MSC Executive Chairman, Pierfrancesco Vago; Explora Journeys CEO, Michael Ungerer and Fincantieri GM Merchant Ships Division, Luigi Matarazzo were on hand for the first steel cutting of Explora Journeys’ second of four new luxury ships in Naples this week.
Shipbuilder Fincantieri is constructing Explora II, a sister-ship of Explora I which is earmarked to shake-up the ultra-luxury cruise segment when it debuts for MSC Group. Explora I is under construction in Monfalcone, while Explora II will be built at the Sestri Ponente (Genoa) yard. The ships will be delivered respectively in 2023 and 2024.
“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,” said Vago.
“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.”
Michael Ungerer, CEO of Explora Journeys, remarked: “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,” Ungerer added.
All four vessels will be approximately 64,000 gross tons and will feature the latest maritime and environmental technologies and solutions available. Each will be equipped with 461 suites and will showcase a highly-innovative design.
Including the four Explora vessels, the partnership between Fincantieri and the cruises division of MSC Group counts eight ships to-date: MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview, delivered in 2017 and 2018, and the two enriched Seaside Evo ships, MSC Seashore (delivered in July 2021), and her sister ship MSC Seascape, which will enter into service next year.
Lead image: Pierfrancesco Vago (centre), Executive Chairman of MSC’s cruise divison, flanked by executives of Fincantieri and Explora Journeys at the steel-cutting ceremony for Explora II at Fincantieri’s Setri Ponente yard in Genoa, Italy | Credit: Fincantieri