Aqua Mekong Cambodia, Vietnam
N° 9B, Keo Chenda Street, HP House, Phum 3, Sangkat Chroy Changvar, Khan Russey Keo, Phnom Penh
Date of Creation
Hotel General Manager
Francesco Galli Zugaro, CEO and Founder of Aqua Expeditions. Experience in international tourism and the global marketplace. Prior to establishing Aqua Expeditions, he served as Vice President of Marketing and Sales for a highly-respected cruise line in the Galapagos Islands. A distinguished speaker, Galli Zugaro is regularly asked to share his insights on innovation, entrepreneurship, and market trends.
5-star Luxury boutique cruise
Aqua Expeditions seeks to continue strengthening its leadership in the “Small Boutique Exotic River Cruises” market, as a modern, contemporary product, oriented towards quality, service, good taste, and spectacular cuisine.
History & Story
Aqua Expeditions was the first adventure travel company to introduce five-star luxury cruises on the Amazon River in Peru and Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia. CEO, Francesco Galli Zugaro, founded Aqua Expeditions to cater to discerning, adventure travelers seeking to explore remote and culturally-important destinations traversing the world’s greatest rivers. Cruising is aboard the magnificent 16-suite Aria Amazon and 20-suite Aqua Mekong, each offering sophisticated hotel accommodation, state-of-the-art technology, gourmet cuisine from acclaimed Chefs and fascinating and fun on-shore adventures hosted by Aqua Expeditions’ professional guides. Aqua Expeditions marks 10 years of cruising and is committed to continuing to present unique, enjoyable, and memorable experiences for its guests.
The Aqua Mekong was designed by Saigon-based architectural firm Noor Design. It brings Hodkinson’s Indochine influenced aesthetic to the interiors which are built entirely of local sustainable materials and incorporating natural fibers of the surrounding environment with artisanal touches of the Mekong’s multifaceted cultures.
Main Strengths, Special Touch
Most exclusive staff to guest ratio of 1:1; all excursions limited to 10 guest per guide; world-renowned consulting chef David Thompson; premium wine and beers at all times; sleek and contemporary award-winning interior design; paramedic on board; private fleet of 4 elegant aluminum launch boats; the Mekong’s only private indoor and outdoor screening room and forward-facing shaded infinity pool.
The 20-suite Aqua Mekong, sails the Mekong River between timeless Cambodia and contemporary Vietnam. Floor to ceiling picture windows confer captivating panoramas of flooded forests, colonial churches and stilt villages. Guided shore excursions include enlightening visits to remote Buddhist temples and onto Cambodia’s vast Tonle Sap Lake. Guests go deeper into each epic destination by bicycle and kayak to view little seen worlds of enduring wonders. Embarking from Siem Reap (REP), Phnom Penh (PNH) or Ho Chi Minh (SGN-Saigon), 7- night, 4-night and 3-night Mekong River cruises transport you down or upriver.
Key sites/activities in the area
• Experience the rural Mekong River life and explore the unique landscapes by bicycle and kayak.
• Guided shore excursions include enlightening visits to remote Buddhist temples, stilted villages and Cambodia’s vast Tonle Sap Lake.
• Visit Prek Toal, the largest bird sanctuary in Southeast Asia, in search of rare bird species.
• Visit the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and National Museum in Phnom Penh.
• Explore Moat Khla, an isolated floating village deep in the flooded forest.
• We offer exclusive hosted-departures with our CEO and Founder: Francesco Galli Zugaro; world-class explorer and champion of ocean conservation: Jean-Michel Cousteau; and special wellness and photography themed departures.
• The staff fashions aboard the Aqua Mekong are designed by Eric Raisina, noted fashion designer. He took inspiration from Southeast Asian sartorial traditions, refined by his Paris trained talents and presented in an elegant gray to black palette with details incorporating the iconic Khmer krama in the most modern ways.
• Proof & Company, well-known spirit experts and cocktail designers, worked with Aqua Expeditions founder Francesco Galli Zugaro to create the Aqua Mekong bar program that incorporates an entirely unique ‘Mekong village to cruise ship table’ concept.
