Can you create a luxury cruise line and not call the product you offer a cruise? You can if you are the billionaire Aponte family, the founders of MSC, the world’s largest ocean shipping company, and MSC Cruises, the fast-growing mainstream cruise line known for its family-friendly mega-ships. They are doing just that with Explora Journeys, the Geneva, Switzerland-based “lifestyle travel brand” launched in August 2023 that offers luxury “ocean experiences” designed to appeal to affluent travelers who have never taken a cruise — although fans of luxury cruising are more than welcome, too.
Onboard Explora I, the 922-guest ship designed with the look and feel of a sleek megayacht, Guests (don’t call them passengers) are invited to journey to an “Ocean State of Mind.” Welcoming them and ensuring they enjoy their time onboard are the ship’s Hosts (not crew). There are nine “Culinary Experiences” but no Main Dining Room aboard Explora I and the vessel’s gleaming lobby is designed to resemble that of a high-end boutique hotel. Even the nightly shows have a new name — Evening Experiences — and nontraditional formats.