambodia, 3 generations. From the start to the finish everything was seamless and thoughtful, especially on my daughter's birthday. The crew were exceptional and the daily excursions very ... Read More
5 members of my family went on the cruise in Cambodia, 3 generations. From the start to the finish everything was seamless and thoughtful, especially on my daughter's birthday. The crew were exceptional and the daily excursions very enjoyable, with options for all ages and fitness levels. The dining varied daily and there were western options available. The rooms were a generous size and we had four interconnecting rooms, which allowed privacy as well as a sense of togetherness for the whole family. Each night we had a different place for drinks and sometimes dinner, some activities couldn't go ahead sadly due to weather, I would have loved the sundowner drinks on the riverside. I would highly recommend Aqua Mekong to anyone wanting to immerse themselves in a new culture, with luxury every day. Every bit of it was excellent, the last night a highlight, as well as watching the World Cup Soccer final with some of the crew. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
An amazing experience that combines fun, engaging activities (bike, kayak, skip rides and walks) with introductions to culture, history, and local customs. The staff is fabulous and attentive to everyone's needs - beyond belief: They ... Read More
An amazing experience that combines fun, engaging activities (bike, kayak, skip rides and walks) with introductions to culture, history, and local customs. The staff is fabulous and attentive to everyone's needs - beyond belief: They address you by name, respond to your wishes promptly and share of themselves in lectures, tours, and conversation to give you an authentic experience with real people. The food is an awesome combination of local and (to us) new and exciting flavors - and also familiar fare, but all exquisite and fresh and beautifully presented - in various settings (inside and outdoors). Wine and other drinks were of very good quality and generously provided. Accommodations are a dream for a cruise ship: with floor to ceiling windows and a balcony (in our case), we enjoyed the spacious room (and bathroom with two sinks!!) and the views from the first glimpse in the morning in our very comfortable bed. The boat is immaculate, and cleaning service (incl. free laundry service) is seemingly instantaneous. We picked shoulder season (mid-June) which was perfect: lower price, great weather, and the staff outnumbered the guests 2:1. It is well worth to save up for this trip - it was our second with Aqua Expeditions - the Aqua Amazon experience was our first, and equally rewarding. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We choose the cruise because we are animal lovers and wanted to see he animals of the Amazon in an intimate way. It tuned out that not only was the nature viewing extraordinary but the service we received on the boat exceedeed our ... Read More
We choose the cruise because we are animal lovers and wanted to see he animals of the Amazon in an intimate way. It tuned out that not only was the nature viewing extraordinary but the service we received on the boat exceedeed our expections. The staff and guide made a huge effort to get to know each and every guess by name and learn what their favorite drink was! The cabins were comfortable with amazing views. I highly recommend the 4 night cruise. It was a very special experience. The food was absolutely top notch. Dinners were 4 course foodie experiences ; lunches and breakfasts were buffets. The chef made a huge effort toi integrate the fruits, vegetables and herbs into the menu. The guides were extremely knowlegeable. Every day they took us out on skiffs and we saw everything from three toed sloths to red howler monkeys. The experience on Aqua Expeditions Aria Amazon was 5 stars! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
The guides have to take top slot here, they were absolutely excellent, hugely knowledgeable about the local flora and fauna and organised some amazing and interesting excursions in the skiffs. On one occasion we nearly landed a 7m Anaconda ... Read More
The guides have to take top slot here, they were absolutely excellent, hugely knowledgeable about the local flora and fauna and organised some amazing and interesting excursions in the skiffs. On one occasion we nearly landed a 7m Anaconda - all very exciting!! The crew were always on hand every day to ensure we were sprayed with mosquito protection before departure and to welcome us back with a cold drink. Catering staff, Robinson in the bar and housekeeping were all first class and very courteous. Breakfast was superb, lunch good but dinner a little hit and miss - great on one evening, not bad on two and definitely not that good on one; the house wines were all perfectly acceptable. Although in the rainy season we rarely had problems during the entire 4 days. On our last night the crew and guides organised a video of our trip and ended the evening with a few songs and music with one chap who stood out above all the others with an instrument similar to a banjo - he was the housekeeper!! A brilliant time was had by all. If you have the time it's worth spending a day or so in Iquitos - the people are very friendly and there are one or two very nice bars and restaurants to help you acclimatise before embarking on the amazing experience. Would we go again - most definitely!! A great big thank you to the entire team. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
