The Cruise Division of MSC Group is set to enhance the travel experience for South African’s by offering both Explora Journeys and MSC Cruises under the same in-market structure.
- This move aims to improve access to both luxury brands for the travel trade community, further supporting their opportunities for growth.
- Explora Journeys, the privately-owned luxury lifestyle brand of the MSC Group is created at the heart of Swiss luxury hospitality.
- With a vision to redefine the ocean experience for a new generation of discerning luxury travelers, Explora Journeys draws on the family’s 300 years of maritime heritage.
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The Explora Journeys brand aims to create a unique ‘Ocean State of Mind’ by connecting guests with the sea, themselves, and like-minded people. The remarkable itineraries blend renowned destinations with lesser-traveled ports, offering a journey that inspires discovery in all its forms.
The fleet of Explora Journeys will consist of up to six ships, with two currently under construction. These ships, launching from 2023 to 2028, will be equipped with the latest environmental and marine technologies, introducing a new style of transformative ocean travel. The first ship, EXPLORA I, is set to set sail in 2023, followed by the remaining ships in 2024, 2025, and 2026.
EXPLORA I is considered a true masterpiece, offering 461 oceanfront suites, penthouses, and residences designed to be ‘Homes at Sea’ for guests. Every suite provides sweeping ocean views and a private terrace, ensuring an immersive connection with the surrounding environment. With eleven distinct culinary experiences across six vibrant restaurants, guests can indulge their taste buds in a variety of flavors.
To enhance the luxury experience, Explora Journeys offers all-inclusive journeys for its guests. Upon arrival, guests are welcomed with a bottle of champagne, a bottle of wine, and a bottle of their choice of spirits. The culinary experience is unparalleled, with nine distinct options available, including the convenience of in-suite dining.
Expect unlimited beverages, fine wines, premium spirits, specialty coffees, teas, and soft drinks available at any time, including in-suite mini-bars. Guests also have access to the spa thermal area, wellbeing and fitness programs on board and at the destinations, and unlimited, high-speed Wi-Fi throughout the ship. The shuttle services from port to city center further enhance the convenience of exploring each destination.
With the new in-market structure, Ross Volk, MSC Managing Director for South Africa, will assume responsibility for Explora Journeys. This integration aims to create greater synergies that will benefit the travel trade community. Commercial agreements with trade partners will remain unchanged, and the commercial conditions for both brands will also remain distinct and unchanged.
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of the Cruise Division of MSC Group, expresses his commitment to strengthening the relationship with the travel trade community. He believes that this simplified structure will provide easier access for trade partners, especially travel advisors, leading to mutual benefits for all sides. The continued investments in both brands will create expanded opportunities for growth for travel trade partners.
In South Africa, Explora Journeys will maintain its own dedicated specialist team for sales, marketing, contact centers, and public relations. Additional brand-dedicated resources will be provided in each market to ensure the success of this new approach. The same structure will also be adopted in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, the UK, Brazil, China, and Japan.
The maiden journey of Explora Journeys’ first ship, EXPLORA I, is set for 17 July 2023 from Southampton, in the United Kingdom. This 15-night sailing will take guests to the breath-taking Norwegian fjords, the Arctic Circle, and Copenhagen in Denmark. With its immersive experience, luxurious accommodations, and exquisite dining options, Explora Journeys is set to redefine luxury travel and provide unforgettable journeys for discerning travelers.
The integration of Explora Journeys and MSC Cruises under the same in-market structure in South Africa marks an exciting development for the luxury travel industry. With a focus on creating unforgettable experiences and providing enhanced support to trade partners, MSC Group aims to redefine the ocean experience and pave the way for new opportunities in the luxury cruise market.
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