No discounting, more Owners Residences for Explora Journeys

Private air integration in the pipeline for MSC Group's ultra-luxury cruise line

Cruisers hoping to take advantage of early booking savings or last-minute deals with ultra-luxury cruise line, Explora Journeys, will likely be disappointed to learn the new brand won’t be trimming its prices once set. If anything, pricing will increase.

“Our pricing structure from Day 1 is no discounting. None. Zero,” Michael Ungerer, CEO of Explora Journeys told LATTE last month at Virtuoso Travel Week.

“We don’t price to fill,” Ungerer said, implying the family-owned MSC Group’s new ultraluxe brand would rather have the suites empty than reduce costs in order to add more ‘bums in beds’.

“That again is the big advantage of having a private family owner.

“The way we have planned this is so will not reduce prices. In fact, we’ve actually raised rates on a few departures already,” Ungerer said.

Michael Ungerer, CEO Explora Journeys at Virtuoso Travel Week 2022

Such is the demand for the high-end product, Explora Journeys is filling its ships from the top down. At the time of our interview in mid-August, he told LATTE there were “only two or three” journeys in the inaugural season of EXPLORA I that the Owners Residences were still available.

Ungerer confirmed that the recently announced modification of the brand’s third and fourth vessels, EXPLORA III and EXPLORA IV, to an LNG-fuelled power source, will enable it to add additional Owners Residences.

“We needed to add 19 extra metres to the length of the ships to accommodate the LNG and hydrogen tanks and fuels cells. We could have added 44 more cabins, but I said no. It has to be suites.”

“It’s not about maximising, it’s about optimising,” Ungerer said.

“So we’re adding another Owners Residence and just a handful of our top category suites. Even though the ships will be 19 metres longer, we’re adding less than 10 suites.

“It’s already the most spacious ship and now EXPLORA III and EXPLORA IV will be even more so.”

Ungerer also revealed to LATTE that Explora Journeys would soon package its cruises with airfares to streamline the booking process for travel advisors.

“We will [add air]. We are just working on the air program now,” he said.

“We’ve started a brand, a product, the ships, the whole technical infrastructure, booking system, Adobe CMS, running on Amazon cloud services – no one else has that. We started from scratch cloud-based. Air, we are working on now ’cause we can’t do everything at the same time.”

Ungerer expects to have air integrated into the system at the beginning of 2023, starting with private charter aircraft, ahead of major commercial airlines. He said that there is already demand for small groups and families travelling together wanting VIP air services as they prefer the convenience.

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