The luxury industry has pivoted to a new point in 2016 as “conspicuous consumption” transitions to “conspicuous leisure” and demand increases for more meaningful high-end experiences. Luxury brands and retailers have been seeking ways to expand their portfolios by ratcheting up their investments in “luxury experiences” and “lifestyle branding”. Social media has intensified “trophy travel” and travel review broadcasting. Gone are the days of simply crossing landmarks off a bucket list. Seasoned globetrotters—now more than ever—want to participate in a meaningful experience while traveling. According to Forbes.com, 78% of millennial travelers choose to splurge on authentic travel experiences over “things.” Millennials are also 23% more interested in traveling abroad versus the older generation.
One-of-a-Kind Experiences: What does experiential travel really mean? It means being exposed to lifestyles, cultures and people in real-world situations and settings. Spontaneous not planned. Unique and unforgettable.
You asked, we listened. Both of our floating five-star vessels offer unique on- and off-shore experiences, every morning and afternoon. On the Aqua Mekong, guests get to meet local artisans, stroll through bustling food markets, attend temple blessing ceremonies or bike through riverside villages alive with weddings and temple fundraisers. Aboard the Aria Amazon, guests are treated to an abundance of excursions to see rare Amazon wildlife such as the pink river dolphin, fish for piranha, meet indigenous Peruvian villagers, kayak into jungle tributaries and participate in Aqua Expedition’s wildlife conservation and philanthropic projects.
Luxury Farm-to-Table: Culinary tourism is on the uptick. Half of millennials say they consider themselves “foodies.” Dining has become entertainment and increasingly, travelers want to know where their food came from, how it was prepared and the unique local ingredients within each dish. The farm-to-table concept embraces this new demand by consumers, supporting local farmers and encouraging food security while preserving the environment and more sustainable agribusiness.
You asked, we listened. Our on board chefs shop local riverside markets for the day’s freshest ingredients, from catfish to river prawns, and organic local greens, fruits and spices. Coconut, lemongrass, coriander and turmeric are just a few of the more recognizable flavors our guests can expect on our chefs’ ever-changing, inventive recipes and menus that always remain authentic to our local regions in Peru, Vietnam and Cambodia. From kitchen tours to cooking classes, we offer special culinary experiences that not only deliver amazing meals but also give our guests a chance to learn firsthand about the “secret sauce” in our delicious cuisine on board. Aqua Expeditions chef-hosted departures then take this even further, giving our guests unique, one-on-one access to our award-winning consulting chefs for fascinating culinary conversations. Foodies everywhere, take note!
Explore Like a Local: The trend toward authenticity, meeting locals and learning about their lifestyles, peer-to-peer experiences and getting “off the beaten path” has never been stronger. Developing understanding. Learning. Respecting and valuing our differences. Millennials want to get out of their comfort zones and baby boomers want to explore. No one wants to be just a tourist anymore.
You asked, we listened. The Aqua cruise itineraries are carefully designed to make sure adventurers experience each of our destinations via lots of local engagement. On the Aqua Mekong river cruise, passengers get to visit local villages and shopping markets, meet community members as they share their personal histories about life during a time of war, listen to traditional folk music and enjoy a local group of youth performing a unique unicorn dance. And philanthropic projects like Room to Read, teach our guests how they can connect with local educational initiatives long after their cruise ends.
On the Amazon, Aqua guests visit a Peruvian riverside community to learn about the local economy and public health challenges, meet charming school children and paddle with a community member in their dugout canoes. When in Nauta, a bustling town and the center for much of the trade on this section of the Amazon, passengers can explore food and merchandise markets and the colorful streets by foot or in a traditional tuk tuk ride, just like the locals do. And wildlife conservation projects such as our taricaya turtle restoration program and our water purification initiatives give guests another way to connect and engage with local natives around a common purpose.
At Aqua Expeditions, we aim to stay “on trend.” Tell us what trends you’re noticing on Facebook.