The first ship for Explora Journeys, MSC Cruises’ new luxury subsidiary, has been launched at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.
Explora I touched water for the first time on Monday as the first of four identical newbuilds for the cruise line in a $2.1 billion deal.
She will enter service in May 2023 once her interior fit and finish has been completed, along with sea trials and her official handover.
Her sister ship Explora II is currently under construction as well, and delivery is expected in the summer of 2024. The remaining two ships will be delivered in 2025 and 2026.
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of the Cruise Division of MSC Group, and Claudio Graziano, Chairman of Fincantieri, led the float out ceremony for the 64,000 gross ton ship.
When she enters service, she will be able to carry 922 guests in a level of luxury on-par with the MSC Yacht Club enclave aboard the ships in the MSC fleet.
The ship will have 461 all balcony suites. The smallest of these will be 377 feet, which is the largest of any luxury cruise line’s entry-level accommodations.
Each stateroom will have floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto a step-out balcony, giving passengers unrivalled views of the destinations visited, which Explora Journeys says will be “off the beaten path”.
Not much has been revealed about the vessels yet, but what we do know is that each will have four swimming pools, including one with a retractable roof, and more than 27,000-square-feet of outdoor deck space.
Around the main pool there will be 64 private cabanas, hot tubs, and a large LED screen for Princess Cruises-style Movies Under the Stars.
There will also be 9 different dining options, a spa, and fitness center with a separate studio for group classes and personal training sessions.
These cruises will range from short 5-night itineraries to 43-night grand voyages, but all will feature longer stays in port and overnight port calls so that passengers can maximise their time ashore.
“Explora I and our subsequent three ships will allow guests to enjoy a more immersive, authentic experience and a slower pace of travel,” said Michael Ungerer, CEO, Explora Journeys.
“They are designed to offer refined yet effortless luxury with the opportunity for exploration and transformation, offering our guests the chance to experience what we call an ‘Ocean State of Mind’ – a mindset that can be achieved when we escape to the ocean, relax, create memories and reconnect with what matters most in our lives,” he added.