Explora III Review

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Rendering of Explora III (Photo: Explora Journeys)
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Jeannine Williamson
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Explora Journeys' Explora III, the third ship in the MSC Group's luxury lifestyle ocean travel brand, is due to enter service in the summer of 2026. It will be the first in the Explora fleet to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is currently the cleanest marine fuel.

Explora III follows the 922-passenger Explora I and Explora II, which debuted in 2023 and 2024 respectively. Continuing the line's ongoing expansion will be followed by three more vessels -- two scheduled to launch in 2027 and one in 2028 -- representing a total fleet investment of €3.5 billion ($3.8 billion).

Explora III Deck Plans Expected to Feature Large Suites and Six Restaurants

While Explora Journeys has yet to announce full details of the ship -- aside from the new LNG propulsion system -- it is expected to be almost identical to Explora I and Explora II in terms of accommodations and public areas.

Therefore, it is likely Explora III will have 461 ocean facing suites which are described by Explora Journeys as "Homes at Sea". The current breakdown of cabins in the first two ships is 371 Ocean Terrace and Ocean Grand Terrace Suites, 67 Ocean Penthouses, 27 Ocean Residences and one Owner's Residence. These 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 also 82 interconnecting suites on Explora I and Explora II.

It is also expected there will be six restaurants, with menus inspired by the destinations and international cuisines, plus 12 bars and lounges. Elsewhere, there will be indoor and outdoor pools, whirlpools, private cabanas and poolside dining.

The ship is being constructed at Italy's Fincantieri shipyard, which is building all six Explora Journeys' vessels. 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 the fleet more aligned to the looks of a superyacht rather than a traditional cruise ship.

Explora III Will Feature the Latest Green Technology

The MSC Group has set a target of reaching zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. To help reach this goal, the ship being constructed at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy is equipped with the latest environmental and marine technologies. These include shore power plug-in connectivity to avoid any emissions while berthed and underwater noise management systems to lessen the impact on marine life. The Explora fleet is also being designed to be able to adapt to the latest energy-saving solutions when they become available.

When will Explora III Make its Maiden Voyage?

The ship is scheduled to enter service in the summer of 2026. The exact date and details of Explora III's inaugural voyage and maiden season have not yet been announced.

Explora III Stats

The ship will be around 63,900 gross tons and carry 922 passengers at full occupancy with 640 crew members.

About

Passengers: 922
Crew: 640
Passenger to Crew: 1.44:1
Launched: 2026

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