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Best Amazon River Cruises of 2016

  |   Cruise News

Each year, several new additions join our line-up of beloved Amazon cruise ships, adding to the variety of styles in which you can sail through the stunning Amazon Rainforest. Whether you’re looking for an intimate boutique cruise ship to bring you to the depths of the Ecuadorian Amazon, a luxury riverboat sailing you into the dense rainforest of Peru, or the comfort of a modern cruise liner as you glide through Amazonian waterways in Brazil, we have something for you. A mix of beloved classics and new frontrunners, here are the Best Amazon River Cruises of 2016 to help you narrow your search and travel the Amazon the way you dream of.


2016's Top Amazon River Cruises



Suite on the Zafiro Amazon Cruise.

Suite on the Zafiro Amazon Cruise.

1. Zafiro (Peru)

This state-of-the-art luxury Amazon river vessel began sailing the Peruvian Amazon in October 2015, and continues to bring guests up close to the natural wonders of the jungle, with exotic wildlife off-board and luxury service on-board. 

The sister-ship of the Amatista, the Zafiro is likewise known for highly-trained expert guides, a focus on hospitality, and attention to detail on board that keeps guests comfortable. 


What makes the Zafiro unique is her stylish design and modern facilities: on-board you’ll find 19 spacious suites, all with air-conditioning, ensuite bathrooms, and spectacular views from floor-to-windows. Those on the upper deck will also get to enjoy the view from private balconies. 

Amongst the many standout features of the boat, some of the most remarkable are the fully-accessible suite for those with mobility issues, exercise and massage rooms, and an outdoor Jacuzzi on the Observation Deck (itself equipped with sunloungers and a bar lounge). 


This vessel is well adapted for families, who will be interested in the Lower Deck Suites, four of which connect, or the Zafiro Suite which comes with a sofa bed suitable for children 12 years and younger. 

The Zafiro operates 4, 5 and 8-day departures to the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve in the Peruvian Amazon, a protected area that allows guests to explore some of the most diverse and well-preserved wildlife in the entire Amazon Rainforest. 

Delfin I Amazon Cruise

Delfin I Amazon Cruise

2. Delfin I (Peru)

The utmost in boutique cruising, the Delfin I will impress you with its stunning décor, gourmet dishes prepared individually with exotic local ingredients, onboard wildlife-spotting guide, and intimate and relaxing atmosphere.


Great for romantic getaways (and perfect for honeymooners), this smaller ship allows you the privacy you want and the service to go with it. With only 4 luxurious master suites, prepare to be pampered by attentive staff, ready to deliver the finest in cruising customer service. Each suite has floor-to-ceiling windows and private terraces offering breathtaking views of the rainforest scenery- consider having room service delivered to your terrace for sunset, or unwind in your private cool water whirlpool bath (available in lower deck rooms). Or perhaps you’ll choose to get to know the other travelers aboard, and enjoy the all-inclusive drinks package on the upper deck. 


Adventurous types will also enjoy the outdoor equipment on the Delfin I available for your use. Go kayaking, swimming or paddle boarding alongside the boat in between exploring the remarkable flora and fauna of the rainforest with eagle-eyed guides.

The Delfin travels on 4-day departures through the remote and pristinely-preserved Pacaya Samiria National Reserve in the Peruvian Amazon. 



Aria Amazon Cruise Suite

Aria Amazon Cruise Suite

3. Aria Amazon (Peru)

Custom-built by the renowned Peruvian architect Jordi Puig, this 147-foot-long luxury cruise ship offers an extraordinary level of comfort for its guests. It is the sister ship of the Aqua Amazon, and together they maintain one of the highest standards of luxury cruising in the Amazonas. 

The Aria Amazon has 16 oversized design suites, beautifully decorated and fully air-conditioned. These 240 square feet rooms feature en suite sitting areas, outward-facing picture-windows to offer panoramic views of the Amazon, and four of the sixteen rooms can be interconnected (perfect for families!).


Indulge your palate on the Aria Amazon, where you’ll find some of the best on-board food and drink: top local beers and incredible house wines have been selected by a professional sommelier, and gourmet dishes are prepared fresh daily with exotic Amazonian ingredients you won’t find anywhere else.

Offering the highest level of customer service in Amazon cruising, the Aria’s friendly and attentive staff will be ready to attend to your every need. With an almost 1:1 crew-to-passenger ratio, one of the best in the Amazon, you can be sure you’ll receive only the best in service.


