The Geneva-based cruise giant MSC has this week cut steel on Explora 1 which is due to take to the high seas in two years’ time. The company says it will launch three other luxury ships under the Explora brand in 2024, 2025 and 2026, respectively.
The 248-metre vessels are being built in Northern Italy and bookings for Explora Journeys’ 2023 Inaugural Collection open this autumn – although no prices have been announced.
Destinations for the first sailings include many lesser-travelled ports including the Lofoten Islands in Norway, Saint Tropez, and Reykjavik. Explora I will sail journeys starting at seven nights, with non-conventional arrival and departure times combined with overnight stays.
Designed in partnership with superyacht and luxury hospitality designers, Explora 1 will comprise fourteen decks and contain 461 oceanfront suites and residences, with floor to ceiling windows and personal private terraces. The sizes of the suites will start at 35 square metres.
Explora 1 will boast four swimming pools – including one indoors with a retractable glass roof - enabling swimming and poolside relaxation in all weathers. The ship’s promenade deck will feature outdoor whirlpool baths.
The ship will offer its guests nine restaurants – with flexible dining times. It is planned that the vessel will pick up sustainably grown ingredients from local providers everywhere it drops anchor. Explora 1 will feature several indoor and outdoor bars and lounges.
The brand will place health & fitness at the heart of its product and will offer guests bespoke wellness experiences both onboard as well as ashore. Each ship will boast a spa with treatment rooms, fitness centres and personal training.
Service will be front & centre for this new MSC product – and a 1.25 to 1 passenger-crew ratio will ensure that each sailing will be a truly luxurious experience.
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 certified for reduced underwater noise. Single-use plastics will not be used on board, nor will they be offered during land-based experiences.
Commenting on MSC Cruises’ passion, love and deep respect of the sea, Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Group’s cruise business said, ‘Our ships will utilise state of the art technology to ensure we are leading the movement towards a more sustainable future”.