Aqua Expeditions, the global leader in luxury small-ship expeditions, has added a brand-new vessel to its fleet. Setting a new standard for deluxe river expeditions on the Peruvian Amazon, Aqua Nera draws design inspiration from the river’s mystical black water lagoons and bears the hallmarks of the contemporary style and generous interiors for which Aqua Expeditions is known.
Custom built in Vietnam (as was its sister vessel Aqua Mekong), the 20-suite river ship was designed by award-winning architects Noor Design, who crafted every space to combine refined elegance with an echo of drama. Currently docked in the Hai Minh Shipyard in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), “Aqua Nera was built to be unparalleled in the world of small-ship expeditions,” says Aqua Expeditions founder and CEO, Francesco Galli Zugaro.
The Aqua Nera was constructed in the record time of under a year, and ceremonially launched with a solemn Buddhist blessing on July 29, 2020, an auspicious date in the Zodiac calendar. On August 31, 2020, the Aqua Nera will be hoisted aboard a specially configured ocean-going freighter for the 35-day, 9,250-mile voyage from Vietnam to the Brazilian port of Belém, at the mouth of the Amazon.
Once its crew takes possession in Brazil, they will embark on a modern-day ‘Fitzcarraldo Odyssey,’ a reference to the extraordinary feat faced by 19th-century Peruvian rubber baron Carlos Fitzcarrald. His real-life endeavor of transporting a disassembled steamship over the Isthmus of Fitzcarrald was famously translated on screen by German director Werner Herzog, winning him the 1982 Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival. From Belém, Aqua Nera will navigate the entire length of the Amazon: a 15-day, 1,500-mile upriver journey to its new home port, the Peruvian city of Iquitos.
Aqua Nera will make its maiden voyage in late 2020 and operate in tandem with the Aria Amazon, sailing guests into the depths of the Peruvian Amazon in luxurious comfort. Its expeditions will feature cuisine by Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, one of Peru’s finest chefs, celebrated for creating refined cuisine from native Amazonian produce. Every day, expert naturalist guides will conduct small-group excursions that reward guests with up-close wildlife encounters in the world’s most biodiverse rainforest.