NEWS + 7 PHOTOS: MSC Cruises announced the company’s entry into the luxury cruise market with the launch of a new brand called Explora Journeys.
Built by Fincantieri, the first of four luxury ships will set sail in 2023, with the remaining ships ready in 2024, 2025 and 2026. Each will utilize the latest in cutting-edge maritime technology to provide journeys of discovery through destinations on and off the beaten path. Guests will be hosted on a ship like no other, with the highest level of service and amenities.
“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,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Group’s cruise business and broader passenger division. “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 super yacht and luxury hospitality designers, the innovative ship will seamlessly blend elegant Swiss precision with modern European craftsmanship. With 461 oceanfront suites and residences, guests will enjoy striking views at sea and in port from their floor to ceiling windows and personal private terrace. Suites will start at 35 square metres which is among the most spacious for the category in the industry.
Fourteen decks will provide ample indoor public space, maximizing 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.”
With the perfect blend of intimate and vibrant spaces, a guest to crew ratio of 1.25 to 1 ensures anticipatory service at every turn. Tailored to suit personal preferences, flexible dining times at nine distinct restaurants will provide unrivalled variety at sea. 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. Relaxation begins the moment a guest steps aboard, not having to reach for their wallet for any additional costs.
Personalization continues in wellness with a spacious indoor/ outdoor spa and fitness area on board. From treatment rooms to state-of-the-art fitness equipment, group workout classes to personal training appointments, tailor-made programmes make staying well while on holiday easy and enjoyable. Bespoke wellness experiences in each destination will make relaxation and rejuvenation easily accessible onboard and ashore.
Guided By The Sea
In partnership with Fincantieri, Explora Journeys is building ships for tomorrow, utilizing 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.
“The MSC Family knows the sea like few others, and with that knowledge comes passion, love and most of all, a deep respect,” continued Pierfrancesco Vago. “Our ships will utilise state of the art technology to ensure we are leading the movement towards a more sustainable future. 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.”
With journeys starting at 7 nights, a best-in-class guest experience will ensure relaxed mornings and exciting evenings. Non-conventional arrival and departure times combined with overnight stays will allow Explora Journeys to offer guests exclusive access to once in a lifetime experiences. With ships that travel far north and south of the equator, itineraries in the inaugural collection will offer the ideal blend of celebrated destinations such as Saint Tropez, Bordeaux and Reykjavik, and hidden gems such as Kastellorizo, Bozcaada and the Lofoten Islands. Explora Journeys will bring guests to lesser-travelled harbours to enjoy a more authentic experience and a slower pace of travel.
Inspired by the mandala, the Explora Journeys logo was designed by Alexa Aponte-Vago, CFO of the MSC Group, daughter of founder Gianluigi Aponte and wife of Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago. With roots in spirituality, the pattern represents a journey of personal discovery and fulfilment. Illustrations of the lotus flower symbolise purity of body, speech, and mind, while a nod to the fleur-de-lis represents humility and a connection to European heritage. A sophisticated typeface alludes to the subtle curves of the sea.
Explora Journeys hosted a steel cutting ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. A long held maritime tradition, this moment celebrates the commencement of the building process for the first ship from Explora Journeys, Explora I, which is scheduled to set sail in 2023. Mr. Vago and Mr. Ungerer were both in attendance, alongside representatives from Fincantieri’s management team.
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