MSC Explora 1

Former name: Exploria I

MSC Explora 1 current position

MSC Explora 1 current location is at Adriatic Sea (coordinates 45.63517 N / 13.77552 E) cruising en route to SEA TRIALS - IT TRIE. The AIS position was reported 54 seconds ago.

All Itineraries Current Position

Specifications of MSC Explora 1

Year of build2023 new ship
BuilderFincantieri (Monfalcone, Italy)
Building costEUR 495 million (USD 600 million)
Speed18 kn / 33 km/h / 21 mph
Length (LOA)248 m / 814 ft
Beam (width)32 m / 105 ft
Gross Tonnage63900 gt
Passengers922 - 1473
Decks with cabins5
Sister-shipsMSC Explora 2, MSC Explora 3, MSC Explora 4, MSC Explora 5, MSC Explora 6
Former namesExploria I
Christened bytba
OwnerMediterranean Shipping Company (MSC Group) via MSC Crociere SpA
OperatorMSC Cruises (via MSC Explora Journeys)

MSC Explora 1 Itineraries

DateItineraryDeparture PortPrice from
2023 Jul 17 15 days, one-way from Southampton to Copenhagen Southampton
2023 Aug 01 7 days, one-way from Copenhagen to Reykjavik Copenhagen
2023 Aug 01 14 days, round-trip Extended Journey of Scottish Isles, Danish Cities, and Icelandic Fjords Copenhagen
2023 Aug 08 7 days, one-way from Reykjavik to Copenhagen Reykjavik
2023 Aug 15 6 days, one-way from Copenhagen to Hamburg Copenhagen
2023 Aug 15 9 days, one-way from Copenhagen to Southampton Copenhagen
2023 Aug 21 3 days, one-way from Hamburg to Southampton Hamburg
2023 Aug 21 12 days, one-way from Hamburg to Greenock-Glasgow Hamburg
2023 Aug 21 19 days, one-way from Hamburg to Reykjavik Hamburg
2023 Aug 21 35 days, one-way from Hamburg to New York Hamburg
2023 Aug 24 9 days, one-way from Southampton to Greenock-Glasgow Southampton
2023 Aug 24 16 days, one-way from Southampton to Reykjavik Southampton
2023 Sep 02 7 days, one-way from Greenock-Glasgow to Reykjavik Greenock-Glasgow
2023 Sep 02 23 days, one-way from Greenock-Glasgow to New York Greenock-Glasgow
2023 Sep 09 16 days, one-way from Reykjavik to New York Reykjavik
2023 Sep 09 24 days, one-way from Reykjavik to Quebec City Reykjavik
2023 Sep 25 8 days, one-way from New York to Quebec City New York
2023 Sep 25 18 days, round-trip Extended Historic American Cities Quebecois Culture New York
2023 Oct 03 10 days, one-way from Quebec City to New York Quebec City
2023 Oct 13 7 days, one-way from New York to Quebec City New York
2023 Oct 20 14 days, one-way from Quebec City to Miami Quebec City
2023 Nov 03 7 days, one-way from Miami to San Juan Miami
2023 Nov 03 14 days, round-trip Extended Escapes into a Yachtsmans Caribbean Miami
2023 Nov 10 7 days, one-way from San Juan to Miami San Juan
2023 Nov 17 10 days, one-way from Miami to Bridgetown Miami
2023 Nov 27 9 days, round-trip UNESCO Treasures Below and Above the Caribbean Sea Bridgetown
2023 Dec 06 7 days, one-way from Bridgetown to Miami Bridgetown
2023 Dec 13 9 days, round-trip Diamond Beaches and Sparkling Private Idylls Miami
2023 Dec 22 7 days, one-way from Miami to San Juan Miami
