Explora Journeys Celebrates Major Milestone With The Construction Start Of Its Second Ship, “Explora II”

Explora Journeys, the newly-launched luxury brand of the MSC Group, today marked another major important milestone in its coming-to-market phase with the steel cutting of its second ship, “EXPLORA II” in Italy.

Construction work today started on the second vessel in Explora Journeys’ fleet of luxury ships and is due to welcome its first guests in Spring 2024.

This follows on just three months from the launch of the Explora Journeys brand and the beginning of its first ship, “EXPLORA I”, being built for a May 2023 launch.

Two further new ships will join the fleet in 2025 and 2026 as a demonstration of MSC Group’s commitment to establish the Explora Journeys brand created for the next generation of discerning luxury travellers.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Group’s Cruise Division, said. “The start of Explora Journeys’ second ship signals our firm commitment to our tourism partners for the coming-to-market of our new luxury brand with a significant financial investment in a fleet of innovative, elegant ships, that will bring together our vision and purpose to create an ocean state of mind like no other.

Given our belief in this brand to create a new category in luxury, lifestyle travel, we will continue to invest in its expansion to attract the growing number and aspirations of the next generation of discerning luxury travellers.”

All four Explora Journeys ships will be built by ship builders Fincantieri in Italy and a traditional maritime ceremony took place today at its Castellammare di Stabia yard near Naples for the first steel to be cut for the second vessel.

The event was attended by key executives including Pierfrancesco Vago, Michael Ungerer, CEO Explora Journeys and Luigi Matarazzo, General Manager Merchant Ships Division, Fincantieri.

Michael Ungerer, CEO Explora Journeys, added, “We are greatly encouraged by the tremendous enthusiasm and support we have received so far from the travel advisor community who have placed their trust in Explora Journeys since our launch in June and for their overwhelming response to our exclusive `By Appointment’ service and innovative commercial terms.

Explora Journeys has also been awarded ‘preferred’ status with a number of leading travel agency groups, an honour not normally bestowed on a brand prior to its coming into service, that demonstrates an unprecedented recognition from the luxury travel industry and which reinforces our commitment to, and confidence, in our robust B2B2C strategy.”

EXPLORA II will feature the same innovative design as EXPLORA I, offering 461 ocean front suites which have some of the largest lead-in categories all with private terraces, generous outdoor space.

The ships will utilise the latest in environmental-supporting technologies, while being ready to adapt to alternative energy solutions as they become available. The design incorporates provision for battery storage to allow future hybrid power generation, as well as the latest selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology, enabling a reduction of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 90 per cent. Built with ship-to-shore power capabilities to avoid CO2 emissions while at berth and powered by marine gas oil, this is in line with the Cruise Division of MSC Group’s recently announced pledge to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in its cruise marine operation by 2050.

Explora Journeys created an industry first `By Appointment` service, one of many bold initiatives whereby travel advisors can set up an appointment with a customer experience representative to discuss and place a waitlist on a specific suite for one or more of the eight inaugural journeys during EXPLORA I’s first year, including the vessel’s maiden voyage.

This underpins Explora Journeys’ guest-centric approach with the service being maintained indefinitely, to easily provide the option for travel advisors to schedule an appointment to discuss and make a waitlist reservation for their valued clients, which can then be converted to a deposited reservation at a later date. Waitlist options via the `By Appointment` service for EXPLORA II will be available from Spring 2022.

(Explora Journeys, Fincantieri)

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