What does my all-inclusive cruise price include?
Our cruise rates include all meals, soft drinks, and wine with meals, suite or master suite accommodation, excursions with knowledgeable naturalist guides, the Pacaya Samiria Reserve entrance fee, onboard lectures, and evening entertainment. We will provide transportation from/to the airport if you arrive and depart on our recommended flights. Breakfast and lunch will be available on your last day and are included in the rate. One great advantage of our “all inclusive” rates is that you will know in advance exactly how much your vacation will cost. Your only extra expenses will be airfare, drinks, boutique purchases, and gratuities.
Is it better to book the M/V Aqua early or can I book on short notice?
It is better to book early, especially if your travel dates are not flexible. Most people book eight months to as much as 18 months in advance. This is because the M/V Aqua has less capacity than a regular cruise ship or lodge, and we are already experiencing high booking demand.
When will I receive my cruise documents?
You will receive an email confirmation 90 days prior to the start date for your cruise. The ticket will be provided at the time of embarkation. Please be sure to read the terms and conditions attached to the ticket.
Should I buy travel insurance?
Travelers on the M/V Aqua are strongly advised to purchase trip cancellation insurance, which will reimburse the cost of air tickets and other non-refundable trip payments. International medical, baggage loss, and delay insurance are also recommended. Unfortunately, if you miss the vessel because of a weather-related flight cancellation, we will not reimburse the cost of the reservation, since flight cancellations are beyond our control and we have to comply with our schedules. If the M/V Aqua is not able to sail (i.e. due to force majeure or mechanical failure), Aqua Expeditions reserves the right to substitute another vessel. If the travelers do not take this option, Aqua Expeditions reserves the right to cancel the trip upon a refund pro rata per cruise night not used or, as an alternative, will offer credit toward a future cruise on the Aqua.
How old do you have to be to cruise on the M/V Aqua?
Passengers must be at least 21 years of age to travel without their parents or guardians and the minimum age to travel on the M/V Aqua is seven. If any occupant in the cabin is under 21, then a passenger at least 25 years old must be booked in the cabin with them. The only exception is that children under age 21 may be allowed to have their own cabin if they are in a connected suite shared by their parents or guardians.
Do you welcome families with children?
Yes, we welcome families with children, as long as they are age seven or older. Four of our suites are interconnected to cater for families. An accommodation for one child or additional adult is available. Our naturalist guides are very friendly with kids and all of our staff will provide the necessary care for your family.
Do you need a minimum of passengers to guarantee my departure date?
No, all of our departures are guaranteed. Your can find the chart of our fixed departures on our website.
Do I need any shots before traveling to the Amazon?
Malaria medication and yellow fever shots are not required for travelers coming into the region, however they are recommended. Please consult your physician.
What should I pack?
Life is casual aboard the M/V Aqua. Bring comfortable walking shoes, light-weight long pants and long-sleeved tops for excursions, a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen, extra socks, mosquito repellant with DEET, and of course, your camera, with charger and extra batteries. Don’t forget to include some items that you can give away to the locals (t-shirts, pens and paper are especially prized). During meals in the dining room we ask our guests to wear casual clothing and shoes. We provide rubber boots for wetland excursions and recommend taking comfortable walking shoes. We also provide waterproof ponchos with hoods to protect against rain. There will be hairdryers available in every suite. Our vessel has 220-volt outlets in the staterooms so you should be able to use your shaver with a converter if necessary.
How much luggage can I bring? Are there porters available at the airport and the pier?
We allow you to bring as much luggage as you like, but suggest the use of soft suitcases/bags for easy storage. How much you bring, however, may be determined by the airlines, which have limits on both checked and carry-on baggage. LAN for example, allows 20 kilos (44 pounds) of checked luggage and 8 kilos (18 pounds) of carry-on baggage. Porters are available at both the airport and pier. They will make sure that your bags arrive at the M/V Aqua embarkation point. As soon as you have identified your luggage, porters will take your suitcases to your suite
Should I bring gifts to give away to the locals?
