MSC Group and the Italian Shipbuilder Fincantieri have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for an additional order of two vessels in the Explora Cruise fleet. The agreement also entails modifying the cruise vessels already under construction to be equipped with LNG-powered engines and power plants that use LNG and Hydrogen.
Explora Journeys, the new cruise brand of MSC Group, already had four ships on order; EXPLORA I – IV. This agreement called for two new vessels, along with the modification of the EXPLORA III and EXPLORA IV, to be equipped with LNG engines and a power plant that can run on Hydrogen and LNG. The work in progress on EXPLORA III and IV was halted due to the significant redesign of the vessels required. As a result, these vessels are being enlarged by 19m and will cost $120 million more than before. The delivery date for the vessels is also pushed back from 2024, 2025 to 2026 and 2027.
The two additional vessels, the EXPLORA V and VI, are newbuilds and will feature new generation LNG-powered engines. These new engines address the issue of methane slip, making them more environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient. The vessels will feature a containment system for liquid hydrogen, making hydrogen available for use, and a six megawatt hydrogen fuel cell, which will be used to power the hotel operations when the vessel is at the port and the engines are shut down. These vessels are to be delivered in 2026 and 2027.