Specifications of MSC Explora 1
|Year built||2023 new ship|
|Builder||Fincantieri (Monfalcone, Italy)|
|Building cost||EUR 495 million (USD 600 million)|
|Owner||Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC Group) via MSC Crociere SpA|
|Operator||MSC Cruises (via MSC Explora Journeys)|
|Gross Tonnage||64000 gt|
|Decks with cabins||5|
|Sister-ships||MSC Explora 2, MSC Explora 3, MSC Explora 4|
|Former names||Exploria I|
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 four MSC EXPLORA-class expedition ships, with sisters Explora 2 (2024), Explora 3 (2025) and Explora 4 (2026). These boats are owned by MSC and operated as a separate fleet under the company's new luxury brand MSC EXPLORA JOURNEYS.
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.
What is known so far is that the cruise ship offers plenty of interior public spaces, 2500+ m2 (~27000 ft2) of exterior deck spaces, spacious Sundeck (with 64 private cabanas), three outdoor swimming pools (two aft, one forward), one midship swimming pool covered by a retractable glass roof (with 2-deck sunbathing area and a large LED screen for movies, Ultra-HD images and videos, real-time sea views), 9x different dining options (restaurants and food bars), modern wellness complex (with indoor-outdoor Spa and Gym, treatment rooms, latest fitness equipment, separate Studio /for group classes, personal training sessions).
All public facilities (restaurants, lounges, bars) are with floor-ceiling windows with 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 passenger-to-crew ratio of 1,25 guarantees attentive services by a dedicated staff.
Decks and cabins
All MSC Explora I staterooms (461 total) are outside and in Suite categories. Each cabin is fitted with floor-ceiling windows that open to a step-out balcony. Cabin sizes start at 35 m2 (375 ft2), making the ship's accommodations one of the biggest in the luxury ship travel industry.
Like the large MSC liners, all Explora Journeys ships provide complimentary 24-hour "MSC Yacht Club" butler service.
The boat has 14 decks, of which 5 are with cabins.
Bookings for Explora Journeys (MSC Explora 1's inaugural cruise season 2023) are expected to open in 2021-Q3.
The ship'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).
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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 contracts 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 consists of 29 vessels.
- The Fincantieri Monfalcone-built EXPLORA-class vessels have building cost EUR 495 million (USD 600M) per unit.
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 1 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 boat will be constructed at Fincantieri's Monfalcone Shipyard (near Trieste Italy). The special event was attended by Pierfrancesco Vago (MSC's Executive Chairman), Michael Ungerer (Explora Journeys' CEO) and Fabio Gallia (Fincantieri's General Manager).
WIth Explora I's steel-cutting 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).
Explora Journeys' boats are fitted 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 (Selective Catalytic Reduction/aka wet scrubbers) technology for reducing NOx emissions by 90%. The ships are fitted with shoreside power capabilities (for eliminating CO emissions while port-berthed) and marine diesel engines running on LSFO (low sulfur fuel oil).
The four boats will be 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).
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