MSC is entering the luxury cruise market with the launch of new brand Explora Journeys.
Built by Fincantieri, the first of four luxury ships will set sail in 2023, with the remaining vessels launching in 2024, 2025 and 2026.
Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Group’s cruise business, said: “Building a luxury brand that will redefine the cruise experience and create a category of its own has been a long-held vision of mine and my family.”
He added: “Inspired by our personal travel wishes, Explora Journeys will be an ocean escape like no other, allowing guests to relax, make memories, and cherish the time at sea with their loved ones. After all, time is the ultimate luxury.”
Explora Journeys hosted a steel cutting ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, yesterday (June 10) to celebrate the start of the building process.
The new ship Explora I will feature 461 oceanfront suites and residences with floor-to-ceiling windows and private terraces.
Suites will start at 35 sq m, among the most spacious for the category in the industry.
Fourteen decks will provide ample indoor public space, while outdoor decks will boast more than 2,500 sq m overlooking the sea, with 64 private cabanas set across three outdoor pools. A fourth all-weather pool will have a retractable glass roof, and the ship’s promenade deck will house a series of indoor and outdoor whirlpool paths.
Voyages will start from seven nights with itineraries encompassing big-name destinations, including Saint Tropez, Bordeaux and Reykjavik, along with hidden gems such as Kastellorizo, Bozcaada and the Lofoten Islands.
“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, organised 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 travellers.”
There will be a guest to crew ratio of 1.25 to 1 and flexible dining times at nine restaurants celebrating global cuisine, with a focus on sustainably sourced wholesome ingredients.
A spacious indoor and outdoor spa will feature treatment rooms, state-of-the-art fitness equipment, group workout classes, personal training appointments and tailor-made programmes.
With impressive eco-credentials, the ship will be equipped with the latest environment-supporting technology to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 90% and avoid CO2 while at berth. Single-use plastics will not be used onboard and won’t be offered during shore excursions.
“Our ships will utilise state of the art technology to ensure we are leading the movement towards a more sustainable future. Together with our partners, we’re currently developing ground-breaking technologies that will elevate the status quo, not just for this generation but also beyond,” added Vago.