Explora Journeys takes delivery of first ship

EXPLORA I handed over in Monfalcone, Italy by shipbuilder Fincantieri

Explora Journeys took delivery of EXPLORA I, the first luxury ship to join the new ultra-luxury brand’s fleet from the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. The delivery of EXPLORA I took place where the construction of the 63,900 gross tonne vessel began on 10 June 2021.

Ahead of the ceremony, the delayed delivery by two weeks due to fire safety concerns for panels aboard the ship was acknowledged by Explora Journeys on social media (see full LinkedIn post below).

“This was the responsible decision to take as the safety of our guests and crew is our number one priority.”

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, Cruise Division, MSC Group

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Yesterday’s traditional maritime event was attended by Gianluigi Aponte, Founder and Chairman of the MSC Group; Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Group’s Cruise Division, the godmother of the ship Zoe Africa Vago, for Fincantieri Pierroberto Folgiero, Chief Executive Officer as well as representatives of MSC’s construction team together with managers and workers from the shipyard.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, Cruise Division, MSC Group, said, “Today is a historic day, and represents a decisive step in our growth path, because it marks the entry of the MSC Group into the luxury travel sector.

“This segment has strong growth prospects, in which we strongly believe and whose standards we aim to redefine, focusing as always on excellence and luxury.”

Michael Ungerer, CEO, Explora Journeys added, “This traditional maritime moment marks the most important milestone for Explora Journeys as we will finally be able to showcase our highly anticipated, extraordinary new ship.

Michael Ungerer, CEO, Explora Journeys; Gianluigi Aponte, Founder and Chairman of the MSC Group; and Captain Serena Melani at the Fincantieri shipyard.

“We have pushed the boundaries of innovation and design to create a ship that embodies our commitment to excellence,” Ungerer said.

“With the delivery of EXPLORA I our vision to provide unparalleled luxury experiences has become an incredible reality. We invite our guests to embark on transformative journeys, offering an opportunity for inner and outer discovery inspired by the ocean, resulting in physical, intellectual and spiritual rejuvenation. We call this the ‘Ocean State of Mind’.”

The ribbon cutting (from left): Captain Gianluigi Aponte; EXPLORA I Godmother, Zoe Africa Vago; host; Captain Serena Melani and Pierroberto Folgiero, CEO of Fincantieri.

EXPLORA I will set sail on her maiden journey from Copenhagen, Denmark on 1 August 2023. This seven-night sailing will take guests through the majestic landscapes of Lerwick, Shetland Islands and Kirkwall, Orkney before heading to Reykjavik, Iceland.

The luxury ship will spend several weeks in Northern Europe and will then cross the Atlantic Sea via Greenland to spend the autumn in North America, the winter in the Caribbean and spring on the US West Coast and Hawaii before returning to Europe in Summer 2024 for a collection of journeys in the Mediterranean Sea.

Explora Journeys said “the investment of the new ship amounted to over €500 million, with a total investment plan of €2.5 billion for the four other ships on order.” This suggests Explora Journeys may have wound back its plan 12 months ago to operate a fleet of six ships.

EXPLORA II is currently being built at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Genoa Sestri Ponente, Italy and will come into service in August 2024. EXPLORA III will become the first of two LNG-powered vessels to join the Explora Journeys’ fleet with the ship due to be delivered in 2026 and EXPLORA IV in 2027.

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