2023 Dec 22 14 days, round-trip An Extended Holiday Journey into White-Sand Wonderlands Miami
2023 Dec 29 7 days, one-way from San Juan to Miami San Juan
2024 Jan 05 6 days, one-way from Miami to Cartagena Colombia Miami
2024 Jan 11 8 days, one-way from Cartagena Colombia to Bridgetown Cartagena Colombia
2024 Jan 19 6 days, one-way from Bridgetown to San Juan Bridgetown
2024 Jan 19 12 days, round-trip An Extended Journey to a Yachtsmans Caribbean of Remote Refuges Bridgetown
2024 Jan 25 6 days, one-way from San Juan to Bridgetown San Juan
2024 Jan 31 16 days, one-way from Bridgetown to Santos Bridgetown
2024 Jan 31 30 days, round-trip An Extended Journey to Brazilian Carnival and Bardot-Worthy Beaches Bridgetown
2024 Feb 17 13 days, one-way from Santos to Bridgetown Santos
2024 Mar 01 7 days, one-way from Bridgetown to Miami Bridgetown
2024 Mar 01 17 days, round-trip An Extended Journey of Caribbean Rhythm Creole Soul Bridgetown
2024 Mar 08 10 days, one-way from Miami to Bridgetown Miami
2024 Mar 18 11 days, one-way from Bridgetown to Panama City Bridgetown
2024 Mar 18 25 days, one-way from Bridgetown to Los Angeles Bridgetown
2024 Mar 29 14 days, one-way from Panama City to Los Angeles Panama City
2024 Apr 12 6 days, one-way from Los Angeles to Vancouver Los Angeles
2024 Apr 18 9 days, one-way from Vancouver to Honolulu Vancouver
2024 Apr 18 18 days, round-trip An Extended Exploration of the Hawaiian Islands Vancouver
2024 Apr 27 9 days, one-way from Honolulu to Vancouver Honolulu
2024 May 06 11 days, round-trip Inaugural Alaska Journey - Remote Wrangell and Spectacular Sitka Vancouver
2024 May 17 11 days, round-trip Sailing the Whales Highway Vancouver
2024 May 28 10 days, round-trip Journey of the Glaciers Vancouver
2024 Jun 07 11 days, round-trip Sailing the Whales Highway Vancouver
2024 Jun 18 10 days, round-trip Journey of the Glaciers Vancouver
2024 Jun 28 11 days, round-trip Sailing the Whales Highway Vancouver
2024 Jul 09 10 days, round-trip Journey of the Glaciers Vancouver
2024 Jul 19 11 days, round-trip Sailing the Whales Highway Vancouver
2024 Jul 30 10 days, round-trip Journey of the Glaciers Vancouver
2024 Aug 09 11 days, round-trip Sailing the Whales Highway Vancouver
2024 Aug 09 18 days, one-way from Vancouver to Los Angeles Vancouver
2024 Aug 20 7 days, one-way from Vancouver to Los Angeles Vancouver
2024 Aug 20 21 days, one-way from Vancouver to Panama City Vancouver
2024 Aug 20 29 days, one-way from Vancouver to Miami Vancouver
2024 Aug 20 41 days, one-way from Vancouver to Quebec City Vancouver
2024 Aug 27 14 days, one-way from Los Angeles to Panama City Los Angeles
2024 Aug 27 22 days, one-way from Los Angeles to Miami Los Angeles
2024 Aug 27 34 days, one-way from Los Angeles to Quebec City Los Angeles
2024 Sep 10 8 days, one-way from Panama City to Miami Panama City
2024 Sep 10 20 days, one-way from Panama City to Quebec City Panama City
2024 Sep 18 12 days, one-way from Miami to Quebec City Miami

