Explora Journeys, the luxury lifestyle brand of the MSC Group, is proud to announce its partnership with celebrated chef Emma Bengtsson and Aquavit NYC to curate an unparalleled culinary experience for guests on board EXPLORA I. Chef Bengtsson will be the first female and US-based chef to showcase her culinary talents at Anthology, one of 11 culinary experiences on board the ship. Guests can enjoy her curated menu from the beginning of October until the end of March, with Bengtsson personally attending the 9-night sailing on 3 October 2023 from Quebec to New York City. 

Chef Emma Bengtsson is acclaimed for her creative interpretations of classic dishes and an innovative culinary approach that incorporates influences from Scandinavia as well as the vibrant flavours of New York City, while showcasing her focus on sustainability and a deep respect for local ingredients. A trailblazer for women in fine dining, Bengtsson is the first female Swedish chef and the second female chef based in the US to be awarded two Michelin stars. Her distinctive style of simplicity and sustainability seamlessly aligns with Explora Journeys’ ethos of sustainable, locally sourced dining experiences that create a culinary ‘Ocean State of Mind’.

Michael Ungerer, CEO Explora Journeys, expressing his excitement about the partnership, said: “Chef Bengtsson is an inspiration in the culinary world, and we couldn’t be more delighted to welcome her on board EXPLORA I. Anthology offers a one-of-a-kind culinary experience for our guests, and we have already received outstanding feedback from our guests on this exceptional venue. We look forward to working with Chef Bengtsson to continue providing our guests with an elevated dining experience that will showcase her distinctive culinary style through a variety of delicious dishes.

Chef Emma Bengtsson conveyed her enthusiasm for the partnership, saying: “I’m thrilled to partner with Explora Journeys to create a menu that reflects the values I share with the brand. I have always had a deep appreciation for local cuisines and sustainably sourced ingredients, so I look forward to bringing these aspects to Anthology and showcasing progressive techniques combined with traditional fare for an outstanding dining experience.


Bengtsson wanted to create for Anthology’s guests a menu that represents the culinary essence of her cuisine at restaurant, Aquavit. Using only the best ingredients and applying the unique Scandinavian flavour profiles produced by smoking, pickling, fermenting and curing – all of which are staples at Aquavit – she has created a distinctively different dining experience for this very special occasion.

EXPLORA I’s Anthology restaurant is a culinary stage on which guest chefs curate menus in collaboration with Franck Garanger, Explora Journeys’ Head of Culinary, showcasing global cuisines along with wine pairings by illustrious winemakers for a one-of-a-kind culinary experience. Set in sophisticated, refined elegance, with the opportunity to dine al fresco, lower light levels, and flawless service create an intimate yet elevated atmosphere.


Franck Garanger, Head of Culinary, Explora Journeys commented, “It has been an absolute pleasure working with Chef Emma Bengtsson and her team at Aquavit to create this incredible menu for EXPLORA I’s guests. Showcasing the creative blend of Scandinavian influences and the vibrant flavours of New York City, this truly follows our ethos of connecting cultures and continents through culinary discoveries.”


Guests on board EXPLORA I can expect a carefully crafted menu that showcases the best of Chef Bengtsson’s creations, using only the freshest and finest ingredients sourced primarily from local producers.

Explora Journeys continues to redefine luxury ocean travel, and the partnership with Aquavit NYC and Chef Bengtsson is just another step towards providing guests with exceptional immersive experiences.

The company offers today’s discerning luxury traveller an opportunity to experience a truly transformative and purposeful ocean travel experience, reflecting both the essence of each destination visited, as well as the brand’s cosmopolitan and vibrant European luxury.

Dining at Anthology is a singularly special experience enabling discovery and enrichment, and is not part of the inclusive culinary offering. An experience fee applies – Tasting Menu: EUR 190 ($210) per person, wine pairing: EUR 75 ($82) per person.


The ship will spend the winter and spring in North America and the Caribbean Sea before returning to Mediterranean for summer 2024.