Launch of Explora Journeys’ New Ship Delayed By Several Weeks

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Just a week after announcing its second ship had successfully completed her sea trials, Explora Journeys revealed that Explora II will not enter service as planned in August 2024 because more time is needed to complete construction.

The delay in delivery from the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy, means that the luxury ship’s first five scheduled cruises will be cancelled. Explora Journeys, the luxury brand of MSC Group that launched its first ship, Explora I, in the summer of 2023, is notifying booked guests and/or their travel agents and arranging to transfer bookings to the existing ship.

EXPLORA II Cruise Ship
EXPLORA II Cruise Ship

Explora I is operating in the Mediterranean, and Explora II was also scheduled to begin a series of cruises there.  Her cancelled itineraries all departed from either Barcelona or Rome, with embarkation dates of August 11, 19, and 26, and September 2 and 9.

In its notice to booked guests, Explora Journeys expressed deep regret at the inconvenience the cancellations will cause.

Unfortunately, after extensive consultation with our shipyard partner Fincantieri, we regret to inform you that the completion of our new ship will require more time than initially planned. Please know that this decision was not taken lightly,Explora Journeys wrote to guests.

Our commitment to the highest standards of quality and luxury is unwavering, and we want to ensure that your experience aboard Explora II is nothing short of extraordinary,the line added.

The 922-guest ship is currently set to be delivered to the line on September 12, 2024 and operate her maiden voyage on September 16, 2024. The inaugural voyage will be a 7-night cruise from Rome to Barcelona, with calls at Sorrento and Lipari, Italy; Trapani and Siracusa, Sicily; Valletta, Malta; and Tarragona, Spain.

Following her launch, Explora II will remain in the Mediterranean, sailing a series of 7- to 9-day cruises, with some voyages featuring destinations in the Canary Islands. In December 2024, the ship will reposition to La Romana, Dominican Republic, where she will homeport while operating 7-day Caribbean cruises. In March 2025 the ship will return to Europe for the summer season.

Construction on the 14-deck Explora II began in 2021, and like her sister ship the vessel was designed with the line’s luxury “Homes at Sea” theme, which promises a residential-style quality to accommodations and services.

The ship’s five cabin categories include the opulent 3,000-square-foot Owner’s Residence, Ocean Residence, Ocean Penthouse, Ocean Terrace Suites, and Ocean Grand Terrace Suites.

Read Also: Who Owns MSC Cruises – Behind the Global Cruise Line

The ship has 11 dining venues, 12 bars and lounges, a spa and salon, 3 outdoor and one indoor pool, and 64 private cabanas. Explora Journeys is an all-inclusive line, with the cruise fare covering all dining and drinks, crew gratuities, unlimited WiFi, wellness and fitness programs, and other services.

Luxury Line’s First Vessel Also Was Delivered Late

The luxury line’s first ship, Explora I, also had a delayed delivery before she debuted in 2023. Fincantieri handed over the vessel on July 20, 2023 — two weeks after its originally planned delivery date. Explora Journeys had announced on July 5, 2023 that the ship’s launch would be postponed due to supply chain issues and the need for enhancements to the vessel.

The cruise line’s third ship, Explora III, also is being built at Fincantieri’s Genoa shipyard. Steel was cut for the vessel in September 2023. In fact, the ship’s steel-cutting celebration was held on the same day that Explora II was floated out of her construction bay, marking a double milestone for the cruise line.

Explora Journeys has plans for a 6-ship fleet. Explora III and Explora IV are slated to be delivered in 2026 and 2027, respectively. Both ships will be powered by liquified nitrogen gas (LNG). 

The final two ships, Explora V and Explora VI, will be powered by a combination of LNG and hydrogen, plus a six-megawatt hydrogen fuel cell that will eliminate emissions while the ships are in port with hotel operations running.

MSC Group also owns MSC Cruise Line, a mainstream brand that operates in Europe and North America.

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