Explora II is the second in a series of four luxury cruise ships of Explora Journeys. Credit: Explora Journeys.
The ship was launched in September 2023. Credit: Explora Journeys.
The coin ceremony for Explora II was conducted at Fincantieri's Sestri Ponente shipyard in February 2023. Credit: Explora Journeys.
The ship is scheduled to commence service in August 2024. Credit: Explora Journeys.

Explora II is the second in a sequence of four cruise vessels currently under construction for Explora Journeys, the new luxury cruise division of the MSC Group.

The cumulative investment for the quartet of ships is estimated at €2.3bn ($2.49bn), which is anticipated to stimulate a substantial economic impact on the Italian economy, surpassing €10bn ($10.8bn). Explora Journeys has committed approximately €500m ($541.43m) for Explora II.

Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri initiated the construction of Explora II in October 2021 at its Castellammare di Stabia yard in Naples, Italy.

The keel-laying ceremony was conducted in May 2022 while the coin ceremony took place in February 2023 at Fincantieri’s Sestri Ponente shipyard near Genoa, Italy.

Explora II is scheduled to embark on its maiden voyage in August 2024, journeying from Spain to Rome and visiting several cities in Spain, France, and Italy.

Explora II design and features

Explora II will be 248m long, with a beam width of 32.6m and a gross tonnage (GT) of 63,900t. In terms of design, the Explora II will reflect the characteristics of her sister ship, Explora I.

The vessel will feature a total of 14 decks, providing substantial indoor public space for guest enjoyment while maintaining areas for tranquillity and privacy.

Water will be a central theme of the onboard experience, with a range of indoor and outdoor whirlpool spas located on the promenade deck.

British designer and architect Martin Francis has been commissioned to design Explora II, which will feature Swiss precision, modern European craftsmanship, and dynamic design.

Accommodation on Explora II

Explora II will offer 461 ocean-front suites, penthouses and residences, each featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, walk-in wardrobes with seated vanity areas, and private sun terraces.

The accommodation includes one owner’s residence, 22 ocean residences, 67 ocean penthouses, and 371 ocean suites, with 82 suites designed to be multi-generational friendly and interconnected.

The ocean suites will include ocean terrace suites, measuring 35m² (377ft²), and ocean grand terrace suites, encompassing 11m². The starting size of the suites at 35m² ranks them among the most spacious in the luxury cruise category.

Ocean penthouses will be available in four categories: penthouses, deluxe penthouses, premier penthouses, and grand penthouses.

Ocean residences will encompass Cove residences, Retreat residences, Serenity residences, and Cocoon residences.

Amenities in the suites will include complimentary Wi-Fi, a wireless charging base on bedside tables, individual climate control, 24-hour concierge services and in-suite dining, among others.

Entertainment and other amenities

The ship will feature four heated swimming pools including three outdoor and one indoor with a retractable glass roof. In addition, it will feature 64 private cabanas, a variety of indoor and outdoor whirlpools, and poolside dining and lounging areas.

The wellness facilities on Explora II will extend over 700m², with indoor and outdoor areas, a comprehensive thermal suite, nine treatment rooms, and a beauty salon offering barber services.

Additionally, more than 270m² of well-equipped fitness areas including a fitness studio for individual or group training, a panoramic running track, and a sports court for touch tennis and half basketball will be available.

Other entertainment activities will include guitar music and storytelling events, meditation rituals, jazz club experiences, and jazz cabaret.

Dining and bar facilities on Explora II

Dining facilities on the ship will include a diverse array of 18 food and beverage venues, including 11 culinary experiences. Nine of these will be included in the fare, featuring six dynamic restaurants, in-suite dining, 12 bars and lounges with eight indoor and four outdoor venues, and the Chef’s Kitchen.

The restaurant selection includes Anthology, Sakura, Marble & Co. Grill, Med Yacht Club, Emporium Marketplace, and Fil Rouge, each presenting a unique gastronomic theme.

Catering to a variety of preferences, the bars and lounges on the ship will include the Crema Cafe, Lobby Bar, Explora Lounge, Malt Whisky Bar, Journeys Lounge, Astern Lounge, Astern Pool and Bar, Atoll Pool and Bar, Helios Pool and Bar, Sky Bar on 14, The Conservatory Pool and Bar, and the Gelateria and Creperie located within The Conservatory.

Sustainable features

All four Explora Journeys ships including the Explora II are set to receive RINA Dolphin certification.

The fleet‘s design integrates battery storage to support future hybrid power generation and utilises the latest selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by up to 90%.

Furthermore, single-use plastics will be avoided onboard and during land-based activities.