MSC Group has named its highly-anticipated entry into the luxury market as Explora Journeys, overnight [Thursday 10 June 2021] outlining details of the new high-end brand designed for the “next generation of discerning luxury travellers”.
The first of four sister ships will launch in 2023, with a steel-cutting ceremony held for Explora I at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, overnight attended by Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Group and Michael Ungerer, CEO of Explora Journeys.
Explora I will offer 461 oceanfront suites and residences with floor to ceiling windows and a personal private terrace. Suites will start at 35 square metres which MSC Group says will be among the most spacious for the category in the industry.
The three other ships in Explora Journeys’ fleet will roll out annually through to 2026.
“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,” Vago said.
“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 in partnership with the world’s foremost superyacht and luxury hospitality designers, the innovative ship will seamlessly blend elegant Swiss precision with modern European craftsmanship.
Fourteen decks will provide ample indoor public space, maximising guest choice and seclusion. Generous outdoor decks will boast more than 2,500 square metres overlooking the sea, with 64 private cabanas across 3 outdoor pools. A fourth pool, with a retractable glass roof, will allow swimming and poolside relaxation in any weather. Combined with various indoor and outdoor whirlpool baths on the ship’s promenade deck, the ship was designed with water as a focal point to put guests in an ocean state of mind.
“Explora Journeys was designed for guests who want to stay longer, leave later, and travel deeper,” said Michael Ungerer, CEO of Explora Journeys.
“Customer centricity is at the core of everything we do. We’ve commissioned research, organised focus groups, and hosted roundtable discussions with global specialists in luxury to design the perfect ship for our guests. Explora Journeys will bring a new perspective to the travel industry, reinventing the classic cruise experience for the next generation of luxury travellers.”
Explora Journeys will offer a guest to crew ratio of 1.25 to 1.
Tailored to suit personal preferences, flexible dining times will be offered at nine restaurants, each venue will celebrate global culinary talents, with a focus on wholesome ingredients sustainably sourced from local partners. To make sure guests are spoilt for choice, several indoor and outdoor bars and lounges will also be available.
The ships will feature indoor/outdoor spa and fitness areas, equipped with treatment rooms, state-of-the-art fitness equipment and offer group workout classes to personal training appointments.
In partnership with Fincantieri, Explora Journeys is building ships for tomorrow, utilising 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 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%.
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.
“Our ships will utilise state of the art technology to ensure we are leading the movement towards a more sustainable future,” continued Pierfrancesco Vago. “Together with our partners, we’re currently developing ground-breaking technologies that will elevate the status quo, not just for this generation but also beyond.”
Voyages with Explora Journeys will be a minimum seven-night duration, and accommodate “non-conventional arrival and departure times” and overnight stays to offer guests exclusive access to once in a lifetime experiences.
Flagged debut season ports visited by Explora I include Saint Tropez, Bordeaux, Reykjavik, Kastellorizo, Bozcaada and the Lofoten Islands.
Bookings for the 2023 Inaugural Collection will open later this year.