MSC Group’s new ultra-luxury cruise brand, Explora Journeys, has revealed its program of entertainment and enrichment set to debut with the launch of EXPLORA I in mid-July 2023.
The line-up is set to include resident and guests artistes, to invited enrichment experts. The program will evolve throughout the journey, reflecting the regions and the destinations of the world explored.
Drew Gowland, Senior Lead Entertainment, Experience & Enrichment, summed up the concept: “We’ve adopted a new thoughtful and personalised approach to entertainment, enrichment and experiences at sea. The discerning luxury traveller looking for something that authentically reflects their mood as well as their journey will find a subtle, layered, intimate and yet exciting choice of experiences and diversions aboard our ships.”
At any point along a journey guests can explore an unprecedented seven onboard venues, offering simultaneous choices from a wide variety of different styles of entertainment. Instead of a single main event, they can enjoy any experience they wish at whatever time they choose. With no restrictive starting times, they simply dip in and out at their own pace, finding the right vibe at the right time. With their cutting-edge sound, light and visual capabilities, the ship’s lounges and venues can play host to a vast range of possibilities.
Deeply conscious of the power of music to heal, change a mood, and create evocative soundtracks that will remind travellers of their experiences long after they have resumed everyday life, Explora Journeys places music front and centre of its offering.
Guests can enjoy pre-and post-dinner poolside chill-outs in the Astern Lounge, or contemporary pop inspired by Scott Bradley’s Post-Modern Jukebox in the Explora Lounge. If their mood calls for a laidback, candlelit evening of music inspired by the route the ship is sailing, they can find it in the Journeys Lounge. And there is always music to accompany a coffee or a drink in the Lobby Bar.
Each of the resident artistes have been chosen from an international line-up of skillful performers and storytellers. All have the gift of exceptional versatility, moving smoothly from classical to rock ’n roll and disco to jazz. Each journey sees them morph across a variety of set-ups as required by changes of style or genre, geographical locations, or simply guests’ preferences.
And joining them on every journey are celebrated guest artistes whose intimate performances and interactions with guests both on- and off-stage unfailingly surprise and delight.
Organised by the Entertainment Hosts together with professionals respected for their technical command of the subject, the colleciton of activities available to guests are fun and amazingly informative. These are just three examples:
Ombré Sunsets: Guests can hone their photography skills in the Explora Lounge. They learn how to capture a fiery sunset as it fades to rosy blush; how to take the perfect selfie for Instagram; or how to light a personal portrait or piece of art to best effect.
The Spirit of Whiskey: An entertaining tutorial from skilful mixologists in the Malt Whiskey Bar, where guests explore this time-honoured spirit as they try their hand at making signature drinks.
Melodic Master Class: Resident artistes get to know the guests, sharing their talents and discussing song writing, improvisation and composition.
Specially designed to define each journey, events are opportunities for interesting and enjoyable interaction between guests and hosts.
Captain’s Log… Secrets of the Sail: Guests join the Captain or Bridge Officers on an engrossing walk around the deck. They learn how old seafaring methods have given way to today’s technology as they get to know the team responsible for sailing them safely around the world.
Bal Mythos: At the stroke of midnight, guests can choose to don handcrafted masks of local gods and goddesses and enjoy the club vibe as they dance to the resident Bacchus Band and singers.
Midnight Wayfinder: With dreamy guitar music and storytelling under the stars or around the Conservatory Pool, guests learn how sailors have long relied on the sea, wind and stars to bring them safely to shore.
Inferno: An unforgettable nod to the glamour of Manhattan’s Studio 54, Soul Train, and Europe’s 1970s discos, where guests can enjoy cocktails from the era and boogie the night away.
Unique, curated, immersive and captivating, Explora Journeys experiences provide extravagant, unforgettable pleasure.
An Evening by Candlelight: An intimate and cosy part of every EXPLORA I journey, guest musicians and vocalists perform in the main lounges softly lit by candlelight, creating a range of experiences from classical music to movie soundtracks.
Decadence: The themes of this fabulously indulgent experience switch from lounge to lounge, with live music, immersive performances and an air of lavishness that make The Great Gatsby look second-rate.
Le Jazz: Guests enjoying journeys that include France can let go in a Parisian jazz club experience, accompanied by French martinis and canapés.
Let the Good Times Roll: Jiving to New Orleans jazz cabaret is an essential part of the Caribbean itinerary, with a French Creole menu, absinthe cocktails and dazzling musicianship.
A central aspect of sailing with Explora Journeys are the daily, weekly, monthly or annual rituals that mark everything from sunrise to moonrise. These take place at the same time, on the same day, in the same place across the company’s fleet of ships. Guests find entertainment, serenity, solace and structure in beautiful practices that set a grounding framework for each journey.
Ocean State of Mind: Simple daily guided meditations against a backdrop of sky and ocean herald each morning, weaving local cultural practices into soothing stories relating to the day’s destination.
Sundial Salutation: This twice-daily, movement-based wellness ritual invigorates guests as they begin each day, then calms them as sunset slides into nightfall.
Midday Melodies: Every day, marking the moment when the morning segues into the afternoon as another day onboard unfolds on EXPLORA I, the Atrium comes alive with acoustic music.
Sunset Aperitivo: Signature drinks and canapés associated with the various ports of call are served in the bars and lounges, each with its own unique sonic vibe.
Moonrise: Every 28 days, guests clad in shades of silver and ivory gather at a magical soirée to honour the full moon, sipping signature cocktails and dancing under a starlit sky to live music.
Cultural, destination-themed deep dives in the form of talks, courses and informal conversations bring guests together for stimulating learning opportunities led by invited experts in their respective fields.
The Book Club: Occasional journeys feature a particular book relating to the region in which the ship is sailing, culminating in a reading with the author.
Single Origin: Led by a world-class barista, guests get familiar with local coffee cultures through tastings relevant to the countries they visit.
Artisanal: Courses on destination-themed crafts representative of local heritage, from textiles and tapestries to baskets and chocolate making, are taught by a local expert.
Dance the Day Away: On occasional journeys, guests might enjoy an incredible afternoon of learning some of the region’s movement culture, accompanied by local dance music, against an LED backdrop that conjures a sense of the geographical context. Sessions are led by local experts, resident artistes and the International Host.
The Creative’s Journey: Behind-the-scenes stories, writers, and iconic moments in stage and cinema are discovered through exciting talks by resident and guest artistes, together with other prolific talents. Among them are accomplished writers, directors, producers, actors, musicians, choreographers, costumiers, and set and lighting designers.
And, Club Soda supports and entertains guests who enjoy an alcohol-free lifestyle. Prism events are organised to celebrate the diversity of Explora Journeys’ guests. And the Solivagant Society brings together solo travellers in a variety of activities, events and experiences throughout their journey.
Explora Journeys’ maiden voyage of its first of six ships, EXPLORA I, will sail from Southampton, UK on 17 July 2023.