Explora Journeys has opened up booking for inaugural itineraries aboard Explora II, which is due to launch in the summer of 2024, and South Africa and the Middle East are among the destinations available.
Explora Journeys has also announced a new entertainment partnership with Steinway & Sons, the piano company known for handcrafting grand pianos since 1853.
Explora II is the second ship in the planned fleet for the new cruise line, a luxury subsidiary of MSC Cruises. Explora II will feature 11 dining experiences across six restaurants, as well as in-suite dining, and 12 bars and lounges (eight outdoor and four indoor).
“This is a new chapter for the brand and we are extremely proud to unveil Explora II and these new itineraries,” said Michael Ungerer, CEO, Explora Journeys.
“Our portfolio of destinations is constantly expanding, and we look forward to welcoming guests on board our ships to enjoy once-in-a-lifetime experiences in incredible countries where they will be able to reconnect with themselves, whilst connecting with the people they meet, the surroundings and the local communities,” he added.
Explora II’s inaugural sailings will include cruises in the Mediterranean, the Middle East, India, the Indian Ocean and Africa. The ship will embark on 25 journeys and 14 extended journeys between August 2024 and April 2025, with visits to 82 different ports in 26 countries, according to the press release.
Some of the countries the Explora II will visit while crossing the Mediterranean Sea include in Italy, Spain, Greece and its islands, Cyprus, Israel and Croatia.
The ship will then pass through the Suez Canal and sail to Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the Red Sea, followed by a visit to the Arabian Gulf for the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
The Explora II will then sail to India, Seychelles and Maldives. In Africa, the ship will visit Mozambique, Tanzania, Madagascar, Kenya, Mauritius and South Africa.
The Explora II will embark on its 15-night maiden voyage to Northern Europe on July 17th, 2023, departing from Southampton in the UK. The ship will make calls in 12 ports in four countries, according to the company.
New entertainment partnership
In addition to the new itineraries, Explora Journeys also announced a partnership with Steinway & Sons.
“This exceptional partnership brings a unique opportunity to celebrate and share musical excellence with a trusted, legendary luxury brand that shares our passion for talent, and demonstrates our commitment to undeniable quality,” said Ungerer.
“With the pianos supplied by Steinway & Sons and an enrichment program bringing the finest musicians in the world to interact with our guests, we are thrilled to take this journey together,” he added.
Starting with the summer of 2023, acclaimed and new pianists will entertain guests with live performances that reflect the regions through which the ship will sail aboard Explora I, according to a press release. Three Steinway Spirio piano players will be onboard each of Explora Journeys’ ships.