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 literally reinvented “luxury,” spinning a new definition based on what our guests tell us really matter to them. Then, we execute on this mantra daily, investing 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.
Mission #1: Responsiveness, Relationships and Tailor-Made Experiences
One of our most important investments is in our staff team on board our cruise ships. 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 on our cruises means that our guests get to meet a lot of these interesting folks throughout daily activities on board.
The itineraries on our cruises offer a mosaic of engaging activities for our guests from biking, kayaking, and cooking classes to watching a movie under the stars (on the Aqua Mekong), exclusive insider visits to private temple ceremonies, watching artisans at work, and enjoying sunset cocktails on private islands. And on these land-based excursions, we make sure we never have more than 10 passengers per Aqua Expeditions guide since we know our guests put a premium on being able to ask lots of questions and interact one-on-one with them, as well as with local artisans and community members. We know that having happy interactions with staff and our guides are critical to our guests feeling they received the best possible cruise value for their investment of time and money, so we make this a top priority.
Finally, our staff is constantly asking our guests (and from day one, by first name) for specific feedback and ideas for ways we can make their cruise experience exactly what they need it to be. Our unique ability to execute on a tailor-made luxury cruise experience, however, is what truly sets us apart. Our small size and superb teamwork on board allows us to rapidly revise our operating procedures to deliver a “one-to-one” level of luxury service to our guests.
Mission #2: Sophisticated Elegance – Everywhere
Our conversations with our guests confirmed it. “Luxury” is definitely in the eye of the beholder and no one guest defines it quite the same way. We therefore decided at Aqua Expeditions to make it part of every element of our cruise experience especially when it comes to the design of our ships themselves. We custom designed each of these two beauties using the finest materials, architectural planning and engineering expertise.
Jordi Puig, one of Peru’s top interior designers, led the design and the recent refurbishment for our Amazon cruiser last year, the Aria Amazon. As the leader and pioneer of small ship luxury cruising on the Amazon and Mekong, we will ensure that our boats are always “top-of-the-line” and at the forefront of guest comfort and experience. And as our travelers’ needs and your expectations evolve, so must our products. Both vessels now have a newly refreshed, elegant look about them that is indicative of our vision to provide a unique world-class experience.
The Aqua Mekong, launched in 2014, was designed by Singapore-based NOOR Design and was the first cruise ship on Southeast Asia’s Mekong River to offer a fully equipped gym, screening room, outdoor cinema, observation deck, and an upper-deck pool.
From the spacious, relaxing atmosphere of our interior and outdoor lounges to the elegance of our infinity pools, from the chic modern details incorporated into our design suites to the staff uniforms designed by Eric Raisina, every detail matters at Aqua Expeditions. We wanted to take “design” to a whole new level. We infused it into the tabletop and bed linens we chose. We selected premium wines and beers to offer gratis to our guests on-demand throughout their cruise. We carefully sourced the bath lotions and shampoos in our design suites.
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 arriving back on the boat after our land-based excursions every morning and afternoon, our guests are each personally welcomed back on board with a moist warm towel to freshen up and a very welcome delicious refreshment. Then we graciously spirit our guests’ footwear away to magically clean off any dust or debris before returning these to their rooms. Excellence. Down to the last detail of a guest’s experience on board with us.
Our vision, to set a new standard for “luxury” as well as our attention to superior design has been recognized worldwide with awards from Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report, PURE, Asia’s Hotel Design Awards as well as being nominated for other accolades by Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, World Travel Awards and many others.
Mission #3: A Dining Experience Beyond Your Dreams
When we launched Aqua Expeditions, we knew that on a luxury cruise, the quality of a guest’s dining experience must be – hands down – Michelin-star worthy. There can be no exceptions. So we paired up with two world-renowned chefs who were already innovative leaders in Peru and Southeast Asia. Their talents have been put to the test with the result, simply stunning. Our custom-designed menus incorporate creative blends of the freshest of locally sourced ingredients to deliver regionally authentic delicacies worthy of a 5-star restaurant.
And our dining team is VERY observant. If, for example, on a guest’s first day we notice that he loves an espresso after dinner or his wife doesn’t prefer onions in her salad and prefers tea over coffee at breakfast, we make a point of planning these into the remainder of their stay with us.
We hope you’ll experience our definition of “luxury” for yourself on one of our upcoming cruises in 2016 or 2017.