MSC Cruises’ new luxury cruise line subsidiary Explora Journeys has taken delivery of its first cruise ship Explora I from the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.
Explora I’s delivery was delayed several times, but now she is finally ready to commence her maiden cruise season, beginning with a 7-night cruise from Copenhagen to Reykjavik on August 1st.
MSC Cruises has invested €500 million in the construction of Explora I, with a total investment plan of €2.5 billion for a further three ships on order.
“Today is a historic day, and represents a decisive step in our growth path, because it marks the entry of the MSC Group into the luxury travel sector,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, Cruise Division, MSC Group. “This segment has strong growth prospects, in which we strongly believe and whose standards we aim to redefine, focusing as always on excellence and luxury.”
Explora I will soon be joined by a sister ship, Explora II, which is currently being built at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Genoa Sestri Ponente, Italy and will come into service in August 2024.
Explora III will become the first of two liquefied natural gas-powered vessels to join the Explora Journeys’ fleet with the ship due to be delivered in 2026 and Explora IV in 2027.
“This traditional maritime moment marks the most important milestone for Explora Journeys as we will finally be able to showcase our highly anticipated, extraordinary new ship,” said Michael Ungerer, CEO, Explora Journeys.
Explora I features an Owner’s Suite spread over 280sqm (3,014 sqft) with a living room, bedroom, ensuite and a 125sqm outdoor terrace, where guests will find an infinity whirlpool and a dining table for eight guests.
There are 18 bars and restaurants onboard, including a panoramic lounge at the top of the ship, and several pool areas, such as a weather-protected indoor pool, an aft ‘chill out’ pool at the stern of the ship, and a panoramic adults-only pool.
While Explora I will spend her inaugural cruise season sailing from the UK and other European ports, in 2024 and 2025 she’ll sail two separate 9-night roundtrip cruises out of Saudi Arabia.