My first cruise and what a wonderful experience we had. The boat is perfect for this river. The suites were beyond my best expectations...I could actually unpack!! The designers definitely knew what they were doing. A big king bed, ... Read More
My first cruise and what a wonderful experience we had. The boat is perfect for this river. The suites were beyond my best expectations...I could actually unpack!! The designers definitely knew what they were doing. A big king bed, comfy too. Drawers and shelves everywhere so you could easily unpack, find your stuff, and repack with no hassles. The bathroom was over the top. Huge Shower for a boat, bigger than some hotels we have stayed at. Lots of water pressure, nice hot water. Rooms were cleaned 3x per day!! I loved this room, we did have a balcony but couldn't use it due to the high heat and humidity plus the bugs at night. So if I were to do this again, I would pass on the balcony. No big deal. The ship manager was running a well oiled machine, she did a fantastic job and whenever we had an issue, she resolved it. Kudos to her. The crew, half Vietnamese and half Cambodian were so nice, helpful, courteous, and wanted us to be happy and satisfied. WE WERE!!! This is the way to travel with their guides, who I think are some of the best guides I have ever met. So informative, they want to teach you about their countries, half were Cambodian and half Vietnamese. There is a definite difference between the two nationalities that really comes out in their personalities and how they deliver the information. We loved the guides. So between the ship manager, crew, guides, design of the boat, everything was more than I every expected. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We chose this cruise because we had seen it advertised and it suited us. The Aria is an excellent small cruiser with very professional staff and wonderful guides, The cabins were spacious and well appointed, the recreation area very ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had seen it advertised and it suited us. The Aria is an excellent small cruiser with very professional staff and wonderful guides, The cabins were spacious and well appointed, the recreation area very comfortable and the dining room very good. The food was wonderful and gave a good idea of the scope of peruvian food even including the chinese sector so important to them. The crew and guides kept us very well entertained both on the vessel and on the excursions. The daily excursions were not to be missed and made us understand the importance of keeping the Amazon and it's tributaries in pristine condition. To see the wildlife in it's natural state was wonderful and the view some of the villages and their indigenous inhabitants was charming and meaningful. The guides were terrific in this respect. Finally the video of the trip is a knockout. The only drawback was that we hadn't booked an 8 day cruise. 4 days wasn't long enough.. . Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We were very excited to go on this 5 day 4 night cruise down the Amazon River. We were VERY disappointed to realize we were not really on the Amazon on this cruise but instead on a river that is an offshoot off of the Amazon. We spent ... Read More
We were very excited to go on this 5 day 4 night cruise down the Amazon River. We were VERY disappointed to realize we were not really on the Amazon on this cruise but instead on a river that is an offshoot off of the Amazon. We spent $20,000 for the 5 days for the 4 of us so we had high expectations of luxury. The boat was so magical looking when we arrived late in the evening from hours of a bus trip from Iquitos. The rooms were nice and we got 2 connecting rooms for our family of 4. They were clean and nice at first glance but when you look closer the whole boat (and rooms) have been caulked and re-caulked near windows and in bathrooms and it is getting a little long in the tooth. The vents in the bathrooms had tons of dust so it was kind of gross to look at each time we went to the bathroom (as well as the grungy caulk). Overall the rooms were nice and clean though, just worn. The best part of the boat was the common bar and seating area. it was beautiful and cozy. Nobody used the pool/hot tub the entire