Set to launch in July 2023, the 922-passenger Explora I will mark cruise giant MSC Group's move into the luxury expedition market. It is the first ship in the line's new Explora Journeys brand and the brand says it will take passengers on "journeys of discovery" to destinations "on and off the beaten path". Explora I will be joined by five sister ships, with one a year set to arrive until 2028,
Conceived in collaboration with superyacht and upscale hospitality designers, Explora I's 461 all-terrace (balcony) suites will start at an industry-leading 377 square feet. Each stateroom will have floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto a step-out veranda. The crew to passenger ratio on the ship will be a high 1.25 to 1.
The 18 food and beverage venues will include five all-inclusive restaurants featuring global cuisine. Food inspired by destinations visited will be showcased at live cooking stations in the Emporium Marketplace, such as sushi, pasta cooked to order and freshly baked pizza. This venue will also be open for breakfast. Reflecting the line's Mediterranean heritage, the Med Yacht Club will replicate a beachside restaurant with seafood sharing plates and other dishes from Italy, Spain, Greece, France and North Africa.
The Marble & Co. Grill steakhouse will feature an onboard dry ager with signature dishes including grilled prime rib aged for 30 days. French-influenced Fil Rouge will serve international cuisine in a contemporary setting, showcasing fish from the Mediterranean, while menus in pan-Asian Sakura will embrace Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese and Malaysian cuisines. Details of a sixth restaurant have yet to be announced.
The ship will have four swimming pools, including one with a retractable roof, and more than 27,000-square-feet of outdoor deck space with 64 private cabanas, hot tubs, and a large LED screen for Movies Under the Stars, images and videos. There will also be a spa and fitness center, with a separate studio for group classes and personal training sessions.
The line has also entered in a partnership with Steinway & Sons, and will have three Spirio player pianos onboard the ship. The line plans to bring in Steinway "guest artistes" as well for different shows and entertainment.
In partnership with Italy's Fincantieri shipyard, where Explora I and its sister ships are being constructed, the vessel will incorporate the latest eco-friendly technologies and be ready to adapt to alternative green energy solutions as they become available. The design incorporates provision for battery storage which will allow for future hybrid power generation.
Explora I will be able to use shore power while in port to reduce engine emissions while berthed. All four ships will be RINA DOLPHIN certified for reduced underwater noise in order to lessen the impacts on marine mammals. Single-use plastics will not be used onboard the ship, or offered during land-based excursions.
Explora 1 sets sail July 17, 2023 from Southampton on an itinerary that will visit Northern Europe.
Once Explora I has completed its first sailing, it will embark on its inaugural season that encompasses Iceland and Greenland, USA and Canada, the Caribbean, South America, Alaska and Hawaii with voyages that range from five-night sailings to a 43-night Northern European Grand Journey. Itineraries will include longer stays and overnights in ports to provide passengers with more time to explore ashore.
Explora I will be 64,000 gross tons and carry 922 passengers at double occupancy, with 700 crew.
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