Aqua Expeditions first Asia-based vessel has officially set sail, after a small blessing ceremony in Cambodia last week.

The intimate launch was held on 14 October and featured a prayer by local monks and a small feast of noodles, eggs and baked goods.

Following the blessing, Aqua Mekong set sail on a seven-night Mekong River itinerary from Phnom Penh to Saigon.

The ship was originally scheduled to launch two weeks earlier but was delayed as the line scrambled to finish interior work.


Despite the delay, Aqua Expeditions chief executive Francesco Galli Zugaro said the line’s Asia launch has been a success, with bookings on her first season almost completely sold out.

“Departures are almost full for the first season. Whilst we still have a few cabins to sell we exceeded our estimated forecast and this is just the beginning,” he said.

Mr Zugaro added that feedback from first guests has been positive. He said they’re fascinated by the ship and its design.

“They’re fascinated by the quality of the vessel, the size of every area and mainly with David Thompson’s food experience,” he said.

“Their biggest surprise has also been how authentic the excursions have turned out to be and their ability to do quite a large number of excursions by bike or tenders.”


Carrying only 40 passengers, the ship is made up of 20 suites with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Each suite is about 320-square-feet and decorated in authentic Asian style using local fabrics and materials.

Public spaces onboard include the Observation Deck, Outdoor Lounge with a river facing plunge pool and a screening room for evening movies.

There’s a spa and fitness centre onboard and Australian Michelin-starred chef, David Thompson created dishes for the dining room using local ingredients such as khmer kampot and catfish.

Aqua Mekong has three-to-seven-night itineraries along the Mekong River between Vietnam and Cambodia. The three-night Mekong River Discovery Cruise starts in Phnom Penh and sails to either Siem Reap or Saigon.

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