MSC Explora 1 Review

Review of MSC Explora 1

The 2023-built MSC Explora 1 cruise ship ("Explora I", currently under construction) is the first in a series of six MSC EXPLORA-class expedition ships, with fleetmates Explora 2 (2024/sistership), Explora 3 (2026), Explora 4 (2027), Explora 5 (2027), and Explora 6 (2028). These boats are owned by MSC Group and operated as a separate fleet under the company's new luxury brand MSC EXPLORA JOURNEYS.

The vessel (IMO number 9869875) will be Malta-flagged (MMSI tba) and registered in Valletta. The delivery is currently planned for July 2023 (postponed from March and May 2023).

History - construction and ownership

MSC Cruises (MSC Crociere) is a passenger shipping company headquartered in Genoa and Naples. Established in 1960, MSC Crociere is a subsidiary of MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company) - the world's second-largest containership company. MSC is also the world's largest privately-owned cruise company. By annual passenger shipping volumes, MSC is ranked the world's 4th largest cruise shipowner (after Carnival Corporation, RCG-Royal Caribbean, NCLH-Norwegian), with over 6% global market share.

MSC EXPLORA JOURNEYS brand's main competitor on the European market is Viking OCEAN Cruises.

MSC Explora 1 cruise ship (MSC Explora Journeys)

MSC's EXPLORA ships offer plenty of interior public spaces, 2500+ m2 (~27000 ft2) of exterior deck spaces, spacious Sundeck (with 64 private cabanas), 3x outdoor swimming pools (two aft, one forward), one midship swimming pool covered by a retractable glass roof (indoor pool with a 2-deck sunbathing area and a large LED screen for movies, Ultra-HD images and videos, real-time sea views), several Jacuzzies (indoor and outdoor spa pools/whirlpools, including 1x crew pool) and sundecks with poolside dining and lounging, 9x different dining options (restaurants and food bars) plus in-cabin dining (via 24-hour room service).

Explora I's ultra-modern wellness complex is sized 700+ m2 (7500+ ft2) and has an indoor-outdoor Spa (9x Treatment Rooms for massages, Thermal Suites, Beauty Salon) and Gym (sized 270+ m2 / 2900+ ft2, fitted with the latest fitness equipment) and with a separate Fitness Studio (for group classes and personal training sessions). A Running Track encircles the Sundeck's sunbathing area (Deck 12).

The passenger-to-crew ratio of 1,25 guarantees attentive services by a dedicated staff.

Of the total public space (~16600 m2 / 179000 ft2 of passenger-accessible areas), the outdoor space is ~6250 m2 (67300 ft2) which means ~6,5 m2 (70 ft2) per passenger.

For more information on MSC's EXPLORA-class vessels see the ship's Wiki section.

Decks and cabins

All MSC Explora I staterooms (461 total) are all outside/balconied and in Suite categories. Each cabin is fitted with floor-ceiling windows that open to a step-out terrace. Standard cabins are sized 35-39 m2 / 375-420 ft2 (OCEAN TERRACE SUITE), with 28 m2 (300 ft2) indoor space and 7-11 m2 (75-120 ft2) balcony. The largest accommodation is the OWNER'S RESIDENCE (280 m2 / 2015 ft2), with indoor space 155 m2 (1670 ft2) and aft-facing wraparound balcony sized 125 m2 (1345 ft2).

Cabin types include Owner's Residence (1), Ocean Residences (22), Ocean Penthouses (67), and Ocean Suites (371). The ship has a total of 82 interconnecting cabins (Family Suites) designed for families and small-group travelers.

"MSC Yacht Club" 24-hour butler services are provided complimentary to all Ocean Residences and Ocean Penthouses. Butler services packing and unpacking, pressing and laundering assistance, room service, itinerary and land transportation planning, special event planning, reservations assistance (onboard and ashore).

The boat has 13 decks, of which 11 are passenger-accessible and 5 with cabins.

MSC Explora 1 cruise ship (MSC Explora Journeys)

MSC Explora Journeys deals are inclusive of accommodation, shipboard food (dining at 9 venues plus room service), unlimited beverages (including fine wines, premium liquors, brand coffees and teas, soft drinks), complimentary cabin mini-bar drinks and snacks, access to the wellness facilities (Spa, Fitness, training programs), tips/onboard gratuities, free unlimited Wi-Fi (throughout), Welcome Aboard Gifts (flowers, mini chocolates, bottle of champagne), premium shuttle bus services (port to downtown), 24-hour concierge services, twice-daily housekeeping services (including evening turndown service), shoeshine service.

Shipboard facilities and amenities

All public facilities (restaurants, lounges, bars) are with floor-ceiling windows and unobstructed views. All sundecks are wind-protected (via a wraparound glass wall), furnished with premium patio furniture (3-seater sofas, padded loungers, double daybeds, deckchairs) and decorated with large living plants.

The onboard dining experience is all-inclusive and marked by flexible dining times and gourmet dishes prepared with sustainably and locally sourced ingredients.

The ship has a total of 18x food and beverage venues including 10x dining (6x restaurants, Chef`s Kitchen) and 12x bars and lounges (8x indoor + 4x outdoor). Wine selections are according to the current itinerary program/regions sailed, with a certified sommelier service for the boutique wine labels and wine pairing.

Next are listed the ship's restaurants.