Don’t forget to include some items that you can give away to the locals (t-shirts, pens and paper are especially prized).
What is a shore excursion? How physically challenging are they?
A shore excursion can be anything from exploring remote tributaries to spotting monkeys and birds along a jungle trail, from visiting a local village to fishing on one of Amazonia’s beautiful lakes. They vary in level of difficulty, but most travelers who are reasonably fit will have no trouble participating in every excursion.
Passengers will be divided into three groups of eight people for shore excursions, with each group led by a trained and knowledgeable naturalist guide. Guides will rotate among the groups, so that each passenger can benefit from their specialized knowledge. Our guides speak fluent English, and one speaks French. We recommend that groups requiring any other language bring a translator, if necessary. Each evening, your guides will brief you on what to expect on the next day’s excursions.
Typically, we will navigate the Amazon River or one of its tributaries at night, arriving in a new location, for a new adventure, in the early morning. Passengers opting to go on the early morning excursions will get a wakeup call at approximately 6 a.m. The M/V AQUA is equipped with three auxiliary aluminum skiffs that will take passengers along the waterways or ferry them to the landing point for onshore excursions. These comfortable speed boats are equipped with 4 stroke low-emission engines and constant radio communication with the main vessel. Each boat has capacity for eight passengers, plus guide and launch pilot.
Excursions last two to three hours, allowing plenty of time to explore, listen to your guide’s explanation, and photograph the abundant wildlife. While most excursions involve “dry” landings, some require “wet” landings, where you will have to step into water that may reach as high as your knees and then wade to shore. Your guide and skiff driver will assist you. When the excursions are in the Pacaya Samiria Reserve, we follow marked trails, walking at a leisurely pace for up to one hour.
Guests should be in good physical health in order to be able to make the most of their Amazon cruise. The daily nature excursions may include walking on irregular terrain, and getting in and out of the skiffs occasionally requires some physical effort. We provide rubber boots for wetland excursions and recommend taking comfortable walking shoes for walking on the dry paths. We also provide waterproof ponchos with hoods to protect against rain.
Instead of going on an organized shore excursion, can we go off on our own?
Unfortunately, no. For safety reasons, passengers are required to be with one of our naturalist guides whenever they are on land.
Are M/V Aqua cabins assigned in advance?
A suite or master suite will be assigned to you when we confirm your reservation. All suites are described and numbered in our Deck Plan document. You may request a specific suite depending on your preference and we will assign it if available. In order to ensure the optimum safety and comfort of all our passengers, we allow a maximum of three people in each suite.
Do all suites include a river view?
Yes, all suites have outward-facing panoramic windows, giving every cabin a river view. The Master Suites have even larger windows that offer you magnificent views of the passing landscape. The dawn light will awaken you in the mornings, and you can see what the weather is like without leaving your suite.
Is there any difference between the lower and upper-deck suites?
Dimensions and all features are exactly the same for both decks.
Do you have cell, satellite or internet connectivity on board?
If you need to contact your home or office for any emergency, the M/V Aqua is equipped with a satellite phone. The cost of your call can be paid directly on board. We will inform you, prior to calling, of the current price of an international call. We do not have Internet connections onboard the vessel. For cellular phone contact you may need a special telephone that can operate on a foreign signal. Please check with your carrier. However, keep in mind that most areas outside Iquitos are so remote that you will be unable to get a signal.
Do you have laundry services on board?
There is no laundry service.
What type of medical capabilities do you have on board?
We have a paramedic on board at all times plus first-aid trained staff can handle minor scrapes, bites or sprains. There are no handicapped facilities.
What health and safety precautions are taken on board the M/V Aqua?
