MSC Group’s luxury ocean brand, Explora Journeys, is set to soon welcome its second ship to its fleet as Explora II has successfully completed its sea trials.

The ship, which has been under construction at Fincantieri shipyard in Italy since its steel cutting in October 2021, is in its final phases. She is anticipated to begin her first cruise season in the Mediterranean on August 11, 2024.

The 63,900-gross-ton vessel completed its sea trials in Sestri Ponente near Genoa, Italy, incorporated with advanced environmental technologies.

Explora II Sea Trials (Photo Courtesy: Explora Journeys)

These include a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system that reduces nitrogen oxide emissions by 90%, an advanced wastewater treatment system meeting the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Baltic Standard, and a U.S. Coast Guard-approved ballast water treatment system.

With sustainability as a focus, the ship is also equipped with ship-to-shore power connectivity to minimize engine use in port, state-of-the-art recycling and solid waste management systems, and a RINA Dolphin-certified underwater noise reduction system to protect marine life.

Explora II, which was first floated out on September 6, 2023, also features a hull design and optimized hydrodynamics to reduce fuel consumption and enhance performance.

Its sea trials were a series of tests to assess its performance, seaworthiness, and compliance with design specifications and regulatory standards. Carried out in open waters, the trials include evaluating the ship’s speed, maneuverability, stability, and safety equipment, as well as testing engine performance, navigation systems, and operational systems such as HVAC, plumbing, and electrical networks.

MSC Group’s Cruise Division Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago expressed the company’s excitement over the construction progress. He said, “The launch of Explora I last year was the realization of a long-held family dream to offer guests unmatched luxury at sea experience. Explora II successfully completing her sea trials is the next milestone on our Explora journey.”

Explora III, also being built at Fincantieri, is expected to debut in 2026. The ship will be the first in the fleet to be powered by liquified natural gas (LNG), further improving Explora Journey’s sustainability features.

Explora II aims to set new standards in luxury ocean travel. The ship will feature 14 decks with 178,680 square feet of public space, offering a high guest-to-space ratio and a 1:1.25 host-to-guest ratio to ensure personalized service.

The vessel will also feature 461 oceanfront suites with an average size of 452 square feet, encompassing a variety of accommodations, from the Owner’s Residence to Ocean Grand Terrace Suites.

Photo Courtesy: Explora Journeys (MSC)

Dining options on Explora II will include 11 culinary experiences across six restaurants and 12 bars and lounges, while wellness facilities will feature both indoor and outdoor areas. The spa will be outfitted with nine treatment rooms, a beauty salon, and a hydrotherapy pool.

Additionally, the ship will provide passengers with multiple swimming pools, including one beneath a retractable roof, and 64 private cabanas.

“In summer 2024, discerning travelers will now have the opportunity to travel on our two ships on carefully created and combinable itineraries both in the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, embarking from easy access ports and uncovering hidden gems in lesser traveled destinations,” said Vago.

Read Also: Construction Milestones Reached for Two Cruise Ships

Explora II is scheduled to launch on its inaugural voyage on August 11, 2024. The 8-night journey will depart from Barcelona, Spain, and call on Ibiza, Spain; Marseille, France; Monaco; and Genoa, Portofino, and Porto Santo Stefano, Italy, before arriving in Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, on August 19.

The 922-passenger ship will then begin a series of voyages between homeports in Barcelona and Rome. Additional calls will take the luxury liner to Siracusa, Portofino, and Trapani, Italy; Alghero and Porto Cervo, Sardinia; Ajaccio, Corsica; Tunis, Tunisia; St. Tropez, France; and La Valletta, Malta, with a sprinkling of smaller, less-visited destinations around the Med.

MSC Group welcomed its first ship, Explora I, from Fincantieri in July 2023. Its maiden voyage was in August 2023. The ship is currently making its way to the Mediterranean for the summer on a transatlantic journey and will arrive in Barcelona on June 19.

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