The second of Explora Journeys’ four planned luxury ships is now under construction in Italy.

The Explora II’s keel was laid May 5 at the Fincantieri shipyard in Castellammare di Stabia, Italy. Delivery is expected in summer 2024.

 “We are thrilled to witness this key milestone for Explora Journeys, which signals our firm commitment to launch a luxury lifestyle brand that incorporates effective sustainability planning and maximizes social and economic benefits for the communities that our ships will visit and leave a positive legacy for the next generation,” said Explora Journeys CEO Michael Ungerer in a press release.

The Explora II will have 461 oceanfront suites, penthouses, and residences. Also onboard will be nine restaurants, 10 indoor and outdoor bars and lounges, and four swimming pools.

The Explora II will join the cruise line’s first ship, the identical Explora I, currently under construction and due to enter service in May 2023.

Explora Journeys is the new luxury lifestyle travel brand of the MSC Group, which also includes MSC Cruises and cargo shipping companies.

According to the company, itineraries “will blend renowned destinations with lesser-travelled ports for a journey that celebrates discovery.” The inaugural cruise of Explora I, slated for 2023, will include the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the U.K., Iceland, Greenland, Canada, the U.S. East Coast, Caribbean, South America and Hawaii. Sailing will range from six nights to a 44-night Grand Journey.

Explora I will make 132 port calls in 40 countries in its first season. Kastellorizo, Greece and Saint Pierre, Martinique, two of the destinations, have not previously been visited by cruise ships.

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