Explora Journeys, the new luxury brand of MSC Group, marked a milestone with the steel cutting of Explora II.
The second vessel in the fleet is expected to welcome its first guests on board in spring 2024.
This follows on just three months from the launch of the Explora Journeys brand – the first ship, Explora I, is scheduled to set sail in May 2023.
Two further ships will join the fleet in 2025 and 2026.
Explora Journeys stated the fleet “will utilise the latest in environmental-supporting technologies while being ready to adapt to alternative energy solutions as they become available”.
This comes after MSC Cruises pledged cruise operations will be net zero emissions by 2050.
MSC Group cruise division executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: “The start of Explora Journeys’ second ship signals our firm commitment to our tourism partners for the coming-to-market of our new luxury brand with a significant financial investment in a fleet of innovative, elegant ships, that will bring together our vision and purpose to create an ocean state of mind like no other.
“Given our belief in this brand to create a new category in luxury, lifestyle travel, we will continue to invest in its expansion to attract the growing number and aspirations of the next generation of discerning luxury travellers.”
The line’s CEO Michael Ungerer added: “We are greatly encouraged by the tremendous enthusiasm and support we have received so far from the travel advisor community who have placed their trust in Explora Journeys since our launch in June.
“Explora Journeys has also been awarded ‘preferred’ status with a number of leading travel agency groups, an honour not normally bestowed on a brand prior to its coming into service. That demonstrates an unprecedented recognition from the luxury travel industry and reinforces our commitment to, and confidence, in our robust B2B2C strategy.”