• Library / Games room with the Mekong’s only foosball table
• Private cinema and outdoor movie screen with a selection of family-friendly films.
• Outdoor dip pool
• Games for all the family such as: cards, Jenga, Uno cards, Pictionary, Monopoly, Scrabble and Mah – Jongg.
• Biking and kayaking excursions (13 bikes on board, one of them for children)
• Special Menu for kids
• Interconnecting suites, 2 sets on each deck.
• Child policy: seven-year age minimum and special discount for them
Passengers are accommodated in 20 Design Suites:
• First Deck: 10 Design Suites each measuring 30 sqm / 322 sq. ft.; 4 with balcony and 6 without balcony.
• Second Deck: 10 Design Suites each measuring 30 sqm / 322 sq. ft.;4 with balcony and 6 without balcony.
Four sets of two interconnecting suites are suitable for families, two sets on each deck.
Design Suites without balconies all have river facing panoramic windows that open and a 4m (13ft) long interior sofa that converts to a single bed / Design Suites with balconies all have panoramic windows, sliding glass door and an exterior daybed.
California king size bed that can be converted to twins, floor to ceiling river facing windows, air-conditioning, large double closets, chest of drawers, password generated security box, iPod docking station, dual sink bathroom with walk-in shower and rainforest showerhead, professional hairdryer, and all-organic natural hair and bath amenities.
Restaurants & Bars
• Aqua Expeditions could not be more fortunate than to have David Thompson, winner of Diners Club Lifetime Achievement Award Asia 2016, join us as Consulting Chef of the Aqua Mekong. Our on board chefs shop local riverside markets, often with our guests, for the day’s freshest ingredients, from catfish to river prawns, and organic local produce. Thompson’s ever changing, inventive menus always remain authentic to our fertile surroundings.
• Inclusions : all meals while on board, beverages (non-alcoholic, house wine and national beer), children’s and vegetarian meals are available, please request in advance.
• The Indoor Lounge & Bar and Shaded Bar & Pool are open from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., and hot coffee is always available. The hours can be extended as needed. Complimentary house beer, wine, coffee, tea and soft drinks are available all day.
• Two spa treatment rooms, one single and one double
• Outdoor top deck plunge pool with private cabanas
• Top deck gym overlooking the river
Corporate & Celebration Events
• Charter option available for corporate and celebration events.
• Capacity for 40 passengers.
• Social areas: Indoor and outdoor bars, indoor dining room and outdoor private dining, screening room, outdoor cinema, library / Games room with the Mekong’s only foosball table, outside shaded lounge with single and double day beds, antique and artisanal boutique, lobby lounge, observation deck with outdoor sunbeds, top deck gym, infirmary with onboard medical staff.
Extra Notable Features
• Biking and kayaking excursions
• Daily lectures from Aqua Expedition’s expert local guides : Learn about topics relevant to upcoming excursions, from the origins of Buddhism in Vietnam and Cambodia to the ecology of the great Ton Le Sap River, home year round to Brahminy kites, blue tailed bee eaters and pied kingfishers.
• Outdoor cinema under the stars and private screening room with theater-style seating.
• Top deck gym overlooking the river and forward-facing shaded infinity pool.
Boat and restaurant Awards
• Grand Awards issue of Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report: Special recognition for the staff, best cruise and experiences.
• Andrew Harper Readers’ Choice Awards: Best cruise lines
• Town & Country Awards: Best for suites and designs
• Luxperience Sydney Travel Trade Awards: Meaningful award and Best Custom Space Award
• AHDA 2015 Gold Award Architecture & New Build – Asia Hotel Design Awards
• Conde Nast Brides Honeymoon Awards: Best Honeymoon on Water
•Andrew Harper 2015 Readers’ Choice winner in the Cruise Lines category
• PURE Award for Design
Number of employees
43 (37 crew + 4 guides + 1 cruise director + 1 full time paramedic)