Cruise & Ferry Review - Autumn/Winter 2023

157 multiple partnerships with other luxury brands to offer premium products and experiences onboard the ship. “Our clients understand value and quality, so these partnerships are important,” says Gelineau. “Guests in our residences don’t just get the complimentary brand champagne in their room, they get Dom Perignon. We’ve got three Steinway pianos onboard, and Steinway musicians will come onboard as guest artistes during our cruises. And Swiss watch manufacturer Rolex has designed its first shop at sea specifically for Explora I, which is truly a game-changer.” Explora Journeys’ crew members – which it refers to as hosts – will play a pivotal role in delivering a luxury experience. There are 642 hosts of more than 55 different nationalities onboard Explora 1, and they have been recruited from both the land-based hospitality and luxury cruise sectors. “Our hosts will be the secret to our success,” says Gelineau. “We have recruited them from very diverse posts around the globe, and even while Explora 1 was in the shipyard, their energy and enthusiasm was unbelievable. Everyone had to apply face to face, and our first team members were personally handpicked by the senior executives of each department. The team we’ve put together has great knowledge and understanding of the luxury experience from their time with other brands, which gives me real confidence in our offering.” In recognition of the hosts’ commitment to delivering the optimal guest experience, Explora Journeys provides a range of benefits to improve their time at sea too. Hosts are able to participate in classes with onboard fitness and yoga instructors and enjoy entertainment from the resident artistes. Front-of-house team members will also only spend five months onboard, rather than six to eight months, allowing them to visit home more often. “Being a host is a challenging lifestyle and people have to be away from home for long stretches of time,” says Gelineau. “That’s why we built our host lifestyle experience. We wanted to reward our outstanding crew for their efforts and ensure they can work at 100 per cent of their potential while onboard. It keeps our team fresh, both physically and mentally, and their families get to see them more often, which is something hosts really appreciated.”