time so I am not sure if anyone ever does. The drinks were good but the service to get them was slow and not proactive. We had to ask for drinks every time and go up to the bar. There were virtually no snacks so if you were hungry you were out of luck unless you wanted to eat the same nuts and chips EVERY day. Sometimes it is nice to play a game, have a drink, and have some good things to eat. You get 3 meals and nothing in between. The excursions started very early every morning and it did not feel like vacation. They seemed to try to keep everyone off the boat all day as long as they could so they could clean and prepare for the evening. The animals were so hard to spot on the shores that we wondered if we really saw what our guides told us we were seeing. it was very hard to be in a skiff for 4-6 hours a day in the heat and searing sun and straining your eyes to see wildlife. Our favorite things to do were the jungle walk and visiting a local village (bring things for the kids with you). We skipped out on one thing we really wanted to do which was to fish for pirhana because my daughter got sick from the steamed broccoli she ate on the boat and my son had had a sever allergic reaction to the pine nuts in the pesto he was served the night before so waking up at 6:00 in the morning to go on an excursion was just not doable for us. It was a bummer. Speaking of the food. We had ONE thing we could not have served and it was on our profile and the boat lead spoke to us about it the first day we arrived, My son can not have pine nuts as he is severely allergic to them. In fact we specifically said NO PESTO either since it often has pine nuts. Well, guess what was in the bread sticks and my son unknowingly are them and had a severe reaction and could not breathe and threw up all night. The staff was not helpful and luckilly we travel with an epi-pen since we were in the middle of the Amazon and had no healthcare anywhere in sight. I do want to give the entire staff a bug kudos because they work very hard and try to make everyone happy. We just would not go on this cruise again. In fact we just booked Cambodia/Vietnam next year and have a 7 day river cruise on the RV Javamaran booked and we did not even consider booking on the Aqua Expedition Mekong. The experience was not luxury enough for what the cost is. The food was all local and when we saw the town that the food came from where they sell skinned monkeys and tortoises we realized nothing was flown in special and there was no luxury in the food. It was all local and when you are in the Amazon on a luxury cruise the last thing you want is the local food. Everyone had to eat the same food and you did not get any choices. You get what you get and that is it. The options for kids food was even more slim. I would like to end this by saying that my family of 4 (2 adults and kids ages 11 and 13) travel the world and stay in really nice accommodations and do many adventure travel things together. Our kids have been to 25 countries already and we have been to over 50. here is a link to my Tripadvisor profile to show our travel experience https://www.tripadvisor.com/members/renee94903 This cruise was not worth the money it cost. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Our 5th river cruise in a row which we find far superior than ocean voyages. All have been small group excursions with this being the smallest vessel we have embarked on(only 32 persons) The atmosphere on the Aqua Aria was exciting ... Read More
Our 5th river cruise in a row which we find far superior than ocean voyages. All have been small group excursions with this being the smallest vessel we have embarked on(only 32 persons) The atmosphere on the Aqua Aria was exciting with several adventures forth coming each morning and afternoon. From wild life spotting to piranha fishing we even were able to hold an anaconda on a river exhibition. Highlites included kayaking , drinks on the river and nite cayman spotting/plucking out of the river which was quite special.the river guides from the Aria were an excellent brunch and couldn't do enough to make the journey enjoyable. Meals: breakfast was varied with a small selection of items available as well an additional menu which could be ordered from. Lunch was similar fare with different choices each day. But dinner was a set upto nine courses menu which you would call fine dining, I struggle with this sort of arrangement and found it just didn't appeal at all. We were a mostly Australian group and many struggled with dinner having no choices . Overall I found this to a very good cruise though on the expensive side, Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Our travel agent said the Aqua Mekong Explorer was the best of the ships on the Mekong River. We saw some other vessels that were good-looking on the outside at least. Whatever, the cruise we experienced was wonderful. It's a very ... Read More
