Aqua Mare Galapagos Itinerary, Current Position, Ship Review | CruiseMapper (2024)

The 1998-built (as Pestifer) cruise ship Aqua Mare is a motorized superyacht deployed year-round in Equador's Galapagos Archipelago. The luxurious boat was constructed in Ancona Italy by the Italian shipbuilder Italam 86 Srl (CRN Shipyard) and designed by Francois Zuretti from Studio Scanu Srl (Viareggio Italy-based company specializing in interior- exterior- and naval architecture design).

The vessel (IMO number 1005942) is currently Ecuador-flagged (MMSI 735060248) and registered in Guayaquil.

The vessel's previous registered shipowner and manager was White Eagle Yachting LLC (Wilmington NC USA-based company). Since 2021, Aqua Mare is fully owned by Aqua Expeditions/fleet, being purchased in Istanbul Turkey on June 1, 2021. Aqua Expeditions started revenue operations with Aqua Mare in June 2022.

Aqua Mare Galapagos Itinerary, Current Position, Ship Review | CruiseMapper (1)

Following the acquisition, the superyacht was extensively drydock refurbished and refitted/remodeled in 2021. The drydocking project included adding two more staterooms, as well as complete interior makeover and exterior (hull and superstructure) cleaning and repainting.

Francesco Galli Zugaro (the company's owner) initially planned to order a newbuild vessel but due to the Coronavirus crisis, these plans were eventually canceled and instead was acquired a second-hand superyacht. In comparison to other boats with similar size (LOA length 50 m, width 9 m), Aqua Mare has ~1/3rd more indoor volume/gross-tonnage (641 GT-tons).

Aqua Mare was christened by godmother Birgit Galli Zugaro (the owner's wife and the company's Director).

When compared to other Galapagos-based smaller ships and yachts, Aqua Mare is one of the very few that provide private superyacht travel and vacation experiences. The max capacity (of just 16 guests) and 1:1 crew-to-guest ratio (16 guests served by 16 crew members) makes Aqua Mare a perfect joice for private charters and customized family- and small-group vacations. Aqua Mare can be also short-term exclusively hired as both voyage charter (hiring the yacht and crew for a single voyage) and time charter (hiring the yacht for a specific period).

Among the crew are two naturalists serving as tour guides on the twice-daily organized expeditions. These excursions are on the superyacht's two custom-built tender boats, each carrying 10 people (8 passengers plus 2 crew).

Decks and Cabins

Aqua Mare staterooms (7 total) are all outside but none has a private step-out balcony.

The largest accommodation is the Owner's Suite (80 m2/860 ft2) served by a dedicated steward.

All passenger staterooms are with custom beds (King-sized double or twins, brand mattresses and linens), premium wood paneling (walnut veneer), vintage artworks, ensuite bathrooms (with Italian marble tops, walk-in glass showers, luxury towels, organic toiletries).

The boat has 4 decks, of which 3 are with cabins.

Shipboard facilities and amenities

The Beach Club (located aft on Lower Deck) is a multipurpose room used for briefings (before boarding the tenders for shore excursions) and as a bar lounge/cinema. From the Beach Club is also directly accessed the Marina (a water-level platform for launching watersports activities). The superyacht provides complimentary snorkeling gear to each passenger during the entire voyage. The snorkeling equipment includes wetsuit, tube, mask, and fins. Besides the tender boats, the yacht carries its own non-motorized water toys, including double kayaks (8x) and standup paddleboards (2x).

All meals are served in the Indoor Dining Room (aft on Main Deck). The venue features a large 8-seat dining table made of Carrara marble, plus two 4-seat round tables also with marble tops. The largest venue is the Panoramic Lounge (midship on Upper Deck). Adjacent to the Lounge is the Aft Outdoor Dining area with a communal table and the capacity to accommodate all guests in a single seating.

