MSC is to enter the luxury market with the launch of Explora Journeys, targeting well-heeled travellers who want to sail in style.
The first of four luxury ships, Explora l will debut in 2023 with the remaining ships in 2024, 2025 and 2026.
MSC’s entry into the five-star market is expected to challenge established luxury brands such as Crystal Cruises and Silversea.
The 922-passenger Explora luxury ship will offer all-inclusive voyages with 461 oceanfront suites and residences, generous outdoor decks, three outdoor pools and a fourth pool with retractable glass roof so that guests will be able to swim and relax by the poolside in any weather. There will also be indoor and outdoor whirlpools on the ship’s promenade deck, designed to “put guests in an ocean state of mind.”
Spacious suites starting at 35sq metres will have floor to ceiling windows and private terraces overlooking the sea. There will be nine restaurants on board the 14-deck ship focusing on “wholesome ingredients sustainably sourced from local partners.”
There will also be several indoor and outdoor bars and lounges.
“Relaxation begins the moment a guest steps aboard, not having to reach for their wallet for any additional costs,” the line said.
“Building a luxury brand that will redefine the cruise experience and create category of its own has been a long-held vision of mine and my family,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Group.
“Explora Journeys will be an ocean escape like no other, allowing guests to relax, make memories and cherish the time at sea with their loved ones. After all, time is the ultimate luxury.”
Explora l will offer seven-night journeys to Saint Tropez, Bordeaux and Reykjavik and hidden gems such as Kastellorizo, in Greece, Bozcaada in Turkey and the Lofoten Islands in Norway.
The itineraries will take guests to lesser-travelled harbours “to enjoy a more authentic experience and a slower pace of travel,” MSC said.
“Explora Journeys was designed for guests who want to stay longer, leave later and travel deeper,” said Michael Ungerer, CEO of Explora Journeys.
Built by Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, the luxury ships “will utilise state of the art technology to ensure we are leading the movement towards a more sustainable future,” added Mr Vago.
The new vessels will have ship-to-shore power capabilities to avoid CO2 emissions while at berth and powered by marine gas oil. Single-use plastics will not be used onboard the ships or on shore excursions.
Bookings for Explora l inaugural journeys will open later this year. For more information, visit ExploraJourneys.com,