HomeNewsExplora Journeys Unveils Details of EXPLORA I Maiden Voyage

Explora Journeys Unveils Details of EXPLORA I Maiden Voyage

Explora Journeys – the luxury arm of MSC Cruises – has unveiled details of the maiden voyage for its first of six ships, EXPLORA I, that will set sail on 17 July 2023 from Southampton in the UK.

The brand will make its debut with a 15-night inaugural journey to Northern Europe with calls to 12 ports in four countries under the title, ‘A Maiden Journey into Epic Fjords and the Arctic Circle’.

EXPLORA I from Southampton will call Zeebrugge, Belgium and in Norway Geiranger, Trondheim, Molde, Leknes, Brønnøysund, Flåm, Bergen and Stavanger before sailing to Denmark with visits to Skagen and the country’s capital city, Copenhagen.

Michael Ungerer, chief executive of Explora Journeys, said: “Our vision and purpose from day one has been to create a travel and ocean experience like no other and we are thrilled that our ground-breaking new class of ship, EXPLORA I, will introduce guests during her maiden journey to some of the most breathtaking destinations in Northern Europe while enjoying the finest luxury hospitality at sea.”

Mr Ungerer added: “Guests on board EXPLORA I’s inaugural journey can look forward to immerse themselves in local cultures, both on and off the beaten path, as well as witnessing some of the world’s most astonishing natural wonders. Surprise treats will be revealed throughout their voyage such as thrilling experiences, thoughtful gifts and exciting guest artistes that are all designed to inspire the discerning travellers’ desire to discover the world around them, meet new people, and reconnect with themselves.”

EXPLORA I’s Inaugural Journey – Ports of Call

Zeebrugge is where guests can head off to enjoy the medieval architecture, cobblestone streets, beautiful canals and pristine gardens of nearby Bruges.  From here, they will journey northwards along Norway’s dramatic western coastline, where the Atlantic meets the Arctic. Its magnificent fjords are listed by UNESCO World Heritage Sites as “the best unspoiled travel destinations in the world.”

Geiranger, at the head of the Geirangerfjord, is a perfect example of a little Nordic village. The fjord is so famous that it has been awarded UNESCO status – it is especially renowned for the wild, tumbling Seven Sisters, one of the world’s 10 highest waterfalls.

Trondheim was the Viking capital of Norway until 1217, and its port dates back to 997. Its extraordinary medieval Nidaros Cathedral is a fitting tribute to its impressive heritage.


Molde, known as the City of Roses, thanks to its lavish abundance of fragrant summer blooms, is ringed by 222 soaring, snow-capped peaks, and boasts some of the cutest shops and cafés.

Leknes is on Vestvågøya,one of Norway’s six Lofoten Islands in the Arctic Circle. Warmed by the Gulf Stream and 24/7 sunshine, it boasts tropical beaches, horse riding, sea eagles and jaw-dropping scenery.

Brønnøysund may be the only place with a pretty bathing lake right in the centre of town. It also has a mountain with a huge hole visibly punched through it, along with a bustling marina and sensational hiking trails.


Flåm’s railway is one of the most awe-inspiring train journeys in the world, winding past eye-popping natural wonders such as the Nærøyfjord, yet another Norwegian entry on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

Bergen’s 14th-century Hanseatic wharf, Bryggen, provides guests with their first glimpse of a city crammed with arts, crafts and food markets. Its world-class restaurants make it a worthy member of UNESCO’s City of Gastronomy network.

Stavanger’s colourful old town has rustic cobbled streets and perfectly restored white wooden houses that sit alongside its charming café culture, craft shops, museums and vibrant night life. Beyond the town lie stunning landscapes and cinematic beaches waiting to be explored. This is the ship’s last Norwegian port of call.


Skagen, Denmark’s most northerly point, is where the Baltic meets the North Sea. Its rich art heritage is a legacy of the many painters seduced by Skagen’s uniquely translucent light. In addition, its fabulous seafood, architecture, and the vast migrating dune at Råbjerg Mile, have made Skagen a must-see.

Geoff Percival
Geoff Percival
Geoff has worked in business, news, consumer and travel journalism for more than 25 years; having worked for and contributed to the likes of The Irish Examiner, Business & Finance, Business Plus, The Sunday Times, The Irish News, Senior Times, and The Sunday Tribune.
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