Aqua Expeditions Adds Luxury Coastal Ship, New Amazon River Vessel

By    James Shillinglaw,  May 07, 2019

Aqua Expeditions, best known for its small luxury river ship cruises on the Amazon and Mekong, is adding two new vessels to its fleet—Aqua Blu and Aqua Nera. Aqua Blu is Aqua Expeditions’ first coastal ship and the first-ever long-range expedition-class yacht to be permanently based in the east Indonesian archipelago. It will offer year-round departures starting Nov. 16, 2019.

Meanwhile, the new state-of-the-art Aqua Nera, which will begin service on the Peruvian Amazon on August 1, 2020, is effectively a replacement for the Aqua Amazon, the luxury river ship that sank after an explosion in July 2016 when it was carrying no guests.

Partnering with yacht designer Cor D. Rover, the completely refurbished Aqua Blu has rich heritage as the former British Naval Explorer HMS Beagle. Beginning on Nov. 16, Aqua Blu will primarily serve three destinations on seven-night coastal cruise itineraries: Raja Ampat (round-trip, December through February with 10 departures per year); Bali-Komodo National Park (bi-directional, April to September with 23 departures per year); and Ambon & Spice Islands (round-trip; October to November with seven departures per year).

Aqua Blu will offer guests exclusive opportunities to embark on 12-night itineraries,  called Limited Cross-Destination Voyages, with a maximum of four departures per year, each sailing a different route. Rates for 7- and 12-night itineraries range from $7,525 to $16,475 per person double.

Aqua Nera, a newly built river cruise boat, features a high-concept interior by renowned architect Noor Design. The vessel will feature 20 river-facing suites all with floor-to-ceiling windows. Aqua Nera will begin service on Aug. 1, 2020 and offer three-, four- and seven-night river cruise itineraries with rates ranging from $4,125 to $10,325 per person double.

Both Aqua Blu and Aqua Nera will maintain a 1:1 crew-to-guest ratio and feature world-class cuisine experiences by renowned consulting chefs. The two ships will be open for booking as of May 7, 2019.

Aqua Blu: This coastal ship will cruise in the heart of the Coral Triangle and traverse the fabled global spice trade route. Itineraries will cover tropical islands where wildlife, culture and age-old traditions reside, in addition to offering some of the world’s best diving and snorkeling sites. The high-performance vessel also features technologically advanced stabilizers for ultimate guest comfort while navigating or at rest.

With 15 individually designed sea-facing suites in three cabin categories, Aqua Blu will feature a range of amenities, including an outdoor plunge pool, spa and top-of-the-line non-motorized watersports equipment such as diving and snorkeling gear, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards.

Certified dive guides will join guests on board the ship and introduce them to some of the top dive sites in the world. Multiple excursions are planned to run concurrently and will cater to both certified divers and non-divers (diving excursions are available for certified divers only).

Aqua Nera: Designed and built as the most state-of-the-art river boat to sail the Amazon, Aqua Nera will feature luxuriously appointed interiors inspired by her surroundings: the blackwater lagoons and tributaries of the Amazon River and Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. The design also incorporates accents from the Rubber Boom era and the colorful cultures of Portugal, Spain and Peru.

Using dark-hued, sustainably sourced wood as the key interior material, Aqua Nera’s 20 spacious river-facing suites will convey a stylish sense of Amazonian tranquility. The design philosophy manifests throughout the vessel’s social spaces, including the restaurant, lounge and spa. Aqua Nera also will feature a river-facing plunge pool and gym.

On the Aqua Nera, Aqua Expeditions’ partnership with top Peruvian Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino will continue. Known for using Amazonian ingredients in his modern Peruvian cuisine, Chef Schiaffino’s menu will reaffirm Aqua Expeditions’ commitment to sustainability and supporting local producers.

For more information on both new ships, visit