New Luxury Ship Makes Maiden Call at UK’s Largest Cruise Port

EXPLORA I in Southampton, UK

The Southampton Port in the UK recently received its first visit from the Explora I, the inaugural cruise ship of a four-ship fleet by Explora Journeys. This newly established luxury brand is owned by MSC Group, the parent company of MSC Cruises.

Initially, the maiden voyage of the ship was to commence from Southampton. However, the itinerary was altered due to a delay in the ship’s delivery from the shipyard earlier in the summer season.

On August 29, 2023, the Explora I made its inaugural call at Southampton. The event was marked with a ceremonial crest exchange between the ship’s Captain Serena Melani and Rebekah Keeler of Associated British Ports Southampton.

The ship is currently embarking on a 12-day journey from Hamburg, Germany, to Greenock, Scotland. The route includes stops in Edinburgh, Invergordon, and Isle of Skye in Scotland; Greencastle in Northern Ireland; and Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and Liverpool in England.

Originally, the ship was meant to start its inaugural journey from Southampton on July 17. A delay in the ship’s delivery forced a change in plans. The ship finally set sail on August 1 from Copenhagen.

Explora Journeys aims to stand out with itineraries that feature less-known ports, a large number of overnight stays in port, unique shore excursions, various accommodation options, and a high-end onboard experience it describes as an “Ocean State of Mind.”

The Explora I offers several suite options, including an owner’s residence, ocean residences, ocean penthouses, and ocean terrace and ocean grand terrace suites.

The ship’s 78 interconnecting suites in the categories of ocean suites, ocean penthouses, and ocean residences are particularly aimed at multi-generational family groups.

After completing her series of Northern Europe cruises in October, the Explora I will reposition to the Caribbean in November and offer winter voyages between Miami, San Juan in Puerto Rico, and Bridgetown in Barbados.

Meanwhile, Explora Journeys’ second ship, the Explora II, is currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy. It is expected to enter service in August 2024. Two more ships, the Explora III and Explora IV, are scheduled for delivery in 2026 and 2027, respectively.

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