  • Anthology (midship on Deck 4/international cuisine)
  • Sakura (aft-portside on Deck 5/Pan-Asian cuisine - Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian; Sake sommelier service; Asian beverages; modern Asian music)
  • Marble & Co. Grill (midship on Deck 5/steakhouse with a wine cellar; personally sourced and sustainably farmed beef)
  • Med Yacht Club (midship-portside on Deck 4/varied Mediterranean cuisine specialties from France, Spain, Italy, Greece; premium wines from regional vineyards; cocktails made with regional ingredients; fresh-squeezed juices)
  • Emporium Marketplace (aft on Deck 11/all-day opened buffet restaurant with food themed on the visited destinations; has 18x cooking stations - sushi, seafood, daily rotisserie, homemade sandwiches, cooked-to-order pasta, fresh-baked pizzas & breads, charcuterie/cured meats station, fromagerie/cheese station, boulangerie/bakery; beverages station/soft drinks, brand teas & coffees, fresh juices, wines & champagne)
  • Fil Rouge (concept restaurant midship-portside on Deck 5/traditional French cuisine and French-inspired international dishes; with a dessert cart/tableside service; wine selection)
  • Chef's Kitchen & Private Dining Room (forward-starboard on Deck 11/capacity 12 seats; at a fee per person)

In-cabin dining is available 24 hours.

Next are listed the ship's lounges and bars.

  • Lobby Bar (midship on Deck 4)
  • Malt Whiskey Bar (forward-portside on Deck 11/has a smoking-allowed terrace, walk-in humidor/cigar expert, an extensive collection that includes even rarest whiskies)
  • Journeys Lounge (forward on Deck 4/serves the company's onboard enrichment and entertainment program)
  • Explora Lounge (forward on Deck 11/with 270-degree seaviews; Afternoon Tea service, also serves light meals and snacks)
  • Gelateria & Creperie (midship-starboard on Deck 11 - within The Conservatory/gourmet ice creams and crepes, brand coffees)
  • Crema Cafe (midship-starboard on Deck5/serves premium coffees prepared by certified baristas, fresh-pressed juices, gourmet pastries, cakes, desserts)
  • Astern Lounge (aft on Deck 5/live music entertainment daily, doubles as nightclub with a DJ programming)
  • Astern Pool & Bar (aft on Deck 5/poolside bar lounge with nightly live music/acoustic musicians and DJs)
  • Sky Bar on 14 (aft on Deck 14/outdoor lounge)
  • Atoll Pool & Bar (aft on Deck 10)
  • Helios Pool & Bar (forward on Deck 12/adults-only poolside outdoor lounge)

On Deck 11 (adjacent to the Chef's Kitchen) is the Children's Area (indoor playground) a spacious room designed for kids' entertainment and supervised activities.

The Conservatory Pool & Bar (glass roof-protected poolside lounge midship on Deck 11; in the evenings transforms into Cinema for movies under the stars).

MSC Explora Journeys cruise ship pool deck

Deck 3 houses an Aft Marina Deck (for launching watersports activities) with an adjacent Marina Lounge & Bar and two fore-located Tender Areas (portside and starboard) for ferrying passengers (transportation via tender boats) between the ship and the shore. Forward-starboard is the Infirmary/Medical Centre.

Deck 4 houses the Forward Lounge (with a large stage and amphitheatrical seating), the Casino (gaming lounge fitted with table games and slot machines), the Lobby Hall (24-hour Guest Services/Reception Desk for assistance, Destination Experiences for information on and organizing of land tours and excursions), Boutiques (duty-free shops), as well as two restaurants - Mediterranean-style (portside) and International-style (starboard), with an adjacent Galley (kitchen and storage rooms for food and beverages).

Deck 5 houses an indoor-outdoor Spa (9x Treatment Rooms for massages, Thermal Suites, Beauty Salon), Concept Restaurant, Coffee Lounge (patisserie), Steakhouse, Art Gallery (displaying original artworks and also hosting art auctions), MSC Foundation (a venue dedicated to the established by the Aponte family independent not-for-profit organization that manages MSC Group's conservation and humanitarian activities). Aft are the Pan-Asian Restaurant, Aft Lounge & Bar, and the Lower Aft Plunge Pool & Lounge (outdoor swimming pool with a sundeck area).

The forward section of Deck 6 is a crew-only zone with staff and crew cabins, Messhall (crew dining room and bar lounge) and the crew sundeck (bow-facing sunbathing area with a large Jacuzzi/spa pool).

Besides passenger staterooms, Deck 11 (Lido Deck) houses also the Fitness complex consisting of a Gym Room (fitted with the latest training equipment) and a separate Fitness Studio (for group classes and personal training sessions). Midship on Lido Deck is the main swimming pool (indoor pool covered with a retractable glass roof) and its sunbathing area. The pool deck is served by the poolside bar Gelateria & Creperie (snacks and beverages) and the All-Day Dining Restaurant (indoor Lido buffet with an aft terrace/outdoor seating). At the stern is the Upper Aft Pool & Lounge (sundeck with open-air bar, 4-seat tables, a swimming pool and sunbathing area with daybeds and padded loungers).

