Aqua Blu Review and Specifications
Specifications of Aqua Blu
|Year built||1968 / Age : 51|
|Builder||J.W. Brooke & Co / Brooke Marine (Lowestoft, England)|
|Class||yacht cruise ship|
|Building cost||USD 10 million|
|Operator||Aqua Expeditions Indonesia|
|Speed||12 kn / 22 kph / 14 mph|
|Length (LOA)||60 m / 197 ft|
|Beam (width)||11 m / 36 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||1140 gt|
|Decks with cabins||4|
|Sister-ships||HMS Bulldog, HMS Fox, HMS Fawn|
|Former names||HMS Beagle, MY Titan|
Review of Aqua Blu
MV Aqua Blu cruise ship is a premium yacht designed by Cor D Rover BV (Amsterdam Holland-based yacht exterior and interior design studio). The ship was previously named HMS Beagle (British Royal Navy survey vessel built in 1968) and drydock reconstructed and refurbished in 2018-2019 before entering service for the new shipowner Aqua Expeditions. Aqua Blu's fleetmates are the riverboats Aqua Nera (2020, on Peruvian Amazon), Aqua Mekong (2014, on Mekong River) and Aria Amazon (2010, Peruvian Amazon).
Scheduled for inauguration in November 2019, this is first coastal cruise ship of Aqua Expeditions as well as the first long-range expedition-class cruise yacht permanently based in Southeast Asia's East Indonesian Archipelago. Currently, the top-luxury ship is owned by Aqua Expeditions (2008-founded, Singapore-based cruise travel company).
This passenger vessel has the highest classifications - by ISM (International Safety Management), RINA Group (Registro Italiano Navale) and SOLAS (International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea). The ship features Quantum Zero Speed stabilizers providing comfort while in motion (cruising) or at rest (anchored or berthed). The vessel also has two Zodiac 4.2m RIB rescue boats (powered by Mariner 25 HP engines), modern radio comms, satellite phone, separate battery pack (emergency power), flares/signals, automatic defibrillator. Each cabin is fitted with smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
Shipboard facilities and amenities
Launch boats (used for passenger tendering, landings and shoreside excursions) include two Alson Flash 750 (powered Evinrude E-Tech 225hp engines) with capacity 10 passengers each. Also complimentary are provided seakayaks, stand-up paddleboards, diving and snorkeling gear (scuba tanks, masks, fins). Certified guides lead all diving tours.
Rarely-found on yachts facilities are the Sun Deck's outdoor plunge pool and the Spa (treatment rooms for massages). Among the 25 crew are Cruise Director, Dive Instructor and four tour guides.
- Sun Deck (deck 5) offers 360-degree seaviews and houses an outdoor BBQ/barbecue seating area with wraparound lounge sofas and umbrellas. This is also the location for morning yoga classes, evening grill parties and night stargazing.
- Bridge Deck (deck 4) houses the Navigation Bridge (aka Wheelhouse), an aft-located outdoor Jacuzzi (large whirlpool hot-tub), lounge beds, Gym (with modern fitness equipment) and indoor Spa (Balinese massages and aromatherapy provided by certified staff). Bridge Deck also houses Category 1 cabins.
- Forecastle Deck (deck 3) houses the Sky Lounge Bar, Library and TV Room. Meals are served at the aft-located alfresco dining and seating area. Forecastle Deck also houses Category 1 cabins.
- Main Deck (Lobby/deck 2) houses the ship entrance, Reception (24-hour Guest Services Desk), Dining Room/Bar Salon (serving refined Indonesian-inspired cuisine), as well as cabins categories 2 and 3.
- On Lower Deck (deck 1) are located all staff/crew cabins as well as passenger cabins in categories 2 and 3.
mv Aqua Blu cruise prices are inclusive of all meals onboard, all excursions, beverages (non-alcoholic, house wine, beer), the transfers to/from the boat (with the recommended flights).
The Aqua Blu yacht has a total of 15 oceanview/outside staterooms across 4 decks and in 3 suite grades. The ship has 2 "family cabins" (with interconnecting doors) - room pairs 401-402 and 301-302. All cabins are with modern furnishing, large wardrobe, electronic safe box (in the closet), wall-mounted reading lamps, bedside cabinets with lamps, premium laminate flooring, en-suite bathroom (walk-in shower, overhead rain shower, natural organic bath- and hair products).
