The MSC Group has announced the company’s plans to enter the luxury cruise market with the launch of a new brand, Explora Journeys.
Built by Fincantieri, Explora I will be the first of four luxury ships and is expected to debut in 2023. The next three Explora Journeys’ ships are planned to launch in 2024, 2025 and 2026.
All ships will have the “highest level of service and amenities” and will utilize the latest technology to provide “journeys of discovery” through destinations “on and off the beaten path,” MSC said.
MSC Cruises was the innovator of the “ship-within-a-ship” concept and Explora Journeys takes that idea into its own class of ships.
“Building a luxury brand that will redefine the cruise experience and create a category of its own has been a long-held vision of mine and my family,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Group’s cruise business and broader passenger division. “Inspired by our personal travel wishes, Explora Journeys will be an ocean escape like no other, allowing guests to relax, make memories, and cherish the time at sea with their loved ones. After all, time is the ultimate luxury.”
Designed by superyacht and luxury hospitality designers, the ships will blend Swiss precision with modern European craftsmanship.
Sporting 461 oceanfront suites and residences, guests will experience striking views from their floor-to-ceiling windows and personal private terraces. Suites will start at close to 377 square feet, among the most spacious for the suite category in the industry, according to MSC Group.
Fourteen decks will provide plenty of indoor public space. Expansive outdoor decks will feature 64 private cabanas surrounding three outdoor pools.
A fourth pool will have a retractable glass roof, for swimming and poolside relaxation in any weather. The ship’s promenade deck will have both indoor and outdoor whirlpool baths. Designed with water as a focal point, the intention is to put guests in an “ocean state of mind,” MSC said.
Onboard Explora I
The new luxury ship will have nine restaurants, each with flexible dining times. There will also be several indoor and outdoor bars.
Each restaurant, according to MSC Group, will “celebrate global culinary talents, with a focus on wholesome ingredients sustainably sourced from local partners.”
Within the indoor and outdoor gym and spa areas will be plenty of fitness equipment and workout classes. Guests will be able to schedule a personal trainer, too.
The spa will have several treatment rooms plus wellness experiences tailor-made for each destination.
Explora I Itineraries
Explora I Journeys will begin at seven nights and offer overnight stays. The inaugural itineraries feature destinations like Saint-Tropez and Bordeaux, France; Reykjavik, Iceland plus less visited ports such as Kastellorizo, Bozcaada and the Lofoten Islands.
Similar to MSC Yacht Club, there will be a low guest to crew ratio of 1.25 to 1 providing guests with excellent service that anticipates their needs.
Advanced Technologies Onboard
MSC Group continues, “The design incorporates provision for battery storage allowing future hybrid power generation, as well as the latest selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology, enabling a reduction of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 90 percent. Built with ship-to-shore power capabilities to avoid CO2 emissions while at berth and powered by marine gas oil, all four ships will be RINA DOLPHIN certified for reduced underwater noise. Single-use plastics will not be used onboard the ship, nor will they be offered during land-based experiences, as Explora Journeys is focused on leaving a positive impression on the places and people visited.”
Explora Journeys are now available for reservations.