The first vessel Explora Journeys will be named Explora I. It will enter the Mediterranean Sea in May 2023. The ship is currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.
Three more sister ships have been previously ordered from the same Fincantieri shipyard for delivery in 2024, 2025 and 2026 respectively.
The new order contains two more ships, similar to the Explora I and her sisters, but slightly larger — 19 meters longer.
Explora Journeys does not say how many passengers the two new vessels will carry, but the first is known to be equipped with 461 suites each and accommodate more than 900 passengers. This is quite comparable to the high-end ships of Viking and Crystal Cruises.
However, Explora Journeys will compete not only with Viking and Crystal, but also with the luxury brand Seabourn, Silversea Cruises and The Ritz-Carlton, which has been postponing the opening of The Ritz-Carlton 7 times.
The Explora Journeys will feature ocean view suites, penthouses and residences designed to be true “homes on the sea”. The first ship will have 10 restaurants for all tastes, 10 indoor and outdoor bars and lounges, four swimming pools, outdoor deck sunbathing areas with cabanas, wellness services and entertainment.
The operator reports that the larger size of the ships will allow for a new type of power generation system that can partially run on hydrogen as well as liquefied natural gas — the two most environmentally friendly fuels.
The newly ordered ships will also be equipped with a 6 megawatt hydrogen fuel cell system, which will allow the ships to avoid harmful emissions during port stays and provide the ship's onboard power needs, including lighting and air conditioning.
< p> The design of the third and fourth vessels of the series will be changed so that they can operate on liquefied natural gas. This change will result in ships being completed a year later than originally announced. They will now arrive in 2026 and 2027 respectively.
Total investment in the brand will result in 3.5 billion euros.
MSC Group is the parent company of MSC Cruises and Explora Journeys, and also the Mediterranean Shipping Company, better known simply as MSC — the largest container shipping company in the world.
MSC Group — almost the only cruise ship owners who continued to order new ships despite the COVID-19 pandemic, that is, since the beginning of 2020. Coronavirus-driven cruise cancellations and reduced bookings over the past three years have left many cruise lines in a dire financial straits.