Aqua Expeditions River Cruises Review: Cruise Ship Guide, Itineraries, Bookings & Deals

Aqua Expeditions, a renowned ultra-luxury boutique expedition cruise line, has set itself apart in the industry by offering travelers unparalleled destination experiences paired with a near all-inclusive onboard luxury lifestyle. With a fleet of small river and ocean-going expedition vessels that carry a maximum of 40 passengers, Aqua Expeditions provides guests with intimate and immersive voyages that showcase some of the world’s most biodiverse destinations. Let’s delve into the key aspects that define the Aqua Expeditions cruise experience based on the provided sources. Aqua Expeditions stands out for its unrivaled destination experiences that allow guests to explore remote and captivating regions with expert guidance. The company operates voyages on the Mekong and Amazon Rivers, as well as the seas around the Galapagos and Indonesian Islands, offering a diverse range of itineraries that cater to different interests and preferences. From curated shore excursions to encounters with local wildlife and communities, Aqua Expeditions ensures that guests have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the unique cultures and landscapes of each destination. The small size of the expedition vessels allows for intimate and authentic experiences that go beyond traditional cruising.

In a Nutshell…

  1. Aqua Mekong: This state-of-the-art vessel cruises the Mekong Delta and the Peruvian Amazon. With 20 spacious suites featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, guests enjoy ever-changing Mekong panoramas. Offshore excursions are led by expert local guides, and the ship boasts amenities like a spa, gym, and river-facing plunge pool.
  2. Aria Amazon: Custom-built for exploring the Peruvian Amazon and the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, Aria Amazon offers 16 luxurious suites with majestic river and rainforest views. The top deck features a jacuzzi, lounge, and bar for relaxation.
  3. Aqua Nera: Setting a new standard for luxury river voyages on the Amazon, Aqua Nera draws inspiration from the Peruvian Amazon’s mystical black water lagoons. Guests savor rainforest-inspired cuisine by renowned chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino while expert naturalist guides lead small-group excursions.
  4. Ocean Cruises: Aqua Expeditions also explores pristine waters in East Indonesia and the Galapagos Islands aboard luxurious superyachts. These cruises offer unparalleled experiences, world-class dining, and expert-guided activities in biodiverse and culturally significant destinations.
  5. Small Group Experience: With only 16-40 guests per ship, Aqua’s small luxury cruises provide an unparalleled level of personalization. Experiences are curated to suit every guest’s desires.
  6. Floor-to-Ceiling Views: The vessels feature floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing constant views of the endless panorama. Guests witness hidden secrets, from floating villages to legendary pink dolphins.
  7. Award-Winning Design: Aqua Mekong and Aqua Nera showcase award-winning modern design, combining elegance with comprehensive amenities.
  8. Exclusive Crew-to-Guest Ratio: Expect a highly exclusive 1:1 crew-to-guest ratio, ensuring personalized service throughout the journey.
  9. World-Class Cuisine: Onboard dining is a highlight, with world-class cuisine served against stunning backdrops.
  10. Cultural Exploration: Aqua Expeditions’ cruises offer cultural immersion, wildlife encounters, and unforgettable adventures in some of the world’s most captivating regions.

History of the Aqua Expeditions River Cruises

Aqua Expeditions has carved a unique niche in the cruise industry, offering unparalleled luxury river cruising experiences in some of the world’s most exotic destinations. Founded in 2007 by Francesco Galli Zugaro, Aqua Expeditions set out to redefine river cruising by combining the comforts of a luxury hotel with the adventure of exploring remote and culturally rich regions. Since its inception, the company has garnered acclaim for its commitment to sustainability, cultural preservation, and exceptional guest service.

The history of Aqua Expeditions is one of innovation and dedication to providing guests with unforgettable travel experiences. The company’s first vessel, the Aqua Amazon, was launched in 2007, offering guests the opportunity to explore the Peruvian Amazon in style and comfort. The success of the Aqua Amazon paved the way for the expansion of Aqua Expeditions’ fleet, with the addition of the Aria Amazon in 2011 and the Aqua Mekong in 2014.

Aqua Expeditions’ commitment to sustainability is evident in every aspect of its operations. The company has implemented a number of initiatives to minimize its environmental impact, including the use of eco-friendly materials in its vessels, the implementation of waste management and recycling programs, and the support of local conservation projects. Aqua Expeditions also works closely with local communities to ensure that its operations benefit the people and ecosystems of the regions it visits.

In addition to its focus on sustainability, Aqua Expeditions is also known for its dedication to cultural preservation and responsible tourism. The company’s itineraries are carefully curated to showcase the rich cultural heritage of the regions it visits, with opportunities for guests to interact with local communities, artisans, and experts. Aqua Expeditions also partners with local organizations and guides to ensure that its guests have authentic and meaningful experiences during their travels.

The Aqua Expeditions fleet consists of three luxurious vessels: the Aqua Mekong, the Aqua Amazon, and the Aria Amazon. Each vessel is designed to provide guests with the utmost comfort and relaxation during their journey, with spacious suites, gourmet dining options, and a range of onboard amenities. The Aqua Mekong, which sails the Mekong River in Cambodia and Vietnam, features stylishly appointed suites with floor-to-ceiling windows, a sun deck with a plunge pool, and a spa offering traditional Asian treatments.

