The MSC Group on Thursday announced the company’s entry into the luxury cruise market with the launch of a new brand: Explora Journeys. Built by Fincantieri, the first of four luxury ships—named Explora I—will set sail in 2023, with the remaining ships ready in 2024, 2025 and 2026. The brand was first teased in October 2018 as an “expansion of its MSC Yacht Club luxury ship-within-a-ship concept into an entirely new class of vessel.”
With 461 oceanfront suites and residences, guests will enjoy views at sea and in port from their floor-to-ceiling windows and personal private terrace. Suites will start at 377 square feet, which is among the most spacious for the category in the industry, according to MSC Group.
Fourteen decks will provide ample indoor public space. Generous outdoor decks will have three pools with a total of 64 private cabanas available. A fourth pool, with a retractable glass roof, will allow swimming and poolside relaxation in any weather. Combined with various indoor and outdoor whirlpool baths on the ship’s promenade deck, the ship was designed with water as a focal point, MSC Group said in the announcement.
Tailored to suit personal preferences, flexible dining times at nine restaurants will provide plenty of variety, among them will be several indoor and outdoor bars and. MSC Group added that each venue will “celebrate global culinary talents, with a focus on wholesome ingredients sustainably sourced from local partners.”
As for the indoor/outdoor spa and fitness area, guests can expect a handful of treatment rooms, fitness equipment, group workout classes and personal training appointments, as well as the option to sign up for tailor-made programs to make staying well while on holiday easy and enjoyable. There will also be a selection of wellness experiences in each destination.
Journeys start at seven nights and non-conventional arrival and departure times, combined with overnight stays, will allow Explora Journeys to offer guests additional access to destinations. Itineraries in the inaugural collection will offer such destinations as Saint-Tropez, Bordeaux and Reykjavik, along with hidden gems such as Kastellorizo, Bozcaada and the Lofoten Islands.
About the Ship
The design incorporates provision for battery storage, allowing future hybrid power generation, as well as the latest selective catalytic reduction technology, enabling a reduction of nitrogen oxide emissions by 90 percent. Built with ship-to-shore power capabilities to avoid carbon dioxide emissions while at berth and powered by marine gas oil, all four ships will be RINA DOLPHIN-certified for reduced underwater noise. Single-use plastics will not be used onboard the ship, nor will they be offered during land-based experiences.
On Thursday morning (June 10), Explora Journeys hosted a steel-cutting ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. A long held maritime tradition, this moment celebrated the commencement of the building process.
Bookings for the 2023 “Inaugural Collection” will open in autumn 2021.