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Celebrating a decade of success in 2017, Aqua Expeditions is globally recognized as a leader in small ship river cruising.


In 2008, founder Francesco Galli Zugaro launched the first luxury cruise on the Amazon River in Peru, home to exotic birds species and enchanting pink dolphins, quickly earning accolades for these professionally guided nature-based adventures combined with sophisticated, architect-designed 5-star boutique hotel accommodations and gourmet cuisine. Strategic upgrades in 2015 to the 16-suite Aria Amazon offer a refreshed, elegant look aligned with the latest technology and sleek, comfortable skiffs.


On the other side of the world, in 2014 Aqua Expeditions launched the 20-suite Aqua Mekong, now sailing the Mekong River between timeless Cambodia and contemporary Vietnam. Floor to ceiling picture windows confer captivating panoramas of flooded forests, colonial churches and stilt villages. Guided shore excursions include enlightening visits to remote Buddhist temples and onto Cambodia’s vast Tonle Sap Lake before continuing on to Angkor Wat. On both side of the world, guests go deeper into each epic destination by bicycle and kayak to view little seen worlds of enduring wonders. This year Aqua Expeditions adds limited edition Founder and Chef hosted departures on these legendary waterways.

Founder's Profile

Francesco Galli Zugaro – Chief Executive Officer


Experience in international tourism and the global marketplace gave Francesco Galli Zugaro the ability to create Aqua Expeditions, Peru’s first luxury river cruise company, which expanded its operations globally in 2014 with the launch of the Aqua Mekong on the historic Mekong River betweenSiem Reap and Phnom Penh in Cambodia, and the bustling metropolis of Saigon,Vietnam.

As CEO, Galli Zugaro personally supervised the launch of Aqua Expeditions’ first two vessels, both on the Peruvian Amazon, the Aqua Amazon in 2008 followed by the Aria Amazon in 2011. Two years later and on the other side of the world in a Vietnamese shipyard, Galli Zugaro oversaw the construction of the company’s newest ship, the Aqua Mekong, which debuted in October 2014.  Early VIP guests included the world’s leading travel journalists from Travel + Leisure, How to Spend It, Conde Nast Traveller, Forbes and Robb Report, among others. This unprecedented acclaim for the Aqua Mekong extends to praise for the ship’s trail blazing style, including prestigious awards from the international design community.

A distinguished speaker, Galli Zugaro is regularly asked to share his insights on innovation, entrepreneurship and market trends at a diverse range of leadership gatherings, from Sydney Lux Experience,Sydney Cruise 360, International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) and Virtuoso Events to Singapore Investment Forums.

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