Fincantieri and MSC to build 2 hydrogen-powered cruise ships for Explora Journeys

   July 7, 2022 ,   Cruise Industry

The Cruise Division of MSC Group - the luxury travel brand Explora Journeys, and the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri announced the signing of an MoA (memorandum of agreement) for the construction of an additional 2 hydrogen-powered vessels to take Explora's fleet from 4 to 6 boats.

EXPLORA 5 and EXPLORA 6 will feature a new generation of LNG engines (running on liquefied natural gas) that will tackle the issue of methane slip and will be equipped with industry-first environmental technologies & solutions, including a containment system for liquid hydrogen that is to enable them to use the promising low-carbon fuel of the future.

Hydrogen fuel will power a 6-MW/megawatt fuel cell to produce emissions-free electricity for the onboard hotel operation and allow the newbuilds to run on ‘zero emissions’ in port, with their engines turned off.

The two new ships will come into service in 2027 and 2028, respectively.

Explora Journeys also revealed that the previously announced vessels EXPLORA 3 and 4 will now be LNG-powered. They will be enlarged by 19 m / 62 ft to enable the installation of a new generation powerplant based on LNG and hydrogen. This provided an opportunity to enhance the mix of suites with an increased number of luxurious Ocean Residences and bigger public spaces, which offer a sense of being at home at sea.

MSC Explora cruise ship

The 2 additional EXPLORA ships covered under the MoA will bring Explora Journeys’ total investment to EUR 3,5 billion. This includes an additional EUR 120 million each for fitting EXPLORA 3 and EXPLORA 4 with LNG engines, a change that requires a temporary halt of work due to the redesign of the vessels, which will now be delivered in 2026 and 2027.

All 6 ships in Explora Journeys’ fleet are to be equipped with the latest marine technologies including a selective catalytic reduction technology (in order to reduce nitrogen oxide/NO emissions by 90%), shore power connectivity (reducing emissions while in port) and underwater noise management systems (protecting the marine life).

All MSC EXPLORA ships will also have a comprehensive range of onboard energy-efficient/power-saving equipment to optimize engine use to further reduce emissions.