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Explora Journeys Celebrates Two Milestones With EXPLORA II and EXPLORA III

Explora Journeys Celebrates Two Milestones With EXPLORA II and EXPLORA III

Luxury cruise line Explora Journeys held a dual event marking the float out of EXPLORA II as well as EXPLORA III‘s steel cutting.

Explora Journeys, the luxury cruise brand of MSC Group, marked two significant milestones in the construction of its fleet. Just two months after the successful delivery of EXPLORA I in Monfalcone on July 20, 2023, the brand continues its commitment to redefine ocean travel with the construction of EXPLORA II and EXPLORA III, investing a total of 2.3 billion euros in a fleet of four luxury ships.

Explora’s double milestone celebration

The maritime milestones were celebrated during a dual event held at Fincantieri’s Sestri Ponente shipyard near Genoa, Italy. The occasion saw both the float-out of EXPLORA II and the steel cutting of EXPLORA III, signifying the progress of the luxury vessels, which are part of Explora Journeys’ ambitious vision for ocean travel.

Filling EXPLORA II‘s dry dock in preparation of her float out (image courtesy of Explora Journeys)

“The double event today marks another major step forward on our mission to redefine ocean travel for today’s discerning luxury travelers. Following the successful launch of EXPLORA I and the incredibly positive feedback from the first guests, travel advisors, and media, who had a chance to experience the Ocean State of Mind, the story continues,” said Michael Ungerer, CEO of Explora Journeys.

“We are now beyond thrilled to witness the next important construction milestones for both EXPLORA II and our first LNG-powered ship EXPLORA III. We are proud that our four ships are built by Fincantieri, further underlining our commitment to Italy,” Ungerer continued in a press release.

The ceremony drew the attendance of key Ligurian and Genoese authorities, including the president of the Liguria Region Giovanni Toti and the Mayor of Genoa Marco Bucci. On behalf of Explora Journeys, Michael Ungerer and Leonardo Massa, Managing Director of Explora Journeys & MSC Cruises for Italy, attended the event. Representing Fincantieri, the shipbuilding company, were CEO and General Manager Pierroberto Folgiero and the General Manager of the Merchant Ships Division, Luigi Matarazzo.

EXPLORA II’s journey

EXPLORA II is scheduled to enter service in the summer of 2024. Construction of the ship, which boasts a Gross Tonnage (GT) of 63,900, began in October 2021 at Fincantieri’s Castellammare di Stabia yard in Naples, Italy. The ship’s keel was laid in May 2022, and the recent float-out marks a significant moment as it touches water for the first time. The ship will then progress to the final phases of construction for interior, fixtures, and fittings.

EXPLORA II preparing to float out (image courtesy of Explora Journeys)

EXPLORA III’s LNG-powered future

EXPLORA III, whose construction was commemorated with the traditional steel cutting ceremony, is set to enter service in the summer of 2026. She is noteworthy as the first of the Explora fleet to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), recognized as the world’s cleanest maritime fuel currently available at scale. This move aligns with the global effort to decarbonize international shipping.

LNG has the potential to significantly reduce emissions, with sulfur oxides reduced by up to 99% and nitrogen oxides by up to 85%. It also plays a crucial role in mitigating climate change, offering a potential 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and paving the way for sustainable non-fossil fuels like bio and synthetic forms of LNG.

Explora is working toward sustainability in cruising

All of Explora Journeys’ ships, including EXPLORA II and III, will incorporate the latest environmental and marine technologies. These features include selective catalytic reduction technology, shore power plug-in connectivity to reduce emissions in port, underwater noise management systems for marine life protection, and a range of onboard energy-efficient equipment aimed at optimizing engine use to further reduce emissions.

Construction of EXPLORA IV—another LNG-powered vessel—is scheduled to begin in January 2024, with completion expected in early 2027.

More news about Explora Journeys

Have you sailed with Explora Journeys, or do you have a cruise booked? I’d love to hear what you think about their promise of sustainable luxury. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Carrie Ann Karstunen