New Explora Journeys Unveils Experiences Ashore

Indoor pool on Explora I will feature a retractable roof for all-weather use. Photo by Explora Journeys.

The new Explora Journeys may be a good fit if you prefer a luxury ship with a residential-style feel, rather than a traditional cruise experience. Fostering “an ocean state of mind” among guests. Explora Journeys strives for a pampering and relaxed — not rushed — luxury vacation experience.

So, what’s new? Well, Explora Journeys just unveiled new destination experiences. Those are designed for its spring 2024 voyages relatively “close to home” for Americans and Canadians. Itineraries touch Central America, the Pacific Coast of the U.S. and Canada, plus Hawaii.

Even if you’re not planning on traveling that soon (between March and May 2024), you might check out the new options. Why? They provide a good sense of this new luxury line’s philosophy about shoreside activities.

(Explora Journeys’ guests can enjoy new Destination Experiences ashore and this indoor pool as shown above. Photo by Explora Journeys.)

Two New Ships

First, it’s worth just a brief mention about the line’s two new ships, Explora I  and Explora II. They’re the first of six sister ships, all in service by 2028. Each offers 461 oceanfront suites, most with private balconies.

Many who’ve sailed in 2023 tell us the suites have a decidedly residential feel. Spacious is the buzzword. Even the entry level Ocean Terrace Suites offer 377 square feet of space. In turn, the “top digs,” the Owner’s Residence accommodation, spans 3,014 square feet.

On board, guests will discover nine culinary experiences, multiple lounges, a full-service spa, fitness center, theater, three outdoor pools, one indoor pool and more. As for destinations, the ships are right-sized to sail into some smaller, more off-the-beaten-path destinations. However, they call at popular marquee ports too.

Grand Ocean Terrace Suites on Explora Journeys. Photo by Explora Journeys.
(Entry level accommodations include the spacious Grand Ocean Terrace Suite on Explora I. Photo by Explora Journeys.)

New Destination Experiences

So, here are a few highlights of Explora Journeys’ new Destination Experiences. Cruise guests can immerse themselves in local heritage, culture, and cuisine. From royal residencies and volcanic landscapes to sandy beaches and pristine reefs, the experiences encompass natural wonders, unique art, local traditions and historical sites of Hawaii and the Pacific Coast.

One 14-night “Central America to Center Stage in Los Angeles” journey sails from Amador, Panama, to Los Angeles, CA. Departing March 29, 2024, Explora I will call at such ports as Quepos, Costa Rica; San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Fares start at $4,810 per person, double occupancy. Contact your personal travel planner for more details.

“Tantalizing Temazcal Immersion”

In Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, one new Destination Experience is “Tantalizing Temazcal Immersion.” Guests will participate in a traditional Temazcal ceremony. That’s an ancient healing ritual practiced over the centuries by the Mayans, Aztecs, and Toltecs. 
Guests have options for new Destination Experiences for the Pacific Coast and Hawaii. Here is one site visited on the Temazcal Experience in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Photo by Explora Journeys.
(Explora Journeys has unveiled new Destination Experiences for spring 2024. Above is a site visited on the new “Tantalizing Temazcal Immersion” in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Photo by Explora Journeys.)
Led by a shaman, participants will enter the candlelit Temazcal, where water is poured onto hot stones. That is designed to provide physical detoxification and spiritual restoration. Post-ceremony, guests will savor some local delicacies and also unwind at a luxury spa. Hot tubs and cold plunges await!

New Explora Journeys: Pacific West Coast

For those seeking a shorter getaway, a six-night “Sybaritic Cities and Pacific Northwest Coves” journey from Los Angeles to Vancouver, B.C., Canada, departs April 12, 2024. Highlights include calls at San Francisco, CA, and Astoria, OR. Fares start at $2,587 per person, double occupancy.

The Hollywood Sign is 100 years old in 2023, and Explora Journeys offers a new hike to the sign with lunch at Griffith Park. Photo by Explora Journeys.
(The iconic Hollywood Sign “turned” 100 years old in 2023, and Explora Journeys offers a new hike to the sign with lunch at Griffith Park. Photo by Explora Journeys.)

In Los Angeles, a new Destination Experience is the “Hollywood Hills Hike.” Guests will set out on an invigorating hike through Griffith Park. They’ll reach the summit of Mount Lee. There, they’ll have an up-close encounter and snap selfies with the famous Hollywood Sign. That iconic sign is marking 100 years above the city.

