This past July, when everyone was just starting to think about cruising again, I wrote a fairly extensive article on what I believe will be one of the premier luxury (
cruise) lines – which sets sail in May 2023: Explora Journeys.
Before I get into the details of the Inaugural Journeys – which you will want to book NOW! – let me give you a bit of a refresher and update on Explora Journeys and its first ship, Explora I.
The concept of Explora Journeys is to be a combination of a Resort at Sea and a Home Base for your Travel Journey. In order to do this Explora Journeys has gone away from the traditional large mass gathering public spaces and toward more diverse, brilliantly designed, smaller, more experience-focused, ones that draw you in rather than wow you with a fleeting moment of grandeur…and then combined that with more longer and overnight stays with fewer repetitive itineraries so you have greater flexibility when designing your explorations and journeys.
For a bit more insight, and the specifics of the various types and sizes of the suites and “residences”, the nine (9) culinary venues, the four (4) pools – each with a different vibe – the hotel-esque public spaces and more, I would urge you read my July 2021 article: Explora Journeys: A New Luxury Cruise Line With a New (Resort) Approach!
What is the most exciting thing for me is watching first-hand how this new approach – dare I say new philosophy -to traveling on a luxury ship is developing. From initial design to suite design to public spaces and restaurants, the development and delivery of hardware is one thing. But there is also the delivery of the software and, of course, the destinations; all together known as “The Journey”.
Let’s Take This Journey Together…and Start Right Now!
So why would I say “Now is the Time!” to book your journey on a brand new line that will not be sailing until May 2023? Good question!
The answer is, in part, that as one of the few travel agents that has worked closely with Explora Journeys as a consultant since shortly after its birth, I have certain perks including, but not limited to, for a limited time, Goldring Travel has been able to reserve some of the best suites on each of these eight Maiden Journeys and, to be sure, with special pricing and amenities – including generous onboard credits – and Residence Cocoon Suites 9094 and 9095!
Yes, as I have detailed in my July 2021 article, there are going to be Eight (8) Inaugural Journeys (they are not “cruises”!); one for each area of the world Explora I (the first of at least four ships) will be visiting: Mediterranean; United Kingdom; Northern Europe; Iceland and Greenland; United States & Canada; Caribbean; South America; and, Hawaii. And I have the itineraries that follow (in fact, I have all the itineraries…and they are not otherwise available online) so you can create some pretty amazing extended journeys. (More on that below.)
By now you are saying, “OK. This all sounds very interesting, but what the heck is a Cocoon Suite?” (Trust me, I didn’t name them, but what’s in a name anyway?!) You know those coveted corner Penthouse Spa Suites on Seabourn? Well, these are better. Much better! At 800 square feet of interior suite space, 807 square feet of terrace space, an expansive view over the stern of the ship, a private jacuzzi on your terrace, a truly separate dressing room and a truly separate guest bathroom, this suite has it all.
And I have them reserved for you to book on almost every one of the eight Inaugural Journeys.
While I have renderings of a number of the suites in my earlier article, here are some of the most popular suite floorplans.
Explora I has four different types of Penthouses. The PH Penthouse has 366 square feet of interior an 97-151 square feet of terrace. For the sake of comparision, a Sky Suite on the new Celebrity Apex is 319 square feet/79 square feet.
The DP Deluxe Penthouse is 409-463 square feet of interior space and 108-194 of terrace. Comparably sized with a Seabourn Penthouse is 436 square feet interior and 98 square feet of terrace.
Explora I’s Penthouses continue up in size to a PP Premier Penthouse with 452/108 square feet of interior/terrace space and the GP Grand Penthouse with 506/104+ square feet interior/terrace. This is comparable to the Seabourn Penthouse Spa Suite and Owner’s Suites in size.
From there one is looking at the Residences. Yes, there are that many options with truly luxury options in a wide variety of sizes and layouts.
The Eight Inaugural Journey Itineraries
Here are the itineraries and Goldring Travel’s starting prices for each Inaugural Journey for Ocean Terrace, Ocean Grand Terrace, Penthouse Suites and Cocoon Residences…before our added amenities! What you will also see is that, unlike most luxury cruise lines, the itineraries for these journeys are diverse, non-repetitous and have you, well, taking a journey!
