New Cruise Line Explora Journeys details Its First Ship’s Maiden Voyage

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Explora Journeys 2023

29 November, 2022

Explora Journeys has unveiled details of the maiden voyage for its first of six ships, Explora I, which will set sail on July 17, 2023 from Southampton, U.K. 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 at Zeebrugge, Belgium and at Geiranger, Trondheim, Molde, Leknes, Brønnøysund, Flåm, Bergen and Stavanger in Norway before sailing to Denmark with visits to Skagen and the country’s capital city, Copenhagen.

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 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 is popular for its 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 center 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 colorful 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.

Explora I will arrive in Copenhagen on August 1. With an architectural aesthetic ranging from medieval to Renaissance to contemporary, and some of the best fine-dining venues in the world, this city is a cultural hub.

Explora Journeys’ "A Maiden Journey into Epic Fjords and the Arctic Circle" is now open for bookings through preferred travel advisors, via the digital booking suite, or through the Explora Journeys website, Guests can take advantage of the Explora Journeys early booking system and enjoy a 5 percent saving.

Other Cruise news this week

Carnival Cruise Line

In what's being called a “Thanksgiving Day miracle,” the U.S. Coast Guard rescued a 28-year-old passenger who'd gone overboard late Wednesday night from Carnival Valor. The ship was sailing southward from Louisiana to Cozumel, Mexico. The man had floated in the Gulf of Mexico for nearly a day before being hoisted into the Coast Guard helicopter Thursday night.

In other news, construction has begun on the third “Project Blue” hybrid catamaran vessel, a new class of vessel for American Cruise Lines. The U.S.-flagged, small-ship line plans 12 of these innovative,105-passenger “Coastal Cats.” The first two will begin sailing in 2023.

In the continuing progression of destinations and cruise lines eliminating COVID-19 restrictions, Star Clippers eliminated its passenger vaccination mandate. Non-vaccinated passengers will need to present a negative antigen test, performed within 48 hours of embarkation, or a negative RT-PCR test, performed within 72 hours of embarkation. The test must be administered by an authorized party and home tests will not be accepted.

Scenic Group USA said that during Scenic Eclipse's expedition cruise in Antarctica’s Weddell Sea this past week, a "katabatic wind event" occurred.The Scenic Neptune submersible was operating a routine excursion and returned to the surface with no injury to any guests or crew. (The wind affected the submersible’s return to the surface.) That said, ice floes slightly damaged the submersible's external tanks, so repairs are under way; the submersible will go back into service once that's completed.

During the recent Dream Vacations and CruiseOne national conference, Harry Sommer, president and CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line, offered fascinating insight about the line's new “no NCFs” policy, as well as cruise ship staffing levels, itineraries and more. Also at that conference, Brad Tolkin, co-chairman/CEO of World Travel Holdings, which owns both franchise travel agency brands, said 2022 will be the “best year ever,” and offered tidbits on cruise bookings, pricing and trends.

Cunard Line announced a partnership with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. That group’s experts will lecture as part of Cunard’s “Insights” enrichment program. They’ll be aboard every Cunard voyage for Queen Elizabeth in the 2023 Alaska season (June through August) and on Queen Mary 2’s Canada/New England voyage from New York to Quebec in September.

On the personnel front, MSC Cruises appointed Erin Douglas as VP of field sales. Separately, SeaDream Yacht Club named John Webley as sales director for the southeastern U.S.

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