Cruise ships! Once the grand castles of the waves, now lately much-maligned, their reps left foundering, their privies overflowing.
But then, you haven’t seen the Aria, plying the Amazon and taking reservations right now.
Aria is the first luxury cruise ship in Peru. We have it on good authority that everything else is canoes and dengue fever.
Aria, though, offers weeklong river journeys down the Amazon that are short on actual danger but long on the three As: adventure, amenities and air-conditioning.
The ship herself is 147 feet of pampering.
To wit: private suites with panoramic views, king-sized beds sheeted with high-count Peruvian cotton and access to an outdoor lounge replete with plush loungers and a cold-water jacuzzi.
But you’ll want to spend equal time off the boat. Along with a platoon of naturalist guides, you can spend your days on motorized skiffs seeking out howler monkeys, black jaguars and Harpy eagles.
Or there’s always piranha fishing.
The three-, four- and seven-day Amazon trips can be booked all year. Meanwhile, starting in 2014, Aqua will be offering similar luxury expeditions along the Mekong River in Southeast Asia.