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 firstname.lastname@example.org I'd be happy to answer any you may have.
All the cabins on Aria are pretty much identical and provide air conditioning, full bathrooms with showers, storage space and seating. Each suite also includes floor to ceiling windows to enjoy the panorama of the Amazon during the day and at night. Since Aria is small you do hear the noise from the engines when the boat is moving. It didn't bother us in the least, but some people seemed to be affected by it. The room is made up several times throughout the day. There is a safe in all the guest suites for your valuables and passports, too.