MSC Group’s new luxury cruise line Explora Journeys is one step closer to reality.
Today the keel was officially laid for its first ship, Explora I. In keeping with maritime tradition, a coin ceremony was held where two newly-minted coins were placed inside the ship block for blessing and good fortune on the vessel.
Two longstanding employees representing the shipyard and the ship owner acted as godmothers for the ceremony — Alessandra Fontana, Chief Marketing Officer for Explora Journeys, and Ester Fugazzi, Head of General Services for Fincantieri.
This centuries-old maritime ceremony dates back to Roman times, and reflected the family’s seafaring heritage. Explora Journeys was born from a long-held vision of Pierfrancesco Vago (Executive Chairman of MSC Group’s Cruise Division), his wife Alexa, and the Aponte Vago family.
The event was attended by executives including Vago and Michael Ungerer, CEO of Explora Journeys; as well as Fincantieri’s CEO Guiseppe Bono and General Manager and Merchant Shipyard Director Luigi Matarazzo.
“Today marks another major milestone in our journey towards developing a truly defining and highly desired, luxury lifestyle brand,” said Ungerer. “Following our initial investment of two billion euros, this demonstrates another positive step forward, and shows that we are on track to offer an ocean experience like no other.”
Explora I is being constructed at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. The maiden voyage is scheduled for May 2023.
Construction work commenced on Explora Journeys’ second ship, Explora II, in November 2021 and it is due to welcome guests in spring 2024. Two more ships are scheduled to join the Explora Journeys fleet in 2025 and 2026.