Explora Journeys has announced a firm order with the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for two hydrogen-powered ships. It is committed to continue its push towards a nett zero-carbon emissions target by 2050 by studying other new and sophisticated environmental solutions for the luxury ships. The agreement brings Explora Journeys’ total investment in six luxury ships to €3.5 billion. Contracts are subject to access to funding following industry practice.
EXPLORA V and VI will have new state-of-the-art energy efficiency measures and will be able to use alternative fuels such as bio and synthetic gas and methanol. The Cruise Division will work with Fincantieri to equip the ships with future technologies such as carbon capture and more advanced waste management systems. The two confirmed additions to Explora Journeys’ fleet will arrive in 2027 and 2028.
“With Explora Journeys, we have created a luxury brand that has been successful in redefining luxury at sea,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman – Cruise Division, MSC Group. We are witnessing continuous growth in the luxury segment, and the investment in these two new ships shows our commitment to growing in this sector while also investing in future ships. Together with Fincantieri, we will investigate the most cutting-edge technology available and maintain our commitment to introducing these innovations to create savings throughout the whole range of ship performance. And, of course, we will continue to deliver the best luxury vacation experience possible, immersing guests in the ocean state of mind while maintaining a sustainable spirit.”
“Sustainability in luxury is the new craftmanship,” said Michael Ungerer, Chief Executive Officer of Explora Journeys. “Our new two confirmed orders are a testament to our determination to preserve and protect our precious oceans.” This is what the discerning traveller of tomorrow expects; therefore, it is very critical that we not only deliver on that expectation but must and will surpass it.”
The two new ships will use liquid hydrogen with fuel cells for hotel operations while docked in ports to eliminate carbon emissions while the vessels’ engines are turned down. The ships will also feature a new generation of LNG engines using containment systems to prevent methane slip.
LNG is one of the cleanest maritime fuels now accessible on a large scale, and it is expected to play a critical part in the transition to decarbonised international commerce. It significantly decreases local air pollutant emissions, with sulphur oxides reducing by up to 95% and nitrogen oxides falling by up to 85%. LNG also plays an essential role in climate change mitigation since it may reduce glasshouse gas emissions by up to 20%. More environmental benefits are projected when synthetic LNG becomes more widely available.
EXPLORA I, the first ship supplied by Fincantieri to Explora Journeys, operates throughout Northern Europe. The ship will spend the autumn and winter in North America and the Caribbean Sea. She will cruise in the spring of 2024 off the West Coast of the United States and Hawaii before returning to Europe in the summer of 2024 for a series of Mediterranean Sea voyages.
EXPLORA II will commence service in the Mediterranean Sea, the Middle East, the Indian Ocean, and Africa in the summer of 2024, visiting 82 ports in 26 countries. EXPLORA II will enter service for the first time on 6 September 2023 at a ‘float out’ ceremony in Genoa, Italy.
EXPLORA III is scheduled to begin service in summer 2026, while construction of the LNG-powered vessel started on 6 September 2023, with a steel-cutting ceremony. The LNG-powered EXPLORA IV will begin construction in January 2024 and finish early 2027.
All six ships in Explora Journeys’ fleet will be equipped with cutting-edge environmental and marine technologies, including selective catalytic reduction technology to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 90%, shore power plug-in connectivity to reduce emissions in port, and underwater noise management systems to protect marine life.
All six ships will also feature sophisticated onboard energy-efficient technologies to maximise engine use and decrease emissions even more.