|31 Oct 2020||
Ambon Island, Indonesia
|01 Nov 2020||
|02 Nov 2020||
Banda Islands, Maluka Islands, Indonesia
|03 Nov 2020||
Banda Islands, Maluka Islands, Indonesia
|03 Nov 2020||
Gunung Api, Indonesia
|04 Nov 2020||
Maluku Islands, Indonesia
|05 Nov 2020||
Pulau Ai, Indonesia
|06 Nov 2020||
Nusa Laut, Indonesia
|07 Nov 2020||
Ambon Island, Indonesia
7 Night cruise departing roundtrip from Ambon onboard Aqua Blu.
The Spice Islands consists of a cluster of seven major islands, including the populated Banda Neira, Banda Besar and Pulau Run. Such was the significance of a monopoly of the Spice Islands, the Dutch East Indies Company, also known as the VOC, had traded Manhattan (in today’s New York City) for Pulau Run (an island just over a square mile in area) with the British in 1667.
In fact, as you explore the remnants of the Islands’ colonial past such as cannons that stand literally side-by-side of traditional village homes, you might just be the first to stumble upon a long-lost relic or fort given how utterly undiscovered the Spice Islands are by the outside world.
The Spice Island expedition also gives the explorer the chance to kick back and unwind at some of the most scenic locations in the world. Molana and Pulau Run boast picture-perfect sandy beaches and are prime locations for swimming, fishing, snorkeling and diving as well as village tours and birdwatching.
On Banda Neira, the active volcano of Gunung Banda Api is more than just another photogenic backdrop. Also known as the ‘Fire Mountain’, Banda Api’s eruption and seaward lava flow in 1988 led to a rebirth of coral and marine life so quickly it astounded marine biologists everywhere. By 1994, they noticed that underwater thermal springs and nutrients of the cooled volcanic lava had kickstarted the growth of spectacular underwater gardens.
Today, the Spice Islands is home to one of the most colorful and diverse displays of coral and marine life in the East Indonesian Archipelago, including enormous fan corals, the Mandarin fish and the Ambon scorpionfish. The Molucca region, of which the Spice Islands form the southernmost part, is also ‘transition zone’ between Asian and Oceanic fauna and flora, and so the these islands include many species that are completely unique to the area.
Not only that, the region is also part of the migratory route for many birds and marine species. Cruising the Banda Sea aboard the Aqua Blu, discover fantastic reefs for snorkeling and diving as well as opportunities for sightings of spinner dolphins, orcas, and various other whale species. Meanwhile, both endemic and migratory bird species can be seen along the coast or while hiking the lush pockets of forest.
Aqua Expeditions’ Ambon & Spice Island cruise aboard the Aqua Blu cruise ship sails every year from October to November, the best season to discover the region. The cruise sets sail on 7-night itineraries, departing from the rustic port city of Ambon.
Come sail with us on the Aqua Blu and experience one of the most evocative and all-encompassing cruise expeditions on Earth.
Highlights of this cruise:
Arrive to a warm welcome in Ambon and board Aqua Blu at Laha Bay, a famous muck diving site. There are also opportunities for trekking and birdwatching inland.
Early morning, depart for the island outpost of Saparua, sailing along the scenic north coast of Ambon. Disembark en route at the coastal town of Hila to explore the old Dutch fortification, Fort Amsterdam. Continue onto Sarapua, where a host of water activities await. Discover local pottery-making at Ouw village, visit a local market, see European relics, explore bird habitats or go diving before departing Sarapua for an overnight crossing to Banda Islands.
Banda Islands & Banda Neira
Approach the Banda Islands as the sun rises, greeted by Kora-Kora war canoes as the boat enters the harbor. Stroll through history at the Dutch Fort Belgica on Banda Neira, once the most hotly contested island in the world in the 16th and 17th century, and learn about the colorful story of the Old World spice trade.
Banda Neira & Gunung Api
Spend the day exploring the oldest nutmeg plantations in the world, learning about the cultivation and history of the spice. Hike the active volcano of Gunung Banda Api. In this remote part of Indonesia, experience local life with traditions unchanged for decades before departing Banda Harbour at night.
Savour a sunrise breakfast on board against the backdrop of 300-metre tall cliffs of Pulau Manuk, a volcanic island rising 3 kilometres from the seabed. This is a haven for fish-hunting birds, as well as sea snakes and reef sharks flocking to enjoy the area’s underwater thermal springs. After sundown, cruise northwards to Pulau Run, a historic island traded by the British for Manhattan in 1667.
Arrive at Pulau Run, the westernmost of the Banda Islands, at sunrise. Swim, fish, snorkel and dive in the crystal-clear waters, or go on village tours, trekking and birding. After finding the ruins of an old British fort, arrive at a pristine beach where a cocktail party awaits. Later, board the ship for an overnight crossing to Nusa Laut.