Adventurous travelers will enjoy the athletic equipment on-board. Mountain bikes can be taken out for the land-based portions of the itinerary, or consider floating through the the Amazon’s tributary rivers on kayaks for a quieter moment in the rainforest.


The Aria Amazon sails on 4, 5 and 8-day itineraries through the remarkable Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve in Peru. One of the most popular cruises in the Amazon, the Aria Amazon gets booked up very quickly so make sure to check for availability well in advance.  

Anakonda Amazon Cruise.

Anakonda Amazon Cruise.

4. Anakonda (Ecuador)

Ecuador’s only luxury, boutique riverboat, the Anakonda is the best cruise for exploring the Ecuadorian Amazon in supreme comfort. Built in 2013, this 40-passenger riverboat is known for highly knowledgeable guides, state-of-the-art-facilities, and an itinerary that will take you through some of South America’s most incredible nature. 

The Anakonda has 14 spacious Standard Suites, and 4 slightly larger Deluxe Suites, all with private Jacuzzi baths and balconies. Fully air-conditioned and offering floor-to-ceiling windows for breathtaking views of the passing scenery, you’ll find plenty of time to unwind in the in-room sitting areas or upon the plush beds. Or perhaps, relax upstairs on the expansive observation deck (complete with lazy chairs and an outdoor Jacuzzi), or in the wonderful al fresco lounge with fresh cocktails and enveloping views of the Amazon.


Spend your time off the boat with expert naturalist guides who will show you the most impressive flora and fauna the Amazon has to offer, or get a work-out in with a kayaking excursion along the Amazon’s waters. Those who want to immerse themselves even more in the nature may consider spending a night glamping in the jungle (at an additional cost).

Perfect for those traveling with children, the Anakonda is one of the most family-friendly vessels in the Amazon. 4 of the Standard Suites can be interconnected, and all of the suites can easily fit an additional bed. Adults can indulge in the gourmet Amazonian dishes, while children can find what they like on the special kid’s menu. The Anakonda’s travel concierge can also keep children happy and entertained with child-specific activities, as well as on-board games, films, and puzzles.


The Anakonda offers 4, 5 and 8-day intineraries, sailing through the ‘El Oriente’ region in Ecuador’s Amazon, and around the Limoncocha Wildlife Reserve and Yasuni National Park (Ecuador’s largest protected animal reserve).  

Top deck of the Iberostar Amazon cruise.

Top deck of the Iberostar Amazon cruise.

5. Iberostar (Brazil)

Those seeking cruise liner comfort in Brazil’s Amazon need look no further: the 150-passenger Iberostar ‘Grand Amazon’ offers incredible, all-inclusive journeys in the Brazilian Amazon with all of the comfort of the best ocean-going cruise ships. Experience the exotic Amazon from the luxurious comfort of this five-star cruise ship for a trip you won’t forget. 

With 75 fully-equipped cabins, exclusive bars, a choice of two restaurants, a wide range of entertainment, a conference room for conventions, a convenience store, two swimming pools, a Jacuzzi, a disco, massage room, gym and so much more, you won’t run out of things to do on-board between your incredible off-shore jungle-exploration activities. 


The Iberostar is especially unique amongst Amazon cruise ships, in that it has a wheelchair accessible cabin and elevator to all floors making it the best Amazon cruise ship for those with disabilities. 


While there is a minimum age requirement of 8 years old, the Iberostar remains a great option for families with older children. Children 8-12 receive a 50% discount on the already low rates, and each deck has 4 interconnectable cabins that are ideal for families. On-board activities include lectures, shows, local folkloric-themed festivals, bingo, live music & dance, and several cabins come equipped with TVs. The wide selection of restaurants and buffet-style meals will help appease any picky eaters, while still offering fine dining (and included alcoholic beverages) to keep the adults happy!

The Iberostar sails from the Brazilian city of Manaus, making several stops for jungle excursions and day trips along the route. 


Enjoy the exotic and untamed wild of the Amazon from the luxurious comfort of these Amazon cruise ships, renowned for their itineraries, facilities and world-class service. Whether you’re traveling as a family, friends, couple, or on your own, you’ll find exactly what you need on one of these Best Amazon Cruises of 2016. If you would like to book one of these cruises, or want more information, please contact us and one of our travel specialists will be happy to help you. 

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About Rainforest Cruises

Rainforest Cruises is a boutique travel company specializing in Amazon river cruises, Galapagos Islands tours, and Southeast Asia cruises. We provide you with the finest collection of cruises in Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Panama and Southeast Asia. As travel experts we have all the advice you need to help you find and book your dream cruise and an unforgettable adventure.