Just Checked Out... Explora Journeys
We have been eagerly awaiting the launch of EXPLORA I, a brand new luxury cruise by Explora Journeys. Promising to deliver more of a boutique hotel vibe than a traditional cruise, Explora Journeys aim to appeal to luxury travellers who may never have considered a cruise holiday before. Mark and Stuart are booked onboard EXPLORA I early next year in the Caribbean, but we wanted to give you an insiders view before this so we spoke to Andrew Schweitzer, from Explora Journeys, who was lucky enough to be on the inaugural sailing.
Stay tuned for an in-depth Q&A with Andrew, where he uncovers the cosmopolitan luxury, exquisite cuisine, and the commitment to sustainable travel that make EXPLORA I an exceptional choice.
What were your favourite things about EXPLORA I?
The first thing that stood out most to me is the amount of public space on board. A ship of EXPLORA I’s size (63,900 tonnes) could carry well over 2,000 guests. However, at maximum capacity, it will only have a maximum of 922 guests. So it’s extremely clear how much space is available. There are so many areas on the ship offering guests relaxed luxury, creating a home at sea.
What were the food and restaurants like?
The quality of the food is phenomenal, and judging by the comments made by all of the other guests, I’m not the only one who thinks so! The Head of Culinary, Franck Garanger, has done such an amazing job curating menus that offer a huge variety of food to really satisfy every taste bud! EXPLORA I is not like other ships that have a main restaurant and a number of speciality restaurants. There are 6 restaurants that are all just as good as each other:
- Sakura – An immersive, authentic dining experience offering the finest Pan-Asian cuisine.
- Marble & Co. Grill – A reefined European steakhouse experience .
- Med Yacht Club – A relaxed celebration of the flavours, ambience and dolce vita of the Mediterranean
- Fil Rouge – A global tasting tour of French-inspired international cuisine
- Emporium Marketplace – Effortless all-day dining, inspired by cuisines and flavours from across the globe
- Anthology – Exquisite cuisine introducing the talents and specialities of the world’s most celebrated guest chefs*
*Experience fee applies
What was your favourite dish onboard?
I genuinely don’t think I could choose just one! But some of my favourites were the 30 day aged Grilled Prime rib in Marble & Co. Grill, the Den Miso roasted black cod fillet in Sakura and the Grilled octopus in Med Yacht Club – all to die for!
Who would you recommend Explora Journeys to?
I would recommend Explora Journeys to anyone who is eager to explore the world in a unique and personalised way. These are not your typical cruises. Instead, they’re like floating boutique hotels at sea, offering a calm, cosmopolitan atmosphere that’s unlike any other. Whether you’re a seasoned traveller looking for something fresh or someone new to cruising, you’ll find the authenticity, immersion, and distinctive luxury of EXPLORA I captivating.
Is Explora Journeys’ family-friendly?
Yes, absolutely! There are a number of inter-connecting suites if needed and there is an area on the ship which is dedicated to young guests, called the Nautilus Club. In the Nautilus Club, a team of expert hosts will make sure they will be entertained and enriched in the company of other guests their own age. Nautilus Club offers the latest generation of video games and VR consoles, alongside other activities such as sports sessions, technology tournaments, paint art, and craft play, along with games in locations throughout the ship. Alternatively, young guests can simply chill out with new friends. The Nautilus hosts will arrange everything to make children and their family feel comfortable and at home. To aid this, our younger travellers are provided with thoughtful touches such as children’s bathrobes, slippers and hangers.
Upon request, the hosts can provide amenities for babies, such as baby cribs with linens, blankets and baby pillows.
Which was your favourite stop on the cruise?
Reykjavik – I have only ever visited Reykjavik previously in the middle of winter, so to have the opportunity to return during summer was really exciting for me. I had the opportunity to visit Sky Lagoon, where I was able to relax and unwind in the beautiful hot springs. However, in every destination Explora Journeys visit they offer an array of destination experiences for guests to choose from. All of these experiences give guests the opportunity to connect with locals so that they can immerse and feel the vibe of that destination.
There are also smaller groups for more intimate experiences. A lot of what Explora Journeys offer are off the beaten path, mindful and in-depth cultural experiences combining all six-senses. They offer many behind-the-scenes and exclusive experiences, so there will always be an option that will appeal to all guests.
Sustainability is an important factor in today’s travel. How did you notice Explora Journeys incorporating sustainability into their cruise operations during your journey?
Explora Journeys does not have any single use plastic onboard its ships and while ashore during their destination experiences. They have banned single-use plastic from their ships and packaging of deliveries will be reduced to a minimum. Offering fresh and locally-sourced food gives Explora Journeys the possibility to be more respectful with the planet and the destinations they visit. Additionally, they offer environmentally conscious destination experiences as well as recycling and refillable bottles onboard. Every guest receives their own Explora Journeys refillable bottle to keep.
Explora Journeys are working with tour operators that offer sustainable experiences with no single-use-plastic also ashore. The Destination Experiences are planned to put a spotlight on local talents, craftsmanship, culture, gastronomy and traditions.
What’s your honest overall review of Explora Journeys?
My expectations going onto the ship were incredibly high and my experience onboard absolutely lived up to those expectations, if not surpassed them! I’m not your typical cruiser, but there are lots of destinations that really are better explored by the ocean and this is a style of cruise that I genuinely loved. The food was incredible and I felt so relaxed after my time onboard. You just can’t beat waking up somewhere different each day either! I would say if you’ve never cruised before, but love the idea of exploring places like the Hawaiian Islands, the coast of Oman or the beautiful old towns of Croatia and Montenegro then have a look into exploring them with Explora Journeys.
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