First i need to qualify myself on writing this review as i am comparing the AquaMekong curise experience with a luxury train holiday experience on Maharajah Express.
To sum up, if given a choice, i will go back to Maharajah Express train holiday because it is worth the money you spent. For AquaMekong river cruise, there are some good points amongst the many negative points.
For good points, the bed room is like a normal hotel room, toilet is spacious too. Water pressure is also very good in the bath room, hence staying onboard is no different from staying in a normal hotel on land..
The other plus point is that cruising on the river is a very stable, very much more stable than cruising on ocean and train ride. If you don't look out the window, you hardly notice the boat is sailing. I considered this a plus point for people who are sensitive to motion sickness.
AquaMekong also has another distinctive plus point which is it has only 20 rooms with a maximum capacity of 40 guests, unlike other Mekong cruise ships that can carry more than double to triple the capacity of AquaMekong. During our holiday onboard AquaMekong, we have a total of 18 guests, this make it very cozy, and fairly friendly for all onboard. With a small group, getting on and off the off board activities was fairly smooth and fast as there is no need to wait too long. Those who have holidays onboard the ocean cruise ship will understand what i meant.
In addition to that, when you are onboard, you will always be courteously addressed by your first name. AquaMekong make it a point (like the first and business class onboard Singapore Airline) for their service staff to remember and address their guests by their first names.
Now the negative points (as compared to Maharajah Express train):
1.) Probably due to the service culture difference, somehow the Indians know how to pamper their guests better. When we were with Maharajah Express, they really treat us like "the Maharajahs" (the king) which is a differentiating factor to make you feel that your money spent is well worth. Another distinct difference is that for Maharajah Express train, every room is entitled to a butler service 24 by 7. The butler will do almost everything on request, this is absence onboard the AquaMekong. I shall not elaborate much here as it is not my interest to promote Maharajah Express here.
2.) Meals and Foods - the meals and foods onboard AquaMekong is not "gourmet type", you are served with merely traditional cuisines from the Mekong delta areas, like Cambodia, Vietnam and Thai cuisine. If these cuisines are not your liking, AquaMekong does have an alternate menu which comprises of burgers, sandwiches and pastas, to ensure you don't get hungry. Whereas foods and meals onboard the Maharajah Express train is really gourmet type, besides that the Chef will visit your table every meals to ensure you have a satisfying meals, the chef will endeavour to prepare any meals you are craving for.
3.) Excursion - honestly there is nothing really interesting to see and visit around the AquaMekong delta area, comparing with the Maharajah Express train ride, you get to visit Unesco sites with great historical culture.
4.) For river cruise on Mekong Delta, i think room with balcony is a mistake because the room and balcony lights at night will attract lots of flies and insects hence it is really a mistake to have rooms with balconies.
5.) AquaMekong has the worse value for money if we compare the per day cost of staying at AquaMekong and Maharajah Express, they are about the same, but what you get in return is world apart. For a rating of 1 to 10, i would give Maharajah Express a 10 and AquaMekong a 1.
6.) The best verdict is "would you come back again?", my answer for Maharajah Express is s definite YES, and NO NO for AquaMekong.