EXPLORA JOURNEYS SET FOR SUMMER DEBUT IN NORTHERN EUROPE
EXPLORA I, the first of up to six luxury ships to join the Explora Journeys (EJ) fleet, will debut this summer in Northern Europe as the luxury lifestyle brand of the MSC Group sets sail for the first time.
EJ will offer eight individual sailings as part of the Northern European Inaugural Journeys Collection, showcasing a balanced blend of well-known destinations, such as Copenhagen or Edinburgh, discovered through a different lens and lesser known, rarely visited ports, such as Leknes in Norway’s Lofoten Islands and Ísafjörður in Iceland.
EXPLORA I will be officially named on July 8 in Civitavecchia near Rome, Italy before heading to Southampton, UK, to depart for her maiden journey on July 17, 2023. Cruises are open for bookings and guests can enhance their journeys with pre- and post-luxury hotel stays, offered in the journey enrichment program.
Meanwhile, the newly announced “Experiences” for the cruises are tailored to small, intimate groups, from two to 25 guests; always with an emphasis on exclusive, off-the-beaten-path encounters and focused on a slower pace of travel to allow guests to fully immerse themselves in each destination, while not leaving their footprint on the places they explore.
“When creating our experiences, we first need to understand the very essence of each destination and then focus on unique ways to offer our guests the chance to immerse themselves into the local culture, taste authentic food and discover truly hidden gems,” says Explora Journeys exec Sacha Rougier. “Our selected tour operators have been hand-picked and quickly realized that we want to clearly differentiate ourselves, by offering our guests an extremely wide range of experiences that go to the root of each destination.
Inaugural destinations and experiences include:Norway: Guests will have the chance to discover some of Europe’s most dramatic coastlines, as EXPLORA I will sail deep into the Norwegian fjords (photo). Crossing the Arctic Circle, an array of nature-focused adventures awaits in Leknes on the Lofoten Islands. In Geiranger, a guided Nordic-walking tour will combine exhilarating sportive adventure with breath-taking vistas overlooking cliffs and waterfalls. From the port of Molde, a Viking ship will bring guests to an 18th century fishing village, while other experiences include a gourmet dinner paired with the finest Norwegian spirits in Trondheim or a tour on the iconic Flåm Line in Flåm.
Denmark: Where iconic design meets peaceful nature, Denmark will enchant travellers with its diversity. Taking city sightseeing to a new level, guests can embark on a kayak tour of Copenhagen, while nature takes centre stage in Skagen, with highlights including a visit to the magnificent migrating dune in Grenen. In the Faroe Islands, experiences such as open-air yoga sessions or a magnificent hike to the floating lake in Leitisvatn await.
Iceland: The land of fire and ice is a paradise for all active travellers. Once-in-a-lifetime adventures can be experienced in Reykjavik, during a helicopter flight over dozens of volcanic craters or a swim in the famous blue lagoon, while in Ísafjörður guests can enjoy a thrilling whale watching. From the port of Akureyri, guests will have the chance to embark on a journey to the remote Grimsey Island, known for its rich wildlife and spectacular landscape, with other destination highlights in Akureyri including a visit to the waterfall of gods or a unique Icelandic horse experience.
Sweden: This northern kingdom, will captivate guests with its focus on mindfulness and the unique balance between calm nature and glittering city lights. During a mindful forest hike and meditation session in Goteborg, guests will have the chance to reconnect with nature in an ancient nature reserve in Sweden’s lush countryside, followed by a healthy lunch in the woods. A dreamy day of remote spa experiences and the finest seaside cuisine on one of Sweden’s most windswept places awaits on Hamneskar Island, a private island paradise to relax and unwind.
Netherlands: In Rotterdam, guests can indulge in the cosmopolitan flair of the city and admire the diversity of architecture or join a unique soul tram ride pairing sight-seeing with unique musical experiences. For all art lovers, Explora Journeys has curated a private after-hours visit to the Mauritshuis in Rotterdam, where an expert curator is guiding guests through the museum that houses some of the world’s most acclaimed masterpieces, such as the Girl with a Pearl Earring, the most famous oil painting by Dutch Golden Age painter Johannes Vermeer. In the magnificent Golden Room, a three-course gourmet dinner will be served, while admiring paintings of Pellegrini and listening to exquisite live classical music.
United Kingdom: Guests can embark on a series of unique adventures and experiences as diverse as the country itself. In the United Kingdom lush landscapes, a proud royal heritage and unique musical discoveries await. Guests can enjoy VIP access to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, one of the most significant celebrations of musical performance in the world. Other experiences include a private visit to one of the premier Scottish Whisky distilleries, a cooking class in Lerwick in the Shetland Islands, using some of the finest local seafood or a private visit of Strawberry Field in Liverpool, John Lennon’s childhood playground.
Greenland: Truly off the beaten path, Greenland offers guests the chance to immerse themselves into the stillness of vast landscapes, while embarking on thrilling adventures from the port of Qaqortoq, such as a helicopter tour with a landing on a glacier or a trip to the Uunartoq Hot Springs for a dip in the sumptuously warm waters. In Nuuk, travellers can interact with the locals by attending one of their traditional Kaffemik gatherings. Every golf aficionado’s dream will come true during a round of golf on the world’s only arctic grass course.
Agents can book cruises at www.explorajourneys.com/traveladvisors, or the Explora Journeys website www.explorajourneys.com with a team of multilingual Explora Experience Ambassadors available to personally assist.
First published at Travel Industry Today