Explora Journeys, the luxury subsidiary of MSC Cruises, has marked the float out of its second cruise ship, Explora II, while also celebrating the steel cutting for a third, Explora III.
The dual maritime milestones were celebrated on the same day at the Fincantieri Sestri Ponente shipyard near Genoa in Italy where both vessels are being built.
Explora II is the second ship to join the fleet, while Explora III will be the third, both vessels are identical to sister ship Explora I, which was delivered earlier this year.
The new Explora II will enter service in summer 2024 and spend her first season operating in the Mediterranean. Construction of the ship began in October 2021 at Fincantieri’s Castellammare di Stabia yard in Naples, Italy, where her keel was laid in May 2022.
Explora III will launch in summer 2026 and be the first of Explora Journeys’ four luxury vessels to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), the world’s cleanest maritime fuel available at scale.
Construction of Explora IV, also powered by LNG, will start next year with a completion date of early 2027.
Michael Ungerer, CEO, Explora Journeys, Pierroberto Folgiero, Fincantieri’s CEO and General Manager and the Mayor of Genoa, Marco Bucci, attended the joint celebration for the two ships.
“The double event today marks another major step forward on our mission to redefine ocean travel for today’s discerning luxury travellers,” said Ungerer.
“Following the successful launch of Explora I and the incredibly positive feedback from the first guests, travel advisors and media, who had a chance to experience the Ocean State of Mind, the story continues, and we are now beyond thrilled to witness the next important construction milestones for both Explora II and our first LNG powered ship Explora III,” he added.
“We are proud that our four ships are built by Fincantieri, further underlining our commitment to Italy.”
The float out marks the end of a ship’s assembly, with major building work now transitioning to final fit and finish at a wet dock.
The steel cutting ceremony marks the beginning of the physical construction of a ship, with the first cutting of the sheets of steel that will be used to assemble the vessel’s hull and superstructure.
Explora Journeys is a new cruise line owned by MSC Cruises. It is the cruise company’s luxury arm, similar to Regent Seven Seas of Norwegian Cruise Line, Seabourn of Carnival Corporation, and Silversea of Royal Caribbean.