The Aqua Amazon and Aria Amazon offer guests the opportunity to explore the remote reaches of the Peruvian Amazon in comfort and style. Both vessels feature spacious suites with panoramic views of the river, a gourmet restaurant serving Peruvian cuisine, and a range of guided excursions led by expert naturalists and cultural guides. Guests can explore the rainforest on skiff excursions, visit local villages to learn about indigenous cultures, and even participate in conservation efforts to protect the Amazon’s delicate ecosystem.

Overall, Aqua Expeditions has established itself as a leader in luxury river cruising, offering guests unparalleled experiences in some of the world’s most exotic destinations. With its commitment to sustainability, cultural preservation, and exceptional guest service, Aqua Expeditions continues to set the standard for responsible and immersive travel experiences. Whether sailing the Amazon or the Mekong, guests can expect to be treated to a truly unforgettable journey with Aqua Expeditions.

Destinations of Aqua Expeditions River Cruises

  1. Mekong River (Cambodia and Vietnam):
    • Aqua Mekong glides along the historic Mekong River, immersing guests in a rich tapestry of culture and heritage. With expert local guides leading small groups, travelers explore the lower river basin, uncovering hidden gems and timeless traditions. The life-giving waters of Southeast Asia’s longest river await aboard this stylish vessel.
  1. Amazon River (Peru):
    • Embark on an award-winning expedition with Aqua Nera and Aria Amazon. These vessels navigate the mystical Amazon River, granting unprecedented access to Earth’s largest rainforest. Explore its intricate waterways, encounter diverse plant and animal life, and witness the magic of this biodiverse wonderland.
  1. Indonesia: Komodo, Raja Ampat, and Spice Islands:
    • Aqua Blu sails across Indonesia’s 18,000 tropical islands, straddling two mighty oceans. This voyage seamlessly blends luxury, historical adventure, and untouched culture. From the legendary Komodo dragons to the pristine Raja Ampat archipelago, Aqua Blu offers an unparalleled exploration of Indonesia’s marine wonders.
  1. Galapagos Islands:
    • Reward yourself with an extraordinary adventure to the Archipelago of Galapagos. Witness the legacy of evolution as you explore these volcanic islands, home to unique wildlife and pristine landscapes. Aqua Expeditions’ Galapagos cruises unveil the power of nature to adapt and thrive in this otherworldly environment.


Aqua Expeditions provides guests with a near all-inclusive luxury lifestyle onboard its small expedition vessels. From luxurious accommodations to gourmet dining and personalized service, every aspect of the cruise is designed to exceed guests’ expectations and create a memorable and indulgent experience. The ships feature elegant lounges, spacious cabins, and top-notch amenities that cater to the needs of discerning travelers. The crew members onboard are known for their professionalism and attention to detail, ensuring that guests feel pampered and well taken care of throughout their voyage. Aqua Expeditions’ commitment to providing a luxurious and seamless travel experience sets it apart as a top choice for travelers seeking a blend of comfort and adventure.

Aqua Expeditions prides itself on offering guests the opportunity to explore the world’s most biodiverse destinations alongside top naturalist guides. The knowledgeable onboard guides lead multiple daily excursions by motorized skiff, allowing passengers to get up close to the flora, fauna, and people along the routes. Whether spying on sloths and pink river dolphins along Amazon tributaries or exploring temples and villages in Vietnam and Cambodia, guests can expect enriching and educational experiences that showcase the beauty and diversity of the destinations visited. The daily excursions provide a deeper understanding of the local ecosystems and cultures, making each voyage with Aqua Expeditions a journey of discovery and enlightenment.

Aqua Expeditions has received numerous awards and accolades over the years, highlighting the company’s commitment to excellence and innovation in the cruise industry. The recognition from industry experts and travelers alike speaks to Aqua Expeditions’ dedication to providing guests with exceptional experiences that exceed expectations. From Trip Advisor reviews to industry awards, Aqua Expeditions has been consistently praised for its luxurious accommodations, expert guides, and immersive destination experiences. The company’s reputation for excellence and quality has solidified its position as a leading provider of ultra-luxury expedition cruises.In conclusion, Aqua Expeditions offers a cruise experience that combines unrivaled destination experiences, all-inclusive luxury, expert naturalist guides, and a commitment to excellence. With small expedition vessels, intimate voyages, and a focus on immersive exploration, Aqua Expeditions stands out as a top choice for travelers seeking a luxurious and enriching cruise experience. Whether cruising the Mekong River, exploring the Amazon, or venturing to the Galapagos and Indonesian Islands, passengers aboard Aqua Expeditions can expect a voyage that is as indulgent as it is enlightening. For those looking to embark on a cruise that combines luxury, adventure, and cultural immersion, Aqua Expeditions is a compelling choice that promises an unforgettable journey to some of the world’s most captivating destinations.

– Reviewed by Contributing Author Silvester Thomson

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N.B. – The information on this review has been compiled by contributing author and Cruise Expert Silvester Thomson for and is provided “as is” for the convenience of online readers. The Sources come from personal opinions, online research on official and unofficial websites, and in some cases with the help of AI generated content. It should not be taken as fact, as it can be mistaken or altered by future ship modifications from the cruise line done after review. does not and cannot verify all information and should not be taken as granted fact. All readers must take measures to find reliable facts by their travel agent or from the official page of the cruise line to verify any doubts.

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