Having only just taken delivery of its first cruise ship, Explora Journeys has announced it has placed an additional order for two more vessels from Fincantieri.
The two new ships will take Explora Journeys’ planned fleet from four to six vessels, and will be delivered in 2027 and 2028, respectively.
Explora V and VI will also be even more environmentally friendly than their sister ships, with a new generation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) engines that tackle the issue of methane slip, as well as industry-first technologies and solutions, such as a containment system for liquid hydrogen, a promising low-carbon fuel.
While Explora Journeys’ first two ships, Explora I and Explora II, are both powered by conventional marine fuel, the cruise line, a luxury subsidiary of MSC Cruises, has confirmed that the other four vessels yet to be constructed will be LNG-powered.
Not much has been revealed about these two additional ships, but Explora Journeys has confirmed they’ll be 19-metres longer, to accomodate the LNG and hydrogen powerplants. Hydrogen fuel will power a six-megawatt fuel cell to produce emissions-free power for the hotel operation and allow the vessels to run on zero emissions in port, with the engines turned off.
This increase to the ships’ size also means there is a larger mix of suites with an increased number of spacious and luxurious Ocean Residences and larger public spaces.
“Explora Journeys is building ships for tomorrow, utilising today’s latest technologies and being ready to adapt to alternative energy solutions as they become available,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of the Cruise Division of MSC Group. “The announcement today marks another significant step forward in our goal as a business to reach net zero emissions by 2050 across all our cruise operations for the two brands.”
“This transition to zero emissions operations for the maritime industry is the biggest challenge that we will ever face, and this will only be achieved by everyone playing their part – by investing in research and development and through significant investment both by companies but also governments,” he added.
This is the first big cruise ship order for any major shipyard since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in 2020, reflecting MSC Cruises’ commitment to the sector and its confidence in a full recovery in terms of capacity and revenue in the coming years.