The mighty Amazon River is the world’s biggest and most incredible waterway, and home to an astonishing diversity of flora and fauna. One of the best ways to discover its beauty is by boarding a cruise ship in Iquitos to float along its tranquil waters. A number of different vessels ply the Peruvian Amazon, from luxurious five-star ships to more cost-effective offerings. Let’s take a look at some of the best.
As the smallest luxury ship on the Peruvian Amazon, the Delfin I offers highly customized service in an extravagant setting. Each of its four luxury suites has its own private terrace and floor-to-ceiling windows, providing uninterrupted views of the jungle outside. But it’s the personalized service that makes this boutique option shine, from daily customized gourmet meals to friendly naturalist guides.
Built using an eclectic mix of traditional and modern design, the larger Delfin II has 14 suites, some of which offer panoramic views, while others can be interconnected for traveling families. Remodeled for extra luxury in 2014, amenities include a massage and exercise room, an open bar, sociable and sophisticated common areas, and a conference room for corporate groups.
With 22 cabins, the Delfin III is the largest and subsequently the cheapest of the series. This impeccable vessel has been tastefully decorated in local materials to bring a little Amazonian culture on board, including an abundance of native sustainable woods and colorful handmade textiles acquired from expert local craftspeople. See something you like? All the artwork can be purchased as a souvenir and mailed to your home address.
Launched in 2015, this state-of-the-art cruise ship is the epitome of luxury and style. Each of its 19 suites have been fitted with air-conditioning and floor-to-ceiling windows, while those on the upper deck have their own private balconies. Some of the many amenities include an exercise and massage room, as well as an outdoor jacuzzi on the observation deck, conveniently located next to a fully stocked bar.
The work of renowned Peruvian architect Jordi Puig, this amazing vessel is arguably the most luxurious on the river. But above all else, the Aria Amazon is known for its service. Of particular note is the rotating gourmet menu designed by celebrity Peruvian chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, which is accompanied by the finest Chilean and Argentinean wine, personally selected by the on-board sommelier. Despite its larger 32 passenger capacity, the Aria Amazon is pure floating decadence.
The best of Peru’s mid-range vessels, this ship’s eight-day itinerary was voted as among “25 Greatest Adventures in the World” in National Geographic Adventure Magazine. The epic extended voyage covers some 600 miles (965 kilometres) and delves deep into untouched sections of the rainforest that few other visitors have had the chance to visit. Although on-board amenities are not as luxurious as some of the above options, this immaculate 15-cabin ship strikes the perfect balance between adventure, comfort, and value for money.
A superb low-cost option, the Perla is highly appealing to the budget-conscious traveler. Thanks to its smaller hull, this petite vessel is able to enter more narrow and remote areas that bigger ships have to avoid. From these isolated tributaries, outboard motor skiffs can take passengers into a number of shallow lagoons and flooded forests for an unrivaled wildlife-spotting experience.
To book all these cruises and more, get in touch with the folks at Rainforest Cruises, a reputable US-based outfit who are the experts in the region.