After unveiling plans to launch a separate, luxury cruise brand last year, MSC Cruise Group on Thursday gave its first real glimpse into the new luxury cruise brand, which it has coined Explora Journeys.
The brand will officially hit the water in 2023 when the first ship in its fleet sets sail. That ship, Explora I, will be followed by three more ships, each launching in consecutive years through 2026.
MSC’s team celebrate the steel cutting for Explora I at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy on Thursday morning, kicking off the ship’s construction.
“The MSC Family knows the sea like few others, and with that knowledge comes passion, love and most of all, a deep respect,” Pierfrancesco Vago, global chairman of MSC Cruises said.
The first Explora-class ship will welcome guests in 2023. Photo: Explora.
“Explora Journeys was designed for guests who want to stay longer, leave later, and travel deeper,” said Michael Ungerer, CEO of Explora Journeys.
“Customer centricity is at the core of everything we do. We’ve commissioned research, organized focus groups, and hosted roundtable discussions with global specialists in luxury to design the perfect ship for our guests. Explora Journeys will bring a new perspective to the travel industry, reinventing the classic cruise experience for the next generation of luxury travelers.”
The logo for Explora Journeys was designed by MSC Group’s CFO, and daughter of founder Gianluigi Aponte and wife of Pierfrancesco Vago, and includes the lotus flower and a nod to MSC’s European heritage.
Explora I's indoor pool. Photo: Explora.
‘A ship like no other’
The ships will boast a focus on space, both indoors and outdoors—MSC says that the ship will have more than 26,000 square feet of outdoor space overlooking the sea, including three fully outdoor pools that include 64 private cabanas and a fourth indoor pool under a retractable glass roof.
Onboard, MSC says that no single-used plastics will be used, nor offered during land-based experiences. The ships are being built with future hybrid power generation in mind—MSC says that the technology will help reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 90%.
For accommodations, Explora will offer 461 oceanfront suites and residences with floor-to-ceiling windows at private personal terraces. Each of those suites will boast just over 375-square-feet of space.
And for dining, the ship will offer nine different, distinct restaurants with flexible dining times, and a focus on wholesome, sustainably sourced ingredients. Those venues go along with a number of bars and lounges scattered around the ship.
In terms of service, the ship will sail with a guest to crew ratio of just 1.25-to-1.
Bookings for Explora I’s 2023 inaugural sailings, which will start at 7-nights and will take guests to Saint Tropez, Bordeaux, Reykjavik, Bozcaada, the Lofoten Islands, and more, will open in fall 2021.
The ship's lobby. Photo: Explora.