CEO of luxury river cruise company Aqua Expeditions, Francesco Galli Zugaro, believes the time is right to expand the fleet. Aqua Expeditions currently operates two river ships on the Mekong and the Peruvian Amazon, the Aqua Mekong and the Aria Amazon, both offering ‘soft exploration’ adventures all year round. Aqua Mekong is the only vessel with private speedboats on the Mekong river.

Speaking to Cruise Trade News, Zugaro explained: “We have proven that we can operate in two totally different parts of the world, so by the end of the year we should have news and not just river, as I have a background in coastal cruising. We have spent the last 10 years building the brand, now is the time to ramp things up.”

With both rivers showing an 18 per cent increase in global sales, Zugano believes that the cruise line’s 175 employees play a significant part in its success: “We hire well and invest in people – we look at the business from a talent perspective.”

Committed to trade partners who provide 80 per cent of the business globally, the UK is Aqua Expeditions’ third biggest market, and a new $100,000 agent portal will launch at the end of July with improved functionality and an online check in portal.

“The UK is one of the main strategic markets for us and we are investing in supporting the trade even further,” said Katerina Gavrilova, regional sales manager, UK and Russia. “I spend a lot of time educating luxury specialists on our product and demonstrating the tools we have provided for them to work effectively while booking our cruises. This market has a lot of potential and is very active in luxury adventure experiences.”

  • Three night itineraries on the Aqua Mekong start from £3,066pp based on double occupancy and inclusive of excursions, food and drink
  • Three night itineraries on the Aria Amazon start from £2,896pp based on double occupancy and inclusive of excursions, food and drink
  • The single supplement is 25 per cent in addition to the adult rate; one of the lowest across the cruise industry