Explora Journeys unveils Explora II's 2024-25 itineraries

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Explora Journeys 2023

20 December, 2022

Explora Journeys, the luxury lifestyle brand of the MSC Group, has announced the inaugural itineraries of its second ship, Explora II, launching in summer 2024, are now open for booking. A new set of journeys and destinations will allow guests to explore classic and off-the-beaten-path locations in the Mediterranean, Middle East, India, Indian Ocean and Africa, marking the first time the luxury lifestyle brand will sail in these regions.

Offering 25 journeys and 14 extended journeys from August 2024 through April 2025, the itineraries will include 82 unique ports across 26 countries. At each stop, guests will have opportunities to discover the local nature and culture through exclusive activities.

Explora II will first traverse the Mediterranean reaching ports in Italy, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Croatia, where guests will immerse themselves in the ancient history of each country, enjoy their traditional and signature culinary flavors, and soak up the surrounding art, colors and architecture. An array of activities awaits Explora II’s guests who will be able to visit such cities and islands in the Mediterranean as Rome, Sicily, Menorca—the gastronomy capital of 2022—to then reach the Eastern Mediterranean with the islands of Mykonos, Santorini, Kalamata and Corfu.

After exploring Israel, Explora II will pass through the Suez Canal and allow its guests to enjoy Egypt. The ship will then sail onto the Arabian Peninsula towards Saudi Arabia, cruising the coastline of the Red Sea and visiting the world-heritage sights of Al Ula and Hegra. Explora II then sails to the Arabian Gulf to visit the vibrant cities of Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Explora II will then reach the coast of India where guests can explore the evergreen forests of the Western Ghats, as well as Goa, Kochi and Mumbai.

The voyage of discovery will continue to the islands of the Indian Ocean including the Seychelles and Maldives to then reach the natural sanctuaries of Africa with stops in Mozambique, Tanzania, Madagascar, Kenya, Mauritius and South Africa. White sand beaches and crystal waters will give way to the Serengeti savannah where guests will be able to experience eco-tented safaris with elephants and leopards.

F&B venues onboard of Explora II will comprise 12 bars and lounges, as well as six restaurants. Chef Franck Garanger, head of culinary at Explora Journeys, will present original menus with local and fresh ingredients, all taking inspiration from the destinations visited. The outlets will offer varied and healthy options.

Good to know: Explora Journeys will continue to utilize the latest in environmental-supporting technologies. Comparably to the first ship of the fleet, Explora II will offer the latest selective catalytic reduction technology, enabling a 90 percent reduction in nitrogen emissions. The ship will also be RINA DOLPHIN-certified and is being built with ship-to-shore power capabilities to avoid CO2 emissions while at berth. Aiming to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the brand recently announced that Explora III and Explora IV will have LNG engines, while Explora V and Explora VI will not only have an LNG engine, but will be hydrogen-powered with industry-first tech.

Bookings for Explora II are now open. For more, visit www.explorajourneys.com.

Other Cruise news this week

Carnival Cruise Line

Effective January 1, 2023, two Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) brands will have new presidents, as will Royal Caribbean Group's ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises. Here's the scoop:

  • Andrea DeMarco will become the new president of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, succeeding Jason Montague. Currently serving as the line's chief sales and marketing officer, she'll become the first female president ever for an NCLH brand.
  • Frank A. Del Rio will become the new president of Oceania Cruises, succeeding Howard Sherman. Del Rio currently serves as Oceania's chief sales and marketing officer. He's the son of NCLH Chairman and CEO Frank Del Rio
  • Barbara Muckermann will become the new president of Silversea Cruises, succeeding Roberto Martinoli. She currently serves as Silversea's chief commercial officer.

Montague, Sherman and Martinoli will transition into new roles as special advisors for their respective cruise brands/companies.

As the clock ticks down to 2023, both Josh Weinstein, president, CEO and chief climate officer, Carnival Corporation, and Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International, are saying that cruise fares are likely going to rise, as reported by the financial industry publication, The Street.

Explora Journeys, the new luxury lifestyle brand of MSC Group, has unveiled 2024 inaugural season itineraries for its second ship, Explora II. Launching in summer 2024, the ship will sail to destinations in the Mediterranean, Middle East, India, Indian Ocean and Africa.

Also, Riviera River Cruises has released its new 2024 voyage line-up.Travelers can choose from 14 itineraries and 301 departures. Most notable? Seven cruises are exclusively for solo travelers

In addition, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings told cruise maritime publication Seatrade Cruise News that it's cutting 9 percent of its shoreside staff in a move to streamline operations and be more efficient.

Two ships were named in ceremonies along the East Coast. Royal Caribbean International’s mega-ship Wonder of the Seas was christened at Port Canaveral along Florida’s "Space Coast." In the northeastern U.S., MSC Cruises’ new MSC Seascape was christened in New York City; Travel Agent was aboard for a first look and preview sailing.

Also on the fun side, Carnival Cruise Line has unveiled new activities for kids and families.

Tragedy at Sea

And sadly, late last week the U.S. Coast Guard recovered the body of a 36-year-old female passenger who had gone overboard from the MSC Meraviglia. MSC Cruises issued this statement: "Early this morning, MSC Meraviglia’s advanced detection systems alerted our crew to a passenger overboard while the ship was sailing to Port Canaveral. The crew performed an immediate search-and-rescue operation, alongside the U.S.Coast Guard who supported search efforts with boats and a helicopter. Unfortunately, despite the rapid rescue operation, the passenger sustained fatal injuries. We are offering our full support to authorities as they investigate this matter. We are deeply saddened by this incident and offer our sincerest condolences to the family and those affected."

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