On Deck 12 are the Forward Pool & Lounge (adults-only sundeck with a large swimming pool and sunbathing area) and the 2-lane Running Track (making a full circle/looping nearly the entire deck with lined up sun loungers for relaxation).

Aft on Deck 14 is the Panorama Lounge & Bar (an outdoor venue with a Whirlpool/Jacuzzi and sunbathing areas with loungers) and the Sports Court (outdoor facility for playing basketball, volleyball, football, tennis). Midship are the Funnels (smokestacks) adjacent to the Retractable Glass-Roof that covers the main swimming pool (on Deck 11 below).


Explora I's itinerary program is based on 7-night voyages in Europe (Mediterranean, Baltic, Iceland) featuring less-traveled ports with longer stays (unconventional in-port times of arrival/departure) and many overnights to allow the MSC tourists access to unique ashore experiences.

The inaugural season's signature destinations include Bordeaux France, Saint Tropez (French Riviera), Reykjavik Iceland, Lofoten Islands (Norway), Eastern Mediterranean's Kastellorizo island (Greece) and Bozcaada Island (Turkey).

Explora 1's "Inaugural Journeys Collection" (itinerary program 2023) was announced in late-February 2022. The boat's deployment is in Europe (Mediterranean, Baltic, UK, Iceland, Greenland), North America (Canada, East Coast USA, Hawaii), Caribbean, South America.

Itineraries vary between 6-night and 44-night (Grand Voyage), visiting 132 ports/islands in 40 countries.

  • MEDITERRANEAN (May-June 2023), call ports Barcelona, St Tropez, Calvi-Corsica, Chivitavechia-Rome, Fiskardo (Kefalonia Island), Istanbul, Piraeus-Athens, Patmos Island, Bodrum, Kastellorizo, Santorini Island, Mykonos Island, Gozo-Malta, Ibiza, Malaga, Cadiz-Sevilla, Portimao, Lisbon, Oporto, St Jean-de-Luz, Bordeaux, Saint-Malo, Honfleur
  • NORTHERN EUROPE/BALTIC (July-August 2023), call ports Southampton, Lofoten Islands and Norwegian Fjords (Kristiansand, Hellesylt, Alesund, Molde, Trondheim, Narvik, Honningsvag, Tromso, Leknes-Gravdal, Bronnoysund, Flam, Bergen, Stavanger), Skagen, Copenhagen, Ronne, Helsinki, Sankt-Petersburg, Stockholm, Visby, Riga, Klaipeda, Gdansk, Copenhagen, Goteborg, Oslo, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Zeebrugge-Bruges
  • UK-ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND (August 2023), call ports Southampton, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Invergordon, Stornoway, Oban, Liverpool, Glasgow, Fort William, Portree, Kirkwall, Lerwick, Faroes (Thorshavn), Iceland (Reykjavik)
  • Transatlantic/ICELAND AND GREENLAND (September 2023), call ports Reykjavik, Akureyri, Isafjordur, Paamiut, Nuuk, Qaqortoq, Canada (Sydney NS, St John NB), USA (NYC New York)
  • USA AND CANADA (September-October 2023), roundtrip from New York City to, Newport RI, Boston MA, St John NB, Quebec City, La Baie, Baie-Comeau, Havre-Saint-Pierre, Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island), Halifax NS
  • CARIBBEAN (November 2023), call ports Miami, Key West FL, Virgon Gorda BVI, Deshaies (Guadeloupe), Falmouth (Jamaica), San Juan (Puerto Rico), Gustavia (St Barths), Basseterre (St Kitts), Samana (Dominicana), Ocean Cay (Bahamas), St John`s (Antigua), Castries (St Lucia), Bridgetown (Barbados), Roseau, Kralendijk, Willemstad, Saint-Pierre, Kingstown, Grand Turk Island, Santa Marta, Cartagena, Colon, Soufriere, Bequia (St Vincent), Oranjestad, Cartagena, Puerto Limon, Panama Canal transit to Panama City

In June 2022, MSC announced Explora Journeys' Alaska 2024 program (May 6 thru August 28) of Explora I, consisting of 3x voyages departing roundtrip from Vancouver, BC Canada.

