Home » The Wow of Explora Journeys Explora I

The Wow of Explora Journeys Explora I

by John the Wanderer
0 comment
Aft pool at sunset on Explora Journeys

This article is The Wow of Explora Journeys Explora I. It is a review of Explora I sailing on a 10-night itinerary from Miami to Bridgetown.

Explora I from a tender
Explora I from a tender

Explora Journeys

MSC Cruise Line owns Explora Journeys. The brand is MSC’s Luxury Cruise offering. Explora Journeys currently has one ship operating, Explora I, with a second ship joining the fleet this summer.

The brand offers a luxury experience sailing on mostly unique itineraries throughout the world. From the lesser visited Caribbean ports to some amazing smaller spots in Europe and Asia, the cruise line brings guests to awesome destinations.

Booking

I was booked on a highly discounted travel agent rate for this sailing. The cruise line asked that I not disclose the exact price that I paid for the experience.

The retail value for the 10-night sailing in an introductory Ocean Terrace Suite from Miami to Bridgetown was between $7,500 – $11,000 depending on the time of booking.

Explora I selfie with Adamsaway and Johnthewanderer
Explora I selfie with Adamsaway and Johnthewanderer

Another content creator, Adamsaway, joined me on the sailing. Adam is a talented drone pilot and features incredible content online.

The views in this review are my own.

Room

I stayed in an Ocean Terrace Suite room 8058 on Explora I. This is the lowest level cabin category on the ship.

The room features a large bedroom with seating area, large balcony. In addition, the room featured a separate closet area that lead to a very large bathroom.

Entry to Ocean Terrace on Explora Journeys
Entry to Ocean Terrace on Explora Journeys
King Size Bed on Explora I
King Size Bed on Explora I
Seating area of the Ocean Terrace Room on Explora I
Seating area of the Ocean Terrace Room on Explora I

The cabin I was assigned had a combination bathtub and shower. Most of the Ocean Terrace cabins on the ship only feature the shower. The rooms are otherwise the same.

The bathroom floor was heated and the linens were very large and plush. You could even adjust the temperature on the floor to be hotter or cooler depending on your preference.

Balcony

The balcony was large and it offered a comfortable lounging chair.

Balcony with lounge chair and regular table and chair on Explora Journeys
Balcony with lounge chair and regular table and chair on Explora Journeys

The balcony was large enough to allow for dining on the table with plenty of room to lounge and take in the ocean views.

Room Details

a champagne welcome amenity on Explora Journeys
Champagne welcome amenity on Explora Journeys

Upon arrival, we were greeted with a welcome bottle of Champagne as a welcome amenity.

When we arrived, the beds were made into a king size bed but fortunately, since we were two guys sailing together, the host split the beds to make them into doubles.

The Explora Journeys room made into double beds
The Explora Journeys room made into double beds

The beds were still very close together, but at least we did not have to share the kind size bed.

Normally the end tables next to the bed can be moved to allow for more space in between the beds. That was not the case on Explora I.

The room was really comfortable and large and it provided an excellent home for the sailing.

Large LED television on Explora I
Large LED television on Explora I

Power ports were available in multiple locations in the room including both USB-C and USB-A options, US and Euro plugs. The TV offered a lot of complimentary on demand movies as well as many television networks from around the world.

Here is a walk through video of the beautiful room:

Room Tour of Explora I Room 8058

The room was comfortable, quiet and had a lot of space and made for a great home away from home.

One thing that would make the room even better was the mirrors in the bathroom fogged up. If they could be changed out to the type that do not fog, that would be awesome and it would match the luxury experience with the heated floors.

Other room category tours

During the sailing, I had an opportunity to tour a few of the other room categories and made walk through videos as well.

You can check those out below on the links to my YouTube Channel:

Ocean Grand Terrace Suite

Premium Penthouse Suite

Grand Penthouse Suite

Cove Residence Suite

Retreat Residence Suite

All the rooms were beautiful and offered a lot more room than what it typical on a cruise ship.

The Wow of Explora Journeys

To be honest, I was a bit hesitant to go on Explora Journeys based on the experience I received on MSC Cruises in the Yacht Club as well as in the regular cabins on their ships. Yacht Club is MSC’s ship within a ship luxury suite experience on all of the ships that has the potential to be a game changer for the industry. Unfortunately, that (at least in my experience) has fallen short.

While I had a good time on MSC Meraviglia, MSC Seashore and MSC Seascape, there were definitely a lot of service issues or things that took away from the experience. In addition, a guest writer on John the Wanderer had similar issues on World Europa.

I am happy to say, none of those issues showed up on Explora Journeys and overall the experience brought the wows!