No particular vaccines are required for Peru, but some are strongly advised. Check the U.S. Centers for Disease Control website for the latest information. http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/default.aspx. Travelers to the Amazon Basin are advised to take both anti-malaria medication and yellow fever shots. If you plan to extend your journey to Cusco and Machu Picchu, ask your doctor about medication for altitude sickness.
Once all the passengers have boarded, the crew will conduct a mandatory safety drill. Please be sure to check exactly where the life vests are located in your cabin. Memorize your way to the deck in case an emergency should arise. Consult your Cruise Director or Guide regarding any questions you may have. Life vests are provided for use while onboard the skiffs and you are required to wear them. Always hold the guide or crew member’s hand while embarking or disembarking, since the boat ladder and deck may be wet and slippery. It is important for us to verify that all our passengers are on board prior to departure. There is a check list in the reception area that you must sign upon returning from every visit.
What precautions should I take to prevent crime while traveling in Peru?
Peru is well known for its warm, hospitable people. However, when traveling in large cities, visitors should be cautious about pickpockets and street crime, as they would be anywhere in the world. Keep your belongings close (don’t keep valuables in a backpack) and avoid wearing flashy or expensive jewelry.
Will I have access to a safe deposit box?
Yes. All cabins have safe deposit boxes with instructions for their use.
Can we drink the water aboard the M/V Aqua?
You cannot drink the water from the faucet. When you board the vessel, you will be supplied with a complimentary water bottle which is yours to keep. Water refill stations are available throughout the vessel.
Is motion sickness ever a problem?
Not really. Even though, the Amazon main river looks more like open sea, with some waves, we will be sailing on some of the calmest waters in the world. In addition, stabilizers and advance availability of accurate weather information have decreased the incidence of motion sickness. And while navigating by skiff deeper into the flooded forest, a smaller tributary may soon take you to calm, mirrored water.
How do I pay for purchases on board? Do you accept cash?
You will be asked to sign for every drink at the time you order it. Please keep track of your consumption of alcoholic beverages in order to avoid any confusion at the end of the cruise. You can pay your bar bill, as well as for any purchases in the boutique, either in U.S. dollars or with Visa, American Express or MasterCard.
What about tipping?
We are often asked what gratuity is appropriate for guides and crew, and our response is that the quality of service should determine the amount of any tip. From past experience, we recommend an amount in the range of US $20 – $30 per passenger per day for the crew (to be divided among all the crew members) and between US $7 – $10 per passenger per day for the guides.
The total suggested tip for M/V Aqua staff on your trip would therefore be somewhere between US $81.00 - US $120.00 per passenger in total for those on a 3 night trip or US $108.00 - US $ 160.00 per passenger those on a 4 night trip.
Please note that these amounts are suggested levels of gratuities and that this is entirely at the discretion of our guests aboard the M/V Aqua.
Are there smoking areas?
Smoking is forbidden inside the M/V Aqua. It is allowed only in the outside lounge and on the observation deck. If you want to smoke in the outside lounge, please ask the bartender for an ashtray. Do not throw your cigarette stubs or ash into the water.
What's the drinking age on the M/V Aqua?
You must be at least 18 years old to legally consume beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages in Peru and on the M/V Aqua.
What if I have special dietary needs?
If you have special dietary requests, you need to inform Aqua Expeditions at the time of booking, or at least by 30 days prior to embarkation. Every effort will be made to cater to special dietary needs, and to accommodate special requests, subject to a given products’ availability in Peru.
What if I don't like my tablemates? Is room service available?
This is rarely a problem. However, if you wish to move to another table, please speak with the Maitre d' or Cruise Director. They will make every effort to seat you with more compatible dining companions...discretely and politely. Room service is not available, but will be provided in the event of passenger illness.
Who should I contact if I have a special request while on board?
Please contact the Cruise Director.
What is Peru’s time zone?
The time in Peru is one hour behind Eastern Standard Time in the United States.
What currency is used in Peru?
The Nuevo Sol (New Sol) is the official currency of Peru. One dollar equals about three New Soles.