MSC Group’s luxury cruise operation, Explora Journeys, has appointed Norbert Stiekema as CCO and Vanessa Vollmann as Head of People.
Both will report directly to CEO, Michael Ungerer (pictured) and will be based in the brand`s Geneva headquarters.
Ungerer said: “As we gear up for the launch of our first vessel, ‘Explora I’, later this year and the subsequent launch of our entire fleet of six vessels in a five-year window, we need the best team to allow our brand to reach to achieve its true potential in the luxury cruise segment.
“This is why I am so pleased to have two supremely experienced professionals – Norbert and Vanessa – with their extensive experience in hospitality and travel and in high-end luxury consumer goods joining our leadership team at this juncture in our journey. They have joined at the start of an organic growth trajectory the likes of which has never been seen before in our segment,” he said.
As CCO, Stiekema will be responsible for all business-related aspects of the brand and will support the launch of the operations of ‘Explora I’ bringing considerable commercial experience with successful travel and hospitality brands.
Most recently, he worked for Cruise Saudi as its Chief Sales & Marketing Officer. Previously, he was employed for eight years at Costa Cruises as Chief Digital and Strategy Officer and prior to that, EVP of Sales and Marketing.
Vollmann will be responsible for all Human Resources-related topics at the brand`s headquarters in Geneva and will also be working across all key markets on HR-related topics for all shoreside employees of the brand.
‘Explora I’, the first of a planned fleet of six luxury ships, is currently being built by Fincantieri at Monfalcone, Italy and will depart on her maiden voyage on 17th July, 2023, from Southampton, UK.