Service

Explora Journeys Explora I in Key West
Explora Journeys Explora I in Key West

The service onboard Explora I was exceptional. The staff were super attentive and anticipated guest needs well before someone had to ask.

It was the little things such as pulling out the chair for guests while they dined at the buffet. Remembering drink preferences from previous encounters and automatically providing them.

It was escorting guests from the buffet food hall stations to their table and being proactive in offering wines.

Conservatory Pool on Explora I
Conservatory Pool on Explora I

At the pools, the staff helped with getting chairs and were swift to bring drinks and to make sure guests had everything they needed.

Relaxing pool lounge beds at one of the two aft pools
Relaxing pool lounge beds at one of the two aft pools

Even before bars were opened in the morning, a staff member would come around with a large glass of water to make sure guests were hydrated and enjoying the sunshine.

It was the little things that made the difference.

Service Improvements

While the vast majority of service experiences were exceptional, there was one area that could be improved to further enhance the guest experience.

Two restaurants on the ship require reservations.

We made some initial reservations shortly after arriving for the beginning and of the week and ending of the week.

After dining at the steakhouse, Marble and Company the first night, we enjoyed the experience so much that we wanted to go back.

That posed a real challenge. On three occasions, I approached the restaurant reservation area in the lobby and asked for a reservation. Each time I was told “no sir.” The staff member did not offer any alternative options but rather just turned me away.

That experience did not match the level of service that I experienced everywhere else.

In addition, one night we decided to show up to see if we could get a table in case there were no shows from the reservations.

When we did that, we were treated like “why are you here?” instead of being accommodated or asked to wait a few minutes. Only after we actually asked if we could wait for a while in case there were any open tables, was that option given. We waited about 15 minutes and then returned to the restaurant where they ushered us to a table rather begrudgingly.

That experience could definitely be improved upon. For example, when asking to make a reservation, perhaps there could be a wait list rather than just turning people away or a better process for walk ins to accommodate when other guests don’t show up for their reservations.

Design

The ship was beautiful designed throughout. Most of the spaces were unique and offered a luxury feel.

The design was more of a luxury hotel rather than cruise ship. That showed up front and center with the setup of the lobby.

From a cool backdrop of luxury bottles and decor it really set a nice tone for the lobby.

The lobby centerpiece bar on Explora Journeys
The lobby centerpiece bar on Explora Journeys

A grand piano made a centerpiece position opposite the feature wall and every night a talented musician performed in the space.

Lobby entertainment in a beautiful location on Explora I

The ship featured numerous beautifully appointed locations to relax and take in the ocean views.

Lounge on Explora I
Lounge on Explora I
Small venue for meetings, comedy shows, etc. on Explora Journeys
Small venue for meetings, comedy shows, etc. on Explora Journeys

The theater was intimate and allowed for a variety of seating options between chairs, couches and loungers.

Theater on Explora Journeys Explora I

There were four different pools on the ship. The main one offered a retractable roof to allow for all-weather enjoyment of the pool.

Aft pool at sunset on Explora Journeys
Aft pool at sunset on Explora Journeys

There were two pools at the aft of the ship. One on a lower deck and one on a higher deck offered good views especially at sunset.

Public Area Improvements

One thing that would have been an improvement on Explora I is that the public lounges, coffee shop and other areas did not have power outlets available for guests to do work on laptops or to charge devices.

The rooms were well outfitted with power ports and charging options; however, none of the public lounges had power ports.

Explora Journeys markets to spending extended time onboard to live and work at sea, so the missing power outlets were surprising.

I spent one of my days working during the sailing and had to leave the comfortable lounge to go back to my room to charge my laptop for a while before returning to the lounge.

I did notice one or two European outlets in the lounges; however, the position of the power was not near any of the tables and it was more for plugging in a vacuum cleaner or other item rather then for use by guests.

Spa and Gym

Explora I offers a beautiful spa where the thermal suite is open to all guests daily. On sea days, the thermal suite was offered for a couple hours in the morning and a couple hours in the evening for all guests. On port days, the thermal suite was open all day for guests to enjoy.

Spa Thermal Suite

The thermal suite offered a salt heat beds, pool as well as hot and cold showers and other relaxation spaces.

It was pretty awesome that you didn’t have to book a spa treatment or pay extra to use the facilities.

The ship offers two gyms. One that was located inside with traditional fitness equipment from machines to free weights to stretching areas. The second gym was located outside in the open air on deck with exercise bikes and weight equipment.

In addition, the ship offered a Pickleball Court and basketball court for all the sports fans.

Basketball and pickleball court on Explora I
Basketball and pickleball court on Explora I

Pickleball is very popular these days and it was nice to see an official court on the ship.

Entertainment

The entertainment on Explora Journeys Explora I featured a nightly show in the theater at two show times. The show offered singing performances some nights as well as ballroom dance shows on the other nights.