  • 11-night "The Remote Wrangell and Spectacular Sitka Inaugural Alaskan Journey" (departure May 6th) sails in Alaska (Inside Passage, Wrangell, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Sitka, Skagway, Ketchikan, Misty Fjord) and Canada (Victoria BC).
  • 11-night "Sailing the Whale's Highway" itinerary (departure May 17th) visits Ketchikan, Hoonah-Icy Strait Point, Valdez, Juneau, Sitka, Hubbard Glacier.
  • 10-night "Journey of the Glaciers" itinerary (departures May thru July 2024) sails the Alaskan Inside Passage.

Explora I's 2024-2025 winter program (September thru April) was opened for booking in late-February 2023 and included 23 voyages visiting a total of 73 ports/destinations (including Brazillian Amazon) in 24 countries. The program features two longer itineraries.

  • The 28-night "A Grand Journey to Amazonia & Tropical Isles Cruise" (departure November 15, 2024, roundtrip from Miami) visits Key West Florida, Spanish Town/Virgin Gorda BVI), Basseterre St Kitts, Saint-Pierre Martinique, Bridgetown Barbados, Iles du Salut Macapa, Brail Amazon (Alter Do Chao, Manaus), Admiralty Bay Bequia, Barbados, Kingstown St Vincent and the Grenadines, Castries St Lucia, Basseterre, MSC Ocean Cay Bahamas.
  • (Caribbean-Europe relocation) The 32-night "Grand Transatlantic Odyssey Cruise" (departure March 27, 2025, from Miami to Lisbon) visits San Juan Puerto Rico, Spanish Town/Virgin Gorda BVI, St John's Antigua, St-Pierre Martinique, Barbados, Cape Verde (Praia, Sao Vicente), Canary Islands (Arrecife Lanzarote, Santa Cruz de Tenerife), Santo Antonio/Madeira, Ponta Delgada/Azores, Leixoes-Oporto, Lisbon.

Maiden Voyage (2023)

MSC opened bookings for Explora Journeys (Explora 1's inaugural cruise season/2023) in January 2022.

In October 2022, the brand's inauguration/ship's Maiden Voyage was rescheduled from May 31st (11-night "Maiden Journey into Mare Nostrum" from Barcelona to Piraeus-Athens) to July 17, 2023 (out of Southampton England UK). Citing delayed delivery (due to supply chain issues affecting the Fincantieri shipyard), MSC canceled 12x voyages (including 10x Mediterranean/CruiseMinus).

The brand "Explora Journeys" debuts with the 15-night "A Maiden Journey into Epic Fjords and the Arctic Circle". The cruise visits 12x Northern European ports in 4 countries.

EXPLORA I's inaugural sailing (Southampton to Copenhagen/Jul 17 thru Aug 1) can be seen in the ship's Wiki section.

MSC Explora 1 - user reviews and comments

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MSC Explora 1 Wiki

In January 2018 strong rumors started to circulate about MSC considering the establishment of a new (all-inclusive luxury) cruise brand. There was also the possibility (instead of creating a new brand) MSC to just create a parallel "expedition" fleet, but in 2020 was confirmed that this would be a new brand.

On October 18, 2018, MSC Group and Fincantieri signed the MoA (memorandum of agreement) for building 4x ultra-luxury ships, with contract value EUR 2,0 billion (~USD 2,3B / ~GBP 1,75B). The announcement mentioned that the first unit will be delivered in 2023-Q2, and that the design is based on GT tonnage/volume ~64,000 tons and capacity 500 staterooms.

  • The MSC-Fincantieri final shipbuilding contract for the four luxury expedition ships was signed on March 14, 2019.
  • Both deals were signed by Pierfrancesco Vago (MSC's Executive Chairman) and Giuseppe Bono (Fincantieri's CEO).
  • With this order, MSC's Fincantieri-built ships reached 17 units (total investment EUR 14,96 billion / ~USD 17,27B / ~GBP 13,6B), all to be completed/delivered by the year 2027. By 2027, the MSC's cruise fleet will consist of 29 vessels.

MSC Cruises Explora-Class ship (Explora Journeys)

The rumors were officially confirmed in March 2021 when was announced the new brand's senior management team.

