MSC Explora 2

Former name: Exploria II

MSC Explora 2 current position

MSC Explora 2 current location is at West Mediterranean (coordinates 44.41955 N / 8.84258 E) cruising en route to SEA TRIALS. The AIS position was reported 2 minutes ago.

All Itineraries Current Position

Current itinerary of MSC Explora 2

MSC Explora 2 current cruise is 7 days, one-way from Civitavecchia-Rome to Tarragona. The itinerary starts on 16 Sep, 2024 and ends on 23 Sep, 2024.

Date / TimePort
16 Sep 20:00    Departing from Civitavecchia-Rome, Italy hotels
17 Sep 08:00 - 20:00    Sorrento, Italy
18 Sep 08:00 - 20:00    Lipari Island, Aeolian Islands Sicily
19 Sep 08:00 - 20:00    Trapani, Sicily Italy
20 Sep 12:00 - 22:00    Siracusa, Sicily Italy, Syracuse
21 Sep 08:00 - 15:00    Valletta, Malta
23 Sep 09:00    Arriving in Tarragona, Spain Costa Daurada hotels

Specifications of MSC Explora 2

Year of build2024 new ship
BuilderFincantieri (Sestri Ponente, Genoa Italy)
ClassMSC EXPLORA
Building costEUR 495 million (USD 600 million)
Engines (power)Wartsila (38.4 MW / 51495 hp)
Propulsion power20 MW / 26820 hp
Speed18 kn / 33 km/h / 21 mph
Length (LOA)248 m / 814 ft
Beam (width)32 m / 105 ft
Gross Tonnage64000 gt
Passengers922 - 1473
Crew640
Decks13
Cabins461
Decks with cabins5
Sister-shipsMSC Explora 1, MSC Explora 3, MSC Explora 4, MSC Explora 5, MSC Explora 6
Former namesExploria II
Christened bytba
OwnerMediterranean Shipping Company (MSC Group) via MSC Crociere SpA
OperatorMSC Cruises (via MSC Explora Journeys)

