Historic Week for Luxury Cruise Industry: New Ships, Brands and Crystal Return

Explora I

The week of July 17 marked a historic five days for the luxury cruise market, with two new ships delivered, a new brand launched by the industry’s fastest-growing company and the handover of the Crystal Serenity to the “new” Crystal brand.

Marking its debut on the luxury segment, the MSC Cruises Group took delivery of the Explora I on July 20.

[For an in-depth look at the luxury cruise market see the 2023 Luxury Market Report by Cruise Industry News.]

Built by the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, the 920-guest vessel is set to enter revenue service for Explora Journeys on August 1.

Built to offer the company’s take on an upscale product, the prototype vessel offers a total of 12 indoor and outdoor lounges and bars, in addition to four pool decks, a 1,000-square-meter wellness center, 461 oversized suites and more.

Building on Explora’s so called European-style luxury lifestyle concept, the 64,000-ton ship also features a total of 11 culinary experiences, including specialty venues for French, Mediterranean and Pan-Asian cuisine.

Planning to expand its fleet to six vessels by 2028, MSC’s new brand is now set to take delivery of the Explora II in 2024.

Meanwhile, on July 19, Silversea Cruises took delivery of the new Silver Nova from the Meyer Werft shipyard.

A prototype as well, the LNG-powered luxury vessel ushers in a new era for the upscale brand of the Royal Caribbean Group by introducing new green technology, in addition to a unique asymmetrical design for its public areas.

After being built in Germany, the 728-passenger ship is set to enter revenue service this summer with a maiden voyage to the Eastern Mediterranean.

Following a complete refurbishment at the Fincantieri shipyard in Trieste, the Crystal Serenity was also handed over this week.

Set to debut for A&K’s new Crystal Cruises brand on July 31, the 2003-built ship saw a reduction of its guest capacity and now carries only 740 guests on newly upgraded and expanded suites.

The Serenity also underwent work on its public areas and amenities, with updated concepts and the addition of new venues.

Together, the three vessels represent almost 2,400 additional berths joining the luxury market over the upcoming weeks.

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