Exploring Explora Journeys

Suzanna Pinder on 29 July 2023
It is always exciting when a new product appears in the world of travel and last week I was lucky to be one of the first invited onboard the brand new ship, Explora 1. Straight from the factory in Italy, not only is she a new vessel, but also the first (and currently only!) ship for new brand, Explora Journeys.

Set to transform luxury cruising and with an ethos ‘’Discover the ocean state of mind’’, Explora Journeys aims to inspire guests to travel further, immerse deeper and linger a little longer. Explora 1 has no home port or repeat of itinerary, simply spending her days travelling the world with the seasons, with some unique itineraries.

Explora 1 oozes luxury, yet is very understated. The elegant lobby lounge with beautiful Steinway piano is complimented by boutique shops including Cartier, Panerai and the first Rolex boutique at sea. Guests can choose from a range of eateries, from the relaxed Emporium Marketplace, Anthology with the world’s most celebrated Michelin-starred guest chefs (chefs who cook, not sign cook books, as we were told!), European steakhouse Marble & Co, Med Yacht Club, French Fil Rouge and one of my favourites, Sakura offering authentic Pan-Asian cuisine in a beautiful setting of cherry blossom and gold Japanese inspired walls. There is also a fabulous Chef’s Kitchen with immersive experiences and private dining. The food served onboard is all based around healthy and delicious produce from local, sustainable sources. My tuna tataki and slow roasted lamb were both to die for, followed by a fabulous selection of French cheese.

With over ten indoor and outdoor bars, there’s no end of places to relax. Explora 1 offers exclusive wine, whiskey and spirit tastings, food and drink pairings, alcohol-free beverages, cocktail making masterclasses, ‘Meet the Winemaker’ events and wine-themed destination experiences ashore.

The entertainment is very music based, with cabaret acts, DJ sets, live jazz and a very cool 1970’s inspired nightclub. There are also various quirky ideas, such as storytelling about ancient seafaring traditions under the stars, sunrise meditation, photography masterclasses, destination themed book cruises and crafts courses lead by local experts. The 461 ocean fronted suites, penthouses and residences offer a refined European elegance and comfort. All have private sun terraces and the larger accommodation options, extended lounging and dining areas, outdoor whirlpools, plunge pools and butler service. With a very much reduced guest capacity for a ship of her size and a staff to guest ratio of 1:1.25, it is never a problem to find a quiet corner to relax and a smiling waiter to bring more champagne!

The calming onboard spa offers a myriad of treatments, hydro-pool, steam room, sauna and salt cave. For more energetic guests, Explora 1 has a fully equipped fitness centre with state of the art Technogym equipment, a range of studio classes, 360 degree running track with uninterrupted ocean views, ball sports court, outdoor yoga experiences and even an outdoor fitness deck with cycling and rowing apparatus. On deck there are plenty of sun loungers and comfortable seating areas, and not just one busy central pool, but three outdoor pools, one indoor pool with retractable glass roof and numerous indoor and outdoor whirlpools. By day the indoor atrium pool with floor to ceiling windows is perfect for relaxing, particularly in chillier climes, and at night it is transformed into a wonderful cinema under the stars. The designers of Explora 1 really have thought of everything!

Explora Journeys respect for the planet is core to their operation. Explora 1 and her future sisterships are not only built with todays sustainability in mind, but also that of tomorrow, utilising the very latest in environmentally supportive technology, ready to be adapted to alternative energy solutions as they become available. There is no single-use plastic, produce is locally sourced as the ship moves around and shore excursions are designed to leave a positive footprint. Explora Journeys also works with brand ambassadors, such as adventurer and environmentalist Mike Horn, who will be onboard for Explora 1’s inaugural Iceland and Greenland Journey next month. Drawing on his vast expertise and experience visiting the most remote regions on the planet, Mike is working alongside Explore Journeys to create unforgettable and sustainable experiences for guests.

Do I think Explora Journeys have transformed luxury travel? They are certainly giving it a go! Whilst there are marble staircases and crystal chandeliers, they are very contemporary. There are a number of quirky twists, such as a very funky bookcase art piece to break up the otherwise muted tones, walls of wine displayed along corridors and some interesting ports of call – why visit the main town of Basse Terre in Guadeloupe, when you can anchor off the fabulous, off the beaten track Deshais (home to the popular BBC series Death in Paradise, although not that you would know, as the French really don’t care about British tv and most Brits have no idea where Deshais is!). Whilst great for all ages (yes, there is even a kids club!) I would say Explora Journeys is ideal for 40/50/60’s, looking for an exquisite service level and getting off the beaten track.

Taking a cruise with Explora Journeys, I promise you would not be disappointed.