Luxury cruise line Explora Journeys will christen its first ship, Explora I, at a ceremony in New York on October 12, 2023. She is the first of six vessels planned for the new line, which is a brand of MSC Group, owner of MSC Cruises.

New York’s Manhattan Cruise Terminal is the site of a maritime celebration planned for October 12, 2023, when Explora Journeys’ first ship, Explora I, is officially named by her godmother, Dr. Sylvia Earle, the noted marine biologist, oceanographer, and explorer.

Officials from Explora Journeys, its parent company MSC Group, industry VIPs, and travel partners will be among the guests marking the occasion, which will feature a gala dinner and entertainment.

The 922-guest all-suite ship was delivered to Explora Journeys by the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, on July 20, 2023, and sailed her inaugural cruise on August 1, 2023, from Copenhagen. The ship’s delivery was about three weeks late, due to supply chain and other issues. The delay caused the cancellation of her originally planned christening ceremony in Rome on July 8, 2023.

Explora I (Photo Credit: Gail Heaton / Shutterstock)

Explora I offers 461 oceanfront suites, penthouses and residences, all featuring the line’s “Home at Sea” ambience, with round-the-clock concierge and dining services, private terraces, and many other luxury amenities.

The ship offers six dining venues and a dozen bars and lounges. Outdoor spaces include four pools and private cabanas.

In the world of luxury travel, Explora I is a game-changer. We are offering journeys that redefine the very essence of luxurious ocean travel. We are looking to attract a wider group of discerning travelers who have experienced the finest luxury land-based resorts but seek more value, more authenticity, and a deeper connection to the world,said Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of the Cruise Division at MSC Group.

Following the christening ceremony, Explora I will depart the Manhattan Cruise Terminal on October 13, 2023 to sail a 7-night itinerary to Quebec City, Canada. Port calls include Boston and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

On October 20, 2023, the ship will depart Quebec City for Miami, sailing a 14-night repositioning cruise with calls at Gaspe, Quebec Province; Halifax; Saint John, Newfoundland; Portland, Maine; New York; Port Canaveral; and Miami.

EXPLORA I in Southampton, UK (Photo Courtesy: Explora Journeys)

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Starting on November 3, 2023, Explora I will begin a winter season series of 7- to 14-night Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Miami, and between Miami, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Bridgetown, Barbados. In spring 2024, the ship will offer US West Coast sailings and Hawaii cruises before repositioning to the Mediterranean for a summer series of voyages.

Along with all of her future sister ships, Explora I is equipped with state-of-the-art environmental technologies such as shore power connectivity, underwater noise management systems, and onboard processes for reduced emissions.

The cruise line’s environmental policies made Dr. Sylvia Earle a perfect choice for godmother. Earle is the founder and chairman of Mission Blue, a global coalition dedicated to supporting a worldwide network of marine protected areas, called Hope Spots.

“I am honored to be the Godmother for Explora I and look forward to a meaningful relationship between Mission Blue, Explora Journeys and the MSC Foundation towards making a very positive contribution to protect and restore the world’s seas and oceans,” said Dr. Sylvia Earle.

Explora Journeys has contracted with Fincantieri to build all of its ships in a deal worth 3.5 billion euro ($3.6 billion US) during the next six years. Explora II is scheduled to enter service in summer 2024, while Explora III and Explora IV will launch in 2026 and 2027, respectively. Both will be powered by liquified natural gas.

Explora V and Explora VI will enter service in 2027 and 2028, respectively, each with more advanced clean-energy technologies, including the ability to use bio and synthetic gas, and liquid hydrogen with fuel cells, which will eliminate all carbon emissions while docked with hotel operations running.

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