The bar is at the center of the top deck between the lecture room and the outdoor observation deck. It is a popular place to hang out between the end of the day's activities and dinner.
Naturalists often give lectures and show films on such topics as the wildlife of the Amazon or the science behind high- and low-water seasons. The relaxing, air-conditioned lecture room has many deep, sink-in chairs, lamps and a viewing screen -- and is conveniently located next to the bar. Those who want to play chess, checkers or cards can sit at elegant handcrafted game tables.
The staff has its own four-man band comprised of two guitarists (one of whom is the lead singer and also plays Peruvian pipes), a drummer and a percussionist who accompanies with gourd maracas. The group usually gives a preview halfway through the trip, and then does a longer, more elaborate performance on the last night. On our cruise, all the diners joined into the festivities by dancing around the room while clapping to the music.
In high-water season (October/November through May/June) there's much more time spent in the skiffs, whereas in low water season (May/June through October/November), there's more hiking in the rainforest. The company provides rubber boots, walking sticks and ponchos. Attendants pulled them off our feet in the boat before we stepped on clean decks: just one example of how the staff foresees every need.
Delfin II's heavy metal skiffs can easily slip into the channels and lakes off the tributaries. The naturalists are skilled at spotting many types of birds, napping sloths, iguanas and crocodiles from a distance, and then easing up close so passengers can take pictures. Furthermore, they know just the right techniques for dipping their hands into the water to grab anacondas, frogs and turtles, and for shooing away monkeys who look like they are about to swing into the boat. Since the Pacaya Samiria Reserve is so rich in wildlife, any outing will have many sightings. The ship has checklists, and most passengers do daily recording with the naturalists, so they will have a list to take home at the end of the trip.
Optional outings include kayaking, swimming in a clear lake reached through channels, pink dolphin watching, fishing for piranhas in a secluded cove where the landscape is bayou-like and several visits to native communities where the residents sell crafts. All shore-based trips are included in the price of the cruise.
Between expeditions, passengers often hang out on the third level, which was added in 2014, with its open-shelf library of fiction and nature books. It's a good place to sit and appreciate the high level of craftsmanship involved in the building of Delfin II. The wide space shows off the polished native Marupa wood on the floors and walls, and the intricate weaving of palm fronds in the ceiling. With many comfortable chairs, it's an ideal place to sit and look out at the water, thumb through one of the many Amazon picture books, play cards, chat with others or enjoy the contemporary art. Another plus: the bartender walks through often to see if anyone wants a beverage.
There is no reception desk, but staff are always close at hand if you need assistance.
Massage services are available by appointment in the small spa room, which has one table. The fitness room has an elliptical trainer. Both rooms have wall-to-wall windows so as to not lose sight of the river. Passengers can get exercise off the ship with hiking, kayaking and swimming excursions.
More and more families are coming during the American summer months and major holidays, especially Christmas and spring break. The minimum age is 7, and kids 7 to 11 get a 20 percent discount on cruise fares. Children are usually grouped together in one skiff, where the naturalist gives them special pointers. Their special activities include: night explorations for creepy, crawly things like alligators, frogs and spiders; fishing; kayaking; cooking classes; swimming with the pink dolphins; and visits to local communities to see how families make crafts to support themselves. Children can go to their own specially designed lectures and workshops, giving their parents siesta time, and they can also attend the adult programs if they choose. Children can also get American/European meal choices -- items like grilled cheese sandwiches, hamburgers, peanut butter and jelly, or custom personal pizzas.
Some rooms can be interconnected for families, and there is one suite with bunk beds.