MSC Cruises looks set to make a concerted onslaught into the luxury cruise market, with its fledgling Explora Journeys offshoot launching its first ship, the Explora I in less than a year’s time. The ramp-up has seen the appointment of cruise industry veteran Nicole Costantin to head up sales in Asia-Pacific, including Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
Explora Journeys has been in development for some time, initially hinted at as far back as 2018 as an expansion of the MSC Yacht Club “luxury ship-within-a-ship concept” into an entirely new class of vessel. The new brand already has firm orders in place for six ships carrying just over 900 passengers, including an additional two newbuilds announced this week which will feature new hydrogen-powered fuel cells providing zero-emission power to onboard hotel operations.
Costantin is well known to the cruise sector, having been part of the Norwegian Cruise Line local team in its current iteration, as well as two decades with the now defunct Star Cruises operation which was formerly a significant shareholder in NCL and managed Australasian sales for both Star and Norwegian via a Sydney office. After departing Norwegian in a management reshuffle a couple of years ago she re-emerged at Flight Centre as sales chief for its Independent Division.
Nicole now returns to the cruise sector, alongside Wanda Ferrand who has been appointed as Explora’s Experience Centre leader. “Explora Journeys truly is a beautiful product, with a vision to redefine the ocean experience for guests, and to be recognised as a luxury lifestyle brand,” Costantin told travelBulletin. “I am incredibly excited to be introducing this lovely brand to the APAC market,” she added.