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Onboard Explora I: Sailing Around The UK

Onboard Explora I: Sailing Around The UK

Our amazing travel experts, Alison, Gill and Lesley, had the incredible opportunity to embark on a 4-night voyage aboard Explora Journeys‘ brand-new Explora I. Embarking in Greenock, Scotland, the sailing explored the Scottish Islands before traversing across to Reykjavik, Iceland. 

After hearing so much about Explora Journeys, a luxury extension of MSC Cruises, it was breathtaking to step onboard and see for ourselves what it was all about. 

“This is the life!” – Alison Swallow, Personal Travel Consultant

“Pinch me now!” – Gill Williams, Personal Travel Consultant

“Simply WOW” – Lesley MacDonald, Luxury Consultant

First Impressions

From the first point of embarkation, it was evident there were plenty of exceptionally friendly staff to assist your every need. We were welcomed with a glass of bubbling champagne and a big smile in the very impressive Lobby Bar. The initial design of the ship is like a minimalist, modern, boutique hotel decorated so clean and chic. 


With many of the hosts coming from a hotel background, they really knew how to create a luxury atmosphere. There is an onboard ratio of 1 staff member to every 1.25 guests which creates a complete serene, luxury service. 

“From the first step on board to disembarkation, the service was exemplary. Everyone was very friendly and professional” – Alison Swallow, Personal Travel Consultant

Homes at Sea

Explora I boasts incredible suites, coined ‘Homes At Sea’. Each room has incredible little touches which makes staying onboard the ultimate luxury experience. You can expect Dyson hairdryers, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and an Illy coffee machine. With a walk-in wardrobe, plenty of storage space and plug sockets, and luxurious cotton bedding, these Homes At Sea are the perfect place to relax onboard. Not to mention, the large terrace space, stocked mini bar and high-end toiletries. 


Explora I is the perfect cruise ship for foodies. There are 9 included dining options plus the Anthology Concept restaurant, a multi-course fine dining venue that introduces Michelin Star chefs on a three month rotation.

We were truly spoiled for choice with Fil Rouge – a french bistro, Med Yacht Club – a Mediterranean flair, Sakura – all about Asian fusion, Marble & Co – a steak and seafood restaurant. Aside from Sakura and Marble & Co, which required reservations, we were able to walk into the rest of these restaurants. The Emporium Marketplace, the buffet-style restaurant reminiscent of the Harrods food hall, was also amazing. Rather than your traditional buffet, you can see all the food being prepared and there was so much choice, from a Wok and Pasta station to a Grill counter and Creperie. With 18 different, rotating stations, you can try dishes from every corner of the globe, all freshly prepared. You can also get oysters at 6pm every evening, pre dinner, served with a glass of champagne. 

“Definitely the best food I have ever eaten at sea” – Lesley MacDonald, Luxury Travel Consultant

Bars and Lounges

There are 12 bars, 8 indoors and 4 outdoors, onboard Explora I and each have their own concepts and bespoke cocktails. You can enjoy a pre-dinner glass of bubbly or a nightcap of whiskey with amazing panoramic views across the ship. In the evening, you are entertained by resident artists such as talented pianists, guitarists and singers which are truly special. 

‘My favourite was the Journeys Lounge. We were treated to an evening with a guest singer and a talk with a guest expert. The layout of the lounge makes it a special, intimate experience with high-quality entertainment” – Gill Williams, Personal Travel Consultant 

The Ocean Wellness Spa

From wonderful facials and massage treatments to beauty and hair treatments, the Ocean Wellness Spa has something for everyone. The Thermal Journey is complimentary for all guests. They also have a range of fitness classes, equipment on open decks, plus a sports court. 

“For nearly two hours, I was transported to another world” – Alison Swallow, Personal Travel Consultant

“I had no trouble finding my ‘Ocean State of Mind’ here” – Lesley MacDonald, Luxury Travel Consultant


Keeping in with the brand’s overall theme of exploring and discovery, this transcends into the shopping experience. Explora Journeys have a collection of 30 artisan brands within their retail space onboard that lend themselves to the environment, craftsmanship and commitment to the planet. Plus, they have a guaranteed stock of Rolex watches which means you can buy one straight off the shelf onboard which is unheard of in any stores on land. 

“Sadly, I couldn’t quite persuade my husband that I needed a new timepiece but maybe next time!’ – Gill Williams, Personal Travel Consultant

The Pool

Explora I has 4 pools on board and, amazingly, they are all heated! The Astern Pool is the most beautiful, an infinity pool surrounded by day beds and a bar. There are 4 unique whirlpools as well as a handful of jacuzzis and plenty of outdoor space. There is also an indoor conservatory pool which was well utilised whilst sailing around the UK! By night, this venue changes into a cinema under the stars. 

Family Friendly

As a luxury brand, Explora Journeys caters really well to families. They boast 78 interconnecting suites with options of a converted sofa bed. Not to mention, the Nautilus Club, a kid’s club that offers organised activities and age-appropriate toys. 

Overall, Explora I exceeded all our expectations and truly enjoyed all that the beautiful vessel had to offer. 

For more information, call us on 0800 810 8481 or browse our Explora Journeys cruise deals.

The Explora Journeys Experience On New Ship EXPLORA I  Previous
The Explora Journeys Experience On New Ship EXPLORA I

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