Our travel agent said the Aqua Mekong Explorer was the best of the ships on the Mekong River. We saw some other vessels that were good-looking on the outside at least. Whatever, the cruise we experienced was wonderful. It's a very modern ship. Good-size rooms, decent-size bathroom, air conditioning worked well, which was very important, and the food was excellent. Good maintenance. One criticism: the air conditioning in the bar/meeting room wasn't working. Very uncomfortable. The ship carries about 40 passengers, but we had only 16. There was a Vietnamese and a Cambodia guide. Both spoke good English and were very helpful. We had only a four-night cruise, as the ship cannot go all the way to Siem Reap during low-water season. Each day there were one or two trips in the ship's skiff, which would take us along the shore of side streams and adjacent waters and sometimes into villages and towns. The guides were very informative, and considerate of my physical limitations. My only regret was that we didn't have a full week on the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
AQUA EXPEDITIONS ARIA AMAZON 3/10-3/17/2017 Superlatives just aren't adequate to describe this once in a lifetime, high water opportunity. Exploring the Amazon accompanied by excellent guides and service by an exceptional ... Read More
AQUA EXPEDITIONS ARIA AMAZON 3/10-3/17/2017 Superlatives just aren't adequate to describe this once in a lifetime, high water opportunity. Exploring the Amazon accompanied by excellent guides and service by an exceptional crew made this trip a forever memory. The Aria is perfectly suited for small groups. Elegant and spacious, with plenty of hot water, this floating luxury hotel served us well. Everything from cooking classes to necessary 'rain delays' was expertly organized by our enchanting Cruise Director Juliana, Every crew member distinguished him/herself by showing the most preferential attention to each of us gringos. We were courteously treated as beloved members of the Aria family. We will return for a low water tour with the Aria Family! The boat is well maintained. Good food and drink amply available. Every detail from bug spray to proper rubber boot size was well managed. Each guest was furnished a personal Oacaya Wildlife checklist. The guides took some beautiful pictures which were combined into a terrific travel documentary of our trip. We left our email addresses in expectation of receiving our promised copy. A month after the trip, we received it. The only reason dining was downgraded is because when the dining room was full, it was almost impossible to carry on a good conversation with table mates. Yes, there were many opportunities to bargain over local handicrafts. Peruvian or American money gladly accepted! The Aria store had some lovely jewelry and unique clothing items. School supplies may be purchased to give to villagers. Keep in mind you will be visiting remote areas where cell phones, daily newspapers and TV don't exist. And it was great to get away from those distractions! Go with a desire to see some of nature's most exotic creatures up close and natural. Learn about a unique one of a kind ecosystem. Take an appetite with you. Be pampered by an attentive cadre of well trained, dedicated staff. Enjoy, mi amigos! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We loved the Aria Amazon. The personalised Service was excellent. When we arrived in Iquitos in March 2017 People of Aqua Expeditions were already waiting at the baggage belt to take over all the luggage. All Cabins have floor to ... Read More
We loved the Aria Amazon. The personalised Service was excellent. When we arrived in Iquitos in March 2017 People of Aqua Expeditions were already waiting at the baggage belt to take over all the luggage. All Cabins have floor to ceiling windows which allows breathtaking views even when lying in our bed. And the food was just incredible. I have never eaten better on any other ship so far! But the best is of course the nature and wild life. Although you cannot compare it to Africa we loved the quiet moments when gliding through the water looking out for macaws, sloths and pink river dolphins. We saw them all by the way. Thank's to all the guides who were just brilliant with a great knowledge. On some days you will have optional early morning excursions like looking out for pink dolphins which are really worth waking up early! ( actually we got spoiled since we had twice a private excursion with our guide as on our cruise noone seemed to be an early bird ) One of many Highlights: sundowner on the black waters of Nauta Caño. Definitely not our last cruise with Aqua Expeditions Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
I wanted to understand some of the history...as a child who grew up in the Vietnam era. So special to spend time in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos - beautiful and unique countries. The people there are largely open to foreigners, the children ... Read More
