Explora Journeys Announces Onboard Guest Experience Team

Experience Team - Explora Journeys Explora I


Geneva, Switzerland – June 9, 2022 – Explora Journeys today unveiled its Guest Experience team with seven new appointments as part of a growing team set to define and deliver a highly curated guest experience under the leadership of Jason Gelineau, Head of Product.

This team of industry professionals have been selected to ensure the new luxury lifestyle brand of the MSC Group is firmly positioned and is on track to redefine luxury ocean travel for the discerning traveller as EXPLORA I, the first of four ships, prepares for her Maiden Journey from Barcelona to Athens in May 2023.

Michael Ungerer, Chief Executive Officer, Explora Journeys said: “we continue to attract the highest caliber of hospitality thoroughbreds which is a further proof point of the appeal our brand has to the luxury labour market. With our belief in customer centricity at our core, these new appointments under the leadership of Jason Gelineau play a crucial role in leading our guests on a journey of self and social discovery, fulfillment and enrichment, easing them into an Ocean State of Mind.  With two ships under construction, we remain firmly on track and committed to delivering inspiring and sustainable tourism as we and our guests, strive to leave a positive footprint on the communities we visit.”

Jason Gelineau, Head of Product, who joined Explora Journeys in late 2021, leads the entire onboard guest experience and operations. Formerly, Jason a dual Canadian/Australian national, was Brand Performance Manager for MSC Cruise Division for three years overseeing MSC Cruises` US based ships and private island destination, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. Prior to this, he was with Seabourn Cruises as Hotel Director for three years, Oceania Cruises as General Manager for eight years and has also worked onboard The World of ResidenSea and Silversea Cruises. Jason has a career dedicated to hospitality, spanning over 35 years including 24 years at sea.

New team members

Alban Gjoka, Senior Lead Culinary Operations, formerly for five years with TUI United Kingdom Cruises as Head of Culinary Operations and prior to this, he was with Oceania Cruises as Senior Executive Chef for ten years.

Thibaut BriançonSenior Lead, Food & Beverage Services, formerly with Paris Society as Area Project Manager and prior to this Thibaut was with DUCASSE Conseil as Senior Consultant for four years.

Julanda Marais, Senior Lead, SPA Operations, formerly with Jumeriah Group in the United Arab Emirates as Regional Spa Director for four years and prior to this, Senior Spa Director at various Four Seasons locations in the Middle East and Africa. In her early career, Julanda spent time at sea with Crystal Cruises and opened the World of ResidenSea with Clinique La Prairie.

Drew Gowland, Senior Lead, Entertainment and Enrichment. Drew has a vast background in the Arts, being the Founder and CEO of The MGA Academy of Performing Arts, Edinburgh, for 15 years. Drew has also spent 19 years at sea in various entertainment departments for P&O, Celebrity, Cunard, and most recently Seabourn.

Carmela Paval, Senior Lead, Housekeeping Operations. Formerly with Seabourn as Corporate Trainer, Executive Housekeeper for five years and prior to this, she was with Seabourn as New Build Corporate Trainer, Executive Housekeeper for the Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation.

Vitor Alves, Senior Lead, Hotel Operations. Formerly with Scenic Discovery Yacht and Emerald Yacht Voyages as Director, Hotel Operations for two years. Prior to this Vitor was with Seabourn for 17 years moving from shipboard Hotel Director to Deputy Director, New Build and Expeditions.

Paolo Milordo, Traveling Food & Beverages Service Lead, formerly with Regent Seven Seas Cruises as Corporate Service Manager for seven years and prior to this, he was with Oceania Cruises as Corporate Service Manager for four years.

Jason Gelineau said “We are very proud to have attracted such a high caliber of luxury hospitality professionals to join our family here in Geneva. It is an exciting opportunity to combine our wealth of expertise in curating Explora Journeys` onboard guest experience as we continue to build a truly defining and highly desired luxury lifestyle brand for today`s and tomorrow`s discerning traveller.”

These new appointments follow the announcement of Franck Garanger, as Head of Culinary in January this year.

In its first year, EXPLORA I will visit 132 ports in 40 different countries, including two destinations, Kastellorizo, Greece and Saint Pierre, Martinique that have not been visited by cruise ships before. The itineraries include the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the UK, Iceland, Greenland, Canada, the U.S. East Coast, Caribbean, South America, and Hawaii. Sailings start from 6-night journeys and culminate in an epic 44-night Northern Europe Grand Journey.  

About Explora Journeys

Explora Journeys is the privately-owned luxury lifestyle brand of the MSC Group, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, created at the heart of Swiss luxury hospitality. The brand stems from the long-held vision of the Aponte-Vago family to redefine the ocean experience for a new generation of discerning luxury travelers, drawing on the Aponte family`s 300 years of maritime heritage. The brand’s aspiration is to create a unique ‘Ocean State of Mind’ by connecting guests with the sea, with themselves, and like-minded people, while remarkable itineraries will blend renowned destinations with lesser-travelled ports, for a journey that inspires discovery in all its forms.  

A fleet of four ships, two of which are under construction, will be launched from 2023 to 2026. Equipped with the latest environmental and marine technologies, Explora Journeys will introduce a new style of transformative ocean travel.  When EXPLORA I sets sail in May 2023, she will offer 461 oceanfront suites, penthouses and residences designed to be ‘Homes at Sea’ for our guests, all with sweeping ocean views, private terrace, a choice of nine distinct culinary experiences, ten indoor and outdoor bars and lounges, four swimming pools, extensive outdoor decks with private cabanas, wellness facilities, and refined entertainment.  Inspired by the company`s European heritage, Explora Journeys will provide guests with an immersive ocean experience respectful and intuitive hospitality.  

To learn more about Explora Journeys, visit explorajourneys.com or follow us on InstagramTwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

See more from Explora Journeys here.

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