Explora Journeys to Build Two Hydrogen-Powered Cruise Ships

Explora Journeys, the luxury travel brand of the Cruise Division of MSC Group, and Fincantieri have signed an agreement for the construction of two more hydrogen-powered cruise ships to take the total fleet number from four to six vessels. Both ships will come into service in 2027 and 2028, respectively.

Explora V and VI will have a new generation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) engines that will tackle the issue of methane slip and will be equipped with environmental technologies and solutions, including a containment system for liquid hydrogen that will allow them to use this low-carbon fuel. Hydrogen fuel will power a six-megawatt fuel cell to produce emissions-free power for the hotel operation and enable the vessels to run on “zero emissions” in port, with the engines turned off.

Explora Journeys also said that the previously announced vessels Explora III and IV will also be powered by LNG. The two ships will be enlarged by 62 feet to enable the installation of a new generation system based on LNG and hydrogen. This has provided an opportunity to enhance the mix of suites with an increased number of Ocean Residences and larger public spaces.

LNG is the cleanest marine fuel currently available at scale and it virtually eliminates local air pollutant emissions such as sulfur oxides (99 percent), nitrogen oxides (85 percent) and particles (98 percent). In terms of emissions with a global impact, LNG plays a substantial role in climate change mitigation with the engines having the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 25 percent compared to standard marine fuels. Additionally, with the increasing availability of bio and synthetic forms of LNG in the future, this energy source will provide a pathway towards eventual decarbonized operations.

The two additional ships covered under the agreement will bring Explora Journeys’ investment in its fleet to €3.5 billion. This includes an additional €120 million each for fitting Explora III and IV with LNG engines, a change that required a temporary halt of work owing to the significant redesign of the ships, which will now be delivered in 2026 and 2027.

For more information, visit www.msccruises.com.

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