Nusa Laut & Molana
On the north side of Nusa Laut, bike through the scenic fishing villages of Ameth and Akon. This is also home of the dugong, the Southeast Asian cousin of the American manatee and a vulnerable species. Cruise to Molana Island, a small but heavily forested island with fantastic reefs.
Awake to the bustle of Ambon and disembark after a sumptuous breakfast.
Presenting a new cruise experience in the pristine East Indonesian Archipelago, Aqua Blu is a long-range explorer yacht sailing the region’s most prized destinations, including Komodo National Park, Spice Islands and Raja Ampat on unforgettable 7- and 12-night itineraries.
Where modern luxury meets naval heritage
With a grand legacy as the former British Naval Explorer HMS Beagle and later as the private yacht of a European aristocratic family, Aqua Blu is a compelling maritime statement. A 2019 refurbishment overseen by Dutch yacht design maestro Cor D. Rover brings the vessel to world-class cruising specifications. Guests can expect to embrace an distinguished sense of history and seafaring evolution when they set foot on this one-of-a-kind cruise ship.
Inside the four-deck, 15-suite Aqua Blu, Cor has tastefully paired with a brass-and-ivory interior theme with generous and inviting indoor and outdoor social spaces, including a sun deck.
Unlocking access to the Earth’s most intriguing destinations
Faster, further, greater safety and comfort — Aqua Blu’s naval pedigree makes it the perfect candidate to navigate East Indonesia’s vast seas. Having attained the highest international classifications (RINA, SOLAS, ISM) in safety, the vessel is additionally equipped with Quantum Zero Speed stabilizers for optimal comfort at rest or while sailing.
Aqua Blu’s range stands heads and shoulders above that of its peers in East Indonesia. Able to cover vast distances in a short span of time — and in any sea condition — the vessel enables explorers on board to experience the most varied, enjoyable and rewarding coastal cruise itineraries in this wild and stunningly beautiful region of the world.
Aqua Blu will set sail on its inaugural voyage on 16 November 2019. Be among the first to cruise East Indonesia like no ship has ever done before.
Ship Profile & Stats
- Length: 60 metres
- Maiden Voyage: 1968
- Refurbished: 2019
- Passenger Capacity (dbl): 30
- Crew Nationality: Peruvian
- Officer Nationality: Peruvian
- Dining Staff Nationality: Peruvian
- Ship Registration: Indonesia
- Hair Dryer
- Air Conditioning
- In Room Safe
- Sun Deck
- Sky Lounge Bar
- Dining Room
- Watersports Equipment
Aqua Expeditions was launched in 2007 by founder and CEO, Francesco Galli Zugaro, to fulfill his dream of bringing unparalleled travel experiences, in the utmost comfort, to modern-day adventurers cruising the world’s greatest rivers.
Beginning with the Peruvian section of the Amazon River, one of the world’s last great unexplored regions, Galli Zugaro commissioned the custom design of the Aqua Amazon, the first cruiseship to set sail on this stretch of the Amazon.
Increased demand for Aqua Expeditions uniquely intimate, life enriching river safari led to the launch of a second custom designed vessel, the Aria Amazon in 2011, with 16 suites designed by Puig with a similar five-star boutique hotel sophistication, and cruising the same captivating stretch of the Peruvian Amazon amidst equally thoughtful comforts and fascinating wildlife. With hand-crafted Amazon River itineraries from and to the remote Amazonian city of Iquitos, the Aria Amazon carries travelers to the source of the Amazon and the remote Pacaya Samiria Reserve. Expert professional naturalist guides lead guests in small groups by skiff up Amazon River tributaries to first-hand encounters with Amazon wildlife from pink dolphins and piranha, to capuchin monkeys and three toed sloth hiding in the rainforest canopy, and hoatzin, toucans and macaws gliding seemingly effortlessly across the cloudless, cerulean sky.
Success on one of the world’s great rivers encouraged Galli Zugaro to set off across the continents in search of the next once-in-a-lifetime luxury river experience for Aqua Expeditions. On the Mekong River between Cambodia and Vietnam, he found that elusive journey, one that would capture imaginations as profoundly as did the Peruvian Amazon. In October 2014, Aqua Expeditions launched a third luxury vessel, the 20-suite Aqua Mekong on the historic Mekong River between Siem Reap, Cambodia and Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. Floor to ceiling picture windows aboard Aqua Mekong allow guests to enjoy captivating panoramas of emerald flooded forests, colonial churches and stilt villages in the privacy of their suite. Guided shore excursions include enlightening visits to remote Buddhist temples and onto Cambodia’s vast Tonle Sap Lake before continuing on to Angkor Wat.
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