I had the opportunity to embark on a cruise aboard the new EXPLORA I with Explora Journeys, sailing from Portsmouth to Copenhagen, and what an unforgettable weekend it was! It was to celebrate the launch of the first of six magnificent ships planned to set sail by 2028. From the moment I stepped on board, I knew I was in for an extraordinary experience.
There were so many highlights during this journey that it's hard to know where to start!
As we set sail from Portsmouth, I couldn't resist the opportunity to cycle on the deck, taking in the breathtaking views of the open sea. The wellness facilities on EXPLORA I were simply incredible, covering an expansive 700 square metres. They have their own wellness brand, named Ocean Wellness , set against their five pillars of Energy, Sleep, Mindfulness, Immunity & Relax, and it's evident that it's one of the key philosophies of the Explora Journeys brand.
The accommodation on board was incredible, and though I was travelling with my husband I can imagine it being perfect for multigenerational escapes that bring the whole family together. Explora Journeys' story started with the Aponte family, and its foundations as a family-owned company translates into its thoughtful details, from the personally designed rooms to the mandala logo designed by Alexa Aponte-Vago, CFO of the MSC Group and daughter of the founder, Gianluigi Aponte. These down-to-earth details combine with luxurious touches for a boutique-hotel feel.
We stayed in the Cove Residence, which came with its own Butler and Technogym kit with on demand classes. As with all of the accommodation on this ship, our room had a stunning terrace space with ocean view and was filled with thoughtful touches, from a chess board and a selection of books to a champagne welcome. It truly felt like a home away from home.
Mouthwatering dishes throughout the journey showcased the ship's unmatched culinary team. Anthology, helmed by a remarkable 3-star Michelin chef, served one of the best meals I have ever had, and Sakura is a haven for Japanese cuisine.
The Emporium Marketplace was truly a foodie's dream, where we had the best pizza crafted by a talented chef from Naples. And the experiences aren't just solely for the ports! One of the most exciting activities was the cooking class with a master chef, which was just incredible.
Explora Journeys operates at a slower pace compared to other cruises, allowing for a more relaxed and enjoyable experience. The ship is scheduled to arrive at different times to other cruise lines so that each port was quiet when we got there. And it stayed longer in port than other ships, giving us ample time to explore and immerse ourselves in each destination. A selection of small group touring and off-the-beaten-track experiences are available too for an exclusive experience.
I couldn't share my experience of this adventure without mentioning the extraordinary sea views that I was treated to throughout. From Sky Bar on 14, a cool sunset bar at the back of the ship, to the views from my terrace, it really made me appreciate the beauty of the ocean. Of the ship's 12 lounges, The Astern Lounge was my favourite for the sunset views, enjoyed whilst lounging on the outdoor sun beds beside the pool.
For The Future
But what truly impressed me about Explora Journey's was their commitment to responsible cruise travel. There is a real focus on sustainable brands and buying from small, local providers like their flour which comes from a little village in France, and sustainably-sourced Caviar from Italy.
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