The time of year has come around, and we’re here to help you with your Christmas list. Whether it is high-end décor reminiscent of our ships, that rare 17th century print, sustainable jewelry, or a benevolent donation to a charity of our choice, we guarantee your loved ones will appreciate these best Christmas gifts inspired by Aqua Expeditions and our destinations.
Fabrics and Flowers
If you find yourself wishing to emulate the luxurious but laid back feel of an Aqua Expeditions ship, then you may want to start with soft furnishings. Ever since Aqua Mekong launched in Vietnam and Cambodia in 2014, Jim Thompson Fabrics have been our fabric of choice not only for their high quality silks and brand heritage, but also in the variety of designs and textiles including wallcoverings, passmenteries, and even furniture.
Earlier this summer Aqua Expeditions and Jim Thompson Fabrics collaborated once again on Aqua Nera, our second ship in the Peruvian Amazon, with hand-selected designs which resonate with both ship and destination. Take inspiration from the natural linen fabric of ‘Heliconia Dreamin’ which is embroidered with orchids and heliconia, recalling Amazonian flora and Peruvian embroidery work, or choose a bolder graphic look with ‘Pomare’ which is reminiscent of traditional Shipibo print.
Where to purchase: You can buy individual pieces online at www.jimthompson.com/decor.html or order from the fabric collections at www.jimthompsonfabrics.com, as well as retail stores in Thailand, Singapore and showrooms around the world.
Jewel of the Sea
Sustainability is an important theme these days, and what better way to say ‘I love you’ with a gift that ticks that major box? At Aqua Expeditions we support local businesses in each of our destinations that are aligned with our philosophy of conservation and low impact to the surrounding environment. Atlas Pearls is one such business, which runs Aljui Pearl Farm, the most remote of Atlas Pearls’ six farms in Indonesia.
Located on West Waigeo island in the Raja Ampat regency, the farm makes for a fascinating excursion for our guests on Aqua Blu thanks to the unique insight into the complex and fascinating South Sea pearling process. The company is now a global leader in eco-pearling, increasing its production from 50,000 to over half a million pearls, currently employing 900 locals as employees. Its commitment to continued research and development focuses on hatchery technology in a bid to remain sustainable despite its growth, but also engaging in diverse initiatives in the education, employment, medical assistance and environmental rehabilitation of its communities. Not only will you get points by picking out the perfect present, but you would be contributing to the environment as well!
Where to purchase: www.atlaspearls.com.au
If you’ve ever been on one of our expeditions, chances are you have marvelled at our one-of-a-kind plate ware. Made to order from Gaya Ceramic in Bali, the ceramic collections are exclusive and hand crafted, so will make a stunning gift set for that special person. Founded in 2001 by Italian couple Marcello and Michela, Gaya aims to preserve and promote ceramic craftsmanship, as well as an understanding and appreciation for it.
Both Aqua Mekong and Aqua Blu feature stunning hand-painted gold and platinum pieces that are showpieces for the destination as well as the fresh and dynamic cuisine onboard, while onboard the Aqua Nera, our plate ware collection is inspired by the Peruvian Amazon and Aqua’s deep connection to this rich natural environment with the motifs of the snake and orchids representing the spiritual transformation and beauty of wilderness. You could custom order your own designs or purchase from their existing collections – whatever you choose, it will be a stunning addition to any home!
Beauty and the Books
While our expeditions are jam-packed with activities and on shore excursions, there will be moments where guests are able to take a breather to enjoy the amenities on board. One of our favorite things to do aboard the brand new Aqua Mare is to grab one of the hand-picked Assouline books from our library, relax on the sofa and while away the hours.
Dedicated to creating books that are beautiful and informational as art works, Assouline preserves the process of creation with respect and reverence. An Assouline book is not only of the highest quality, but they are also sensuous, in that they highlight the traditional technique of hand-binding the covers, the luxurious thickness of each page, as well as the attention to detail at the level of an haute couture atelier. As the “first brand of luxury culture”, Assouline is the go-to for those who want to discover a world of good taste, excitement and intellect, and a place where “culture can be acquired”. For the perfect present, we recommend the Ultimate Collection, where each book pays homage to the time-honored craft of bookbinding and pictures that are individually hand-tipped, a process which requires cutting, glueing, and placing each photo onto the page.
