HomeCruise NewsExplora I - Ocean Front Suites Onboard MSC Explora Journeys with ITTN

Explora I – Ocean Front Suites Onboard MSC Explora Journeys with ITTN

ITTN’s Shane Cullen reports from the launch of MSC’s Explora Journeys – Explora I. This is the first ship in a fleet of six targeting the ultra-luxury cruise market.

In the Bedroom – 461 Ocean Front Suites

461 oceanfront suites all have floor-to-ceiling windows and private terraces.

There are 301 Ocean Terrace Suites (I stayed in cabin 8003). The Ocean Suites are the lead-in rooms and start at 35 sqm (377 sq ft) with an average size of 42 sqm (453 sq ft). It felt spacious with both US and European plug sockets plus several USB and USB-C charging points. A Dyson hairdryer was a big hit across the board and came as standard. The bathroom had underfloor heating which was a nice touch. Despite the urge to boogie the night away till the wee hours of the morning, a restful, uninterrupted night of sleep was too appealing.

A 24-hour butler service and concierge service are included in the package. In-suite dining is available 24 hours a day too. Prices start from €3,300 per person (e.g. 7-night Caribbean Journey in February 2024) and from €4,350 per person for a Mediterranean Journey (7 nights in June 2024).

70 Ocean Grand Terrace Suites have larger terraces. Ocean Grand Terrace Suites also get priority dinner reservations for select culinary venues and certain complimentary laundry services.

Ocean Penthouses – 67 across 4 Categories

There are 67 Ocean Penthouses split into 4 categories Penthouses, Deluxe Penthouses, Premier Penthouses, and Grand Penthouses and all have a separate dining area:

The benefits include (but are not limited to) an enhanced In-Suite Dining menu, a superior selection of beverages and spirits in the mini-bar, priority check-in and embarkation (where available) and an additional bottle of spirit or wine of the guests’ preference (that’s three in total!).

Ocean Penthouses start from €5,850 per person (7-night Med in June 2024) and €4,400 (7-night Caribbean in Feb 2024).

22 Ocean Residences – Cove, Retreat, Serenity & Cocoon

A few highlights from the Ocean Residences include their private butler services. These also have separate living, dining and sleeping areas. Their spacious terrace has a private outdoor whirlpool and dining area.

Benefits include priority reservations for Destination Experiences, a personal welcome butler and priority embarkation including (where available) a VIP lounge at embarkation. There is a full bar setup In-Suite and an exclusive In-Suite Dining menu. There is also unlimited complimentary laundry and pressing services. The butler will even help with celebration planning and onboard and ashore reservations.

Layout of the Ocean Residences:

Cove Residences – Each enjoys a private whirlpool on the private sun terrace and a Residence Host providing butler services, as well as a dining area for up to four guests, a separate living area and a calm workspace.

Retreat Residences – Retreat Residences offer oversized floor-to-ceiling windows leading onto a spacious sun terrace with a private whirlpool, whilst a Residence Host providing butler services is on hand for guests’ every whim, as well as a dining area for up to four guests, a separate living area and calm workspace.

Serenity Residences – Serenity Residences offer a large living area, a dining area for six, an adept desk area, a luxurious marble bathroom with a bathtub and separate shower, and a Residence Host providing butler services.

Cocoon Residences – Our Cocoon Residences are amongst the most spacious of their residences, with an expansive sun terrace on the ship’s coveted aft deck. 

Ocean Residences start from €8,900 per person (7-night Med in June 2024) and €6,700 per person (7-night Caribbean in Feb 2024).

Owner’s Residence

The one and only Owner’s Residence is over 3,000 sq ft (280 sqm) with the suite 1,668 sq ft (155 sqm) and the terrace area 1,345 sq ft (125 sqm). Explora Journeys explain:

“Stand in awe of the panoramic ocean views from your private outdoor terrace – extending over the full ship’s width – with a spacious infinity whirlpool, and enjoy intuitive, intelligent, dedicated private butler services by the Residence Manager.”

This will set you back €31,300 for 7 nights in June 2024 (Mediterranean Journey) or €23,600 for a 7-night cruise in the Caribbean, departing February 2024.

Multi-Generational Options with Connecting Suites

Families can expect space and privacy thanks to the EXPLORA I (and EXPLORA II) offering of 78 multi-generation-friendly connected suites. Available as Ocean Suites, Ocean Penthouses and Ocean Residences.

Explora Journeys’ range of suite combinations means it can accommodate a variety of group sizes.

Thoughtful Touches

Younger guests are provided with thoughtful touches such as smaller bathrobes, slippers and hangers. Upon request, hosts can provide baby essentials, such as cribs, blankets, linens and pillows. In addition, for infants aged 6 months to 2 years, toys are available in-suite.

Nautilus Club

Nautilus Club is a space dedicated to younger guests designed for 6 to 17 years old. Children aged 3 to 5 years are also welcome at specific intervals for age-appropriate activities, if accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Open every day from 9:00 to midnight, Nautilus Club offers the latest generation of video games and VR consoles, such as PlayStation 5 and PlayStation VR2, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, iPads and Oculus Pro.

There’s also a foosball and multi-game table, the pool table (designed and crafted in Italy by MBM Biliardi), a modern jukebox tablet connected to streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple, plus a vast selection of board games. Also available is a digital library with a wide genre of books across a multitude of languages.

Ocean Wellness & Fitness

Over 700 sqm (7,500 sq ft) of indoor and outdoor wellness facilities are available to guests. This includes a spacious thermal area, 9 treatment rooms and a beauty salon with barber services. There are two VIP Double spa suites with private facilities, including an outdoor deck with a private steam shower.

The fitness facilities stretch over 270 sqm (2,900 sq ft) with the latest equipment plus a fitness studio for group or personal training. In addition, there is a panoramic running track if you want to burn a few more calories.

Fare Thee Well

The sun set on the final night onboard Explora I. We checked out of our rooms at 8 am and disembarked mid-morning in Copenhagen. This was the first day of her maiden journey. She commences a seven-night sailing that will take guests through the majestic landscapes of Lerwick, Shetland Islands and Kirkwall, Orkney before heading to Reykjavik, Iceland.

The first in a series of upcoming itineraries which will span three continents, this northern European journey has been designed to emphasise the brand’s ‘Ocean State of Mind’ philosophy. Along with the on-board experience, this also includes activities like exploring Copenhagen’s waterways by kayak, discovering Shetland through its heritage pony breed, and an overnight stay in Iceland to explore the soul-enriching sites inside the Golden Circle.

Explora I will also call the port of Copenhagen on 15 August 2023 with a sailing to Hamburg, Germany. She will spend several weeks in Northern Europe to offer a range of different itineraries and will then cross the Atlantic Sea and spend the winter in North America and the Caribbean Sea before returning to Europe in Summer 2024 for voyages in the Mediterranean Sea. 

EXPLORA II is currently being built in Italy and will come into service in August 2024.

Explora Travel Advisors

Explora Travel Partners can login to an Explora Travel Advisor Centre which provides access to a Knowledge Suite, a Marketing Suite, Performance Suite and Booking Suite.

For more ITTN features on Explora I, check out:

Shane Cullen
Shane Cullen
Shane Cullen has been managing director of a media production studio for nearly 20 years working on projects for a global clientele. He has worked in the travel industry for over a decade and as a travel journalist since 2015. He is passionate about travel, film & photography. He also has a keen interest in emerging technology.

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