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Explora Journeys: Luxury cruising fit for the future

Explora Journeys, new luxury cruise line

New luxury cruise line Explora Journeys is set to hit the seas with an elevated on-board experience and innovative sustainability measures.

Since the Explora Journeys brand first emerged in June 2021, the line has moved with breakneck speed to develop and showcase a new way of cruising for the next generation of luxury travellers.

With a mix of chic design, immersive itineraries that allow guests to discover further and travel deeper, as well as an ironclad commitment to sustainability, Explora Journeys has the tools to rewrite the rulebook.

While its story – and inspiration – is one that starts back in the 1940s in Sorrento, when Neapolitan ferry captain, Gianluigi Aponte, together with the Swiss sweetheart he met when she was a passenger on one of his crossings, went on to create MSC, Explora is wholeheartedly focused on the future. 

In June this year, the line held the float out ceremony for its first ship, Explora I, at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.

Set to launch at the end of May 2023, its inaugural cruise will be an 11-night voyage from Barcelona to Athens, and in its first year at sea the ship will visit 132 ports in 40 different countries in its first year at sea.

The second vessel, Explora II, will launch in summer 2024 and is under construction, with the keel being laid earlier in May.

As MSC Group cruise division executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said during the Explora I ceremony: “At Explora Journeys we are building ships for tomorrow, utilising today’s latest technologies and while being ready to adapt to alternative energy solutions as they become available.”

Explora Journeys, Explora I float out ceremony
Explora I at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy

Explora’s sustainability plans

With the founding family as passionate about preserving the sea as they are exploring it, Explora has revealed that Explora III and IV will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The two ships will be enlarged by 19 metres to enable the installation of a new generation system based on LNG and hydrogen.

This has provided an opportunity to enhance the mix of suites with an increased number of spacious and luxurious Ocean Residences and larger public spaces, which offer a true sense of being at home at sea.

Meanwhile, the line will take things one step further with Explora V and VI, which will feature a new generation of LNG engines that will tackle the issue of methane slip and will also be equipped with industry-first environmental technologies and solutions, including a containment system for liquid hydrogen that will enable them to use this promising low-carbon fuel.

Hydrogen fuel will power a six-megawatt fuel cell to produce emissions-free power for the hotel operation and allow the vessels to run on zero emissions in port, with the engines turned off.

The two new ships will come into service in 2027 and 2028, respectively. Plus, each ship will be RINA DOLPHIN certified for reduced underwater noise, while other sustainability initiatives include no single-use plastic on board or ashore.

Explora Journeys CEO Michael Ungerer said: “These bold moves to amend our construction plans, make significant additional investment in current orders and confirm orders for two more vessels with new technology despite the economic environment are something only a family company can do.

“This also demonstrates unequivocally our absolute commitment to operate ships that will appeal and attract the next and future generations of luxury travellers.

“Sustainability is the new craftmanship and we’re honoured to take a pioneering position within the industry and the wider travel sector.”

 Explora Journeys luxury cruise
A luxurious experience awaits on board with Explora Journeys

Explora to feature ‘European elegance’

Something else that all Explora ships will have in common is the high level of design and on-board amenities.

European elegance will permeate every detail, while the 461 suites, penthouses and residences – each with sweeping ocean views from their floor-to-ceiling windows and private sun terraces – offer guests comfortable homes at sea, with unrivalled space and privacy.

On board Explora I and Explora II, there will be three swimming pools and 64 private cabanas, as well as an indoor pool with a retractable glass roof, and spa and fitness studios to ensure guests can do as much (or as little) as they like.

The nine on-board culinary experiences promise something for every palate and provide the perfect scene for long, languorous lunches and vibrant evenings. All this is supported by an industry-leading guest to host ratio of 1.25 to 1.

While ashore, the newly released selection of Destination Experiences around the Mediterranean will provide a unique blend of well-known destinations such as Ibiza in Spain, discovered through a different lens and lesser-known ports, rarely visited by cruise ships such, as Calvi in Corsica, France, or Kastellorizo, Greece.

On sailings between seven and 44 nights long, guests will venture both on and off the beaten path, with the Inaugural Journeys Collection covering the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Iceland and Greenland, USA and Canada, the Caribbean, South America, Hawaii, and Alaska.

Whether that’s treading the cobbled streets of Europe’s capitals and exploring the ancient Acropolis in Athens, or navigating the cool of the Norwegian fjords and sailing in the shadows of Svalbard’s soaring cliffs, every journey with Explora Journeys will be one that goes far beyond the classic luxury cruise experience.

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