MSC Explora 2 Itineraries

DateItineraryDeparture PortPrice from
2024 Sep 16 7 days, one-way from Civitavecchia-Rome to Tarragona Civitavecchia-Rome
2024 Sep 23 7 days, one-way from Tarragona to Civitavecchia-Rome Tarragona
2024 Sep 30 6 days, one-way from Civitavecchia-Rome to Barcelona Civitavecchia-Rome
2024 Sep 30 16 days, one-way from Civitavecchia-Rome to Barcelona Civitavecchia-Rome
2024 Oct 06 10 days, round-trip A Journey of Iberian Wonders and Moroccan Mystique Barcelona
2024 Oct 06 19 days, round-trip An Extended Journey to Iberian Ideals and North African Gems Barcelona
2024 Oct 16 9 days, round-trip A Journey to Stars of Casablanca and the Coast of Granada Barcelona
2024 Oct 25 11 days, round-trip A Journey of Sangria, Saints and Salsa Soires Barcelona
2024 Oct 25 28 days, one-way from Barcelona to Miami Barcelona
2024 Nov 05 10 days, one-way from Barcelona to Bridgetown Barcelona
2024 Nov 05 17 days, one-way from Barcelona to Miami Barcelona
2024 Nov 15 7 days, one-way from Bridgetown to Miami Bridgetown
2024 Nov 22 7 days, one-way from Miami to San Juan Miami
2024 Nov 22 14 days, round-trip An Extended Journey of Caribbean Rhythms Miami
2024 Nov 29 7 days, one-way from San Juan to Miami San Juan
2024 Nov 29 14 days, one-way from San Juan to Bridgetown San Juan
2024 Dec 06 7 days, one-way from Miami to Bridgetown Miami
2024 Dec 06 14 days, round-trip An Extended Journey of Colourful Caribbean Escapes Miami
2024 Dec 13 7 days, one-way from Bridgetown to Miami Bridgetown
2024 Dec 20 7 days, one-way from Miami to San Juan Miami
2024 Dec 27 9 days, one-way from San Juan to Miami San Juan
2025 Jan 05 9 days, round-trip A Journey to Frangipani Breezes and Lyrical French Harbours Miami
2025 Jan 14 10 days, round-trip A Journey into Creole Culture and Sainted Harbours Miami
2025 Jan 14 21 days, round-trip An Extended Journey to Southern Serenity and Caribbean Dreaming Miami
2025 Jan 14 31 days, round-trip A Grand Journey from the Mississippi Delta to Mayan Kingdoms Miami
2025 Jan 24 11 days, round-trip A Journey into Creole Culture and Sainted Harbours Miami
2025 Jan 24 21 days, round-trip An Extended Journey from Caribbean Isles to Central America Miami
2025 Feb 04 10 days, round-trip A Journey to the Forgotten Worlds of the Riviera Maya Miami
2025 Feb 04 17 days, one-way from Miami to San Juan Miami
2025 Feb 14 7 days, one-way from Miami to San Juan Miami
2025 Feb 14 14 days, one-way from Miami to Bridgetown Miami
2025 Feb 21 7 days, one-way from San Juan to Bridgetown San Juan
2025 Feb 21 14 days, round-trip An Extended Journey of Caribbean Culture San Juan
2025 Feb 28 7 days, one-way from Bridgetown to San Juan Bridgetown
2025 Feb 28 14 days, one-way from Bridgetown to Miami Bridgetown
2025 Mar 07 7 days, one-way from San Juan to Miami San Juan
2025 Mar 14 14 days, one-way from Miami to Lisbon Miami
2025 Mar 28 6 days, one-way from Lisbon to Barcelona Lisbon
2025 Apr 03 11 days, round-trip A Journey to Moroccan Mystique and Volcanic Isles Barcelona
2025 Apr 14 9 days, one-way from Barcelona to Civitavecchia-Rome Barcelona
2025 Apr 23 11 days, one-way from Civitavecchia-Rome to Barcelona Civitavecchia-Rome
2025 May 04 9 days, round-trip A Journey to White-Walled Cities and Moorish Citadels Barcelona
2025 May 13 7 days, one-way from Barcelona to Civitavecchia-Rome Barcelona
2025 May 26 7 days, one-way from Monte Carlo to Barcelona Monte Carlo
2025 Jun 02 7 days, one-way from Barcelona to Civitavecchia-Rome Barcelona
2025 Jun 09 7 days, one-way from Civitavecchia-Rome to Barcelona Civitavecchia-Rome
2025 Jun 16 7 days, one-way from Barcelona to Civitavecchia-Rome Barcelona
2025 Jun 23 7 days, one-way from Civitavecchia-Rome to Barcelona Civitavecchia-Rome
2025 Jun 30 7 days, one-way from Barcelona to Civitavecchia-Rome Barcelona
2025 Jul 07 7 days, one-way from Civitavecchia-Rome to Barcelona Civitavecchia-Rome
2025 Jul 14 7 days, one-way from Barcelona to Civitavecchia-Rome Barcelona
2025 Jul 21 7 days, one-way from Civitavecchia-Rome to Barcelona Civitavecchia-Rome
2025 Jul 28 7 days, one-way from Barcelona to Civitavecchia-Rome Barcelona
2025 Aug 04 7 days, one-way from Civitavecchia-Rome to Barcelona Civitavecchia-Rome
2025 Aug 11 7 days, one-way from Barcelona to Civitavecchia-Rome Barcelona
2025 Aug 18 7 days, one-way from Civitavecchia-Rome to Barcelona Civitavecchia-Rome
2025 Aug 25 7 days, one-way from Barcelona to Civitavecchia-Rome Barcelona
2025 Sep 01 7 days, one-way from Civitavecchia-Rome to Barcelona Civitavecchia-Rome
2025 Sep 08 7 days, one-way from Barcelona to Civitavecchia-Rome Barcelona
2025 Sep 15 7 days, one-way from Civitavecchia-Rome to Barcelona Civitavecchia-Rome
2025 Sep 22 7 days, one-way from Barcelona to Civitavecchia-Rome Barcelona
2025 Sep 29 7 days, one-way from Civitavecchia-Rome to Barcelona Civitavecchia-Rome
2025 Oct 06 7 days, one-way from Barcelona to Civitavecchia-Rome Barcelona
2025 Oct 13 9 days, one-way from Civitavecchia-Rome to Barcelona Civitavecchia-Rome
2025 Oct 22 11 days, round-trip A Journey to Cosmopolitan Casablanca and Castaway Canaries Barcelona
2025 Nov 02 9 days, round-trip A Journey of Cava, Castanets and Moroccan Mystique Barcelona
2025 Nov 11 17 days, one-way from Barcelona to Miami Barcelona
2025 Nov 28 7 days, round-trip A Journey of Yucatan Treasures and Mayan Relics Miami
2025 Dec 05 9 days, one-way from Miami to Bridgetown Miami
2025 Dec 14 8 days, one-way from Bridgetown to Miami Bridgetown
2025 Dec 22 7 days, one-way from Miami to San Juan Miami
2025 Dec 29 7 days, one-way from San Juan to Miami San Juan
2026 Jan 05 10 days, round-trip A Journey from Majestic Barrier Reefs to Mystical Jungle Ruins Miami
2026 Jan 15 10 days, round-trip A Journey of Miami Magnetism and Lesser Antilles Allure Miami
2026 Jan 25 10 days, round-trip A Journey Bridging the Big Easy and Ancient Maya Miami
2026 Feb 04 10 days, round-trip A Journey of Miami Magnetism and Lesser Antilles Allure Miami
2026 Feb 14 10 days, round-trip A Journey Bridging the Big Easy and Mystical Ancient Maya Miami
2026 Feb 24 7 days, one-way from Miami to San Juan Miami
2026 Mar 03 7 days, one-way from San Juan to Miami San Juan

