Explora Journeys will take to the seas in 2023
Last summer, the MSC Group revealed Explora Journeys was created for the ‘next generation of discerning luxury travellers’. Built by Fincantieri, each ship will utilise the latest in cutting-edge maritime technology to provide journeys of discovery through destinations on and off the beaten path.
“Building a luxury brand that will redefine the cruise experience and create a category of its own has been a long-held vision of mine and my family,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Group’s cruise business and broader passenger division. “Inspired by our personal travel wishes, Explora Journeys will be an ocean escape like no other, allowing guests to relax, make memories, and cherish the time at sea with their loved ones. After all, time is the ultimate luxury.”
Designed in partnership with the world’s foremost superyacht and luxury hospitality designers, the innovative ship will seamlessly blend elegant Swiss precision with modern European craftsmanship. With 461 oceanfront suites and residences, guests will enjoy striking views at sea and in port from their floor to ceiling windows and personal private terrace. Suites will start at 35 square metres which is among the most spacious for the category in the industry. With the perfect blend of intimate and vibrant spaces, a guest to crew ratio of 1.25 to 1 ensures anticipatory service at every turn.
The itineraries of EXPLORA I were detailed at an exclusive media breakfast at ILTM Cannes. A spokesperson said, “Since the ship will be built by Fincantieri, the maiden journey in May 2023 will obviously be on the Mediterranean, starting from the West towards the Eastern Mediterranean, over 11 days. It will be a summer of Northern Europe, circumnavigation around the UK, Iceland, Greenland, around the Maritimes of North America and EXPLORA I will end the year 2023 somewhere in the beautiful Caribbean Islands.
“Feedback from some 20,000 future consumers is that itineraries should be delivered slow - guests don’t want to finish their holiday and feel exhausted. So, we're not going to be chasing ports with Explora Journeys. There’s also a demand for more sea days, to immerse in the ‘ocean state of mind’, connect to the ocean and enjoy this beautiful ship we are building. When you put all these things together, you'll see that you can't have seven ports in seven days.”
With journeys starting at seven nights, a best-in-class guest experience will ensure relaxed mornings and exciting evenings. Non-conventional arrival and departure times combined with overnight stays will allow Explora Journeys to offer guests exclusive access to once in a lifetime experiences. With ships that travel far north and south of the equator, itineraries in the inaugural collection will offer the ideal blend of celebrated destinations such as Saint Tropez, Bordeaux and Reykjavik, and hidden gems such as Kastellorizo, Bozcaada and the Lofoten Islands. Explora Journeys will bring guests to lesser-travelled harbours to enjoy a more authentic experience and a slower pace of travel.
Explora Journeys announced a further strengthening of its commercial team through six new appointments in global as well as regional roles in Continental Europe, the Americas as well as the UK and Ireland.
Helen Beck, previously Vice President International Sales and Marketing with Crystal Cruises, is now Head of Global Sales Excellence and will be based in Explora Journeys’ Geneva headquarters. She is responsible for supporting the development and implementation of the brand’s processes and resources to support the commercial global field sales leaders and the Explora Journeys Experience Centre and team of ambassadors. She previously spent five years as Vice President International Sales and Marketing with Crystal Cruises and prior to that, 16 years with Royal Caribbean Cruises Group as Regional Director, International Representatives, EMEA. Four new Heads of Sales will support the development of and execute the commercial sales strategy for their local markets.
Explora Journeys has also launched its new online Travel Advisor Centre to further cement its links with the travel advisor community.
Michael Ungerer, Chief Executive Officer, Explora Journeys, said, “Our new Travel Advisor Centre is another important step forward in our vision and purpose, based on the extensive research we completed to create an ocean experience like no other. We have created what I believe is a seamless, best in class digital experience for travel advisors to underscore our mantra of just how easy it is to do business with Explora Journeys. Given our belief in this brand to create a new category in luxury, lifestyle travel, we will continue to invest in its expansion to create what we refer to as an ‘Ocean State of Mind’ for all our guests.”
The Travel Advisor Centre follows Explora Journeys’ exclusive and industry first ‘By Appointment’ service launched in September, whereby travel advisors can set up an appointment with an Explora Journeys Ambassador to discuss and make a booking on one or more of the eight inaugural journeys during EXPLORA I’s first year, including the vessel’s maiden journey.