MSC’s cruise division confirmed firm orders for two LNG-powered vessels for its luxury travel brand Explora Journeys with Italy’s Fincantieri.
The deal completes a total investment of 3.5 billion euros ($3.73 billion) in six luxury ships for Explora Journeys, according to a joint statement issued on Thursday.
Also, the contracts are subject to access to financing as per industry practice, the statement said.
The two new ships will pursue the use of liquefied hydrogen with fuel cells for their hotel operations while docked in ports to eliminate carbon emissions with the vessels’ engines switched off.
Moreover, the ships will also feature a new generation of LNG engines that will further tackle the issue of methane slip with the use of containment systems, the statement said.
They will also be capable of using alternative fuels such as bio and synthetic gas and methanol, it said.
Fincantieri will deliver Explora V and Explora VI in 2027 and 2028.
Fleet of LNG-powered cruise ships
Back in July 2022, Explora Journeys and Fincantieri signed a memorandum of agreement for the construction of these hydrogen and LNG-powered luxury cruise ships.
Explora Journeys also said at the time that the previously announced vessels Explora III and IV will be powered by LNG.
The Italian shipbuilder recently started budling the LNG-powered cruise ship, Explora III, for MSC’s luxury travel brand.
Scheduled to enter service in the summer of 2026, this will be the first ship in the Explora fleet to be powered by LNG.
In addition, the Italian shipbuilder also launched Explora II, just two months after the delivery of Explora I, and expects to deliver this vessel next year. These ships are not LNG-powered.
Fincantieri said that it plans to begin construction on LNG-powered Explora IV in January 2024 and complete it in early 2027.
Besides these vessels, MSC Cruises held a naming ceremony for its second LNG-powered cruise vessel, MSC Euribia, in the Danish capital Copenhagen on June 8.
France’s Chantiers de l’Atlantique delivered MSC Cruises’ first LNG-powered vessel, MSC World Europa, in October last year.
Earlier this year, the shipbuilder also held a coin ceremony for the third LNG-powered ship, MSC World America.