I wanted to understand some of the history...as a child who grew up in the Vietnam era. So special to spend time in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos - beautiful and unique countries. The people there are largely open to foreigners, the children cry out - hello! what is your name? press gifts of woven reeds upon us. Motorbikes! On the boat - What a relaxing and fasciniating way to spend a week Service was amazing, the staff learned our names right away so we worked to learn theirs. Laundry service every day - what a luxury! Guides excellent - we started in Vietnam with Vietnamese guides and as we crossed into Cambodia another guide, a local Cambodian, was introduced. Very educational and moving. The food was excellent and varied. At breakfast an array of fruit, yogurts and breads - or you could order custom made eggs. Lunch was always a feast - wine pored liberally guaranteed a nap before the afternoon excursion. Dinner also a feast! The vistas amazing....just amazing. I am now exploring dates for an Amazon cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
The first question is, "take a 3, 4 or 7 day excursion"? If my count is correct, the 4 day trip has one more outing on the skiff than the 3 day excursion. The 3 day trip explores one of the two rivers that officially form the ... Read More
The first question is, "take a 3, 4 or 7 day excursion"? If my count is correct, the 4 day trip has one more outing on the skiff than the 3 day excursion. The 3 day trip explores one of the two rivers that officially form the Amazon. The 4 day trip explores the other river. In both you will do virtually the same, see wildlife from the skiff, hike thru the jungle, visit a village, its school and living quarters for a family, fish for piranhas, swim and likely see pink dolphins. The seven day trip does everything virtually twice. My travel companion and I did the 7 day trip and enjoyed every day of the adventure. While I never counted since many of the crew you hardly ever see, AE reports a total of 23 and to a person they could not do enough for you. It was quite amazing. Breakfast was my favorite meal followed by lunch. Evening meals reflected really local cuisine. A couple of nites the meal was outstanding...a couple of nites, just interesting, but I never went hungry. The detail they go to was just outstanding. An example, sitting on my bed just before dinner one evening, a tiny bug crawled across the white sheet and I squashed it with my thumb. It left a tiny black smudge. When I returned from dinner the sheet had been replaced. Oscar, our cabin steward was the best and we enjoyed his skill at folding animal towels. The trips are not cheap but AE has a lot of expense. In addition to the boat crew there is a support staff on shore to take care of everything from the time one steps off the plane until you are delivered back to the airport. Fuel is not cheap on the Amazon and they go thru a lot with the big boat and the three skiffs that go out with every outing. Sometimes, we would run 20-25 miles up a tributary looking for particular critters. So why only a score of three? Booking issues, subtract one!!! I asked multiple times if the boat was running a high water or low water itinerary? Each time I was assured it was the rainy season and the water would be 20-30 ft above normal. I protested the weather patterns were changing and guess what? Thanks to el Nino we had a low water itinerary. Then I wanted to arrive in Iquitos early to explore a bit but was pressured to change my flight to arrive on the 5:45 pm LAN flight. IMHO, that was not necessary. Gift giving gave rise to a lot of discussion among my fellow passengers. AE needs to get a better grip on this. In the school, a couple of people started giving out things. Some kids got something others nothing. The village leader will be at the school, give him/her everything for a fair distribution later. DO NOT BRING CANDY FOR THE CHILDREN! While I gave money at each school, we teach better lessons by purchasing from the stands that quickly get set up upon our arrival. The lesson is a reward for doing something as opposed money for doing nothing. If I were to do it again, I would start early shopping at thrift shops for children's clothes of all sizes. Avoid whites...difficult to maintain white when washing in river water. But cute things for the girls, I seen a lot of sequined tops...boys like sport themes and what ever. Flip-flops are OK but don't work so well wading in water. Croc style would be a better choice. Pack everything in a gym bag and leave it with the leader, it will be put to good use. On the 7 day we visited two living quarters. Things I wished I would have brought for each family, a long stainless cooking fork, durable sharp knives that can be sharpened, metal skewers for kabobs, shears, maybe some 10 lb test fish line and some 1/0 hooks. Is this contrary