When Explora Journeys chose renowned marine biologist and oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle as Godmother to name Explora 1 on Oct. 12, the luxury travel brand of MSC Group affirmed the maritime group's commitment to sustaining, preserving, and restoring the world's oceans.
With the dazzling Manhattan skyline framing the ship's bow as the Champagne bottle smashed against it, the moment was full of pride for the owners. Explora I is the first of six vessels Explora Journeys has planned in its quest to expand its luxury hotel-style of cruising to every possible cruise destination.
Combining a series of speeches and videos, Explora Journeys' Aponte family members, executives, and dignitaries launched their vision for luxury cruising, one that induces an "ocean state of mind" that will connect guests to the sea, wherever in the world they may be.
"In the world of luxury travel, Explora I is a game-changer. We are offering journeys that redefine the very essence of luxurious ocean travel," said Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman, Cruise Division, MSC Group. He added that Explora Journeys appeals to discerning travelers who have experienced the finest luxury land-based resorts but seek more value, more authenticity, and a deeper connection to the world.
Before introducing Dr. Earle, Daniella Picco, executive director for the MSC Foundation, described MSC's programs dedicated to expanding its marine and coral conservation resources. Dr. Earle, too, through her Mission Blue organization, works regularly to conserve the world's oceans, making her an ideal Godmother for the ship, Picco said.
"I am honored 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," Dr. Earle said, before officially naming the ship.
Explora I is the first of six luxury ships constructed by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for Explora Journeys. The ship began sailing in July 2023 with a series of journeys in Northern Europe before crossing the Atlantic to New York with visits en route to Iceland, Greenland, and Canada.
It ship has 461 oceanfront suites, penthouses and residences, six restaurants, 12 indoor and outdoor bars and lounges, four swimming pools, extensive outdoor decks with private cabanas, and nearly 1,000 square meters of wellness and fitness facilities.
Explora II will enter service in summer 2024 and operate until April 2025 in the Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East. Explora III and Explora IV will both be powered by liquefied natural gas and enter service in 2026 and 2027 respectively. Explora V and Explora VI will enter service in 2027 and 2028 respectively and will both be capable of using alternative fuels such as bio and synthetic gas.