By Gerry Barker
MIAMI BEACH_Small ship, luxury expedition cruising is one of the fastest-growing segments in the industry, especially in the wake of the pandemic. Here at Seatrade Cruise Global, media got more details from one of the newest entrants, MSC's Explora Journeys.
Explora Journeys CEO Michael Ungerer talked about how MSC's first foray into the luxury cruise market has been in the works for over two years, and its first ship, Explora I, will launch in May, 2023.
Ungerer noted this "new brand was created from scratch with a long term perspective that only a family-owned company can provide." Explora I will accommodate 922 passengers and have a crew of 700.
With the aim of creating an "ocean state of mind," Ungerer said they are dedicated to providing exploration in all its forms, with a focus on "experiences and memories" in a "vibrant, cosmopolitan, European luxury setting."
Among the details he shared:
-- Explora I will have 461 oceanfront suites and residences, all with private terraces.
-- It will have 67,000 suare feet of outdoor decks.
-- Four pools, including one with a retractable glass roof.
-- Nine culinary options, curated by noted chef Franck Garanger, who held previous roles with Silversea and Oceania.
-- A 10,000 square-foot spa and wellness center.
Ungerger said in its first year the ship will visit 132 ports in 40 countries, offering guests immersive and even unique destination experiences. He also emphasized the company's commitment to sustainability, protecting the environment and supporting local communities. "Our brand pillar is respect," he said, and "sustainability is the new craftsmanship."
Following the launch of Explora 1 in 2023, three more ships are planned from 2024-2026.
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