  • Michael Ungerer (CEO), Chris Austin (CSO-Chief Sales Officer)
  • Sarah Doyle (CMO-Chief Marketing Officer)
  • Thatcher Brown (Commercial and Strategic Advisor), John Stoll (Destination Experience Advisor)
  • Sacha Rougier (Itinerary Planning, Shore Experience)
  • Previous to their MSC employments, Chris Austin worked for Seabourn (SVP Global Sales and Marketing), Sarah Doyle for Bacardi Europe (Vice President Marketing), Thatcher Brown for GHK Dream Cruises (President) and Crystal Cruises Asia (Managing Director), Sacha Rougier for Cruise Gate Hamburg/Center Steinwerder (Managing Director), John Stoll for Crystal Cruises and Silversea (as Director Land Programs).

MSC Explora I vessel's construction (yard/hull number 6319) officially started on June 10, 2021, with the steel-cutting ceremony held at the Naval Service Center in San Giorgio di Nogaro (Udine). The special event was attended by Pierfrancesco Vago (MSC's Executive Chairman), Michael Ungerer (Explora Journeys' CEO) and Fabio Gallia (Fincantieri's General Manager).

Explora I's keel-laying (aka coin) ceremony at Fincantieri Monfalcone was held on February 24, 2022. During the special event, two newly minted coins were placed under the hull's first keel block. The ceremony was attended by two godmothers/madrinas - Alessandra Fontana (Explora Journeys' Chief Marketing Officer) and Ester Fugazzi (Fincantieri's Head of General Services), as well as by Pierfrancesco Vago (MSC Group's Executive Chairman) and Giuseppe Bono (Fincantieri's CEO).

Explora I's launch/float out from drydock was on May 30, 2022. The special event was attended by Pierfrancesco Vago, Claudio Graziano (Fincantieri's Chairman) and Pierroberto Folgiero (Fincantieri's CEO).

On June 7, 2022, MSC announced the name of Explora 1's Master - Serena Melani (Captain since 2016). On October 12th, MSC announced that the boat's alternating Captain is Diego Michelozzi (former Italian Navy officer).

Explora I's christening ceremony is currently scheduled for July 8, 2023, to be held at Port Civitavecchia-Rome. Following the official naming ceremony, the vessel will relocate to Southampton to start the 15-night Maiden Voyage (on July 17th) ending in Copenhagen.

Inaugural cruise 2023

Next table shows Explora I's MAIDEN VOYAGE itinerary (2023).

(CANCELED) 25-night/26-day "Inaugural Grand Journey into History Cruise" - priced from EUR 15770 / USD 16555 / GBP 13540 (per person with double occupancy).

Date / TimePort
31 May 21:00Departing from Barcelona, Spain
02 Jun 07:00 - 22:00Saint-Tropez, France
03 Jun 07:00 - 19:00Calvi, Corsica France
04 Jun 08:00 - 19:00Civitavecchia-Rome, Italy
06 Jun 08:00 - 18:00Argostoli, Kefalonia Island Greece
08 Jun 12:00 - 09 Jun 23:00 (overnight)Istanbul, Turkey
11 Jun 07:00 - 20:00Piraeus-Athens, Greece
12 Jun 07:00 - 18:00Patmos Island Greece
13 Jun 08:00 - 23:00Bodrum, Turkey
14 Jun 09:00 - 17:00Kastellorizo Island Greece
15 Jun 15:00 - 16 Jun 17:00 (overnight)Thira, Santorini Island Greece
17 Jun 07:00 - 18:00Piraeus-Athens, Greece
18 Jun 07:00 - 19 Jun 17:00 (overnight)Mykonos Island Greece
21 Jun 07:00 - 17:00Mgarr Harbour, Gozo Island Malta
23 Jun 09:00 - 24 Jun 17:00 (overnight)Ibiza Town, Ibiza Island, Balearic Spain
25 Jun 07:00Arriving in Barcelona

However, due to construction delays, this voyage was canceled in October 2022 and the Inaugural Cruise was rescheduled for July 17th.

(MAIDEN VOYAGE/2023) 15-night/16-day "A Maiden Journey into Epic Fjords and the Arctic Circle Cruise"

Date / TimePort
17 Jul 17:00Departing from Southampton, England UK
18 Jul 10:00 - 23:00Zeebrugge-Bruges, Belgium
21 Jul 07:00 - 08:30Hellesylt, Norway
21 Jul 10:30 - 19:00Geiranger, Norway
22 Jul 10:00 - 20:00Trondheim, Norway
23 Jul 10:00 - 23:00Molde, Norway
25 Jul 08:00 - 18:00Leknes-Gravdal, Vestvagoy Island, Lofoten Norway
26 Jul 08:00 - 17:00Bronnoysund, Norway
28 Jul 08:00 - 18:00Flam, Norway
29 Jul 07:00 - 18:00Bergen, Norway
30 Jul 08:00 - 16:00Stavanger, Norway
31 Jul 10:00 - 18:00Skagen, Denmark
01 Aug 06:00Arriving in Copenhagen, Denmark

The inaugural sailing was priced from EUR 8780 / USD 9250 / GBP 7520 pp.


