MSC Explora 2 floated out, first steel cut for Explora 3 at Fincantieri Sestri Ponente Shipyard/Genoa

   September 6, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

In a noteworthy development within the maritime world, MSC Group's luxury cruise brand Explora Journeys continues to expand its fleet.

Just two months following the delivery of Explora 1 in Monfalcone (on July 20th), on Wednesday, September 6th, at Fincantieri's Sestri Ponente Shipyard (in Genoa) was held a double ceremony - the float out of Explora 2 and the steel-cutting of Explora 3.

These are the second and third ships (out of a total of four) ordered by the MSC Group (world's second-largest container shipping company/after Maersk). The collective investment for the 4 units amounts to ~EUR 2.3 billion, with the potential to generate a substantial economic impact of 10+ billion euros on the Italian economy. This includes a substantial employment impact, as each ship's construction requires 7+ million manhours of work and an average workforce of 2500 individuals for a span of 2+ years.

Distinguished authorities from Liguria and Genoa, including Liguria Region President Giovanni Toti, Genoa Mayor Marco Bucci, Genoa Prefect Renato Franceschelli, and Questore Orazio D'Anna, graced the ceremony with their presence.

Representing the shipowner, Michael Ungerer (Explora Journeys' CEO) and Leonardo Massa (Explora Journeys Italy's Managing Director) attended the event. Fincantieri was represented by Pierroberto Folgiero (CEO and Managing Director) and Luigi Matarazzo (Merchant Ships Division's General Manager).

Following the launch, Explora II will undergo completion in the coming months, with delivery slated for the summer of 2024. The luxurious boat will embark on maiden voyages in the Mediterranean, exploring captivating destinations in the Mare Nostrum, including enchanting Italian locales such as Portofino, the Argentario, Civitavecchia-Rome, Naples, Sorrento, Palermo, Siracusa, Trapani, Lipari, Cagliari, and Alghero.

Meanwhile, Explora 1, currently concluding its inaugural season in Europe, will navigate between the Caribbean and the East and West Coasts of the United States during the winter season. In the summer of 2024, she will return to the Mediterranean to offer voyages to destinations like Puglia, Sicily, and Venice.

Explora 3, whose construction officially commenced today with the traditional steel-cutting ceremony, is set to enter service in the summer of 2026. Notably, it will be the first ship in the Explora fleet to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), a notably cleaner marine fuel that plays a pivotal role in global shipping decarbonization efforts. LNG can significantly reduce sulfur oxide (99%) and nitrogen oxide (85%) emissions and contributes to climate change mitigation by cutting greenhouse gas emissions by up to 20%. It also paves the way for sustainable non-fossil fuels such as bio and synthetic LNG.

In January 2024, construction will commence on EXPLORA 4, also powered by LNG, with completion expected in early 2027. All Explora Journeys vessels will incorporate the latest environmental and marine technologies, including selective catalytic reduction technology, shore power plug-in connectivity, underwater noise management systems, and a comprehensive array of onboard energy-efficient equipment to optimize engine use and further reduce emissions.