With vaccines starting to be administered and more countries opening up for regulated travel, it’s clear that travel is at the top of mind for many. But how do we vacation during COVID, and where do we go, in a way that is safe and comfortable? Here are five things you may want to consider when planning your next vacation in a post-pandemic world.
Method of travel
COVID has taught us many things, and one of the most important lessons when it comes to travel is that space is not only a luxury, but a necessity. Which is why your method of travel is important. Our river and long-range ocean explorer vessels range from 15 to 20 cabins, accommodating a maximum of only 30 to 40 guests. This allows for enhanced health and safety protocols, ample personal and social spaces, safe physical distancing among passengers and crew, as well as the tailor-made experience Aqua Expeditions is known for.
City breaks are out, while remote destinations are in. If ever there is a time to break free, this is it. Venturing into unspoiled sanctuaries to witness the beauty of nature and wildlife, we sail to far-flung port of calls with minimized human interaction, secluded from crowds. Whether it is the pastoral setting of the exotic Mekong river, sailing along the Peruvian Amazon where you begin and end in the world’s furthest inland seaport, or traversing the East Indonesian archipelago where secret beaches and forgotten islands are the way of life, we ensure that your adventure will be as distant from the everyday chaos as you need.
Traveling on a boutique ship is in many ways safer than staying in a hotel. In more stable times, the average hotel occupancy rate numbers around 65 percent, with large turnarounds of guests one is constantly exposed to. At Aqua Expeditions, everything is about personalized experiences, from the large private cabins that accommodate a maximum of 30 to 40 guests per vessel, to ample social spaces and excursions which are capped at eight guests per guide and private tender. Because of our small size, limited passengers and crew ensure the ship remains a highly controlled environment.
Additionally, guests are required to undergo a pre-embarkation Health and Safety assessment and submit a COVID-negative test result issued no later than 72 hours prior to the date of expedition departure. Passengers also dine onboard privately in small groups at every meal, where we maintain sanitized conditions and strict cold chain supply protocols, thus limiting risks of exposure.
Not only do all our vessels comply with the health and safety standards of the International Safety Management (ISM), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the International Maritime Organization (IMO), but we also have a dedicated Health and Safety Officer onboard. His or her sole responsibility is the wellbeing of each crew and guest, as well as the proper compliance and implementation of safety standards.
Things to do
How do you dive deeper into your destination of choice in the safest, yet meaningful way? The answer to that is with specially-curated experiences helmed by our dedicated team, boasting a 1:1 guest to guide ratio. Each adventure is personalized to each of our guests’ preferences, no matter your fun or fitness level. The comforts of small ship expeditions mean that you can settle into eye-level cruising and watch nature pass you by, while not having to disembark at every port assures you eliminate the unnecessary risk of exposure to crowded and touristy sites.
On an Aqua Mekong itinerary for example, you can choose your own adventure with private excursions taking place in groups no larger than ten, with a choice of rural biking across tranquil paddy fields, walking explorations of small villages, or even an exclusive tour of a bird sanctuary aboard our private skiffs. Enjoy any of our ‘wow’ moments – be it sampling delicious local dishes at a Peruvian jungle ranger station, watching legendary Komodo dragons in their natural habitat, receiving a spiritual blessing from a Buddhist monk along the Mekong, or even an impromptu swim with whale sharks in the East Indonesian waters.
Travel will never be the same in a world with COVID, but it can still be fun and educational. It has been our mission to provide soft but thrilling adventures combined with a cultural immersion into each regions’ rich heritage and traditions, ensuring once-in-a-lifetime, meaningful experiences on every journey with Aqua Expeditions. Cambodia, Vietnam, Peru and East Indonesia are filled with world heritage sites, which we have the pleasure to explore through the eyes of our local and knowledgeable guides.
We also offer regularly scheduled hosted departures which allow for a more focused itinerary into each destination. These exclusive voyages are led by personalities such as filmmaker and explorer Dr. Lawrence Blair, historian and geologist Ian Burnet, and Michelin-starred chefs Pedro Miguel Schiaffino and David Thompson. Wherever you join us, you can be sure that we will challenge, and add to, your understanding and passion for history, wildlife, conservation, beauty, and culture.
Find out more about our 2021 voyages on the Mekong river, into the Peruvian rainforest, and sailing the pristine waters of the remote Eastern Indonesian archipelago.