Aqua Mare Galapagos Itinerary, Current Position, Ship Review | CruiseMapper (2)

The yacht's menus and dining experience are developed/overseen by Pedro Miguel Schiaffino (1976-born Peruvian chef) who specializes in Amazonian cuisine. He is also the owner of the Malabar restaurant in Lima Peru. Signature dishes include Llapingachos (Ecuadorean Potato Pancakes), Tuna Crudo, BBQed Grilled Plantains, Shrimp Ceviche. Traditionally for Aqua Expeditions, most of the food/ingredients and beverages are locally sourced from Ecuadorian farmers, fishermen, food/drink producers, and merchants.

On the Sundeck (Deck 4) are the Sunbathing Area (aft, with padded sunbeds and a large outdoor jacuzzi/6-person hot tub), an Outdoor Workout Area/Gym and an Outdoor Barbeque Area (forward) and a Shaded Seating/Dining Area (midship).

The yacht's other facilities include the Wheelhouse/Navigation Bridge (forward on Upper Deck), Lobby Bar, and Library and Shop (midship on Main Deck).

The ship's minimum age requirement is 5 years of age. Children under 12 must travel with 2 full paying adults.

At the bars are accepted cash and credit cards.

Recommended daily gratuities/tipping per person is $25 (crew) and $25 (tour guide).

Aqua Expeditions Galapagos itineraries

Aqua Mare Galapagos itineraries are two (East and West/both with duration 7 nights/8 days) which are also combinable into a 2-week B2B/back-to-back cruise roundtrip from Santa Cruz Island.

Aqua Expeditions Galapagos voyages are priced per person, with fares ranging between ~USD 11,000 (Category 5 cabin) and ~USD 30,000 (Owner Suite). The all-inclusive pricing includes satellite Internet/phone/WiFi, local alcoholic drinks (house wines and beer/Owner's Suite also includes premium beer and spirits), laundry service, Galapagos Park entrance fee, transit control card, onboard accommodation and facilities, all meals, unlimited beverages (bottled water, coffees, teas, soft drinks), all excursions, a certified bilingual tour guide (for every 8 tourists), equipment (snorkeling mask-tube-fins, wetsuit, kayaks, paddleboards), airport-ship-airport transfers.

West Galapagos Expedition Cruise itinerary

The 8-day "West Galapagos Expedition Cruise" itinerary starts on Santa Cruz Island (embarkation in Puerto Ayora and Manzanillo Ranch) and ends on Baltra Island (debarkation).

On DAY2 is visited Floreana Island (Punta Cormorant anchorage).

On DAY3 is visited Isabela Island (Punta Moreno anchorage).

On DAY4 is visited Fernandina Island (Bahia Urbina Bay anchorage, Punta Espinoza, Caleta Tagus Cove excursion, Darwin Lake hike).

On DAY5 is visited Santiago Island (Puerto Egas anchorage, Caleta Bucanero Cove tour, Playa Espumilla Beach).

On DAY6 is visited Rabida Island and Santa Cruz Island (tender boat tour to Caleta Tortuga Negra Cove).

On DAY7 is visited Seymour Norte Island (tender boat tour to Mosquera Island).

On DAY8 are visited Daphne Island and Baltra Island, where the cruise ends.

East Galapagos Expedition Cruise itinerary

The 8-day "East Galapagos Expedition Cruise" itinerary starts on Baltra Island (transfer from Baltra Airport to the yacht for embarkation) and ends on Santa Cruz Island (debarkation, transfer to Baltra Island for the return/home flight).

On DAY2 is visited Genovesa Island (tender boat tour to El Barranco).

On DAY3 are visited Santiago Island (Bahia Sullivan Bay) and Sombrero Chino Island.

On DAY4 are visited Bartolome Island (Pinnacle Rock hike) and Santa Cruz Island (Cerro Dragon Hill).

On DAY5 is visited Santa Cruz Island (Puerto Ayora, Darwin Research Station, El Chato Ranch/Giant Tortoise Reserve).

On DAY6 is visited Espanola Island (Punta Suarez anchorage).

On DAY7 are visited Santa Fe Island and Plaza Sur Island (off Santa Cruz).

On DAY8 is visited Santa Cruz Island (debarkation, transfer to Baltra).

Aqua Mare Galapagos Itinerary, Current Position, Ship Review | CruiseMapper (2024)

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