Above: The Crystal Mahler, Danube River, Austria

Riverboat Journeys Around the World

As well as tracing some of the world’s most storied landscapes, river cruises offer a convenient way to undertake itineraries that would otherwise be complicated and tiring. Vessels put into a different port each night, so passengers spend far more time ashore than they would typically on an ocean voyage. And aside from high levels of comfort and outstanding cuisine, the leading riverboats provide well-organized excursions and exclusive events, allowing passengers to have unique experiences and see unspoiled areas of a country that would otherwise be inaccessible.

The Peruvian Amazon

The Aqua Nera, Amazon River - Aqua Expeditions
Aqua Nera Suite, Aqua Nera, Amazon River - Aqua Expeditions

In 2008, the first Aqua Expeditions boat, the Aqua Amazon, was the realization of a dream for businessman Francesco Galli Zugaro, who aspired to take travelers to extremely remote reaches of the Peruvian Amazon in unprecedented comfort and style. In 2011, he launched a second ship, the Aria Amazon. This 147-foot vessel underwent a complete face-lift in 2015. All 16 of the 250-square-foot cabins (four of which can be combined for family use) feature floor-to-ceiling windows and polished wooden floors. Wi-Fi is limited on board and rooms lack televisions, as passengers are encouraged to disconnect and focus on the extraordinary environment surrounding them.

Debuting this month is the new 20-cabin Aqua Nera ship, which operates alongside the Aria Amazon. At 322 square feet, its luxuriously appointed rooms are larger than those on the Aria. Spacious and comfortable lounges on both vessels provide congenial spots for relaxation and briefings, while other public areas include large Jacuzzis, spa cabins and gyms on the top deck. The cuisine served on the boats is overseen by chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, one of Peru’s culinary stars. Seventy percent of all ingredients employed by the kitchen are sourced from the Amazon.

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Above: The Crystal Mahler, Danube River, Austria