Explora II, the second ship in the MSC Group's new luxury brand Explora Journeys, will launch in the summer of 2024. The 922-passenger vessel is the sister ship to Explora I, which debuts in 2023, and will be followed each year by four more ships representing a total investment of Euros 3.5 billion. With a crew to passenger ratio of 1.25 to 1, the ship will provide high levels of personal service as it sails to worldwide destinations.
Described as "Homes at Sea", Explora II has 461 ocean facing suites. They comprise 371 Ocean Terrace and Ocean Grand Terrace Suites, 67 Ocean Penthouses, 27 Ocean Residences and one Owner's Residence. The staterooms range in size from 377 square feet in the Ocean Terrace Suites category to 3,014 square feet for the Owner's Residence, making them among the most spacious in the industry. There are 82 interconnecting suites.
The accommodations reflect the all-inclusive nature of Explora Journeys with a welcome bottle of Champagne on arrival, a bottle of wine and a bottle of spirit of the passenger's choice and an in-room mini-bar.
Explora Journeys engaged British designer Martin Francis, who has been involved in yacht design since 1980, as part of the creative team with the brief to make the exterior profile of Explora II more aligned to the looks of a superyacht rather than a traditional cruise ship.
When it's time to eat, the ship has a choice of six main restaurants with menus inspired by the destinations visited and featuring local and fresh ingredients taking inspiration from the destinations visited. Explora Journeys has announced details of five of the restaurants, which will feature all-inclusive menus that include unique signature dishes influenced by a variety of international cuisines. They are pan-Asian Sakura inspired by the ancient tea rooms of Kyoto in Japan; Marble & Co. Grill steakhouse; casual Med Yacht Club serving sharing plates; French-influenced Fil Rouge; and the Emporium Marketplace with live cooking stations; and the fine dining Anthology restaurant will feature specialties from guest chefs from around the world. As well as familiar labels, wine lists will include vintages from lesser-known boutique vineyards.
Other food venues include a private dining room, Italian gelateria and French creperie, all-day European-style cafe and traditional afternoon tea served in the Explora Lounge.
Bars include the panoramic Sky Bar situated high on deck 14 and Malt, a whiskey and cigar bar with rare whiskeys, a walk-in humidor and cigar smoking terrace.
Elsewhere, there are three outdoor pools -- including the Helios adult-only pool with its own bar -- and one indoor pool with retractable glass roof, 64 private cabanas, indoor and outdoor whirlpools and poolside dining.
Spanning 10,440 square feet, the Ocean Wellness area will include indoor and outdoor spa and fitness facilities. These include two VIP double spa suites with a private outdoor deck and shower, nine treatment rooms, a thermal area, gym and outdoor running track.
Explora Journeys has entered into a partnership with Steinway & Sons, the top-of-the-line piano manufacturer. Like the rest of the ships in the fleet, Explora II will have three Steinway Spirio automatic player pianos onboard for entertainment; Steinway "guest artistes" will also be invited onboard on different itineraries and entertainment will also feature local talent from destinations visited.
From flying in a fighter jet to embarking on an adventure with a real-life explorer, the line says it will offer "haute couture" and "tailor-made" experiences in addition to a curated program of destination experiences (which is how Explora describes shore tours). The line is working with luminaries and well-known names in different fields, such as exploration, that have never previously worked in collaboration with a cruise line. As well as adrenaline-fuelled activities there will be plenty of gentler options that provide an authentic taste of destinations visited, such as cookery classes showcasing ingredients from destinations visited.
Designed to help the MSC Group move towards its goal of reaching its goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the ship being constructed at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy is equipped with environmentally friendly technologies.
It is RINA DOLPHIN certified to reduce underwater noise and lessen the impact on marine mammals and can use shore power in port to avoid any emissions while berthed. It has also been designed to adapt to alternative energy-saving solutions when they become available.
Explora II's inaugural sailing will be the 11-night Maiden Journey of Mediterranean Anticipation itinerary, sailing from Barcelona to Athens (Piraeus), departing on August 12, 2024.
The line says its itineraries are designed to take passengers on "journeys of discovery" to destinations "on and off the beaten path". After the maiden voyage Explora II will embark on a series of Mediterranean cruises to ports in Italy, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Croatia before transiting the Suez Canal to sail in Egypt. This will be followed by itineraries in the Arabian Gulf before sailing to India and on to the Seychelles, Maldives and Africa.
Itineraries will feature longer stays and overnights in ports to provide passengers with plenty of time to explore ashore.
The ship is 63,900 gross tons and carries 922 passengers at full occupancy with 640 crew.
Sign Up for Price Drop Alerts
Get Explora II price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email