This New Cruise Ship Will Come Packed with 18 Restaurants and Bars — Including a Food Hall and Whiskey Bar

New cruise line Explora Journeys just unveiled the food-and-beverage lineup for the Explora I, which is slated to launch May 2023.

When the Explora I launches next spring, passengers will be extremely well-fed. The brand behind the new vessel, Explora Journeys, has just announced the food-and-beverage offerings for its first ship, which is scheduled to hit the water next spring.

Among the 18 options aboard the 461-suite ship will be an ambitious fine-dining restaurant called Anthology, as well as the food hall–inspired Emporium Marketplace with a variety of cooking stations turning out pizzas, pastas, sushi, and — trend alert — charcuterie boards.

Interior of Anthology onboard the Explora I
Courtesy of Explora Journeys

"We believe the luxury experience is all about having choices," says Franck Garanger, the head of culinary for Explora Journeys and an alum of both Oceania Cruises and Silversea Cruises. Other dining venues include a "pan-Asian" restaurant called Sakura, a "European steakhouse" known as Marble & Co. Grill, and the Med Yacht Club, a casual spot with dishes inspired by France, Italy, and Northern Africa.

Interior of Sakura onboard the Explora I
Courtesy of Explora Journeys

Perhaps just as impressive is the vessel's lineup of 12 cocktail lounges, poolside bars, cafes, and late-night drinks dens — an intentionally dizzying array of choice catering to guests who know what they like, says Thibaut Briançon, Explora Journeys' senior lead for food-and-beverage services.

"The luxury traveler is becoming more educated on the composition of spirits, understanding the source of the botanicals and, if they are organic, who is behind the production, and so on," Briançon observes. "We have a story to tell behind each featured drink on board, including our Ocean State of Mind signature cocktail, which uses gin made from seaweed algae — and is also available with zero-alcohol content."

Exterior of the Explora I out at sea
Courtesy of Explora Journeys

In making non-alcoholic cocktails a centerpiece of the beverage program, Explora is joining a growing number of hospitality and travel businesses leaning into booze-free selections, as T+L reported earlier this year. "This will be a huge trend in the future and one that we have already incorporated," Briançon notes. (Those more interested in high-proof beverages will also find plenty to love: the new ship will have multiple cocktail-focused venues, plus a whiskey bar.)

the lobby and lobby bar onboard the Explora I
Courtesy of Explora Journeys

Explora I will also offer a hands-on culinary experience, something that's become a bit of a must-have in the cruise industry in recent years. "As part of the Chef's Kitchen experience, up to 12 guests will enjoy a variety of culinary and cooking experiences including shoreside visits to local markets, producers, and growers," Garanger says. "What excites us most is the ability for our guests to meet suppliers and bring fresh produce back to the ship and learn how to create incredible dishes."

For all the options, Garanger says one of the greatest pleasures on board may be one of the most humble. Asked by T+L what culinary moment he's most looking forward to, Garanger had a very personal answer: "Being French and the son of a master baker, it has to be the bread!"

But not just any bread, he's quick to add. "We have sourced a boutique flour mill that, for six generations, has been innovating and strengthening its know-how," Garanger says. The French producer is going so far as to customize the flour so that it delivers perfect results no matter where in the world Explora's ships are sailing — and no matter the ambient weather.

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