The river cruise industry is growing at such a rapid pace that it’s sometimes difficult for us here at River Cruise Advisor to know where the next big trend will come from. But during the course of this year, one rather surprising destination has emerged as a serious contender.
The Peruvian Amazon has long fascinated explorers and travelers. Second in length only to Egypt’s Nile, the Amazon River discharges more water than the world’s seven largest waterways combined. It runs for nearly 7,000 kilometers – or approximately 4,345 miles. And it’s quickly becoming a popular river cruising destination.
Perhaps the most high-profile announcement this year was that Avalon Waterways intends to start offering river cruises along the Amazon in conjunction with Aqua Expeditions. These consist of a combination land and cruise tour that includes three nights spent sailing along the Amazon River aboard the futuristic-looking m/v Aqua, which only entered service in 2011.
One of the coolest features about the Aria are her floor-to-ceiling windows in guest staterooms, all of which face the mighty Amazon. Beds are positioned to face these windows (just like aboard many of Avalon’s European-based vessels), and staterooms all feature cabin service three times per day.
The Amazon might be remote, but the Aria is far from rustic. She features a full Sun Deck, outdoor Jacuzzi tub, an exercise room, a lounge with indoor and outdoor seating options, a boutique, dining room, and an open-air deck that is, as the line points out, perfect for star-gazing from the darkness of the Amazon.
But Avalon and Aqua Expeditions aren’t the only players in the Peruvian Amazon. In September, International Expeditions took delivery of the 31-guest La Estrella Amazonica, which replaced the smaller La Amatista. With her three passenger decks, La Estrella Amazonica’s utilitarian exterior styling hides her beautiful interior spaces that include staterooms measuring 220 square feet that feature hardwood flooring and private balconies with floor-to-ceiling windows. An outdoor Bar Deck allows for magnificent views of the passing Amazon, while meals are taken in the ship’s intimate dining room that gives the appearance of being located in a boutique hotel.
While La Estrella Amazonica is marketed by International Expeditions, she is owned and operated in conjunction with Expediciones Amazonicas, which also has a hand in the operations of Queen Violeta for G Adventures.
With increasing consumer interest in river cruises along the Amazon River – and plenty of room to expand – the region is poised to take on Asia as one of the fastest-growing river cruising destinations in the world.