Following a few weeks’ delay, Explora Journeys, the luxury lifestyle brand of the MSC Group, has taken delivery of ‘Explora I’, the first of four, or possibly five, luxury ships to join its fleet.
She was built at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone shipyard.
Investment in the new ship totalled more than €500 mill, while the entire investment plan was around €2.5 bill for up to five ships.
Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Group Executive Chairman, Cruise Division, said at the handing over ceremony; “(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.
“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,” he said.
Michael Ungerer, Explora Journeys CEO, added, “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.
“We have pushed the boundaries of innovation and design to create a ship that embodies our commitment to excellence. With the delivery of ‘Explora I’ our vision to provide unparalleled luxury experiences has become an incredible reality.
“We invite our guests to embark on transformative journeys, offering an opportunity for inner and outer discovery inspired by the ocean, resulting in physical, intellectual and spiritual rejuvenation. We call this the ‘Ocean State of Mind’,” he concluded.
‘Explora I’ will sail on her maiden journey from Copenhagen, Denmark on 1st August, 2023 on a seven-night cruise to Reykjavik in Iceland, visiting Lerwick, Shetland Islands and Kirkwall, Orkney, en route.
She will spend several weeks in Northern Europe, offering a range of different itineraries, and will then cross the Atlantic to the Caribbean and then the US West Coast and Hawaii, before returning to Europe in summer 2024 for a series of Mediterranean cruises.
‘Explora II’ is currently under construction at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Genoa Sestri Ponente, Italy and will enter into service in August, 2024, while ‘Explora III’ will become the first of two LNG powered vessels to join the Explora Journeys’ fleet when the ship is delivered in 2026, to be followed by ‘Explora IV’ in 2027.