Explora Journeys has announced new sailings for Explora I and Explora II. Credit: Explora Journeys

All the buzz about Explora 1

Author: Lucy Abbott

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As new luxury brand Explora Journeys introduces its first ship, Explora I, Lucy Abbott gets a sneak peek of what to expect.

The excitement around Explora Journey’s first ship, Explora I, is palpable. After all, this is the first child of a new luxury cruise line and what an impressive ship to start with.

One thing clear about the Explora Journeys brand from the offset is that it’s a passion project come to life. The Aponte family have more than 300 years of seafaring experience and are the brains behind the Explora Journeys brand alongside the mighty MSC Group.

This personal, family touch is ingrained at every level of the ship from the 1.25:1 guest per host ratio to the 82 spacious suites that are multi-generation friendly through the connecting rooms.

What’s more, this is a cruise line conceived in direct response to a survey of 20,000 consumers who explained they craved time, space, personal touches and highly curated experiences onboard – exactly what Explora Journey’s tagline an ‘Ocean State of Mind’ stands for.

Launching in Spring 2023, this mid-sized ship with only 992 guests will offer an intimate atmosphere with no large theatre or main restaurant, instead delivering smaller private experiences.

The cherry on top of this is that all-inclusive comes as standard onboard Explora I – even top brand alcohol is included. It’s clear to see that this is a cruise line that prioritises guest experience to the max.

You'll find high-end design everywhere on the ship. Credit: Explora Journeys

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The suite life
There are four categories of suites, each with thoughtful interiors and features – everything you could possibly need in a room is there. The first category is the Ocean Suite at 35 metres squared alongside an 11 metres squared oceanfront terrace. You can soak up the views on your terrace or perhaps while lounging on a daybed for ultimate relaxation.

If it’s a bit chilly outside, never fear, you can see everything through your floor-to-ceiling windows. Then after a long day of exploring, you can sink into your king-sized bed and sleep under a down duvet.

Next up, the Ocean Penthouses. Measuring up between 43 to 68 metres squared, here you can enjoy the addition of a private dining area for four and a spacious work desk.

Your refrigerated mini-bar will be replenished with your choices of drinks, while planning your next dinner outfit is made easier with a spacious walk-in wardrobe with a seated vanity area so you can get ready in style.

Could it get any better? This is a five-star ship so of course it can. Ocean Residences boast a butler service and separate living, dining and sleeping areas, measuring up at a very generous 70 to 149 metres squared.

Finally, for those who want the very best of the best, the lone Owner’s Residence offers a private terrace covering the full ship’s width with a massive whirlpool, lounge area, day beds and dining table.

The indoor pool, with its retractable roof, allows swimming and relaxation whatever the weather. Credit: Explora Journeys

Thoughtful spaces
Guests will be encouraged to unwind in elegance across more than 10 individually designed indoor spaces, so where will you start?

You can visit the Lobby Bar to catch up with friends, wander down to the Observation Lounge to admire the view or just relax in the Whisky Bar and Cigar Room with your new cruise friends.

The onboard Art Gallery allows you to reflect on a range of artworks and perhaps gain inspiration for your next masterpiece.

The luxury of choice
With an impressive nine restaurants on board, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Each dining venue offers something completely different, and with the welcome addition of flexible, all-day dining times at no additional cost, you can tailor meals to your own schedule.

Supporting and connecting with the destinations you visit is a big part of Explora Journey’s ethos, so you’ll enjoy sustainably sourced local ingredients at every mealtime.

You can work your way around the restaurants, as each dining venue comes at no additional cost. Visit the Pan Asian restaurant for some explosive flavours, the steakhouse to try the best beef or even get stuck in at the Chef’s kitchen where you can help prepare meals alongside expert chefs.

Guests will get to cruise in style on Explora I. Credit: Explora Journeys

Changing the game
Explora Journeys is bringing a much-needed refreshing mindset when it comes to luxury cruising – a human, personal touch.

This all goes back to the creation of Explora Journeys, where a Neapolitan ferry captain fell in love with one of his passengers, and together they went on to create MSC. Now, the family are fulfilling their dream of creating a unique modern luxury cruising experience.

The aim is simple: to connect travellers on board with the people,places and sights they’ll be visiting. A glimpse is enough for me to understand and really get excited about this new concept of luxury cruising. I’m a big believer in passion moving you to achieve the best things in life, and Explora I is the embodiment of that.

The message is simple – expect luxury, choice, thoughtfulness and personalisation and experience an amazing Ocean State of Mind.

Get on board

A nine-night ‘Taste of Bordeaux & Impressions of Brittany’ cruise aboard Explorer I from Lisbon to Southampton via Porto, Sain‑Jean‑De-Luz, Bordeaux, Saint‑Malo and Honfleur, departs July 2, 2023, from £3,700. explorajourneys.com

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About Lucy Abbott

Lucy is an experienced cruise journalist, who has sailed on a variety of ships, from expedition to river – with her favourite being expedition cruising.

Lucy reports on what it’s like to be a young cruiser and is interested in new sustainable ways to cruise as well as how cruising is becoming accessible for all.

She works together with Kaye Holland to keep the World of Cruising website up to date with all the latest cruise news.