Where to purchase: https://eu.assouline.com/pages/our-collections
Ray of Light
Instead of gifting a puppy this year (let’s face it, we know who will end up doing all the work), why not consider the unusual option of a manta ray? Granted, it isn’t the most cuddly of animals, but these marine creatures could certainly do with your help. Classified as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature list, Raja Ampat is a unique location to spot these animals, thanks to its epicenter of marine biodiversity and one of the few places on earth where you can find both species of giant oceanic manta and reef manta.
Via Aqua Blu, Aqua Expeditions works closely with UK-based organization Manta Trust, which offers a selection of adoption packs filled with fun items about manta rays for kids and adults to play and learn while contributing to the research and protection of this gentle plankton-eating species. Each digital adoption pack costs a one-time fee of around US$33 which includes your chosen manta’s biography, a fact file on the biology and ecology of manta rays in the Maldives, a personalized Adoption Certificate, digital poster of your adopted manta, kids activity pack with games, crossword puzzles and more, plus a personalized message or Christmas e-card!
Known for their high level of intelligence, manta rays have proven to be creative and curious creatures, capable of social bonding, performing collective behaviour, high cognitive function, and definitely worth more alive thanks to generating millions of tourist dollars just to swim with them. You can choose between ten mantas – an increase from seven last year with a mix of oceanic and reef – including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Ray, Manta Claus and even one called George the Giant!
Where to purchase: https://www.mantatrust.org/adopt-a-manta
Prints and Things
When Birgit Galli Zugaro led the 2021 refurbishment and personalized interior design makeover of our newest offering Aqua Mare, she knew that it was the perfect vessel in which to show off the authentic 17th century prints from Argosy Book Store. Following in the footsteps of Aqua Blu where curated prints of Alfred Russel Wallace’s exploration of the Coral Triangle decorate the social spaces, Aqua Mare bridges the story of evolution between the two contemporaries with Darwinian maps and other leitmotifs of exploration and adventure.
Founded in 1925, Argosy Book Store is now in its third generation of family ownership, offering an enormous stock of antiquarian and out-of-print items from a six-floor building in midtown Manhattan and a large warehouse in Brooklyn. They specialize in Americana, modern first editions, autographs, art, photography, and antique maps and prints, as well as thousands of books in all other fields of interest.Their unique talent? Finding fantastic and unusual gifts for every person. Ideal if you’re stuck for something to buy!
Where to purchase: www.argosybooks.com/ or 116 East 59th Street, New York
The Art of Giving
As Aqua Expeditions operates in far-flung destinations of the Peruvian Amazon, the bucolic countryside of the Mekong Delta, the secluded archipelagos of the East Indonesia and Galapagos, it is not surprising that the remoteness of these locations also correlates with minimized human interaction and therefore a lower standard of education and literacy rate.
One of the ways we set the standard in responsible travel is by engaging in our destinations’ communities. We actively contribute to social projects and encourage our guests to do the same as an integral part of gaining a deeper understanding of the local culture and their challenges. Room to Read in Cambodia and Vietnam is one such philanthropic effort, which we have been proud to have been involved with since 2016. Focused on increasing global literacy and gender equality in education, Aqua Expeditions together with our guests on Aqua Mekong have raised over US$10,000 to establish a library in Vietnam’s Vinh Dai Primary School and US$27,790 in support of their Cambodian Girls’ Education Program. What better way to feel good these holidays by giving the greatest gift of all?
Where to donate: Room to Read
Aqua Expeditions operates river explorations on the Amazon (Peru), the Mekong (Cambodia and Vietnam), and coastal yacht voyages to Komodo National Park, Ambon and the Spice Islands, as well as Raja Ampat (East Indonesia), with our latest superyacht sailing the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) from May 2022. Book your once-in-a-lifetime adventure now at www.aquaexpeditions.com.