Aqua Expeditions has a stellar reputation when it comes to luxury river cruises. Its beautiful river cruise ship, called the Aqua Mekong, travels from Saigon, Vietnam to Siem Reap in the Kingdom of Cambodia along the Mekong River or takes that journey in reverse. It is possible to take 3, 4, or 7 day cruises comprising the whole journey or breaking it into a Cambodian or Vietnamese portion.
This is a trip of a lifetime offering the intrepid traveler or the ones who have seen it all a unique experience in a place that few have traveled for pleasure. This is a land with ancient history, an area of fascinating culture and customs, and a place where lush green beauty awaits. The ship has been designed to feel like a luxurious five star and the cruise line is very conscious of comfort and service and remains quite respectful of local traditions, wildlife and the environment as you travel the river.
On Board the Aqua Mekong
This ship was designed for luxurious travel. Each stateroom has a panoramic view of the river because of the full wall of windows offered in each cabin. About half of which have balconies. Because the ship has only two decks everyone has an eye level view as the ship floats past river villages and beautiful scenery. Staterooms offer private bathrooms, rainfall shower heads and king sized or two twin beads. All are decorated with locally sourced materials.
With only 40 guests and a staff to crew ratio of 1:1 there is sure to be excellent service and a real intimate feel to your whole trip. Meals are created under the direction of a Michelin star chef and reflect the local culture and use in-season produce. The upper observation deck offers a beautifully designed plunge pool at the bow and both indoor and outdoor lounge areas designed for total relaxation.
There is a fully stocked bar, a private screening area for movies with a southeastern Asia theme and a small lending library. One can shop in the ships boutique which carries basic necessities, designer items and beautifully crafted items from the localities the ship visits. There are two spa treatment rooms where relaxation and pampering are yours for the asking.
Guides, Skiffs and Excursions on the Aqua Expeditions Mekong
Four guides are onboard and will accompany passengers as they venture off of the ship and into the villages, cities or onto smaller waterways. The ship has four aluminum skiffs that allow guides to take passengers into areas only accessible by smaller watercraft. You will see homes and other buildings that float, that are on bamboo stilts and more. Visit wildlife areas and see some of the rarest birds in Asia.
In remote river villages the guides will lead you to friendly locals who will even invite you into their homes and will share their culture and their friendship with you while you visit. There are bicycles onboard that can be borrowed for exploring along the river. You might travel on foot into the lush jungle with a guide. You will have the chance to visit both modern places of worship and some of the most ancient Buddhist temples in the region. (Remember shoes off and women must have their knees and shoulders covered in the Temples.) Wildlife refuges, flooded forests, walks along the river and among villages full of smiling and friendly locals and all other excursions are all included in your cruise fare.
My Lasting Impressions from Our Aqua Expeditions Trip
This is just one of those trips where you will see life that is so different from your own in places that you are truly unfamiliar with and where you will experience such new sights and sounds and even tastes that it will always be the one you mention when talking about one of your best trips ever. Aside from the amazing sites and culture, the time spent in pampered luxury aboard this ship will make you feel like tourist royalty.
While there is no one favorite memory those who have made this journey before you have been genuinely moved by attending a Buddhist blessing ceremony. They have been deeply touched and saddened by the Cambodian Killing Fields. The locals impress everyone with their warmth, their amazing artistry and their quiet way of life. In Vietnam the lush green landscape will be firmly imprinted in your memory. The gracious villagers will offer you a glimpse into their homes and a chance to meet them and their families up close. You will find a perfect trinket in a market, snap a beautiful photo of a sunset and simply find you are making memories of a lifetime throughout this journey.
As you leave the ship and venture toward Saigon where the journey with your guides will end, you make one last stop and visit an incredible Buddhist Temple where three enormous statues of Buddha seem to be smiling down as if they too are happy to see you. The Bonsai tree collection fascinates and you find yourself peaceful and looking forward to Saigon.
The river cruise is ending, but the memories really will be of a once in a lifetime luxurious, educational, and enjoyable vacation.