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Wednesday 1 November 2023

Six reasons to sail MSC Cruises' flagship, MSC Euribia

 MSC Cruises' flagship, MSC Euribia, is sure to leave guests in awe for her upcoming Northern Hemisphere winter sailings, offering 7-night itineraries to some of the most sought-after destinations in Northern Europe with calls to Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and the United Kingdom.

Tuesday 5 September 2023

MSC adds three ships to Middle East itineraries

7-night Arabian Gulf voyages from Dubai with MSC Virtuosa, featuring a new port of call in the captivating city of Manama in Bahrain

7-night Red Sea sailings from Egypt with MSC Orchestra with a new port of call in Sharm El-Sheikh, further enhancing MSC Cruises' Red Sea itineraries

Friday 21 July 2023

Explora Journeys Takes Delivery of Explora I


Photo credit: Ivan Sarfatti


  • The delivery of EXPLORA I took place on 20 July 2023 at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, where the construction of the 63,900 GT vessel began on 10 June 2021.


  • The maiden journey will depart on 1 August 2023 from Copenhagen in Denmark for a seven-night sailing to Reykjavik in Iceland with visits en route to Lerwick, Shetland Islands and Kirkwall, Orkney.


  • With more than 300 years of seafaring history, Explora Journeys will offer an ocean escape that allows travellers to celebrate discovery in all its forms while reconnecting to what matters most.


Explora Journeys, the luxury lifestyle brand of the MSC Group, today officially took delivery of EXPLORA I, the first luxury ship to join the brand`s fleet from the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. The investment of the new ship amounted to over €500 million, with a total investment plan of €2.5 billion for the four ships on order.


EXPLORA I's delivery ceremony marks a new chapter for the brand, one that offers today's discerning luxury traveller the opportunity of a truly transformative and purposeful ocean travel experience like no other.


The traditional maritime event was attended by Gianluigi Aponte, Founder and Chairman of the MSC Group; Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Group's Cruise Division, the godmother of the ship Zoe Africa Vago, for Fincantieri Pierroberto Folgiero, Chief Executive Officer as well as representatives of MSC's construction team together with managers and workers from the shipyard.


Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, Cruise Division, MSC Group, said, "Today is a historic day, and represents a decisive step in our growth path, because it marks the entry of the MSC Group into the luxury travel sector. This segment has strong growth prospects, in which we strongly believe and whose standards we aim to redefine, focusing as always on excellence and luxury."


Michael Ungerer, CEO, Explora Journeys added, "This traditional maritime moment marks the most important milestone for Explora Journeys as we will finally be able to showcase our highly anticipated, extraordinary new ship. We have pushed the boundaries of innovation and design to create a ship that embodies our commitment to excellence. With the delivery of EXPLORA I our vision to provide unparalleled luxury experiences has become an incredible reality. We invite our guests to embark on transformative journeys, offering an opportunity for inner and outer discovery inspired by the ocean, resulting in physical, intellectual and spiritual rejuvenation. We call this the 'Ocean State of Mind'."


EXPLORA I will set sail on her maiden journey from Copenhagen, Denmark on 1 August 2023. This remarkable seven-night sailing will take guests through the majestic landscapes of Lerwick, Shetland Islands and Kirkwall, Orkney before heading to Reykjavik, Iceland.


The luxury ship will spend several weeks in Northern Europe, offering a range of different itineraries, both on and off the beaten path, and will then cross the Atlantic Sea via Greenland to spend the autumn in North America, the winter in the Caribbean and spring on the US West Coast and Hawaii before returning to Europe in Summer 2024 for a collection of journeys in the Mediterranean Sea. During all sailings the ship will call lesser-travelled ports for guests to enjoy a more authentic experience,


With journeys from seven to 11 nights which are all combinable, a best-in-class guest experience will ensure relaxed mornings and exhilarating evenings.  Non-conventional arrival and departure times combined with overnight stays in port will allow Explora Journeys to offer guests exclusive access to once-in-a-lifetime experiences and a slower pace of travel.


