Explora II will start service in spring 2024
Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri has cut the steel for Explora Journeys’ second cruise ship, which will be named Explora II and is expected to debut in spring 2024.
The construction milestone was celebrated with a traditional ceremony at Fincantieri’s Castellammare di Stabia shipyard near Naples, which was attended by Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Group’s cruise division; Michael Ungerer, CEO of Explora Journeys; and Luigi Matarazzo, general manager of Fincantieri’s merchant ships division.
The ceremony took place just three months after MSC Group launched the Explora Journeys brand and the steel-cutting for its first ship, Explora I, which will be delivered in May 2023.
“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,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Group’s cruise division.
Both Explora I and Explora II have been created in partnership with renowned superyacht and luxury hospitality designers and will span 14 decks. They will each feature 461 oceanfront suites with private terraces, as well as nine restaurants, bars and lounges, a spa and fitness area, a promenade deck with whirlpool baths, a pool with a retractable glass roof, and more than 2,500 square metres of outdoor decks with three outdoor pools and 64 private cabanas.
The vessels will also be fitted with the latest green technologies and will initially be powered by marine gas oil. However, their design incorporates provision for battery storage, which will facilitate hybrid power generation in the future. They will also be built with ship-to-shore power capabilities to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions at berth, as well as selective catalytic reduction technology to decrease nitrogen oxide emissions by 90 per cent. Together, these solutions will help MSC Group’s cruise division fulfil its aim of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Two further new ships will join the fleet in 2025 and 2026.
“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 travellers,” said Vago.
Explora Journeys has also launched an industry-first By Appointment service, which will enable travel advisors to set up an appointment with a customer experience representative to discuss and make a waitlist reservation for a specific suite on one or more of the eight inaugural journeys during Explora I’s first year of operation. This same service will become available for Explora II’s guests in spring 2022.
“We are greatly encouraged by the tremendous enthusiasm and support we have received so far from the travel advisor community who have placed their trust in Explora Journeys since our launch in June and for their overwhelming response to our exclusive `By Appointment' service and innovative commercial terms,” said Michael Ungerer, CEO of Explora Journeys.
“Explora Journeys has also been awarded ‘preferred’ status with a number of leading travel agency groups, an honour not normally bestowed on a brand prior to its coming into service, that demonstrates an unprecedented recognition from the luxury travel industry and which reinforces our commitment to, and confidence, in our robust business-to-business-to-consumer strategy.”
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