Why Our Guests Say…”More (Staff) = Better”

8 years ago Mekong

If you’ve ever cruised with Aqua Expeditions, you know that our cruise experience is a little bit different from everyone else’s. And you probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that this is quite…deliberate! We’ve invested heavily in the quality of our guests’ experience on board our ships from the gentle chime which beckons you to breakfast in the morning to the recipes on your lunch menu to the linens we have chosen for you to relax into in bed when night falls.

One of our most important investments is in our staff team on board our cruiseships. We very carefully select each team member using our “secret sauce” for recruiting excellence in each individual, that special blend of experience, personality, entrepreneurial creativity, friendliness, humor, flexibility and smarts. Most importantly, they must naturally want to always “go the extra mile”. Our 1:1 staff to guest ratio means that you get to meet a lot of these interesting folks throughout your daily activities on board (and off) on our excursions. We know that your happy interactions with staff  and our guides are critical to feeling you got the best possible cruise value for your investment of time and dollars, so we make it a top priority.


Because our ships are smaller, having more staff is very noticeable to all our guests…and their comments reflect this. Here’s what they tell us we do – which they say matters most.

A strong focus on individual, personalized satisfaction. Our staff is constantly asking our guests (and from day one, by first name) for specific feedback and ideas for ways we can make your cruise experience exactly what you need it to be. Wondering what to pack for your trip? Have a special dietary requirement? Feeling under the weather and need a paramedic to look in? We’ve got you covered!

A memory for menu preferences. Our dining team is VERY observant. If, for example, your first day we notice you love an expresso after dinner or do not really like onion in your salad or prefers tea over coffee at breakfast, we make a point of planning these into the remainder of your stay with us.

No detail is too small or too irrelevant. You might be surprised at the lengths we go to to ensure that every luxury is provided to our guests on board. For example, after our active excursions, all our guests are welcomed back on board with a moist warm towel to freshen up and a very welcome delicious refreshment. Chin chin! Then we graciously spirit our guests’ footwear away to magically clean off any dust or debris before returning these to your room. How nice!

Surprise. SURPRISE! When you have more staff, you can have more fun. One of our favorite tricks of the trade is the little surprises we delight our guests with unexpectedly. A sunset cocktail on a river island? A new excursion addition to one of our cruise itineraries? Or how about an impromptu sing along with the Aqua Band to say thank you for our time on board with the housekeepers, guides, cooks and wait staff that sing or play an instrument?

By the end of our Amazon River and Mekong River cruises, it is often very hard for many of us at Aqua Expeditions to say goodbye to our guests. But then, we realize, that’s actually a good thing – and not a bad problem to have.

Recently, our own Aqua Mekong was honored by Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report for “Staff Who Made Us Feel Most At Home”. How nice!

The Aria cruise was absolutely wonderful! Everything was perfect. The food was delicious, the accommodations were first rate and the service was excellent. Marina and the rest of the crew were always helpful, kind and knowledgeable. All the guides were extremely professional and knowledgeable. They were so kind and gracious and helpful. I always felt very safe with them. From the first meeting concerning safety, until the final and extremely fun musical evening everything was top notch. I want to thank all of the Aria crew and guides for one of the best trips of my life.   Janet F.P – February 2016

Everything in this cruise far exceeded our expectations. Excellent facilities, service reserved for a five star hotel, food and drink of the highest quality. I am an adventure traveler from way back. When I am traveling the world, I want to see or do something that is unique and different. The Aria Amazon river cruise, is a different type of cruising that takes guests on an adventure not to be forgotten, very different from any others and would definitely go again.  Maria Ch. – May 2016

My wife … has described this trip to friends as “fabulous” and “one of the best we’ve ever taken”. The most special part of the experience was our guides–George, Jose, Daniel, and Neyser; they are so knowledgeable and personable, their English language skills are impeccable, and they are just some really smart guys. We spent time with each one, and immensely enjoyed the company of each. All in all, this was a great trip, and I would change nothing about it. Tom M. – March 2015

What an amazing experience, mere words cannot describe how perfect this Mekong experience is and how seamless you make it for us. The service level is off the charts, the ship is magnificent and the added space is so impressive, the food, the shore excursions so very interesting and varied. It is a wow factor beyond words. I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for giving me the opportunity to experience this slice of heaven. I had the best birthday ever! I met Kim and Anthony, they were lovely but I have to say your crew on that ship are outstanding, each one perfection. I loved talking to all of them as they all have such amazing stories and back grounds. My journey with you will be in my heart and soul forever, a true feast for the eyes wherever you look. Susan B. – September 2015

Thank you so much for a most wonderful experience this past week on the Aqua Mekong.  I must say that while I had high expectations I never expected it to exceed them so much.  The ship is a beautiful floating resort and an ideal place to explore places few people see, places less touched by modernity and places with beautiful topography, all from the comfort of the luxurious accommodations and living quarters on board.   But as nice as the ship is, it is you, the team on board that truly create the experience.  The warm smiles, the personalized touch and the simple yet refined dedication to service make the Aqua feel more like a private yacht than an exploration river boat. The intimacy of the hardware is only embellished by the heart and soul infused in your team which I find remarkable to do in such a short time since launch.  From the wait staff to the bar tenders, to the amazing tour guides, the house keepers, and the cruise directors, everyone knew us by name after one day, knew our preferences, and always managed to make anything we wanted happen – any time of day.

You truly have something special and truly opened my eyes to what Aqua is really all about. Thank you so much for your hospitality and for making me feel so special! Jack S. E. – May 2015