The culinary and beverage ‘journey of discovery` onboard Explora Journeys’ first ship launching May 2023 spans 18 distinct venues, blending vibrancy with privacy.
‘Explora Journeys isn’t just an opportunity to travel the world, we also see it as a way for our guests to taste it too, actively discovering new cuisines and experiences,’ explained Franck Garanger, head of culinary at Explora Journeys. ‘Worldly and well-travelled, our team brings enthusiasm for provenance along with a plethora of stories about the rare ingredients, which are hand-selected just for Explora Journeys.
‘Set to deliver refined dining experiences that embrace authenticity and sustainability, we ensure each guest leaves with memories of their culinary journey onboard being the finest at sea.’
A unique wine selection
Throughout the year, wine selections will reflect regions where the ship sails while offering favourite grape varietals. Sommeliers will source boutique wine labels to build a menu with unique selections. Chardonnay will not come from expected places such as the Napa Valley, but regions where there are emerging and niche choices, such as Switzerland and other European countries. Exclusive wine, whiskey and spirit tastings, pairings, cocktail-making masterclasses and ‘Meet the Winemaker’ events will be held onboard, as well as wine-themed destination experiences ashore.
An exclusive mixology programme has additionally been curated, including a signature `Ocean State of Mind` cocktail using gin made with seaweed algae.
Thibaut Briançon, senior lead, food and beverage services for Explora Journeys, commented, ‘A key element of differentiation for Explora Journeys is our passion for hand selecting and sourcing an eclectic beverage mix, including rare fine wines direct from vineyards, as well as exclusive premium brands, to curate a variety of cocktails including non-alcoholic and organic options. This will ensure our mixologists and sommeliers provide unique experiences for our discerning travellers.’
Venue ‘Anthology’ acts as a culinary stage with cuisine celebrating the talents and masterpiece specialities of guest chefs from around the world. It reflects the journey and destinations, with unique wine pairings in a setting of contemporary refined elegance.
An immersive, authentic dining experience offering fine Pan-Asian cuisine comes in the form of ‘Sakura.’ Encompassing Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Malaysian cuisines, it offers expansive ocean views, bold design with distinct Japanese cues, Asian-influenced beverages and a Sake sommelier and modern Asian music.
A redefined European steakhouse experience will be provided by ‘Marble & Co. Grill’ – influenced by the marbling found in only the finest beef – serving exceptional cuts, personally sourced and sustainably farmed. The experience is augmented by an in-house dry ager and a cellar filled with fine wines.
Described by the cruise line as a ‘relaxed celebration of the flavours, ambience, and dolce vita of the Mediterranean,’ the onboard ‘Med Yacht Club’ is based on imaginings of sailing across crystal clear waters, and influenced by sophisticated, beachside Mediterranean restaurants. It endorses the cuisines of the region and infuses tastes and textures of Italy, Spain, Greece, and France. Wines will shine a spotlight on the vineyards of the Mediterranean with fresh juices and cocktails honouring regional ingredients.
Explora I's ‘Emporium Marketplace’ will bring effortless all-day dining that brings global culinary talent and produce to the fore. Its focus is on quality produce, inspired by local destinations. Bathed in natural bright light, 18 separate cooking stations evolve throughout the day with cuisines representing every corner of the globe. Features include sushi, fresh seafood and a daily rotisserie offering grilled, roasted, and slow-cooked meats. Pasta is cooked to order, and freshly baked pizzas and bread are on offer as are homemade sandwiches. Charcuterie, fromagerie, boulangerie and patisserie stations enhance the experience. A selection of wines, champagne and beverages are available to complement meals throughout the day.
A sophisticated and intimate restaurant experience can be found in ‘Fil Rouge’ offering a global tasting tour of French-inspired international cuisine. An elegant dessert cart with the freshest creations will be served tableside, and a wine selection will present the best of both the Old and New World vineyards.
An exclusive experience fee applies when it comes to the ‘Chef’s Kitchen,’ an immersive experience held in an ocean-front private kitchen setting for 12 passengers. Culinary experts guide guests through a journey of discovering new ingredients, flavours, textures, and cultures, regardless of their cooking skills level.
Aside from the dining venues, in-suite dining will be available 24 hours a day.
Bars and lounges
‘Gelateria & Creperie at The Conservatory’ offers authentic French and Italian indulgences in a relaxed, weather-protected poolside environment within The Conservatory, while ‘Crema Café’ has a European flair. Coffee within the bustling setting will be chosen by selected connoisseurs who have travelled the world exploring fair-trade coffee origin, character, and strength. Passengers will be afforded the chance to encounter refined methods of brewing coffee from skilled baristas, taste high-quality loose-leaf teas with an on-hand tea expert or enjoy refreshing cold-pressed juices. Pastries, cakes, desserts, including madeleines, canelés, and biscotti will be available.
‘Explora Lounge,’ a luminous area offering 270-degree views of the ocean will act as a striking backdrop to informal drinking and dining. Passengers can enjoy light meals, snacks, and traditional afternoon tea in a space bathed with changing natural light and jazz music. Likewise, ‘Sky Bar on 14’ – set at the ship’s highest point – offers cocktails and and infinite views from a panoramic outdoor lounge setting,
'Malt Whiskey Bar’ will possess the rarest whiskies, complete with a walk-in humidor, cigar expert and dedicated cigar smoking terrace, while a central gathering social bar and lounge – and an ideal spot to enjoy refreshments throughout the day and night – comes in the form of the ‘Lobby Bar.’
Also a social hub with a collection of events and rituals suited to every taste, ‘Astern Lounge’ will transition throughout the day, hosting live music, DJ sessions and enrichment insights. It will come to life from sundown. The ‘Astern Pool & Bar’ will serve as an all-day poolside lounge offering chilled beach club vibes, with low background music by day and acoustic musicians and DJ`s as the sun sets, continuing throughout the evening.
‘Journeys Lounge’ will equally serve as a space where entertainment evolves throughout the day and night with more details to follow when Explora’s full entertainment and enrichment programme is revealed.
Additional pool-bar venues
‘Atoll Pool & Bar’ comprises an intimate pool at the aft of the ship on deck 10 with a chilled ambiance throughout the day, ‘Helios Pool & Bar’ will be a panoramic `adults-only` pool for an ultimate `chill out` lounge experience and ‘The Conservatory Pool & Bar’ is a weather-protected all-day poolside lounge - or a cinema experience under the stars by night.
F&B onboard Explora I
Explora offers unlimited beverages, fine wines, and premium spirits, including in-suite minibar, specialty coffees, teas and soft drinks available any time. For connoisseur guests, those wishing to elevate their experience or celebrate a special occasion, an ‘ultra-exquisite’ selection of wines, spirits, and liqueurs will be available for an additional fee.