Explora Journeys: The Fleet Construction Continues

Just two months after the delivery of Explora I, Explora Journeys, the new luxury cruise brand within the MSC Group, is advancing the construction of its fleet with a dual ceremony held at the Fincantieri shipyard in Sestri Ponente: the technical launch (float-out) of Explora II and the steel cutting for Explora III.

The ceremony was attended by key authorities from Liguria and Genoa, including the President of the Liguria Region, Giovanni Toti, the Mayor of Genoa, Marco Bucci, the Prefect of Genoa, Renato Franceschelli, and the Police Commissioner, Orazio D’Anna. Representing the shipowner, Michael Ungerer, Chief Executive Officer of Explora Journeys, and Leonardo Massa, Managing Director for Italy of the new cruise brand, were in attendance. Hosting the event for Fincantieri were the Chief Executive Officer and General Manager, Pierroberto Folgiero, and the General Manager of the Merchant Ships Division, Luigi Matarazzo.

President Giovanni Toti of Liguria stated, “MSC and Fincantieri are fundamental pieces of our past and even more so of our future. Combining the ability to build ships with those who take them around the world is a unique opportunity for Genoa and Liguria to grow and continue strengthening their leadership in shipbuilding and at sea. Today’s event celebrates a success of Made in Italy, a source of pride for the region. We must equip ourselves to continue providing infrastructure not only for construction but also for accommodating ships in Ligurian ports and, of course, the many tourists who increasingly want to visit our Liguria, as evidenced by the record number of passengers in Ligurian ports this year.”

Mayor Marco Bucci of Genoa also emphasized how the construction of these ships represents a significant step forward for the cruise industry and brings positive employment news for Genoa.

Michael Ungerer, CEO of Explora Journeys, stated, “Today’s dual ceremony represents a significant step forward in building and strengthening our brand, which is redefining luxury ocean travel standards with the unparalleled experience that Explora Journeys‘ ships offer our guests. These cutting-edge units, also environmentally advanced, are among the best ambassadors of Made in Italy worldwide and demonstrate both Italy’s high manufacturing and shipbuilding capabilities and MSC Group’s commitment to a country in which we continue to believe and invest significantly.”

Finally, Pierroberto Folgiero, CEO of Fincantieri, added, “Today’s double ceremony fully expresses Fincantieri’s strong commitment to delivering the Explora class for the MSC Group, a project that guarantees the highest quality standards and was conceived from the outset to accelerate the path to zero-emission ships.”

Explora II will be completed in the coming months and delivered in the summer of next year, spending its initial seasons in the Mediterranean, exploring the most captivating destinations of the Mare Nostrum, including some enchanting Italian locations such as Portofino, Argentario, Rome, Naples, Sorrento, Palermo, Syracuse, Trapani, Lipari, Cagliari, Alghero, and the Costa Smeralda. Furthermore, Explora I will return to the Mediterranean in the summer of 2024 to take its guests to destinations such as Puglia, Sicily, and Venice, after completing its inaugural season in Europe and its winter season in the Caribbean and the East and West Coasts of the United States.

Explora III, whose construction officially began with the traditional steel cutting ceremony, will enter service in the summer of 2026 and will be the first ship in the Explora fleet to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) – one of the cleanest marine fuels available on a large scale – destined to play a crucial role in the global decarbonization of shipping.

In January 2024, the construction of Explora IV will commence and will be completed in early 2027. Like all Explora Journeys ships, it will be powered by LNG and equipped with the latest and most sophisticated international environmental technologies, including advanced selective catalytic reduction systems, plug-in connectivity for shore power, underwater noise management systems to protect marine life, and a full range of high-efficiency onboard equipment to optimize engine use and further reduce emissions.

Stay tuned for more information, updates, and reviews about Explora Journeys on Cruising Journal, with photos, videos, and special cruise offers.

Giorgia Lombardo