Explora Journeys christens first ship Explora I in New York

Oceanographer Sylvia Earle officially names the first of six luxury Explora Journeys vessels 

Explora Journeys christens first ship Explora I in New York

Explora Journeys

From left, Explora I’s captain Diego Michelozzi, Dr Sylvia Earle, Pierfrancesco Vago, Michael Ungerer and MSC Foundation’s Daniela Picco celebrate the christening

By Rebecca Gibson |

Marine biologist and oceanographer Dr Sylvia Earle christened Explora Journeys’ first luxury vessel, Explora I, at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal in New York City in the USA on 13 October 2023. 

Explora I, which is the first of six luxury ships constructed by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, began sailing in Northern Europe in July 2023 before crossing the Atlantic to New York via Iceland, Greenland and Canada. Earle officially named Explora I in accordance with maritime tradition, smashing a bottle of champagne against the hull to bless the vessel, its crew and future guests.  

“I am honoured to be the godmother for Explora I and look forward to a meaningful relationship between Mission Blue, Explora Journeys and the MSC Foundation towards making a very positive contribution to protect and restore the world’s seas and oceans,” said Earle, founder and chairman of Mission Blue, nonprofit organisation that aims to explore and protect the ocean.

Speaking at the ceremony, Explora Journeys CEO Michael Ungerer said: “Explora I brings to life our vision to reshape luxury travel. We are proud to introduce a new era of discovery and luxurious travel and to showcase our first ship in the vibrant city of New York.”

Explora I has 461 oceanfront suites, penthouses and residences, as well as 12 indoor and outdoor bars and lounges, six restaurants, four swimming pools, extensive wellness and fitness facilities, and outdoor decks with private cabanas. The ship will operate itineraries in North America for the remainder of autumn, reposition to the Caribbean for winter, sail to Hawaii and the US West Coast in spring 2024 and then return to the Mediterranean for the summer. 

Explora Journeys will debut Explora II in summer 2024, the LNG-powered Explora III and Explora IV in 2026 and 2027 respectively, and Explora V and Explora VI in 2027 and 2028 respectively. The final two ships in the series will both be designed to use alternative fuels, such as biogas and synthetic gas, and will pursue the use of liquid hydrogen with fuel cells for their hotel operations while docked in ports to eliminate carbon emissions. 

“We are offering journeys that redefine the very essence of luxurious ocean travel,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of the MSC Group’s cruise division. “We are looking to attract a wider group of discerning travelers who have experienced the finest luxury land-based resorts but seek more value, more authenticity, and a deeper connection to the world. Explora Journeys is the answer by giving you a way to discover off-the-beaten track destinations by sea, all whilst enjoying some of the best real estate in the world. With a further five ships joining the fleet in the next five years, we are committed to delivering the same unique experience onboard, wherever you are in the world.”

Read CFR's interview with Jason Gelineau, head of product at Explora Journeys, to learn more about the evolution of the brand. 

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