Explora Journeys, the MSC Group’s luxury cruise brand, today celebrates the christening of EXPLORA I in New York City.
EXPLORA I’s sponsor, renowned marine biologist and oceanographer Dr Sylvia Earle, will perform the maritime tradition of cutting a ribbon and breaking a bottle of champagne on the ship’s bow to officially name the ship and wish it good luck at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal.
The event will be attended by distinguished guests from around the world, international journalists, key Explora Journeys travel partners and senior MSC Group representatives, who will all enjoy a gala dinner and evening of lively celebrations following the ceremonial launch.
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, Cruise Division, MSC Group, said: “EXPLORA I is a game changer in the world of luxury travel. We are offering voyages that redefine the essence of luxury ocean travel. We want to attract a broader group of discerning travellers who have experienced the finest luxury land-based resorts but are looking for more value, more authenticity and a deeper connection to the world.
Explora Journeys is the answer, offering the opportunity to discover off-the-beaten track destinations by sea while enjoying some of the world’s finest properties. With a further five ships joining the fleet over the next five years, we are committed to delivering the same unique onboard experience wherever you are in the world”.
Michael Ungerer, CEO of Explora Journeys, added: “Today’s event is a significant milestone for Explora Journeys as our first ship, EXPLORA I, brings to life our vision to redefine luxury travel. We are proud to usher in a new era of discovery and luxury travel and to showcase our first ship in the vibrant city of New York”.
Dr Sylvia Earle, Founder and Chairman of Mission Blue, said: “I am honoured to be the godmother of EXPLORA I and look forward to a meaningful relationship between Mission Blue, Explora Journeys and the MSC Foundation to make a very positive contribution to the protection and restoration of the world’s seas and oceans.
EXPLORA I, the first of six luxury ships built by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri in a €3.5 billion ($5 billion CAD) deal, set sail in July this year with a series of itineraries in Northern Europe before crossing the Atlantic to New York with stops in Iceland, Greenland and Canada.
The ship features 461 oceanfront suites, penthouses and residences, six restaurants, 12 indoor and outdoor bars and lounges, four swimming pools, expansive outdoor decks with private cabanas and nearly 1,000 square metres of spa and fitness facilities.
The luxury ship will spend the autumn in North America, the winter in the Caribbean, and the spring on the US West Coast and Hawaii, before returning to Europe in the summer of 2024 for a series of Mediterranean sailings, with many itineraries including lesser visited ports for EXPLORA I guests to enjoy a different perspective of a destination.
EXPLORA II will enter service in summer 2024 and operate in the Mediterranean and Middle East until April 2025. EXPLORA III and EXPLORA IV will both be LNG powered and will enter service in 2026 and 2027 respectively. EXPLORA V and EXPLORA VI will enter service in 2027 and 2028, respectively, and will both incorporate state-of-the-art energy efficiency measures and be capable of using alternative fuels such as bio and synthetic gas. These two ships will pursue the use of liquid hydrogen with fuel cells for their hotel operations while in port, eliminating carbon emissions when the ships’ engines are switched off.
All Explora Journeys vessels will be equipped with the latest environmental and marine technologies, including Selective Catalytic Reduction technology, shore power, underwater noise management systems to protect marine life and a comprehensive range of on-board energy efficient equipment to optimise engine use to further reduce emissions.