On Saturday, November 4, 2023, EXPLORA I, the inaugural 63,900-gross-ton ship from MSC Group’s Explora Journeys division, was unveiled in South Florida at PortMiami. The vessel, set to embark on its upcoming Caribbean season, is the first of six luxury ships planned by Explora Journeys over the next several years.
EXPLORA I Makes Her Florida Debut
EXPLORA I, from Explora Journeys, arrived at PortMiami on November 4, 2023, for her maiden voyage to South Florida.
The MSC Group vessel’s visit to PortMiami also marks the beginning of a planned six-ship fleet from Explora Journeys, an upscale cruise operator offering exceptional personalized service, gourmet dining, and unique global destinations designed to cater to globetrotters seeking exclusive oceangoing experiences.
“We take immense pride in introducing our remarkable new ship, EXPLORA I, to the Magic City,” said company CEO Michael Ungerer.
“Miami is a paramount destination and important gateway to the Caribbean for ocean travel … Our team has spared no effort in pushing the limits of innovation and delivering a product that we’re thrilled for guests to experience as they embark in South Florida.”
To mark the occasion, PortMiami personnel conducted a crest exchange to commemorate the ship’s inaugural visit. The event was attended by Captain Diego Michelozzi, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Michael Ungerer, and other notable guests.
EXPLORA I, which was first floated out on May 30, 2022, at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy (her sister ship is slated to enter service in 2024) will embark from Miami during the 2023-2024 winter season and head off to San Juan, Puerto Rico, on her first voyage.
Between November and March, EXPLORA I will sail through the Caribbean and Central America, making stops at top ports like Antigua and Barbuda, the Dominican Republic, Saint Barthélemy, and many others before moving to the West Coast of the United States.
The Burgeoning Explora Journeys Fleet
Explora Journeys, which is a fairly new brand under the MSC Cruises umbrella, was designed to offer cruise passengers a more exclusive and high-end experience compared to some of the more mainstream and traditional offerings associated with MSC Cruises.
EXPLORA I comes with a ton of cutting-edge environmental and marine technologies, including selective catalytic reduction, shore power plug-in connectivity, and underwater noise management systems to safeguard marine life.
The ship’s 461 luxurious ocean-facing suites, each equipped with balconies, will also set a new standard in the cruise industry. With an unmatched suite size, guests can indulge in spacious comfort while enjoying a remarkable 1.25 crew-to-guest ratio, which should ensure exceptionally attentive service.
“Journeys aboard EXPLORA I aim to transport guests to an ‘Ocean State of Mind’ by delivering best-in-class service, exquisite onboard offerings, and immersive destination experiences, authentic to the places the ship serves,” Ungerer said.
In the coming years, MSC Group’s luxury cruise division will introduce EXPLORA II, currently planned to begin sailing during the summer of 2024, operating at first in the Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East.
Next on the docket are EXPLORA III and EXPLORA IV, both powered by liquefied natural gas, entering service in 2026 and 2027 respectively.
Looking further ahead, to 2027 and 2028, EXPLORA V and EXPLORA VI will debut, if all goes to plan and without any unexpected delays. And of special note, these last two ships (out of six) will uniquely be powered by hydrogen, setting a pioneering milestone in the cruising industry.
All of this advanced technology and attention to detail underscores MSC Group’s dedication to the environment, sustainable cruising, and offering guests the epitome of luxury cruising to some of the most exotic destinations on the planet.