Explora I Copenhagen Cruise

With striking ocean views and elegant designs, this first-of-its-kind cruise ship makes for a luxurious holiday. 


I joined the Explora I for its first sailing from Portsmouth, UK to Copenhagen, Denmark. As the debut ship launched by Explora Journeys, the European-inspired vessel aims to ‘redefine the ocean experience and create a category of its own’.

Guests are sure to become familiar with the iconic phrase ‘Ocean State of Mind’. At the heart of the Explora Journeys brand, it is described as ‘the mindset that can be achieved when we escape to the ocean, relax, create memories and reconnect with what matters most in our lives’. 

The Explora fleet is set to complete six inaugural journeys, including Northern Europe; the United Kingdom; Iceland and Greenland; the US East Coat and Canada; the Caribbean; and Hawaii.

At 248 metres long, the ship comprises 14 decks, 461 ocean-front suites, as well as 18 restaurants, bars and lounges. There are 150 employees and a capacity for 922 guests on the ship. 

explora ocean terrace suite inset
The Ocean Terrace Suite


I was greeted warmly by the Explora Journeys staff as soon as I checked in. My luggage was promptly brought to my room just five minutes after I stepped inside. Impeccably designed, my tasteful Ocean Terrace Suite was adorned with modern and stylish accents. The best part had to be the balcony – nothing beats tucking into a blueberry pancake with stunning ocean views!

All guests will receive an in-suite welcome bottle of champagne upon arrival. Each room comes complete with a Dyson hairdryer, an Illey coffee machine and soft-to-the-touch dressing gowns, as well as body creams, soaps, a water flask and Moleskine custom-edition notebook sporting the brand’s signature mandala logo.

There are also Ocean Grand Terrace Suites, Residence and Penthouses, as well as one Owner’s Residence. 

Customer service is second-to-none, with a host of 24-hour services including in-suite dining and concierge facilities. There is also twice-daily housekeeping and a shoeshine offering.  

explora lobby bar inset
The Lobby Bar


The entertainment onboard is stylish and immersive. Passengers can experience a cabaret-style evening of live music in the Journeys Lounge (like I did) or enjoy acoustic artists and DJs as the sun sets at the Astern Pool & Bar.

I enjoyed a glamorous evening of entertainment, indulging in a glass of white wine and listening to the melodic tones of the jazz band.

There’s a collection of luxury shops offering fine jewellery, artisanal products and Swiss watches. Coveted brands such as Cartier, Panerai and Piaget flank the Lobby Bar. Explora Journeys has also partnered with Rolex to create ‘the first boutique at sea’. 

Guests can relax and unwind in the spa, making the most of its steam room, hydrotherapy pool and Finnish sauna. Gym bunnies will love its panoramic outdoor running track and sports court.

explora sakura inset
The Sakura restaurant


Influenced by dishes from across the globe, guests can indulge in their favourite flavours all in one place. From Pan Asian to Mediterranean, the Explora I’s got it all. 

For those who sway towards Asian cuisine, the cherry blossom-adorned Sakura restaurant offers Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Malaysian delicacies. I sampled a mouth-watering sharing platter of sushi with a side of edamame beans. Guests craving something meatier will love the European steakhouse Marble & Co Grill

The Sky Bar on 14 is ideal for guests who want to sip cocktails in a panoramic outdoor lounge, whilst the Helios Pool & Bar is suited to those who want to take a dip as they watch the ship set sail.

explora fitness inset
The Fitness Studio


Sustainability is well and truly at the top of Explora Journeys’ priorities. Environmental-supporting technologies and emission control systems are employed throughout, including LED lighting and high-efficiency appliances; Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology, enabling a reduction in nitrogen emissions by 90%; Smart Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Systems (HVAC); and provision for battery storage to allow for future hybrid power generation. 

There are water fountains throughout the ship; waste-management and energy saving solutions; and no single plastic used onboard and ashore. The ship is powered by LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas), which is currently the cleanest marine fuel available at scale. With this fuel, the Explora I engines have the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 25%, compared to standard marine fuels. Its owner MSG Group has also pledged to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions in its cruise marine operation by 2050.


With striking architecture, exquisite dining and a laid-back ambience, the Explora I is in a league of its own. Top-notch customer service and stunning ocean views complete the experience. The ship’s photogenic surroundings are sure to tempt younger guests, too.


A four-night Iberia cruise starts from £2,200pp.

W: explorajourneys.com