to what was discussed above? No, they are sharing their life with you...you are sharing with them. So here's the last deduction: February 15, 2016, Virgin Airways flight 025 London Heathrow to JFK returned to LHR after a laser flashed into the cockpit and left the first officer feeling unwell. AE guides have red/green lasers to help guests find animals in the trees...animals that have vision acuity perhaps a hundred times more sensitive than man. Lasers should never be pointed at an animal!!! Lastly, and I hate to bring this up knowing how much detail the crew goes into, the chlorine level in the jaccuzi was perfect at the beginning of the cruise. It was at zero by day 7. This should be checked 2-3 times a week. Overall, it was a fantastic trip and for sure the best way to see the Amazon. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Mekong Delta cruise Aqua Expedition Mekong delta is outstanding. Delivers everything it promises. The guides are extremely smart and knowledgeable about history, nature, politics, geography and more. All the staff are wonderfully ... Read More
Mekong Delta cruise Aqua Expedition Mekong delta is outstanding. Delivers everything it promises. The guides are extremely smart and knowledgeable about history, nature, politics, geography and more. All the staff are wonderfully obliging and sweet. We booked the 7 day upriver cruise (from Vietnam to Cambodia) and we were glad we did as Cambodia is much less populated and more unspoiled than the Vietnam section of the delta so this way the trip just got better and better. It ended at Siem Reap (a few minutes from Angkor Wat) which is a highlight in itself. The 7 day cruises can only be taken for the few months that the water is high enough to reach Siem Reap. Early October seems to be the safest and best time. Note that the weather is very hot and humid so wear extremely light clothes. Also note though that you will need to have your shoulders covered and have shorts to your knees when visiting temples. If you only want to do a 3 or 4 day cruise we suggest the 4 day section from Phnom Peng to Siem Reap. The South East Asian food was totally delicious and the chef very approachable. He took us on a tour of a Mekong Delta village food market where he bought the fresh vegetables and fruits for that night’s dinner and described what he was buying and how he would prepare them. Our only criticism of the trip was that smoking was allowed in the swimming pool area and should be limited to one side only. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Small intimate ship. The crew and dining staff, in some cases, the same people, were OUTSTANDING. The shore excursions were highly entertaining, especially when swimming in the Amazon, the water was FABULOUS. We also kayaked and trekked ... Read More
Small intimate ship. The crew and dining staff, in some cases, the same people, were OUTSTANDING. The shore excursions were highly entertaining, especially when swimming in the Amazon, the water was FABULOUS. We also kayaked and trekked through the rain forests. Breakfast early in the morning was unbelievable on our small boats then off to see the pink dolphins. The guides allowed us to hold snakes and lizards. We went fishing for piranha which we learned a lot about, not as dangerous as portrayed on the screen. Our guides were from the area and soooo knowledgeable. It was truly an adventure while being in the lap of luxury. We did not want for anything. Sunscreen/pest spray always available. Rain gear, hats, towels always ready for the taking. Met many of the indigenous people and visited a couple of schools. We did not school supplies and gifts for the children. I must say that Iquitos the city where we boarded our boat is a World Heritage Site. It is the largest landlocked city in the world! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We were on the Aria Amazon with a university alumni travel program, so everyone on the boat was with our group. I mention this mostly because the excursions and day-to-day activities were enhanced by knowing everyone. People without an ... Read More
We were on the Aria Amazon with a university alumni travel program, so everyone on the boat was with our group. I mention this mostly because the excursions and day-to-day activities were enhanced by knowing everyone. People without an interest in getting to know the other passengers might find the social nature of these cruises a bit daunting. We arrived in Iquitos by plane from Lima--and returned that way. Then by bus to and from the Aria Amazon upon embarkation and disembarkation... We were all adults--no kids. I believe the Aria does not take children under 7, and I can see why: the nature of the daily excursions would be less interesting for younger people. To continue: the boat. What can I say...a beautiful vessel. Some reviewers mentioned noise at night while traveling, but we did not find this to be the case at all. We