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There are many reasons to travel on a luxury river cruise versus a more traditional large-ship river or ocean cruise. Consider the smaller ship size and access to off-the-beaten-path ports as well as the more intimate and engaging guest experience, with fewer passengers and more personalized attention due to a higher staff to guest ratio. 

But these advantages are only part of the compelling story that Aqua Expeditions has created for the travelers it transports along the Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia and deep into the remote Peruvian Amazon. Its custom architected and designed Aria Amazon and Aqua Mekong cruise ships feature the luxury services and amenities of a five-star hotel. And they offer the experiential depth and breadth of discovery only possible with Aqua’s unique on-shore and water-based excursions curated by educated and knowledgeable native guides. There is simply no greater value offered by river cruise companies – bar none.

We define the “value” in five ways:

#1: A Theme of Constant Innovation
Since the definition of “luxury” evolves over time in line with guest lifestyles, Aqua Expeditions understands that so too must its cruises. The continual updates to cruise itineraries, menus, excursions, and the recent refurbishing of the Aria Amazon ship are examples of the imperative toward continual innovation embedded in the company culture by Founder and CEO Francesco Galli Zugaro. He enlisted the talented Peruvian designer Jordi Puig to upgrade the glass-walled design suites, the spa, and the dining and lounge areas, which include a river-view Jacuzzi. On the Aqua Mekong, Singapore-based NOOR Design crafted spaces like the outdoor cinema, top-deck infinity pool, and screening room—firsts for any Mekong River cruise line.

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#2: Going Above and Beyond
At its core, the guest experience at Aqua Expeditions is centered around the closeness of the relationship between the guests and staff. Aqua considers its staff to be its secret weapon and handpicks each of them accordingly, looking for team members who have that ideal combination of expertise and local knowledge, smarts, flexibility, and creativity—not to mention an outgoing and highly engaging personality. The one-to-one (or more) staff-to-guest ratio guarantees that travelers enjoy outstanding service  - personalized, on-point, and on a first-name basis from day one. It’s enough to inspire impressive levels of guest loyalty (and likely many return trips).

#3: Offering Exclusive Insider Access
Intrepid, engaged, and curious about the world, Aqua guests put a premium on immersive in-country experiences. They are seasoned world travelers with high expectations. Aqua Expeditions’ Mekong and Amazon handcrafted itineraries deliver unique experiences including excursions that provide guests with insider insights about the history, economy, indigenous traditions, and local communities in each of their destinations. Biking and kayaking through villages with impromptu side stops to learn about local farming; shopping and joining village celebrations; enjoying a cocktail at sunset on a private island; witnessing Buddhist blessing ceremonies and  visiting working artist studios are among the exclusive opportunities for  Aqua guests to soak up local culture.  Onboard activities like chef-hosted cooking classes highlighting local ingredients, nightly guide presentations about Aqua destinations, and al fresco movie nights featuring destination classics enhance guest appreciation of the Amazon and the Mekong regions.

#4: Celebrating Gourmet Flavors
As anyone who’s been on a cruise knows, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are a big part life on board. On an Aqua Expeditions cruise, each of these meals is taken to a Michelin-star level thanks to recipes and menus custom-designed by world-renowned consulting chefs from Peru and Southeast Asia. From the beginning, Aqua Expeditions has celebrated the talents of Pedro Miguel Schiafinno, award-winning Chef at Lima’s Malabar, and David Thompson, a Michelin star talent with restaurants Sailors Thai, Long Chim of Sydney, and Nahm in Bangkok. Using the freshest of ingredients sourced locally, the culinary teams on the Aria Amazon and Aqua Mekong carefully craft meals that appropriately reflect the flavors of each region and are as beautifully presented as in any five-star restaurant. Aqua’s emphasis on guest service is key to its dining program with servers keeping close track of guests’ likes and dislikes, right down to their favorite before and after-dinner drinks.

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#5: Pampering with Perks
The true difference in luxury experienced on an Aqua Expeditions cruise is in the details. You’ll notice this everywhere you turn on its cruise ships: bathrooms stocked with upscale products; suites outfitted with the highest thread-count  linens; complimentary premium beer and wines throughout the day. Luxury also informs the outstanding level of guest service on these cruises. Defining touches include the warm towels that await guests as they return from their daily land adventures, the way shoes are whisked away to be cleaned post-excursions and discretely returned to a guest’s suite each evening and the flexibility the staff showcases to each guest’s specific needs. It’s all part of what sets Aqua Expeditions apart—and what makes every cruise smooth sailing.