Explora Journeys, the MSC Group’s newly launched premium cruise line, celebrated another major milestone in its coming-to-market phase today in Italy with the steel cutting of its second ship, EXPLORA II.
The second vessel in Explora Journeys’ fleet of luxury ships began construction and is expected to welcome its first passengers in Spring 2024.
This comes just three months after the Explora Journeys brand was launched, and the construction of its first ship, the EXPLORA I, is set to commence in May 2023.
In 2025 and 2026, two more new ships will join the fleet, demonstrating MSC Group’s commitment to establishing the Explora Journeys brand, which is designed for the next generation of discerning luxury travelers.
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Group’s Cruise Division, said, “The start of Explora Journeys’ second ship signals our firm commitment to our tourism partners for the coming-to-market of our new luxury brand with a significant financial investment in a fleet of innovative, elegant ships, that will bring together our vision and purpose to create an ocean state of mind like no other.
Given our belief in this brand to create a new category in luxury, lifestyle travel, we will continue to invest in its expansion to attract the growing number and aspirations of the next generation of discerning luxury travelers.”
All four Explora Journeys ships will be built in Italy, and the first steel for the second vessel was cut at Fincantieri’s Castellammare di Stabia yard near Naples in a typical nautical ritual.
Pierfrancesco Vago, CEO of Explora Journeys, and Luigi Matarazzo, General Manager of Fincantieri’s Merchant Ships Division, were among those who attended the occasion.
Explora Journeys has also been given ‘preferred’ status by a number of leading travel agency groups, an honor not usually bestowed on a brand prior to its launch, demonstrating an unprecedented level of recognition from the luxury travel industry and reinforcing our commitment to and confidence in our robust B2B2C strategy.
EXPLORA II will be built in the same revolutionary style as EXPLORA I, with 461 balcony suites with some of the largest lead-in categories, private terraces, and ample outdoor space.
The cruise ships will be equipped with the most cutting-edge environmental technologies, as well as the ability to adapt to alternative energy solutions as they become available. The design includes battery storage to enable future hybrid power generation, as well as the most up-to-date selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology, which reduces nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 90%.
Built with ship-to-shore power to reduce CO2 emissions while at berth and fueled by marine gas oil, this is in keeping with MSC Group’s Cruise Division’s recent goal to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in its cruise maritime operations by 2050.
Explora Journeys created an industry-first ‘By Appointment’ service, one of many bold initiatives that allows travel advisors to schedule an appointment with a customer experience representative to discuss and place a waitlist on a specific suite for one or more of the eight inaugural journeys during EXPLORA I’s first year, including the vessel’s maiden voyage.
This supports Explora Journeys’ guest-centric approach by allowing travel advisors to book an appointment to discuss and create a waitlist reservation for their valued customers, which can then be converted to a deposited reservation at a later date. EXPLORA II will have waitlist possibilities via the ‘By Appointment’ service starting in Spring 2022.