Fincantieri and MSC celebrated the launch of the cruise line’s first luxury cruise ship under the Explora Journeys brand. Explora I was launched on May 30, at the shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, as part of MSC’s $2 billion investment to launch its second cruise brand with at least four new cruise ships. The new company, which is distinct from the cruise line’s larger contemporary brand MSC Cruises, marks the company’s entry into the ultra-luxury cruise segment.
In 2018, MSC placed an order with Fincantieri to construct four cruise ships to launch the new brand. Each of the ships, which will be 813 feet long and 63,900 GT, will be 63,900 GT. The ships, which are aimed at the high-end luxury segment of the industry, will keep less than 1,000 passengers and a crew of 640.
The new brand is unique in that the ships will introduce the concept of ocean residences to a cruise ship that currently primarily consists of suites for cruise passengers. According to Explora, each ship will have 461 oceanfront suites, penthouses, and residences, including 23 residences and 82 cabins dedicated to multi-generational family travel. The majority of the cabins are penthouses and suites, and all have a private veranda.
The cruise line claims to have one of the highest passenger space ratios in the industry, as well as a wide range of amenities such as nine restaurants, ten indoor and outdoor bars and lounges, four swimming pools, expansive outdoor decks with private cabanas, wellness facilities, and refined entertainment. On the stern of the ships, there will be a large spa and a marina.
Fincantieri designed the ships for MSC, with construction set to begin in June 2021 with the first steel cut. The first ship is scheduled to be delivered in May 2023, while the second ship’s keel was laid earlier this month at the Fincantieri shipyard in Castellammare di Stabia, Italy. The second ship will be delivered in the summer of 2024, with two more ships following 2025 and 2026.
A high-level focus on the environment and sustainability is also part of the brand identity. While the first two cruise ships are being built to run on conventional fuel, MSC is said to talk with Fincantieri about changing the fleet’s future plans. The third and fourth ships are being modified to include an LNG-fueled power plant, according to the Italian news outlet Il Secolo XIX. According to the newspaper, the vessels will be longer to accommodate the LNG tanks.