MSC Explora 2 Review

Review of MSC Explora 2

The 2024-built MSC Explora 2 cruise ship ("Explora II", currently under construction) is the second in a series of six MSC EXPLORA-class expedition ships, with sisters Explora 1 (2023), 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 9869887) will be Malta-flagged (MMSI tba) and registered in Valletta. The delivery is currently planned for April 2024.

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 2nd 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 3rd largest cruise shipowner - following only Carnival Corporation and RCG-Royal Caribbean Group.

MSC Explora 2 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 II'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 II 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 / 3015 ft2), with indoor space 155 m2 (1670 ft2) and aft-facing wraparound balcony (sized 125 m2 / 1345 ft2) with an infinity whirlpool.

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, and reservations assistance (onboard and ashore).

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

MSC Explora 2 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). Anthology Restaurant is the venue where celebrity chefs (who attend select voyages as guests) create special menus in collaboration with Franck Garanger (Explora Journeys’ Head Chef).
  • 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 and breads, charcuterie/cured meats station, fromagerie/cheese station, boulangerie/bakery; beverages station/soft drinks, brand teas and coffees, fresh juices, wines and champagne)
  • Fil Rouge (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)

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).

The onboard shops include the first at-sea Rolex Boutique, via an exclusive partnership (signed in June 2023) between Explora Journeys and Rolex SA (1905-founded, Geneva-based watch designer and manufacturer). The shop is dedicated to the ultra-luxury Swiss watch brand and offers for purchasing an extensive selection of models including from the renowned Rolex Oyster Perpetual series.

Another signature retail store is the "Watch and Jewelry Shop" (introduced in July 2023) selling the Swiss ultra-premium watch brands Cartier, Panerai, and Piaget.

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).

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.

 

Journey Together Gatherings (shipboard family program)

In May 2023 Explora Journeys introduced the shipboard program "Journey Together Gatherings".

The program targets multi-generational families and features a dedicated children's lounge (Nautilus Club/ for both kids and teenagers), various destination-themed family experiences, complimentary land-to-ship transfers.

The Nautilus Club hosts age-appropriate supervised activities (for children aged 6-17) including interactive gaming (on PlayStation 5, PlayStation VR2, Nintendo Switch, Xbox), sports contests, fun workshops and games. Nautilus Club has its own heated swimming pools and a Sports Court.

Each Explora ship has a total of 82 interconnecting staterooms (designed for families with children) in three categories - Ocean Suite, Ocean Penthouse, and Ocean Residence. In each of the family cabins, one minor passenger (under-18) cruises for free.

All infants and toddlers (6-23-month-old kids) sail free while 2-17 years-old kids sail at 50% off.

Itineraries

MSC Explora Journeys' itinerary program is based mainly 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.

Explora II's inaugural cruise season (August 2024 through April 2025) was announced in December 2022, when MSC opened the ship for booking (on Dec 6th). The maiden season's schedule listed 39 itineraries (including 14 longer) visiting 82 ports/destinations in 26 different countries.

The program started in the Mediterranean (Italy, Croatia, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Israel), followed a Suez Canal transit to Red Sea (Egypt and Saudi Arabia) and the Arabian Gulf (UAE and Qatar). Followed destinations in the Indian Ocean - India, Seychelles, Maldives, Mauritius, and Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar, South Africa).

However, due to delayed delivery (postponed to September), the summer schedule was canceled. Explora II's Inaugural Cruise is currently scheduled for September 16, 2024. The 7-night itinerary starts in Civitavecchia-Rome, visits Sorrento, Lipari Island, Sicily Island (Trapani and Siracusa), Malta/Valletta and ends in Tarragona.

The next table shows the canceled Maiden Voyage (21-day from Barcelona to Venice/Marghera Port) originally scheduled for 2024. Prices started from EUR 13640 / USD 14850 pp with double occupancy.

