Explora Journeys, the new ultra-luxury cruise line owned by MSC Group, has confirmed a near seven-week delay for the maiden journey of its first vessel, EXPLORA I.
The 461-berth ship was originally scheduled to enter service from Barcelona, Spain on 31 May 2023. It is now earmarked to enter service from Southampton, UK, on 17 July 2023 – a difference of 47 days. However, the first sailing of EXPLORA I that can be booked online is for a seven-night journey from Copenhagen to Reykjavik on 1 August.
LATTE can reveal the setback sees the withdrawal of five core itineraries (31 May – Barcelona to Athens; 11 June – Athens to Athens; 17 June – Athens to Barcelona; 25 June – Barcelona to Lisbon and 2 July – Lisbon to Southampton) and a number of extended itinerary derivatives built around those journeys. Explora Journeys also appears to have modified its originally planned 11 July itinerary from Southampton to Tromso. The initial program positioned EXPLORA I at Molde, Norway on 17 July 2023, the same date the revised maiden journey will sail from the UK port.
In a statement, Michael Ungerer, CEO, Explora Journeys, said: “From day one, our vision and purpose has been to create a travel and ocean experience like no other. This must be truer than ever with the launch of our brand’s first new and ground-breaking class of ships, EXPLORA I. To achieve this, we are working with one of the world’s foremost ship and super yacht builders to create the best luxury hospitality brand and experience.”
“However, taking into consideration the challenging situation facing the world today including global supply chain complications we have had to take the difficult decision, agreed with the shipyard, Fincantieri, to update our ship’s coming into service schedule,” Ungerer said.
“The additional time at the shipyard and at sea prior to her first journey will be utilised to ensure that EXPLORA I can and will deliver to the fullest on our brand’s promise and vision – making absolutely no compromise on quality and luxury, our primary objective,” he added.
Impacted guests booked on the cancelled journeys have been offered a full refund, plus a full booking value offer as an FJC (think Future Cruise Credit, but as Explora Journeys doesn’t offer ‘cruises’ it is a Future Journey Credit).
“Travel agencies and advisors will have the full value of their commission protected already paid on the original booked journey and will receive their commission on the FJC value booked,” the luxury cruise line said.
“This compensation for guests and the treatment of travel advisors’ commissions are fully in line with the standards that Explora Journeys has already established since it launched in June 2021,” it added.