Explora Journeys unveils first vessel’s maiden programme

MSC Group’s Explora Journeys brand has unveiled the maiden programme of its first vessel as it held the coin ceremony marking the start of construction.

Explora I, the first of four vessels in the luxury line’s fleet, is due to launch in May 2023.

Its Inaugural Journeys Collection covers the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the UK, Iceland, Greenland, Canada, the U.S. East Coast, Caribbean, South America and Hawaii.

Sailings range from six-night journeys to a 44-night Grand Journey. The ship will visit 132 ports in 40 different countries in its first year, including two destinations – Kastellorizo, Greece; and Saint Pierre, Martinique – that have not been visited by cruise ships before.

The ship has now gone on direct sale, having been put on sale exclusively through travel agents at first.

Michael Ungerer, chief executive of Explora Journeys, said: “This is one more step forward in our development of a truly defining and highly desired, luxury lifestyle brand.

“It’s another step completed in our go-to-market approach. Having launched initially exclusively to travel advisors, we are now delighted to give our guests the option to book their journeys online, should they wish to do so.

“Our ambition is to reflect the desire of today’s and tomorrow’s luxury traveller and their curiosity for remarkable exploration. We have created a collection of journeys that offer the perfect blend of celebrated destinations and lesser travelled ports, both seen from a new and original point of view to inspire and excite our curious, discerning guests and the next generation of luxury travellers.”

“Explora I and our subsequent three ships will allow guests to enjoy a more immersive, authentic experience and a slower pace of travel. They are designed to offer refined yet effortless luxury with the opportunity for exploration and transformation, offering our guests the chance to experience what we call an ‘Ocean State of Mind’ – a mindset that can be achieved when we escape to the ocean, relax, create memories and reconnect with what matters most in our lives.”

The coin ceremony is a centuries-old maritime tradition marking whe the first block or a section of the ship is lowered into the building dock, with two newly-minted coins placed under the keel for blessing and good fortune.

Two long-standing employees representing the ship owner and the shipyard acted as godmothers for the ceremony: Alessandra Fontana, chief marketing officer for Explora Journeys and Ester Fugazzi, head of general services for Fincantieri (both pictured).

The event was attended by MSC Group executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago, Ungerer, Fincantieri Spa chief executive Guiseppe Bono, and merchant shipyard director Luigi Matarazzo.

Ungerer added: “Today marks another major milestone in our journey towards developing a truly defining and highly desired, luxury lifestyle brand. Following our initial investment of two billion euros, this demonstrates another positive step forward, and shows that we are on track to offer an ocean experience like no other.”

Construction work commenced on Explora II, the second vessel in Explora Journeys’ fleet, in November 2021. The ship is due to welcome its first guests in spring 2024.

Two further ships will join the fleet in 2025 and 2026.

Share article

View Comments

Jacobs Media is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.