Five Things to Know About Aqua Expeditions' Aqua Mekong Cruise Ship
Best for: High-end cruisers who want to cruise the Mekong in style
Sails: The Mekong River
At a Glance: Built in 2014, the ship has quickly built a fan base thanks to its clean lines and Asian-inspired aesthetic. Add a menu created by a Michelin-starred chef and an itinerary that explores highlights and hidden destinations along the Cambodian and Vietnamese stretches of the Mekong, and you’ve got the makings of a fantastic trip.
The Suites Have a Wall of Windows
Sleek and stunning, the ship’s 20, 320-square-foot suites feel like they’d belong in a chic safari lodge: the floors are polished woods, the colors are warm and neutral, and everything is made of local, sustainable materials. But perhaps the best part is the window, which takes up an entire wall. Want private access to the outdoors? Eight of the suites have a balcony that’s furnished with a daybed and a table for two.
The Excursions Are Life Changing
On this cruise down the Mekong, passengers get to sample both the region’s culture and natural history. On the itinerary: a Buddhist blessing ceremony in a floating village, a traditional Khmer Apsara dance performance, the chance to search for black headed ibis in Cambodia’s Prek Toal Core Bird Reserve, and a visit a Vietnamese villager’s home.
There’s a Private Screening Room
After a day of wading through the humidity to explore temples and villages, you’ll want to cool off. While the sun is out, the best place to watch the river roll by is the observation deck’s plunge pool, set at the bow of the ship for the ultimate vantage point. In the evening, passengers can arrange a private show in the 10-person screening room. Among the options: Good Morning Vietnam, The Quiet American, and The Scent of Green Papaya.
The Food Is Stellar
Helmed by Michelin-starred consulting chef David Thompson, the restaurant is an homage to the region, both in its design—the room is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows—and its menu, which includes dishes like tapioca and vegetable dumplings, Vietnamese catfish minced with shallots, chilies, and Thai basil, and grilled river prawns with peanut relish. When possible, ingredients are locally sourced. Guests can even go shopping at riverside markets with the ship’s chefs.
Jean-Michel Cousteau Might Be Onboard
Aqua Expeditions has teamed up with the famed French conservationist for several cruises on both Aqua Mekong and its sister ship in South America, Aria Amazon. Along with watching screenings of his films, you’ll get to ask him about the sights you saw that day during evening Q&A sessions and might even end up biking through a village beside him on an excursion.