were on the 2nd deck, so I asked people on the 1st deck if the engine noise disrupted sleep, and no one had a problem. So maybe other reviewers were really light sleepers? All suites are the same. Floor to ceiling windows, light and bright. Sizable rooms with enormous and super comfy beds. A/C in rooms is individually controlled. Good toilet/shower/sink set up to minimize maneuvering for using the bathroom. Public rooms were a good-sized bar area on the top deck and the restaurant. The staff is justifiably proud of its cuisine, which is the best of Peruvian food (the Aria line was started by a chef). Seafood fans are especially fortunate on this cruise. There were spa facilities and services on the Aria, but I did not use them. The Peruvian Amazon region is more bio-diverse (or so I hear) than its counterparts in other countries, so soak it in, because it's under continual environmental threat. The guides are the BEST. They knew were to find wildlife, and we pretty much saw it all--monkeys, abundant birdlife, caiman, pink dolphins, piranha, and yes, an anaconda. All excursions were made on flat-bottomed boats with powerful outboard motors (5-6 boats fit the group). About the anaconda: I'm snake phobic, but managed to cower in the back of the excursion boat while others posed with an anaconda that the guides found. One excursion was a trek in the rainforest, which I skipped--it was too hot and humid for the activity for me; all other adventures were on the water. Our group made one stop at a local village to visit the school and with a guide interpreting we were able to visit one of the residents in his home. The Amazon's social mission is to help the indigenous people in the area, so passengers were encouraged to purchase from a pre-existing stock of school supplies and fishing gear to hand over to the village teacher, who then distributed donations among the children and parents. This stop was probably one of the most meaningful events of the cruise--albeit a sobering one. Before returning to Lima, we had a small side trip to a manatee rescue center. Fun--amazing animals, and very threatened. The entire staff on the ship was professional, friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. They made it a point to learn everyone's name and offer personal service. Now caveats: 1. Insects. Of course. It's the Amazon. Wear Permathen-treated clothing and wear insect repellent, and you should be fine. The Aria supplies insect repellent as you get into and out of expedition craft, but you will probably want to bring your own. 2. Water. Don't drink out of the tap and take care with brushing teeth, etc. The Aria supplies everyone with a very nice aluminum water bottle which can be refilled from a drinking water station on the vessel. This avoids having to use plastic bottles. 3. To be honest, just about everyone in our group got turista at some point, so come prepared with Lomatil or something similar. We also had a prescription for an antibiotic to be used in case of diarrhea, and did use it when we had stomach problems. People prone to stomach distress may wish to avoid some vegetables or fruits served only after washing. There is an EMT on board for passengers who have other symptoms. Luckily no one in our group was out of commission for long. 4. Of course it's hot and sticky, but the Aria is fully air conditioned. When on excursions, once the expedition boats got moving during our day-trips, the heat was less oppressive. I am a person who HATES heat and humidity more than most, but I managed. You will probably want to wear a hat when outside, as the sun is quite strong. 5. There is no wifi. Unplug. All in all, the Aria was just about the best way to see the Peruvian Amazon. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
If the Queen of England booked a cruise on the Amazon, it would be on this boat. Not that our trip was without glitches - the transfer from Iquitos Airport to the boat was tiring (while waiting for the boat to be prepared, we had a ... Read More
If the Queen of England booked a cruise on the Amazon, it would be on this boat. Not that our trip was without glitches - the transfer from Iquitos Airport to the boat was tiring (while waiting for the boat to be prepared, we had a disorganized lunch and city tour), also our shower leaked a bit, and the engine noise at night was quite loud in Cabin 202. But the bed was huge, the linens fine, and once we boarded our little expedition skiffs with our guides to view the wildlife daily, all of these annoyances were forgotten. We really visited the Amazon, while still feeling that we were sailing in luxury. We saw macaws, iguana, monkeys, local fishermen and villagers, pink dolphins, anaconda, giant lily pads, and more. Our guides were truly local - born here and very knowledgeable. We took a short swim in the black waters one day, and also caught piranha which the chef fried up and presented beautifully for our