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Aqua Mare

Aqua Expeditions debuts in the Galapagos Islands with superyacht AQUA MARE in May 2022

Aqua Expeditions has announced the expansion of its fleet of luxury boutique vessels with the introduction of Aqua Mare, the first true superyacht to sail the pristine Galapagos Islands. The seven-suite Aqua Mare commenced operations on May 6th, 2022 and offers a choice of two highly personalised seven-night itineraries exploring the Archipelagos’ East and West regions, as well as two 14-night voyages for the Galapagos Islands’ adventure cruise; a total of 4 curated cruises.

The choice of the Galapagos Islands as the destination for Aqua Expeditions’ fifth vessel holds special significance as it is where the company’s CEO and Founder, Francesco Galli Zugaro, began his professional career in luxury travel. This is also the place which inspired him and co-founder Fred Brown to launch their own brand of immersive small-ship expeditions in the Peruvian Amazon River.

“Ever since I left Ecuador in 2006 with the clarity to build my own business, I have wanted to return to the Galapagos Islands with our very own luxury expedition ship. It has been 15 years since we ventured to Peru as a family and then onward to Asia to finally come full circle back to where it all started in the iconic destination that is the Enchanted Islands,” adds Francesco.

Designed and built by the world-renowned Italian CRN yard with custom interiors by François Zuretti, Aqua Mare accommodates a total of 16 guests in seven individually designed suites. The 80 square meter Owner’s Suite is the largest suite in the Galapagos Archipelago with a 20 square meter bathroom. The remaining suites offer a minimum of 20 square meters each, showcasing the attention to detail of passionate Italian craftsmanship, design, and décor. Interior decoration received a personalized makeover of contemporary elegance from customized Bali-sourced plateware for Aqua to 17th century prints featuring endemic wildlife curated by Aqua Expeditions’ Director Birgit Galli Zugaro in 2021. Superbly brilliant!

“There are some nice ships in the Galapagos Islands, but there is nothing like our Aqua Mare. She caught the attention of our son Massimo during one of those lockdown days in Singapore while we were searching for yachts to purchase, and we knew immediately he had found something special,” said Galli Zugaro.

At 50 meters and 640 gross tons, Aqua Mare is one of its kind, boasting 30 percent more indoor volume than most yachts in her size class. Spread over four decks featuring shaded and open sun decks, a six-person jacuzzi, outdoor barbecue area and an early morning workout zone, it is the perfect base from which to explore the marine and land-based endemic wildlife the Archipelago is famous for.

The entire ship is lined with Italian veneer walls and plenty of indoor and outdoor dining venues to provide multiple settings for either private meals or group celebrations of sixteen. A highlight of the superyacht is its unique ’Beach Club’ located at the aft of the lower deck, complete with a hydraulic opening panoramic beam-to-beam window – the Galapagos Islands’ first and only.

Sixteen crew including two naturalist guides ensure a world-class five-star experience that is second to none in the Archipelago. Exclusivity is combined with exceptional service enabled by a one-to-one crew to guest ratio, the islands’ most personalized ratio.

Having gone on a similar cruise on the Aqua Mekong in 2016, we can gladly proclaim that the service is impeccable, homely and the crew absolutely friendly and helpful!

Two custom-made military-grade black rib tenders with central steering consoles ensure Aqua Mare’s twice-daily expeditions are a true adventure. Led by two world-class naturalist guides, each group is capped at only eight guests – another way Aqua Expeditions ensures only the best for their guests. Aqua Mare is also equipped with double kayaks, paddle boards, and snorkeling gear enhancing the immersive explorations on each of the islands’ visitor sites.

Award-winning Peruvian chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino -- the long-time culinary mastermind behind the Amazonia-inspired menus of Aria Amazon and Aqua Nera -- is once again partnering with Aqua Expeditions as Consulting Chef for Aqua Mare. Taking inspiration from the Coast to the Pacific, Chef Schiaffino will deliver a Peruvian Japanese Nikkei-inspired menu consisting of only the freshest sustainable ingredients sourced from local suppliers all the way to the Andes of Ecuador. Highlights to look forward to do include Galapagueña lobster lettuce wraps with Acevichado dressing, delicate potato llapingachos, tuna crudo, barbecued plantains, and shrimp ceviche. What an impressive lineup, to end off a day of fun activities!

The highly anticipated expansion of Aqua Expeditions into the Galapagos Islands is a story come full circle not only in relation to the company’s origin but also binding together two of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems, the Galapagos and East Indonesian Archipelagos; both sites of inspiration for one of science’s greatest breakthroughs.

“It’s Darwin’s legacy that really gives meaning to my vision of 15 years ago. Today, who would have guessed that we would be bridging the gap between the Galapagos Islands and Indonesia’s Coral Triangle, where Aqua Mare’s bigger sister yacht Aqua Blu navigates and where another British naturalist and explorer, Alfred Russel Wallace, co-discovered the theory of evolution and natural selection,” remarked Galli Zugaro.

Together with this summer’s recent launch of Aqua Nera on the Peruvian Amazon, the announcement of Aqua Mare is a testament to the company’s steadfast commitment to the experiential travel niche; and a yet another confirmation that its acclaimed small-ship expeditions in remote wildlife- and nature-focused destinations are poised for a strong comeback.

Rates on Aqua Mare start from USD 9,450 per person for a 7-night itinerary including all meals and beverages (non-alcoholic, premium wines, and beer), local transfer to/from recommended flights; all excursions, Galapagos Park entrance fee and INGALA transit card; laundry service and internet. A 7-night charter for up to 16 passengers starts from USD 196,000, including house spirits and a private masseuse 5 hours per day.

Aqua Mare departs weekly from May 6th, 2022, onwards and is now open for booking via or your preferred travel agent.

Contact Aqua Expeditions at for more information.

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