You’ve decided your next destination will be the Amazon, and you know you want to visit on a cruise. Now it’s time to decide which of the two best Amazon River cruises you’ll board to start your adventure. From top service, impeccable views and immersive experiences, which factor will sway your decision most?
When it comes to the best Amazon River cruises (with a luxury appeal), the sky is the limit. Open air jacuzzis, delicious dishes created for you by famous chefs, spas with a view of the Pacaya Samiria Reserve, comfortable and sophisticated rooms with bespoke services are some of what awaits you on the most luxurious Amazon cruise ships. Both of the following options offer the perfect combination of 5-star services set in the breathtaking Peruvian Amazon, though have differing levels of exclusivity and personalized service.
This cruise ship is the Peruvian vessel of Aqua Expeditions, and is a superb example of local culture blended with modern comfort. Designed by the renowned architect Jordi Puig, the Aria maintains the style of a modern boutique hotel without leaving aside the details that connect it with the jungle as the wooden floors and decorations with indigenous motifs. The neutral colors and the soft light of its facilities allow the outdoor nature to shine, from the green of the trees to the red of the sky at sunset.
Each room is a pleasure; ideal for relaxing after a busy day of fishing and outings along the Amazon. The 16 suites on the boat’s two decks all have panoramic windows so you won’t miss any of the scenery, and are air-conditioned for complete comfort. Bedding is made using Peru’s finest cotton and organic bathroom accessories give the cabins a final touch.
To be considered one of the best Amazon River cruises, the gastronomic offering need to be top notch. The food on the Aria is a delight for the taste buds. With a menu created by Executive Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, recognized for his work with cuisine using the myriad of ingredients from the Peruvian Amazon, an explosion of colors, scents, and flavors is guaranteed. Each ingredient has a history and relationship with the Amazon; an infinite source of exotic foods to create an unforgettable, luxurious gastronomic experience.
Other ways to enjoy your trip? Drinking a cold fruit juice made with local products in the ship’s bar; reading a book about the magic of Peru in the lounge; or seeing the stars up close on the observation deck. The jacuzzi area, located right outside the lounge, is the icing on the cake, ideal for relaxing and enjoying the open air on comfortable lounge chairs.
All the excursions offered by the Aria are led by four, bilingual naturalists. Aboard small motorboats, they take you into the Pacaya Samiria looking for jungle animals like anacondas, sloths, monkeys, and a wide variety of birds. Active travelers can hike in the jungle, swim in some of the Reserve’s natural pools, fish for piranhas, and even ride bikes around Nauta, a typical jungle town located on the shores of the Amazon where one can become part of local life.
For those looking for complete exclusivity, the Delfin I is the best option. With four large suites located on two decks, only eight passengers at a time have the opportunity to see the Amazon on this cruise. The experience: a sensation of being in a luxury hotel, with completely personalized service, but in the Amazon.
The Amazon is the ideal piece of art for each suite, and you can enjoy it with panoramic windows from floor to ceiling. Every suite in board the Delfin I also has a private outdoor terrace where one can enjoy breakfast in the morning or the sunset in the afternoon. Soft bedding made using 100% Peruvian pima cotton, hardwood floors from the Amazon forest, and other exclusive details make nature a part of the Delfin I. As a complimentary addition, each of the two Deluxe Suites on the lower deck each have a private jacuzzi where guests can enjoy the views and, maybe, bump into a pink dolphin gliding through the Amazon waters.
The 14 suites of the Delfin II can accommodate up to 30 passengers, a much higher number than his brother ship, but still offering all the luxury that one should expect from an Amazon cruise of this class. All the suites share elegant decorative details including hardwood floors, large windows, air conditioning, and organic bath amenities.
Dining aboard either the Delfin I or the Delfin II is a celebration of Peruvian flavors, thanks to the menu of Peruvian-creole and regional dishes that reflect the rich gastronomic tradition which characterizes our country. Fresh, local ingredients are the basis of the refined, edible art created by the Delfin chefs, guaranteeing guests a delicious journey.
Led by bilingual specialists, excursions are designed to bring the Amazon to the traveler. Passengers can enjoy journeys to learn about the beauty of local flora and fauna, as well as trips to local Amazon communities where visitors can meet and share experiences with Amazonian people who call this place their home. Sharing with the locals is a core part of the Amazon experience, and visitors will have a chance to learn about ancestral traditions and the Amazonian people’s special connection with the natural world around them.
If you prefer to take a break, the bar of both Delfin ships always has a variety of chilled juices made from local fruits and drinks created using special, local ingredients, which you can enjoy as you watch the Amazon pass by. Additionally, Delfin II offers spa services, and has a reading room and mini gym.
Cover photo: Flickr
This is an edited version of the article originally published in February 2019.
We help you find yourself in Peru. Since 2003, we have led the way as an authoritative and reliable English-language resource for those interested in traveling, living, working, and investing in Peru. We are a team of dedicated individuals who are passionate about delivering reliable and unbiased content and providing amazing experiences for people visiting Peru.