Explora Journeys has held a coin ceremony for Explora II, the second of its luxury cruise ships, with a total of six on order.
Explora Journeys is a subsidiary of MSC Cruises, and will be its luxury cruise brand, similar to Regent Seven Seas Cruises for Norwegian Cruise Line, Silversea for Royal Caribbean, and Seabourn for Carnival Corporation.
The coin ceremony for Explora II took place in Castellammare di Stabia yard in Naples, Italy at the Fincantieri shipyard where the ship and her sister vessels are under construction.
Explora II will be near identical to Explora I, carrying 922 passengers and will likely feature 11 dining experiences across six restaurants, as well as in-suite dining, and 12 bars and lounges (eight outdoor and four indoor).
Explora I also features a chef`s kitchen, with all dining and beverage options intended to provide guests with a range of culinary options from across the world, and Explora II is likely to feature something similar as well.
“Explora Journeys is the future of luxury cruising,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises. “We are setting new standards for the entire industry and new levels of luxury.”
Michael Ungerer, CEO, Explora Journeys, added that although the vessels will offer extreme luxury, another big draw will be the diverse itineraries on offer.
“The event today is another major step forward on our mission to redefine ocean travel for today’s discerning luxury travellers,” he said. “Explora II — and her sister ship Explora I — will blend renowned destinations seen through a different lens and unique off-the-beaten-path ports, offering the next generation of luxury travellers highly curated, transformative and immersive experiences.”
Explora II began construction in October 2021, and her keel was laid in May 2022. She is expected to enter service in August next year, almost a year after her sister ship Explora I, which is due to enter service this July.
Although Explora Journeys is the luxury cruise subsidiary of MSC Cruises and is therefore comparable to the luxury cruise arms of Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian, CEO Michael Ungerer has indicated that the cruise line will actually be competing with luxury hotel chains.
Explora Journeys is positioning itself alongside luxury hotel chains such as Belmond, Aman, Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons, the last three of which have all either entered or will enter the cruise market with luxury cruising yachts.
Although Belmond, which also operates the luxury train the Venice Simplon Orient Express, has not indicated plans to enter the cruise market, a separate hotel group that owns the Orient Express brand name, has announced an Orient Express Cruises subsidiary.