MSC EXPLORA ship technology

All boats for the MSC brand Explora Journeys are constructed at Fincantieri's Monfalcone Shipyard (near Trieste Italy).

WIth Explora I's steel-cutting (June 10, 2021) was also officially launched MSC's expedition travel brand "Explora Journeys". The brand's mandala-inspired logo was designed by Alexa Aponte-Vago (MSC Group's CFO, MSC founder Gianluigi Aponte's daughter and Pierfrancesco Vago's wife).

MSC Explora Journeys logo

Explora Journeys' boats are fitted with the maritime industry's latest technologies for protecting the environment and also prepared to adopt alternative energy sources (hybrid powerplant) when they become widely available in the near future.

MSC EXPLORA-class ship design incorporates provisions for battery storage (allowing energy generation by a hybrid powerplant) as well as the latest SCR Systems (Selective Catalytic Reduction/aka wet scrubbers) technology for reducing nitrogen oxide/NOx emissions by 90%. Other environmental-supporting and energy-saving technologies implemented in all EXPLORA boats include optimized hull (covered with anti-fouling paint) and hydrodynamics, smart HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) system, USCD-approved ballastwater treatment plant, advanced wastewater treatment system, LED lighting (throughout), CII Trim Optimization software (optimizing the trim and draft to reduce main engines fuel consumption up to 3%).

The ships are fitted with shoreside power capabilities (for eliminating CO emissions while port-berthed) and advanced underwater noise management systems (for protecting marine life). All MSC EXPLORA ships also have a comprehensive range of onboard energy-efficient/power-saving equipment to optimize engine use and further reduce emissions.

Explora 1 and 2 are fitted with marine diesel engines running on LSFO (low sulfur fuel oil), Explora 3 and 4 are with LNG engines while Explora 5 and 6 are with LNG engines and hydrogen powerplants (fuel cell technology). All boats are RINA-certified (by RINA DOLPHIN) for reducing underwater noise and vibrations. By MSC's sustainable policies, single-use plastics are not used both on the ships and ashore.

In late-September 2020, Versonix Seaware announced that MSC's new brand will use the Versonix system for online cruise booking. Annually, Versonix serves 20+ million passengers and 100+ ships. Versonix (1986-founded) is a Silicon Valley company (headquartered in San Jose CA USA) specializing in hotel and resort reservation technologies. The company is run by Victor Velton (President) and Yuri Polissky (CEO).

In July 2022, MSC signed a contract with SES SA (Luxembourg-based owner and operator of satellites and terrestrial telecommunications networks) to provide "O3b mPower" (satellite connectivity) to Explora Journeys' fleet. SES' O3b mPower combines the company's second-generation MEO satellites (medium Earth orbit/ positioned ~8000 km / ~5000 mi above the earth) and GEO satellites (geosynchronous equatorial orbit/positioned at altitude~35800 km / 22300 mi).

On July 6, 2022, was signed the MoA for building two more MSC EXPLORA ships (Explora 5 and Explora 6), which are both LNG and hydrogen-powered - with engines running on LNG/liquefied natural gas and also fitted with a containment system for liquid hydrogen. The hydrogen powers a 6-MW/megawatt fuel cell to produce all the electricity needed for the onboard hotel operations. With Explora 5 (2027) and Explora 6 (2028), MSC's Explora Journeys investment totaled EUR 3,5 billion.

MSC EXPLORA-class vessels' initial cost was EUR 495 million (USD 600M) per unit. However, unlike the first pair of sisterships (Explora 1 and Explora 2), the second pair of sisterships (Explora 3 and Explora 4) have a higher building cost (EUR 615 million (USD 730 million, or +EUR 120M each) because of the LNG engines and the related design changes. This also delayed Explora Journeys' boats 3 and 4 deliveries that were rescheduled for 2026 (from 2025) and 2027 (from 2026), respectively.

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