During this experience, knowledgeable guides will impart tales of Hollywood’s rich history, landmarks and famous studios. Guests will also enjoy a picnic lunch in Griffith Park and breathtaking views of Los Angeles’ skyline.

Exploring Hawaii 

Two nine-night journeys give guests plenty of sea days plus a chance to soak up the aura of the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaii port calls include Hilo (Hawaii), Honolulu (Oahu), Kailua-Kona (Hawaii), Nawiliwili (Kauai).

One itinerary sails from Vancouver to Honolulu, on April 27, 2024. Fares start at $3,975 per person, double occupancy. The other “No Ka ‘Oi” journey sails from Honolulu to Vancouver on April 27, 2024, with fares from $4,087.50 per person, double occupancy.

The gorgeous coast of Hawaii awaits Explora Journeys' travelers to Hawaii. Photo by Explora Journeys.
(The gorgeous coast of Hawaii awaits Explora Journeys’ travelers to Hawaii. Photo by Explora Journeys.) 

Another option is a more robust, 14-night roundtrip sailing from Vancouver. Within Hawaii, one new Destination Experience is “Volcanic Marvels and a Celestial Odyssey.” That outing goes “off-grid” in Hilo, Hawaii.

Guests will view Rainbow Falls nestled in a lush Hawaiian rainforest, and also explore Boiling Pots and the Kaumana Caves. Then, a National Park Service expert will provide insight as they explore Big Island’s volcanic side at two volcanoes.

And finally, the sky’s the limit, as guests on this Destination Experience will use state-of-the-art telescopes. They’ll also listen to astronomers as they check out the celestial world both by day and night.

New Explora Journeys’ WWII Experience

Certainly, Honolulu offers fabulous beaches, dining, attractions and more. But it also conjures up imagery of World War II history at Pearl Harbor.

Another new Destination Experience is “Behind the Scenes: Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum and USS Missouri Memorial” in Honolulu. Guests will take exclusive guided tours of historic hangars, outdoor exhibits, and the Raytheon Pavilion.

Travelers will also explore the USS Missouri Memorial above and below deck. They’ll hear captivating tales about World War II dogfights and civilian aviation history. Most notably, Explora Journeys’ guests will receive an exclusive Lower Control Tower experience; that’s normally not available to the general public. 

A World War II-era aircraft is shown at the Pearl Harbor Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii. Travelers can visit the site on a new Destination Experience. Photo by Explora Journeys.
(A World War II-era aircraft is shown at the Pearl Harbor Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii. Travelers can visit during a new Destination Experience. Photo by Explora Journeys.)

Relaxed Aura on Explora Journeys

On an Explora Journeys’ ship itself, life flows at a fairly relaxed pace. For instance, other cruise lines often sail overnight from one port and arrive as early as possible in the morning. So, guests go ashore at 7:30 a.m. or 8:30 a.m.

In contrast, during select Explora Journeys port calls, the ship may actually arrive early at the destination port. But it won’t dock. Instead, the ship might spend two hours or so operating a scenic cruise along the coastline.

That’s a pampering plus. Guests can awaken without a screeching alarm, enjoy a leisurely breakfast with great service, and then go ashore late morning. Often, the ship might overnight in that port too, again making the day ashore more relaxing. Guests won’t be looking at their watches all the time — worrying about when to return to the ship in the late afternoon or evening.

It’s important to note that this doesn’t happen at every port. That said, Explora Journeys sets out to provide these kinds of options within itineraries, where possible.

Explora Journeys will launch in summer 2023. Six new ships are planned through 2028. Photo by Explora Journeys.
(The new Explora Journeys, which set sail earlier this year, plans a six-ship fleet by 2028, and has new spring 2024 Destination Experiences. Photo by Explora Journeys.)

Chat with a Skilled Travel Advisor

The Meandering Traveler has written several past blogs about Explora Journeys. If you have questions about the new Explora Journeys options, “give one of our personal travel planners at Pavlus Travel a call,” suggests Pavlus Travel President Shelby Steudle. “And be sure to ask about any unadvertised discounts or promotions.”  

For general information about the newly launched Explora Journeys, here’s the link to the line’s official website. Happy sailing!

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