MSC Group Celebrates Major Milestone For Luxury Cruise Brand

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Europe’s largest cruise company celebrated a major milestone on May 30, as the first of four luxury cruise ships reached the float-out stage of the build. MSC is building up a luxury cruise brand that will begin operations in 2023. 

Explora I took to the water in the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. The vessel will enter service precisely a year from now, with her sister, Explora II, following in the summer of 2024.

The float-out ceremony was attended by Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of the Cruise Division of MSC Group, Fincantieri Chairman, Claudio Graziano and Fincantieri CEO Pierroberto Folgiero.

Luxury Cruise Ship Explora I Floats Out

The first of four luxury cruise ships ordered by MSC floated out at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, on May 30.

The milestone in the build of Explora I was celebrated by Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of the Cruise Division of MSC Group, Fincantieri Chairman, Claudio Graziano, and Fincantieri CEO, Pierroberto Folgiero.

Explorer I
Photo Courtesy: MSC Explorer Journeys

The build is progressing as planned, and there seem to be few delays for Europe’s largest cruise company’s luxury cruise brand, Explora Journeys. The first of four ships, Explora I, will set sail exactly one year from today, May 31, 2023, opening up a new market for MSC:

Michael Ungerer, the CEO of Explora Journeys: “EXPLORA I and our subsequent three ships will allow guests to enjoy a more immersive, authentic experience and a slower pace of travel.”

“The float out of EXPLORA I is a hugely significant milestone in the realisation of our vision to redefine the ocean travel experience with a new luxury travel brand that we have designed to connect travellers with the ocean and themselves.” 

Explora I’s maiden voyage will be an 11-day voyage from Barcelona to Athens, with calls to St Tropez and Calvi, France; Rome, Italy; Kefalonia, Greece; and Istanbul, Turkey. Guests can extend the maiden cruise to return to Barcelona, in which case they will also visit Patmos, Kastellorizo, Santorini, Athens, and Mykonos, Greece; Gozo, Malta; and Ibiza, Spain. 

Explora I’s inaugural year includes cruises to the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Greenland, Canada, the East Coast of the United States of America, the Caribbean Sea, South America, and Hawaii.

The First Of Four

MSC Cruises ordered four luxury cruise ships from Fincantieri in 2018, an order worth more than 2 billion euros for the shipyard. Besides Explora I, Fincantieri started building her sister ship in October of last year. The second luxury cruise ship is scheduled to begin operation in 2024. 

Then, in 2025 and 2026, two more ships will begin operations. At 64,000 gross tons and with space for 992 passengers, Explora I is not the smallest of luxury cruise ships around. However, what it lacks in intimacy, it makes up for in amenities and guest experiences:

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, Cruise Division of MSC Group, said, “Destination experiences will be designed to leave a positive impression and footprint on the places and people visited by placing a spotlight on local talents, craftsmanship, culture, gastronomy, and traditions. This is all part of the brand’s commitment to its guests and the destinations we visit with them.

Explorer I
Photo Courtesy: MSC Explorer Journeys

The ship’s luxury suites, of which there are 461, all have balconies and start at 377 square feet. A suite size unmatched in the cruise industry. There will be 1.25 crew members per guest, four swimming pools, ten distinctly different dining experiences, and 27,000 square feet of outdoor space. 

MSC is also exploring the possibility of utilizing LNG-power onboard the third and fourth ships, Explora III and Explora IV:

Pierfrancesco Vago, “At Explora Journeys we are building ships for tomorrow, utilising today’s latest technologies and while being ready to adapt to alternative energy solutions as they become available.”

All four ships will have the latest environmental technologies available. They will feature the latest selective catalytic reduction technology to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 90 percent, be equipped with shore power capabilities to reduce emissions in port, and be fitted with underwater noise management systems to help protect marine life.

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