Date / TimePort
12 Aug 17:00Departing from Barcelona, Spain
13 Aug 07:00 - 19:00Port Mahon, Menorca Island, Balearic Spain
15 Aug 07:00 - 16 Aug 18:00 (overnight)Civitavecchia-Rome, Italy
17 Aug 10:00 - 22:00Palermo, Sicily Island Italy
19 Aug 08:00 - 22:00Kerkyra, Corfu Island Greece
21 Aug 07:00 - 22 Aug 18:00Mykonos Island, Greece
23 Aug 07:00 - 18:00Piraeus-Athens, Greece
25 Aug 07:00 - 19:00Paphos, Cyprus Island Greece
27 Aug 07:00 - 23:00Kusadasi-Ephesus, Turkey
28 Aug 17:00 - 29 Aug 19:00 (overnight)Thira, Santorini Island Greece
30 Aug 09:00 - 18:00Kalamata, Greece
31 Aug 08:00 - 20:00Argostoli, Kefalonia Island Greece
02 Sep 07:00Arriving in Marghera-Venice, Italy

The voyage was also available for booking as a shorter segment (11-day from Barcelona to Athens) priced from EUR 7715 / USD 8400 pp.

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MSC Explora 2 ship related cruise news

MSC Explora 2 Wiki

The vessel (Fincantieri Monfalcone yard/hull number 6320) has volume 63900 GT-tons, DWT-deadweight tonnage 7500 tons, max draught 7 m. The powerplant is based on 4x Wartsila marine diesel engines (model 8L46F) with combined output 38,4 MW (51500 hp). The propulsion is PEM fuel-cell-battery hybrid (based on 2x motors) with combined output 20 MW (26820 hp). The registered shipowner is MSC CROCIERE SPA, while the registered manager is MSC MEDITERRANEAN SHIPPING CO.

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.

The collective investment for the 4 units (~EUR 2.3 billion) had the potential to generate a substantial economic impact of EUR 10+ billion on the Italian economy, including employment, as each unit's construction requires 7+ million manhours of work and an average workforce of 2500 individuals for a span of 2+ years.

MSC Explora-Class cruise ship (Explora Journeys)

MSC Explora 2 vessel's construction officially started on October 6, 2021, with the steel-cutting ceremony held at Regio Cantiere di Castellammare di Stabia (Royal Dockyard of Castellammare di Stabia/near Naples). The boat will be constructed at Fincantieri's Sestri Ponente Shipyard (in Genoa). The special event was attended by Pierfrancesco Vago (MSC's Executive Chairman), Michael Ungerer (Explora Journeys' CEO) and Luigi Matarazzo (Fincantieri's General Manager Merchant Ships).

Explora 2's physical construction/assembly started with the keel-laying ceremony at Fincantieri's shipyard in Castellammare di Stabia held on May 5, 2022, attended by Michael Ungerer (Explora Journeys' CEO). During the special event, two newly minted coins were placed under the hull's first keel block.

Explora 2's coin ceremony was held at Fincantieri's Sestri Ponente shipyard on February 8, 2023. It was led by two godmothers - Feliciana Maresca (Explora Journeys' CEO's Executive Assistant) and Martina Mosca (Fincantieri's Hull Fabrication Department Supervisor). The special event was also attended by Pierfrancesco Vago MSC Group) and Michael Ungerer (Explora Journeys' CEO) and Pierroberto Folgiero (Fincantieri's CEO and Managing Director).

Explora II was launched/floated out from drydock on September 6, 2023, at Sestri Ponente, and on the same day officially started the construction of Explora 3 (steel-cutting ceremony). The special dual event was attended by Michael Ungerer, Pierroberto Folgiero, Leonardo Massa (Explora Journeys Italy's Managing Director), Luigi Matarazzo (Fincantieri Merchant Ships Division's General Manager). At the ceremony were also present VIP guests like Giovanni Toti (Liguria Region's President), Marco Bucci (Genoa's Mayor), Renato Franceschelli (Genoa's Prefect), Orazio D'Anna (Genoa's Police Commissioner).

The 3-day sea trials were successfully completed in the period June 4-7, 2024.

On June 20, 2024, Explora Journeys and Fincantieri officially announced their decision to postpone Explora II's delivery from August 10th to September 12th (2024). The vessel is currently scheduled for delivery on September 12th and inauguration (Maiden Voyage from Rome) on Sept 16th.

The next table shows the inaugural cruise itinerary (7-day).

Date / TimePort
16 Sep 20:00Departing from Civitavecchia-Rome, Italy
17 Sep 08:00 - 20:00Sorrento, Italy
18 Sep 08:00 - 20:00Lipari Island, Aeolian Islands Sicily
19 Sep 08:00 - 20:00Trapani, Sicily Italy
20 Sep 12:00 - 22:00Siracusa, Sicily Italy
21 Sep 08:00 - 15:00Valletta, Malta
23 Sep 09:00Arriving in Tarragona, Spain Costa Daurada

Godspeed!

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 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 Explora 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 board 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.