Cruise & Ferry Review - Autumn/Winter 2023

156 INTERVIEW Bringing luxury to life Jason Gelineau tells Alex Smith how Explora Journeys has gone from a blank piece of paper to debuting its first luxury ship When Explora 1 set sail on its maiden voyage from Denmark’s capital Copenhagen on 1 August 2023, it marked the start of full operation for new luxury cruise brand Explora Journeys. For the brand’s head of product Jason Gelineau, the departure also marked the end of a complex three-year journey to take the cruise line from inception to reality. At the beginning of the project, the team explored various ideas inspired by the vision of the Aponte family, which owns Explora Journeys and its parent company MSC Group. “We started with a blank piece of paper,” says Gelineau. “That gave us the opportunity to develop something truly unique and different to fill what the Aponte family saw as a gap in European luxury travel. Now, as I walk around the ship, I’m blown away by how beautiful it is. It’s like my baby has come to life!” Explora Journeys aims to attract the next generation of luxury travellers by providing a new kind of luxury cruise experience inspired by the upscale resorts and hotels they might frequent on land. “Our perfect guest is the discerning traveller who is attracted to a luxury brand,” says Gelineau. “There are already a lot of great luxury cruise brands that have done well in building a group of very loyal guests. I’ve been in the industry for 29 years and worked for some of those brands, and I’ve seen the fantastic work they do. But at the same time, they have not always changed their offering to meet the expectations of newer generations. Explora Journeys wants to build a brand for the future.” To capture the attention of this type of traveller, Explora Journeys has formed “ The team we’ve put together has great knowledge and understanding of the luxury experience”