The singing performances featured two guest entertainers who performed a variety of songs depending on the night. One night it was movies, another night was Broadway. They were talented and I enjoyed the shows.

Explora I guest entertainers

In addition, a comedy show was offered one night in the auditorium and another late night comedy offering in the smaller venue.

Live music was offered nightly in the lobby as well as in some of the other lounges.

A DJ offered dancing until around 12 or 1 AM nightly as well as there were karaoke options as well.

All of the entertainment was enjoyable and well thought out.

While many go on Explora Journeys for a luxury intimate getaway, it is nice that the ship offered options for entertainment.

I was honestly surprised that a comedy show was offered on the ship. With the very international audience with a mix of people from various countries in Europe, South America and the North America, it is difficult to find common ground for the comedy. The performer that week did his best to entertain the guests! What a difficult job that is with this type of crowd!

Food and Drinks

Explora Journeys is a luxury cruise experience so everything is included.

You do not need to show your cruise card at any time and all guests are treated the same.

Drinks

They offered many varieties of wines throughout the ship to all guests. At dinner you could select bottles of wine that would be an additional charge, but nearly everything else was included.

There were probably four of five varieties of house whites and four or five varieties of house red wines. Many of the bottles were high on the wine point score exceeding 90 points. Even the house champagne was a gourmet French brand that was excellent.

I only encountered one time when I asked for a particular type of alcohol where I was informed that it was not included. That was the Clase Azul iconic white and blue bottled tequila. If I wanted that it would have cost about 20 Euros for a glass. Everything else I ordered was included.

Food

Food was excellent everywhere. From amazing presentations and wonderful taste.

Dover Sole Prepared tableside
Dover Sole served tableside
Dover Sole
Beef Tartar at Sakura
Beef Tartar at Sakura

Caviar, Lobster and other options were regular fixtures on the menus.

Caviar over potatoes at Marble and Company
Caviar over potatoes at Marble and Company
Filet and Lobster
Filet and Lobster

Even at the buffet, you could order cooked to order lobster tails, crab legs, oysters, luxury cuts of steak and fresh made to order pastas.

Dining options at the food hall / emporium (Buffet) on Explora Journeys

Overall the food and drinks were amazing on Explora Journeys!

One of my favorite spots on the ship was the coffee shop in the lobby where the barista made up an excellent cappuccino or other coffee drinks.

Coffee at the Coffee ship on Explora I
Coffee at the Coffee ship on Explora I

The attention to details really showed here with the fresh orchid leaves on every table at the coffee shop.

Fortunately, coffee wasn’t limited to the coffee shop since all of the bars offered espresso machines and gourmet coffee drinks even outside at the pools.

Ports

Explora I from shore
Explora I from shore

This 10-night sailing on Explora I visited some beautiful islands in the Caribbean.

a flower on a plant with a body of water in the background
Beautiful scenery from Explora I

The itinerary started with Key West followed by two days of sea and then stops in Virgin Gorda, St. Barths, Antigua, Guadalupe, St. Lucia and St. Vincent.

Key West and Antigua were docked ports while the other ports were tender ports allowing some good views from the water as well as arrival right in the heart of the cities which made exploring easy.

a palm tree on a beach
Palm tree at the beach

I enjoyed exploring the islands as well as going to some amazing beaches throughout the trip.

a cannon on a stone ledge with a body of water in the background
St. Barths overlook
Light house in St. Barths
Light house in St. Barths
Pitons in St. Lucia
Pitons in St. Lucia

One of the most unique locations was visiting the Baths in Virgin Gorda.

Baths of Virgin Gorda
Baths of Virgin Gorda

We crouched through tiny paths to take in these views.

Baths of Virgin Gorda
Baths of Virgin Gorda

It sure was a lovely time being in the beautiful Caribbean ocean!

Beach in St. Barths
Beach in St. Barths
Beach in Guadalupe
Beach in Guadalupe
Beach Scene on Guadalupe
Guadalupe beach
St. Vincent boats on the beach
St. Vincent boats on the beach
St. Vincent Beach
St. Vincent Beach

The Wow of Explora Journeys Explora I

Explora I in port
Explora I in port

It sure was an amazing journey on Explora I. From incredible service to to beautiful islands, everything was absolutely amazing. I hope to experience another sailing on Explora Journeys in the future!

With just a few suggestions for improvement including the reservation process for the steakhouse and experience there; addition of power outlets in the public areas; and heated bathroom mirror; it was hard to find anything negative about the experience onboard.

a sunset over a body of water
Sunset departure
Sunset on Explora Journeys
Sunset on Explora Journeys

Have you been on a luxury cruise? How did your experience compare to Explora Journeys?

Leave a Comment

You may also like