dinner one night. The Queen would do fine on this cruise because the physical exertion required is minor except for the jungle walks. The jungle walk and village visit were somewhat taxing (but not impossible) for older passengers. The big decision for an Amazon trip is Rainy Season -or- Dry Season. Sailings during the dry season will have more jungle hikes, sailings during the wet season will have more skiff boat excursions - but also more drenching rain. I felt our trip in mid-July was a good compromise between wet and dry season - mostly boat excursions, but at least one jungle hike. We saw butterflies and a lot of plants on our (muddy) jungle hike that we would not have seen during boat excursions only. I wouldn't have wanted to miss those. August would probably have been too dry. Note - There is no TV, no internet, and only an occasional cell phone signal on the boat. You'll have plenty to see just watching the forest go by outside your wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows, but if you must have a cell signal - ask the crew, they know when "bars" may appear - for an hour or two, every couple of days. The food is good, the crew is extremely attentive, and the drink bar is almost always open. We met interesting people from around the globe on board. Dress code was casual. We were over-prepared with our hiking boots for the jungle - the ship provided rubber boots for the one day we needed them. We also felt over-prepared with medications and mosquito repellent, but of course OVER is better than UNDER in this case. If you're looking for really difficult hikes, strenuous sightseeing, and significant physical exertion - this is NOT your boat. If you're looking for an active but not severe experience, while still seeing the real Amazon - this is it. The sunrises and sunsets may bring you to tears. Sitting in our skiff on the last evening, sipping mimosas under the stars and silently listening to the Amazonian wildlife symphony is an experience I'll never forget. Well done, Aria! Thank you. :) Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
There is SO much I could write about this unparalleled experience, but I am going to keep this short. We flew into Lima on Jet Blue and spent the night at the JW Marriot. The next day we flew to Iquitos, the port of embarkation for the ... Read More
There is SO much I could write about this unparalleled experience, but I am going to keep this short. We flew into Lima on Jet Blue and spent the night at the JW Marriot. The next day we flew to Iquitos, the port of embarkation for the 3-Night cruise. Aqua Expeditions offers two vessels that sail the Amazon: Aria and Aqua, the Aria being the newer of the two and accommodating 32 passengers. Guests can book a 3 Night (Iquitos to Nauta), 4 Night (Nauta to Iquitos) or a 7 Night (roundtrip to Iquitos, essentially the 3- and 4-Night cruises combined). We were so happy to have chosen the 7 Night, as the guests getting off after 3 and 4 days felt like they didn't want to leave. We met some really nice people with whom it was so much fun to share each day's outings. The Aria is outstanding in every way and the service provided by the everyone on board from the Cruise Director, to the bartender, to the waiters, to the room attendants and certainly the guides was exceptional. The cabins are all essentially the same with comfortable beds, fully appointed bathrooms with rain head showers, air conditioning closet space and - of course - the amazing views from the floor-to-ceiling windows. The food is worthy of a 5-Star Restaurant. Breakfast and Lunch buffets were varied and offered fresh, local ingredients including fresh fruits and vegetables. Dinner was always outstanding and a multi-course set menu. How Rafael and his team were able to create such gourmet meals in such a small kitchen space is beyond me. All beers, wine, water and soda are included throughout the day. By far the best aspect of this trip is the Amazon itself and the guides and skiff drivers who take you into places to see all forms of wildlife in their native habitat. Their skill at spotting the animals (monkeys, sloths, macaws, dolphin, etc.) was amazing and each morning and afternoons adventure led to new surprises. Just zooming along the river itself was awesome. If you are considering Aria for your Amazon experience you should feel confident that the staff and crew will do ALL they can to make sure you leave with memories you aren't soon to forget. There are a lot of questions that arise when making the decision of when to go and which ship to choose: Which is better high water or low water? What kind of clothing do I need? I've heard the mosquitoes are bad, is that true? And so on. If you have any questions about the trip or Aria please email me at russg4willard@mac.com I'd be happy to answer any you may have. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
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