MSC-Fincantieri deal for two new hydrogen-powered ships stands

The Cruise Division of MSC Group has confirmed firm orders for two hydrogen-powered vessels for its luxury travel brand Explora Journeys with the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri and pledged to continue its push towards a net zero-carbon emissions target by 2050 by investigating additional new and advanced environmental technologies for the luxury ships.

Illustration; Archive; Courtesy of Fincantieri

According to Fincantieri, the deal completes a total investment of €3.5 billion in six luxury ships for Explora Journeys.

The new vessels, EXPLORA V and EXPLORA VI, will have new energy efficiency measures and will also be capable of using alternative fuels such as bio and synthetic gas and methanol, Fincantieri said, adding that it will work in the future with the Cruise Division to equip the ships with future technologies, including carbon capture and more advanced waste management systems.

Fincantieri further said that the ships will pursue the use of liquid hydrogen with fuel cells for their hotel operations while docked in ports to eliminate carbon emissions with the vessels’ engines switched off, and they will also feature a new generation of LNG engines that is expected to further tackle the issue of methane slip with the use of containment systems.

The two confirmed additions to Explora Journeys’ fleet will be delivered in 2027 and 2028.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, Cruise Division, MSC Group, stated: “We are seeing continued growth in the luxury segment, and the investment in these two new ships shows our commitment to continue to grow within this sector as well as to invest in ships of the future.”

“Together with Fincantieri, we will study the newest technology that the world has to offer and continue with our commitment to introduce these technologies to drive efficiencies across the whole spectrum of ship performance. And of course, we will continue to deliver the very best luxury travel experience, immersing our guests in the ocean state of mind with a sustainable soul.”

Pierroberto Folgiero, CEO, Fincantieri, commented: “This new contract with MSC is a sign of the growing vitality of the cruise sector, in line with what we had predicted. In strategic terms, our future will depend on our ability to lead the evolution of the sector towards all energy and digital transition technologies with the entrepreneurship required to validate, industrialize and commercialize new solutions.”

“The relevance of the partnership with MSC in this sense is a great strategic stimulus towards the future in line with the technological development goals set out in our new business plan. We are therefore particularly proud that the Explora project will mark the acceleration of this new phase, which with the fifth and sixth ships, will reach the highest level of advancement, making Fincantieri’s vision of the ship of the future ever more concrete.”


To remind, Explora Journeys’ first ship, EXPLORA I, was delivered by Fincantieri in July 2023 and is currently operating in Northern Europe.

EXPLORA II is expected to enter service in the summer of 2024 and operate until April 2025 in the Mediterranean Sea, the Middle East, the Indian Ocean and Africa, visiting 82 ports in 26 countries.

EXPLORA III is expected to enter service in the summer of 2026. The construction of this LNG-powered vessel started on September 6, 2023, while the construction of the LNG-powered EXPLORA IV is expected to begin in January 2024.


Fincantieri said that all six ships in Explora Journeys’ fleet will be equipped with the latest environmental and marine technologies and will also feature the latest selective catalytic reduction technology to enable a reduction of nitrogen oxide emissions by 90%, be equipped with shore power plug-in connectivity to reduce emissions in port and fitted with underwater noise management systems to help protect marine life.

All six vessels will also have a comprehensive range of onboard energy-efficient equipment to optimize engine use to further reduce emissions, Fincantieri noted.