The 16-passenger Aqua Mare is the fifth vessel to join the fleet operated by luxury small ship line Aqua Expeditions and marks the company's expansion into the Galapagos.
Constructed by Italian yacht builder CRN in 1998 as Pestifer, the classic-style vessel sailed under a number of names until being acquired by Aqua Expeditions and undergoing a refit in 2021. Described by the line as "the first true superyacht in the Galapagos Islands", the high end Aqua Mare offers a 1:1 crew-to-guest ratio.
Built in Italy, in collaboration with the Italian-based superyacht design specialist Studio Scanu, the Aqua Mare incorporates original custom interiors with new updates from Aqua Expeditions. The refit saw the addition of two cabins, bringing the total number of passenger staterooms to seven, and these are all sea-facing and located across three decks.
There are four cabins on the lower deck. Two measure 301 square feet and the other pair are 237 square feet. Located on the main deck are the Design Suite that measures 280 square feet and the spacious 861-square foot Owner's Suite, which is the largest. On the upper deck there is another Design Suite that measures 172 square feet. Each suite can accommodate two passengers with the exception of the Owner's Suite, which can be configured for a maximum of four, and one of the lower deck cabins which can accommodate up to three passengers.
All staterooms are finished to a high standard with premium king-sized double and twin beds, walnut veneer wood panelling, and ensuite bathrooms fitted with Italian marble, walk-in showers and organic toiletries,.
Public areas include the large Beach Club, so-called because it is at water level on the lower deck. The multipurpose area is used as the venue for pre-excursion briefings, the gateway to the swim platform and watersports, and as lounge and movie room. Meals are served in the dining room on the main deck, which has a large Italian Carrara marble dining table for up to eight, along with two other round marble tables that can each accommodate four passengers. Situated next to the main lounge on the upper deck is an outdoor eating area with a communal table that can seat all passengers at the same time.
The sun deck also has shaded outdoor dining area, barbecue and hot tub. Other facilities on Aqua Mare include an outdoor workout area, library and pop-up shop.
Aqua Mare has a selection of non-motorized watersports equipment, including snorkeling gear that passengers can use for the duration of their cruise, including masks, fins, snorkels, wetsuits, eight double kayaks and two stand-up paddle boards.
Aqua Expeditions has once again partnered with Peruvian chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino to create the menus and oversee the dining experience on its latest vessel. There is a big focus on sustainability and sourcing ingredients from local farmers, fishermen and other food producers. It even extends to the cocktail menu where the Bloody Mary is mixed with Andean mashua and tree tomato in place of the traditional horseradish and tomato.
With a ratio of one crew member to every passenger, Aqua Mare offers a very intimate cruise experience with high levels of personal service. The 16 crew members include two naturalist guides that organize and lead twice-daily expeditions on the ship's pair of custom-built tenders. Each tour group is capped at eight passengers.
Launched in June 2022, Aqua Mare's itineraries focus solely on the Galapagos Islands. Sailing from Baltra and Santa Cruz, there is a seven-night cruise concentrating on the eastern islands, a seven-night sailing to the western islands and two14-night itineraries that combines both. Aqua Mare is also available for exclusive charter.
The ship is 641 gross tons and carries 16 passengers at full occupancy with 16 crew.