There are a plethora of different suites and residences on Explora Journeys’ Explora I. And they range from the largest standard suites to numerous large to enormous ones…which is why, in part, the largest are called Residences. However, no matter what category you are in, once you leave your suite all things are equal; something I like.
One thing that is differentiated is the welcome bottle of premium champagne:
By the way, the “house pour” champagne is Moet & Chandon Imperial.
Before I talk about specific suites (and there are too many categories – especially in the premium range – to discuss here), they all have touches that are both unique and welcoming.
These touches first struck me when I started to unpack. I grabbed a beautiful wooden maroon-colored well-shaped hanger and noticed that there is velvet on them. For those for, say a suit, the velvet is on the rod so that your slacks don’t slide off. On the ones you might hand a dress, there not only is velvet on the ends, but also notches for the thin cords used to hang the dress. You’ll be wanting a set of these when you get home!
Oh, and when you go to slide those hangers across the rail they don’t move. There is rubber running along the top of the rods that keep the hangers from sliding. That’s right, the dread of hearing sliding hangers bang into each other with ship movement is gone. So simple. So appreciated.
All suites have numerous drawers and cabinets; sufficient for even the longest journeys. There is even a jewelry drawer to place your smaller items. And all drawers and cabinets are soft-close so no banging and no drawers opening if the ship moves.
There are also motion-sensitive lights on both sides of the bed; another appreciated touch that neither keeps you in the dark nor keeps you up by being on all the time.
The suites are intentionally wider than found on cruise ships, giving a sense of more space. Because of this the terraces (balconies on cruise ships) are wider and have room for at least a beautiful, thickly padded, and waterproof daybed that holds two people (rather than a mere lounger…and those aren’t even offered on most ships), two chairs and a table.
Be aware that bathrooms are definitely more European in design. They are beautiful and functional, but are designed to get the job done and get out. The vast majority of suites have a large marble walk-in shower with a seat, and rainfall and wand showerheads. There is a single large sink in a marble vanity and a ton of storage space. The floors have adjustable heat. The towels are the largest and most luxurious at sea. (I even noticed!) And, of course, less of your square footage taken up by the bathroom equals more living space!
Certain suites have bathtubs and in the upper-category Residences, there are separate toilet rooms, bidets, and more.
USB and USB-C outlets are everywhere in the suite, including the bathrooms. Light switches are easy to use and logically located, as are the electronically controlled curtains (separately for light-diffusing and blackout). One annoyance: The 110V outlets share space with a USB outlet or a light switch. So if you plug something into the outlet it either blocks the USB or turns the light on or off. (This is a design-over-function error, as the size of this combination is identical to the square 220 outlets so the desire for symmetry was too great.)
The televisions are huge and high-tech with access to a large range of movies, and international television stations, You will need your phone to fully utilize the system as it does present QR Codes for you to scan for more detailed information regarding Destination Experiences (tours), bar menus, etc. However, Room Service menus are paper and you call in your order. You can also preorder breakfast by hanging a discrete tag on your door before turning in. (I am confident an upgrade to allow for electronic ordering will be coming.)
Another quirk, but only in some of the premium suites, is that the in-room safe is located in a cabinet or closet near the entry door rather than in a dressing room drawer. That is an easy fix that needs to be made. Otherwise, the safes are great. They open from the top – large enough for a laptop – have a jewelry tray inside…and a light. No blindly reaching into the safe or wondering if something is in there or if you left something behind.
Dependent on your suite category there are other amenities such as Illy espresso makers. And in the largest suites, you don’t need to slide your suitcases under the bed (an issue, especially if you have multiple suitcases) because the entire bed is on a lift system so your host will pull the bed up and put your bags – many of them – inside. Pretty cool.
I previously wrote an article with many details about the suites: Explora Journeys: A New Luxury Cruise Line With a New (Resort) Approach! But now, let’s take an actual look at some of them. All of the photos are mine…no more CGI images!
And, of course, you can see the details on all of the suites here.
The standard suites are called Ocean Terrace Suites which are 377 square feet. They are similar throughout the OT1-4 categories. the Grand Ocean Terrace has a larger terrace.
Penthouses start at approximately 465 square feet including the terrace
At the top of the category are Grand Penthouses at about 600 square feet.
I was fortunate to stay in the “smallest” of the Residences, a Cove Residence. It was easily one of the most comfortable and functional suites I have stayed in.
And, of course, having my private hot tub on my terrace wasn’t the worst thing!
Overlooking the stern are some of the most amazing Residences such as the Serenity Residence and the full width of the suite Owners Residence, which not only has its own hot tub, but pool!
I know that there will be more premium suites on Explora II and III as they are extremely popular and, as you can see, there is a reason.
But as with the culinary experiences onboard Explora I, it is not a matter of any of the suites somehow being lesser in quality, as it is just a matter of your desires and preferences.