EXPLORA I will seamlessly blend elegant Swiss precision with modern European craftsmanship and has been thoughtfully designed in partnership with the world`s foremost superyacht and hospitality designers to stimulate the senses and encourage an 'Ocean State of Mind'. The philosophy of the brand is informed by the family's European roots, sense of style, and intuitive approach to design and luxury.


EXPLORA II is currently being built at Fincantieri's shipyard in Genoa Sestri Ponente, Italy and will come into service in August 2024. EXPLORA III will become the first of two LNG-powered vessels to join the Explora Journeys' fleet with the ship due to be delivered in 2026 and EXPLORA IV in 2027.


All of the Explora Journeys vessels will be equipped with the latest environmental and marine technologies, including selective catalytic reduction technology, shore power plug-in connectivity, underwater noise management systems to help protect marine life, and a comprehensive range of onboard energy efficient equipment to optimise engine use to further reduce emissions.



Sunday 26 February 2023

The environmentally advanced MSC Euribia to launch in June

MSC Cruises has announced that the Naming Ceremony for MSC Cruises’ newest flagship, MSC Euribia, will take place in Copenhagen on 8 June. 

Monday 14 November 2022

[podcast] Brisbane berthing debacle

After over 2 years of bans on most cruise ships and struggles to restore air capacity, the Port of Brisbane will now only accept one cruise ship at a time, with calls from Regent Seven Seas, Silversea (2), Viking (2), Oceania, Asuka and The World - and others now cancelled after having been booked in good faith. Let's hope that this mess can be corrected as soon as possible. Deep Waterfrontage in Australia is coveted and all should learn that cruise ships can successfully co-exist with landside developments - and indeed prosper as they do in other ports around the world. It is the only way forward and Governments must help facilitate this. The grab for our berths must stop. Click to listen!

Monday 7 November 2022

Westerdam calls in Sydney marking the return of Holland America Line to Australia

Itinerary highlights include 14-day Christmas Cruise from Auckland to Sydney

Holland America Line celebrates 150th anniversary in 2023, one of the longest operating travel companies in the world

Westerdam captured at Circular Quay on 7 November 2022

Holland America Line's Westerdam was the line's first ship to return to Sydney since the pandemic. It is Westerdam's first season in Australia and New Zealand waters.

Westerdam arrived in Sydney Harbour after her repositioning voyage from Vancouver and will be homeported in Sydney for her 2022-23 Australian and New Zealand wave season, during which she will sail four itineraries around Australia and New Zealand ranging from 13 to 15 days.

At 283 meters long and 32 meters wide, Westerdam can carry 1,964 guests in 984 staterooms, looked after by approximately 800 crew.

Westerdam arrived at on Monday 7 November at 11am, giving her passengers two days to head ashore and explore Sydney and environs, generating substantial spend and bolstering the State's tourism economy.

"Our sailings in Australia and New Zealand will ensure local cruisers will have a close-to-home travel experience which goes way beyond what you could find in any guidebook", Holland America Line VP Sales and Marketing Ryan Taibel said.

"Our programming brings the destination to life via immersive shore excursions, stimulating port talks and Port to Table cooking classes which make the most of the very best in local produce. There is no better way to explore our own backyard than with Holland America Line", Mr Taibel added.

Westerdam features some of the line's lauded entertainment venues such as B.B. King's Blues Club and Lincoln Center Stage, exemplary dining experiences including celebrated steakhouse, Pinnacle Grill, and Italian specialty restaurant, Canaletto.

Thursday 15 September 2022

Princess Cruises Unveils Largest Ever Ship – Sun Princess®

Epic Sphere Atrium, First Ever Geodesic Dome, Innovative Entertainment Venues and Premium Suites Headline the largest Princess Ship ever built

Princess Cruises today revealed a stunning new and bespoke ship platform that will be the brand’s largest ship ever accommodating over 4,000 guests. The new Sun Princess will boast stunning views, expansive venues, innovative entertainment venues, multi-story dining rooms and next level stateroom accommodations while remaining true to the smooth clean lines and design aesthetics inspired by the Seawitch icon and popularised in the original “Love Boat” TV series and returning the venerable “Sun Princess” name back into operation.