May 31 – June 11, 2023, 11 nights Inaugural Mediterranean Journey (Barcelona, Spain; St. Tropez, France; Calvi, Corsica; Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; Fiskarado, Greece; Istanbul, Turkey (overnight); and, Piraeus (Athens), Greece)
You can combine this journey – with special pricing – with a seven-night Roundtrip Piraeus journey visiting Patmos, Greece; Bodrum, Turkey; Kastelorizo, Greece; and, an overnight stay in Santorini, Greece.
July 11 – July 23, 2023, 12 nights Inaugural Norwegian Journey (Southhampton, UK; Norwegian Fjords to Honningsvag and ending in Tromso, Norway)
You can combine this journey – with special pricing – with the United Kingdom Inaugural Journey.
August 24 – September 2, 2023, 9 nights Inaugural United Kingdom Journey (Southhampton, UK; overnight in Edinburgh, Scotland; Newcastle, England; Invergordon, Scotland; Stornoway, Scotland; Oban, Scotland; Liverpool, England; and Greenock (Glascow), Scotland).
September 9 – September 25, 2023, 16 nights Inaugural Iceland & Greenland Journey (Overnight in Reykjavik, Iceland; Akureyri, Iceland; Isafjordur, Iceland; Prins Christian Sund, Greenland; Paamuit, Greenland; Nuuk, Greenland; Qaqortoq, Greenland; Strait of Belle Island, Canada; Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada; St. John, Canada; and, New York City, USA)
You can combine this journey – with special pricing – with the North American East Coast Inaugural Journey.
September 25 – October 3, 2023, 8 nights Inaugural North American East Coast Journey (New York City; Newport, Rhode Island; Boston, Massachusetts; St. John, Canada; Cruising the St. Lawrence River (Leaf Season!); overnight in Quebec City, Canada)
November 3 – 10, 2023 7 nights Inaugural Caribbean Journey (Miami, Florida; Key West, Florida; Virgin Gorda; Antigua & Barbuda; Anguilla; San Juan, Puerto Rico)
November 3 – 17, 2023 Extended 14 nights Inaugural Caribbean Journey (Miami, Florida; Key West, Florida; Virgin Gorda; Antigua & Barbuda; Anguilla; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Barths; St. Kitts & Nevis; Samana, Dominican Republic; Ocean Cay, Bahamas; Miami, Florida)
Or you can sail the second seven days from San Juan to Miami.
January 31 – February 15, 2024, 15 nights Inaugural South American Journey (Barbados; Devil’s Island; Fortaleza, Brazil; overnight in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil; two overnights in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Porto Bella, Brazil; San Paulo, Brazil)
April 18 – May 6, 2024, 18 nights Inaugural Hawaiian Journey (Vancouver, Canada; five Sea Days; overnight Hilo, Hawaii; overnight Honolulu, Hawaii)
Right now all I need is your name and the Inaugural and Suite type you desire. In a few weeks those no obligation desires will be converted into bookings. You will then have time to decide if you want to pay the deposit or cancel without any penalty. You literally have nothing to lose! So why not sign up and see how it all feels?
You Shouldn’t Be Concerned About THIS New Line!
I feel a need to address the elephant in the cruise living room.
Because adjustments and refinements happen as the startup process proceeds, there is an excitement about that dynamic and, to be sure, a desire to be The First of The First to experience this exploration and journey. Yet, with the seemingly omnipresent delays in the delivery of the Ritz Carlton cruise ship (now extending years) and the stumbled start of Atlas Ocean Voyages when Covid-19 caused literally its entire exotic Maiden Voyage season to be cancelled (too optimistic?) along with the delays and ordeals of Covid-19 affecting the delivery of many ships ranging from the Seabourn Venture to the Celebrity Apex and Beyond, there is an admitted reluctance to commit to something new.
Let me put your mind at ease! As I previously detailed, the good news is that Explora Journeys is owned by MSC, one of the world’s largest and most profitable shipping companies (see here), so there is no question that it has both the financial and shipbuilding backing that is needed to quell any concerns. I should also note that while MSC Cruises is also owned by MSC, so it is not a new business for them, as is the case with Ritz Carlton which is trying to expand into the cruise industry from the very different hotel industry.
To be sure, Explora Journeys is a separate entity…from its executives, to its own sales force, reservations system and branding. But is obviously had a head start since its executives are some of the cruise and travel industry leaders who have a passion to do it differently. With Explora I well underway with her construction at Fincantieri and Explora II also now under construction, coupled with a financial plan that is based upon providing exceptional value from Day 1, as they say, “Oh, THIS is Happening!”
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