- Category 1 (sized 25-31 m2 / 270-335 ft2) includes 5 suites, 2 of which are on Bridge Deck and 3 on Forecastle Deck. These suites are with King-size bed (non-convertible to twins), interior sofa, lounge area (in select cabins), walk-in closet (room 302), large round windows (room 301) or large rectangular windows (all other Category 1 suites).
- Category 2 (sized 22-31 m2 / 235-335 ft2) is with porthole (oval-shaped non-opening window and includes 7 suites, 4 of which are on Main Deck and 3 on Lower Deck. These suites are with King-size bed (convertible to twins), interior sofa, lounge area (select cabins).
- Category 3 (sized 12-14 m2 / 130-150 ft2) includes 3 suites, 1 of which is on Main Deck and 2 are on Lower Deck. These suites are with round-shaped small porthole windows (non-opening) and twin beds (non-convertible to double).
MV Aqua Blu Indonesia cruise itinerary
Aqua Expeditions Aqua Blu cruises through the East Indonesia's islands, leaving from homeports Ambon (Maluku Islands), Labuan Bajo and Maumere (Flores Island, Nusa Tenggara), and Sorong (Raja Ampat). The ship is deployed in the region for year-round operations. The 7-day coastal cruise itineraries primarily serve 3 destinations - Raja Ampat (December through February, with 10 departures per year), Bali-Komodo National Park (April through September, 23 departures), and Ambon and Spice/Maluku Islands (October through November, 7 departures).
With Aqua Blu, Aqua Expeditions customers can travel to some of the best diving and snorkeling sites in the Coral Triangle - tropical waters and islands part of Indonesia, Malaysia, PNG, Philippines, Solomon Islands and East Timor. Select 12-day cruisetour itineraries are operated with 4 departures per year, each featuring a different/custom-made route. Prices for 7- and 12-day Aqua Blu cruises range between USD 7525-16475 per person (double occupancy cabin rates).
Aqua Blu wiki
In November 2018, Aqua Expeditions announced increasing fleet's size by 150% and expanding company's operational destinations with a 2-year, USD 28 million (EUR 25m) investment plan backed by Bison Capital (US-based private equity firm). In a written statement, Galli Zugaro (company's CEO) announced that the investment allows Aqua Expeditions to introduce coastal cruises and new adventure travel destinations.
The cruising yacht Aqua Blu was originally designed and constructed as the British navy vessel "HMS Beagle" (HMS stands for "Her Majesty Ship") of the so-called Bulldog Class. Of this series were produced all 4 units - HMS Bulldog (A317, launched July 12, 1967, sold in 2001), HMS Beagle (A319, launched September 7, 1967, sold 2002), HMS Fox (A320, launched November 6, 1967, sold 1989) and HMS Fawn (A325, launched February 29, 1968, sold 1991).
Shipbuilder was the Lowestoft England-based Brooke Marine (aka Brooke Yachts). The shipbuilding company was founded in 1874 (as JW Brooke & Co) and became defunct in 1992. Each of the Bulldog-Class ships had midship-located galley/kitchen (deck 2), wardroom (mess hall for officers above midshipman), Senior Rates Mess. On deck 3 were all crew cabins (all air-conditioned) including one fore-located mess with 28 beds (for Junior Ratings), 2-bed cabins (for Senior Rates) and 4 cabins for Officers.
HMS Beagle and the 3 other sisterships were all designed for overseas service, but actually spent most of their military careers off the UK coast patrolling the shores not covered by side-scan sonars. These 4 warships were eventually decommissioned and sold to private companies. Two were converted into luxury motor yachts - HMS Beagle (IMO 4902921) into Aqua Blu (MMSI 355596000), and HMS Fox (IMO 8728359) into Toy Heaven (MMSI 518415000). HMS Beagle was decommissioned on February 7, 2002, and sold in March 2002 for GBP 750,000 to a Poole England-based yacht company. In 2002, the boat was refitted into a 4-deck private yacht (with capacity 22 passengers plus 20 crew)) and renamed "MY Titan" (MY="Motor Yacht").
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