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Explora Journeys Confirms Orders for Two New Hydrogen-Powered Ships

Explora Journeys Confirms Orders for Two New Hydrogen-Powered Ships

New cruise line Explora Journeys will take delivery of the fifth and sixth ships in its growing fleet in 2027 and 2028.

Luxury cruise brand Explora Journeys has officially announced firm orders for two cutting-edge hydrogen-powered ships from Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri. This move underscores the company’s commitment to a net-zero carbon emissions goal by 2050, aligning with the global push for sustainable travel.

The deal, valued at €3.5 billion, marks the culmination of a significant investment in six luxury vessels for Explora Journeys. However, these contracts remain subject to securing financing, following industry practices.

“Sustainability in luxury is the new craftsmanship, and our two new confirmed orders reflect our determination to preserve and protect our precious oceans. This is what the discerning traveler of tomorrow expects, making it imperative for us not only to meet these expectations but to exceed them,” said Michael Ungerer, Chief Executive Officer of Explora Journeys.

Explora Journeys’ hydrogen-powered luxury ships

The newly commissioned vessels, known as EXPLORA V and EXPLORA VI, will not only feature state-of-the-art energy efficiency measures but also have the capability to utilize alternative fuels such as bio and synthetic gas and methanol. In collaboration with Fincantieri, Explora Journeys plans to equip the new ships with advanced technologies, including carbon capture and enhanced waste management systems. The new additions to the fleet are expected to be delivered in 2027 and 2028.

The cruise line’s fifth ship, EXPLORA V, is scheduled to be delivered in 2027 (image courtesy of Explora Journeys)

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of the Cruise Division at MSC Group, expressed enthusiasm, saying, “With Explora Journeys, we have created a luxury brand that has successfully redefined the concept of luxury at sea. We are witnessing continued growth in the luxury segment, and this investment in two new ships underscores our commitment to expand within this sector and invest in the ships of the future.”

“Together with Fincantieri, we will explore the latest world-class technologies to drive efficiencies across all aspects of ship performance while delivering the best luxury travel experience with sustainability at its core,” he continued in a press release.

Green technologies on board Explora cruise ships

The EXPLORA V and EXPLORA VI ships will pioneer the use of liquid hydrogen with fuel cells during their port stops, effectively eliminating carbon emissions while the engines remain dormant. Additionally, the vessels will incorporate next-generation LNG engines equipped with advanced containment systems to address methane slip issues.

LNG (liquefied natural gas) is among the cleanest marine fuels currently available at scale, playing a pivotal role in the global push toward decarbonizing international shipping. LNG significantly reduces local air pollutant emissions, including a reduction of up to 99% in sulfur oxides and up to 85% in nitrogen oxides. The fuel also plays a role in climate change mitigation, offering up to a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, with further benefits anticipated as synthetic LNG becomes more widely available.

Explora Journeys’ expanding fleet

Explora Journeys’ first ship EXPLORA I was delivered by Fincantieri in July 2023 and is currently operating in Northern Europe. The ship will embark on voyages to North America in the fall of 2023, followed by a winter season in the Caribbean.

Explora’s first ship, EXPLORA I, began service in August 2023 (image courtesy of Explora Journeys)

In the spring of 2024, EXPLORA I will sail off the US West Coast and Hawaii before returning to Europe for Mediterranean itineraries in the summer of 2024.

EXPLORA II is set to begin operations in the summer of 2024 and will explore the Mediterranean, the Middle East, the Indian Ocean, and Africa, visiting 82 ports across 26 countries. The ship recently marked its “float out” ceremony near Genoa, Italy.

EXPLORA III is scheduled to enter service in the summer of 2026. Construction began on September 6, 2023, with the ship’s steel-cutting ceremony.

Related: Explora Journeys Celebrates Two Milestones With EXPLORA II and EXPLORA III

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

All six ships in Explora Journeys’ fleet will be equipped with the latest environmental and marine technologies, including selective catalytic reduction technology to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 90%. They will also feature shore power plug-in connectivity to reduce emissions in port and underwater noise management systems to protect marine life. Onboard energy-efficient equipment will optimize engine use to further minimize emissions.

More news about Explora Journeys

Do you consider sustainability when you pick a cruise line? Have you tried Explora Journeys yet, or do you plan to? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Carrie Ann Karstunen