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  • Writer's pictureDavid Natale

There's a New Player in the Luxury Game it right for you?

We sailed in January... and stayed even longer than intended!

I first heard about Explora Journeys about two years ago and have a confession to make: I was completely 100% uninterested.

With other established companies in the small to medium-sized luxury ship market I was eager to sail Viking Ocean, Ponant, Scenic, Silver Sea, and Seabourn; lines that had already made a splash with their ships and lines where my guests were asking me to plan some of my escorted groups.

A new concept in luxury cruising from MSC was not really on my radar.

I had sailed MSC a decade ago and had relegated them in my mind as a second Costa with ships more for Europeans and folks who liked hearing announcements in 5 languages while enduring lots of kids and families with questionable parenting styles. It wasn't really for me and the way I wanted to travel at this point in my life.

Yet, as the launch of the ship approached, I started hearing more and more buzz... all positive, glowing even.

The ship interior design was being chatted about in travel agent circles and information about Michelin-star chefs was being released... I was still only mildly paying attention.

But then the ship launched and my normally unimpressed colleagues, agents who have seen it all, started to sail on her and were writing massively impressive reviews. Still skeptical, I watched the Explora FB page where inaugural guests started posting photos of the ship and food.

Shortly afterwards, I found out that Oasis was taking their top producers for 2023 on Explora Journeys and suddenly my disinterest turned into an obsession.

Literally everything I was seeing was favorable.. especially the dining... which for me is a key factor in choosing a ship.

Since I finished #6 for the year, I knew I was on the invite list for the cruise from Miami to Cartagena and I was suddenly VERY keen on trying this new ship.

As I learned more, I found that Explora seemed to have everything we wanted in a ship: not too big, elegantly appointed without being ostentatious, no formal nights, a simple dress code in the main restaurants in the evenings of "casual vacation elegance" (translate slacks for gentlemen) and completely casual in the Market Place (translate evening shorts are ok), + truly interesting itineraries.

We started counting the days... and excitedly, I found out that we had also been invited for a 2nd week for an educational seminar exclusively for luxury travel agents who had already sold some Explora cabins (first look classes).

Well, we went... and guess what?

We turned 2 weeks into 3 we liked it so much!

If you want to know why... just tune in to the next blog post!

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