Set to launch in May 2023, the 922-passenger Explora 1 will mark cruise giant MSC Cruises' move into the luxury expedition market. It is the first ship in the line's new Explora Journeys brand and MSC says it will take passengers on "journeys of discovery" to destinations "on and off the beaten path". Explora 1 will be joined by three sister ships, launching between 2024 and 2026.
Conceived in collaboration with superyacht and upscale hospitality designers, Explora 1's 461 all 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 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 be nine different dining options, a spa, and fitness center with a separate studio for group classes and personal training sessions.
In partnership with Italy's Fincantieri shipyard, where Explora 1 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 1 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 May 31, 2023 on the 10-night An Inaugural Journey Into History itinerary from Barcelona to Athens.
Once Explora 1 has completed its first sailing, it will embark on its inaugural season in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Iceland and Greenland, USA and Canada, the Caribbean, South America, 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 1 will be 64,000 gross tons and carry 922 passengers at double occupancy, with 700 crew.