AQUA NERA SAILS TO SUCCESS ON ITS INAUGURAL VOYAGE IN THE PERUVIAN AMAZON REGION
A first look at the stunning 20-suite custom-built river ship
Aqua Expeditions’ newly launched 20-suite luxury river vessel, the Aqua Nera, successfully embarked on its highly anticipated maiden voyage in the remote Peruvian Amazon recently.
A lucky 37 guests sailed on 3-, 4- and 7-night explorations into the depths of the world’s most biodiverse rainforest, in an exclusive journey hosted by the company’s CEO and founder, Francesco Galli Zugaro.
Aqua Nera’s guests were the first to enjoy the ship’s cutting-edge concept, custom designed by Vietnam-based architect and design firm Noor Studio. Mr Galli Zugaro led the expeditions as he shared insights into the ship’s epic 12,350-nautical mile journey across the globe from Vietnam to Peru, and the elements of local culture and nature that inspired her distinctive design.
“I am thrilled to be back in the unspoiled sanctuary that is the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve - where it all started 14 years ago - for the launch of our fourth vessel after an incredibly challenging period. For me, the Aqua Nera is a symbol of resilience and our ability to keep pushing boundaries in product design and guest experience. I am incredibly grateful to have been able to share this special moment with my talented crew, my family, and our valued guests,” he said.
The itineraries were tailored with once-in-a-lifetime experiences that included intimate encounters with exotic wildlife and exhilarating adventures ranging from jungle walks, spotting the legendary Amazonian pink dolphins, piranha fishing, kayaking along the river’s narrow black water tributaries, and more. Excursions were carried out in small groups, guided by Aqua Expeditions’ expert naturalists, who shared their excitement in returning to nature after a long pause in operations.
Onboard, guests indulged in the ultrachic and luxurious amenities that Aqua Nera has to offer, including spacious and elegant indoor and outdoor lounges, a river-facing gym with the region’s first designer boxing corner, an observation deck, a billiards room, private lounge with movie screening facilities, spa and an outdoor plunge pool conveniently located at the bow of the ship for panoramic rainforest views.
It is however the exquisite detail of the décor that truly sets Aqua Nera in a league of her own. No feature is spared, whether it is the custom-made bathroom tiles evoking the Shipibo tribes’ Amazon prints or the soft furnishings that recall motifs from the turn-of-the-century rubber boom era.
Aqua Nera also pays tribute to her sister ships, incorporating area rugs made from recycled fishing nets selected at Maison & Object in Paris, Bangkok-sourced Jim Thompson fabrics to adorn the suites and public spaces, as well as Amazonia-inspired gold leaf plates designed by Gaya Ceramic in Bali with Aqua Expeditions’ Director Birgit Galli Zugaro.
“We want guests who come aboard to feel like they are entering our private home.” - Birgit Galli Zugaro
Award-winning Peruvian chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino oversaw the cuisine for this exclusive departure. As Consulting Chef for Aqua Expeditions’ Amazon ships, he premiered Aqua Nera’s new rainforest-to-table menu, highlighting the fresh, exotic, and largely unknown native produce of the Amazon rainforest – “the earth’s unexplored pantry”, as he calls it -- echoing the boutique luxury expedition company’s steadfast commitment to sustainability and supporting local producers.
Aqua Expeditions’ focus on sustainable tourism prevails in the construction and design of Aqua Nera with the use of efficient energy sources and recyclable innovative materials across the vessel. Responsible operations, wildlife conservation, and community engagement projects continue as the company’s key drivers of sustainable development in travel, prioritizing the social and environmental impacts of operating in a culturally-rich and pristine natural destination such as the Amazon.
A designated onboard Health and Safety Officer guaranteed the compliance of Aqua Expeditions’ stringent health and safety protocols throughout the journey. All crew members were COVID-19 tested for several days leading up to embarkation, as well as guests, who were required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test result issued within 72 hours of the departure. Aqua Expeditions was also able to facilitate onboard pre-departure Antigen testing for departing guests with results made available onboard within minutes. These protocols will continue as an important part of Aqua Expeditions’ dedication to providing guests with the ultimate experience in safety and comfort.
Rates on Aqua Nera start from USD 4,125 per person, including all meals and beverages (nonalcoholic, premium wines, and national beer), all excursions, transfers to/from vessel on recommended flights, laundry service, and Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve entrance fee.
Aqua Nera is also available for private hire, starting from USD 153,000 for 40 guests. To book this exclusive experience, please contact Aqua Expeditions.
ABOUT AQUA EXPEDITIONS
A recognized global leader in luxury small-ship expeditions, Aqua Expeditions explores the world’s most wildlife- and culture-rich destinations aboard best-in-class vessels of stylish contemporary design. Venturing into unspoiled sanctuaries to witness the beauty of nature and wildlife, Aqua Expeditions sails to remote destinations with minimized human interaction, secluded from crowds. Expect tailored fivestar itineraries, a highly exclusive 1:1 crew-to-guest ratio with personalized service, a cuisine experience crafted by acclaimed chefs, and flexible, expert-guided adventure activities and excursions for all ages, with a maximum of 30-40 guests per ship. Aqua Expeditions currently operates river explorations on the Amazon (Peru), the Mekong (Cambodia and Vietnam), and coastal yacht voyages to Komodo National Park, Ambon and the Spice Islands, as well as Raja Ampat (East Indonesia).