Just back from: Cruising with Explora Journeys

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, the popularity of the “do-nothing vacation” is on the rise.  Blame it on the pandemic.  Blame it on the never-ending news cycle.  Blame it on work and family obligations.  But whatever the reason, the numbers are clear.  Bookings at all-inclusive resorts are up.  Cruise bookings are up, too.  Travelers want less decision-making on their vacations and more relaxation.

We’re seeing this play out in our clients’ travel requests here at CIRE.  We’ve booked more cruises in the last 24 months than we have in the last 10 years.  Explora Journeys is a relative newcomer to the cruising world, having sailed its first voyage in 2023.  However, the Aponte family, owners of Explora, also own MSC, the world’s largest privately-owned cruise company. The family also has over 300 years of sea faring experience.

In Explora, the Aponte family was looking to create something new in the cruise world: a relaxed yacht experience that felt cosmopolitan, yet comfortable.  CIRE vacation and honeymoon advisor –  and 30Under30 winner – Melissa Chaquea got invited on a FAM trip to experience this new luxury cruise line for herself, on the Explora I, from Panama City to Curacao, then onto Martinique and Barbados.  She just got back…

The Vibe

“The moment you step onto Explora I, you are welcomed by the open and inviting lounge, a great open space, surrounded by luxurious shops and the lobby bar. As you make your way to your cabin, you are directed by the smiling crew, pointing you to your luxury, oceanfront suite. As you head through the halls, you will see the simple yet elegant decor as well as hidden art exhibits scattered throughout the ship including a photography gallery with pictures of the port stops you will soon visit. The vibe is an inviting one…inviting you to meander and explore.”

The Suites

“As you walk into your suite (I am hesitant to say cabin!) you will be lured in by Explora’s signature scent wafting in the air that will set the tone for the week ahead – refreshing, uplifting and full of anticipation. The lead-in room category on Explora I is a suite, so all passengers have room to spread out and enjoy their home at sea. The suite is spacious with a king bed, walk-in closet and expansive bathroom with heated floors. The highlight of the suite for me is the private veranda with unobstructed views of the ocean. Each morning, I enjoyed a room service delivery of coffee and croissants to accompany the beautiful sunrise over the horizon – I felt like the sun was putting on a performance just for me.”

The Food

“With six restaurants and twelve bars and lounges, you don’t have to repeat a meal while on your voyage. What stood out to me from each restaurant is that the style of service, menu, design, and music all conspire to truly make you feel like you’re in a different part of the world. So, while you get to explore different cultures on your port stops, you’ll also get to experience new culinary delights without ever leaving the ship – from the patisserie cart and jazzy music of Fil Rouge’s French dining room to the buzzing energy and sushi bar at Sakura’s Asian fusion restaurant.”

The Destination Experiences

“There is a reason they are not called “shore excursions” on Explora Journeys. Their “destination experiences” strive to provide more intimate and personal encounters for guests. For starters, due to the smaller size of their ships – Explora is able to access more intimate and remote ports. Martinique was one of our stops – a French, volcanic island that is so lush you’d think the ship took a detour and you were in Hawaii! We spent the morning at Le Petibonum, a rustic waterfront restaurant where you have the beautiful sandy beaches, swaying palm trees and birdsong all to yourself. Untouched, pristine nature surrounds you without the foot traffic of tourists.  Sip a rum punch before lunch as you wait for your catch of the day to be prepared… You’ll leave this experience feeling like a true islander.”

The Spa

“After a day of exploration on board and off, the spa is the place to unwind. The gentle rock of the boat during a relaxing massage on a heated massage table is a sensation you’ll never forget. And your massage is only the beginning of your wellness experience. The spa also includes a hydrotherapy pool, Finnish sauna, salt cave, experience shower, ice fall, steam room, steam shower, and an outdoor relaxation area. The spa’s facilities are available to all guests, whether you book a treatment or not.”

Don’t miss… The Infinity Pool

“Whether you’re catching the morning rays before you reach the port of the day or you’re looking for a relaxed nook to watch the sunset and stars come out, the Infinity Pool will be a highlight of your journey. The magic of Explora I is that while the ship holds 900 passengers, once you step into one of the several pool and lounge areas – you will feel like a VIP at a private club.”

A big thanks to our partner Tomás Baca-Cruz with Explora Journeys and the entire crew on Explora I for hosting Melissa!

Ready to start planning your luxury cruise with Explora Journeys?  Our expert team is ready to help!  Drop us a line!

CIRE Travel is a full-service travel agency headquartered in New York, NY.  Our expert corporate travel planners, honeymoon travel agents, and luxury travel planners support clients across the country and around the world.

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