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Portsmouth: first stop for luxury cruise brand

Explora Journeys Explora 1 leaves Portsmouth harbour on 30 July

We became the first UK port of call for brand new cruise line, Explora Journeys, on Saturday (29 July) as Explora 1 made her inaugural call to the city.

Fresh from her debut in Barcelona, Explora Journeys is MSC Cruises newest luxury brand and called into Portsmouth to welcome cruise officials, invited guests and representatives from across the industry for a preview look before heading to Copenhagen for her maiden voyage.

Arriving through the harbour at 0800 on Saturday, representatives from the port were welcomed onboard for a traditional plaque exchange between Captain Serena Melani and Portsmouth City Council Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson. Explora Journeys’ CEO Michael Ungerer also attended the ceremony and thanked the port and city for its warm welcome and hospitality.

Andrew Williamson, passenger operations manager at Portsmouth International Port said: “It is an honour for Portsmouth to be the first UK port to welcome MSC Cruises newest brand, Explora Journeys, as Explora 1 makes her inaugural call with us. Explora Journeys have entered the market to redefine the classic luxury cruise experience, and perfectly reflect our cruise ambitions and the environmental values of the port.”

The maiden journey will depart on 1 August 2023 from Copenhagen in Denmark for a seven-night sailing to Reykjavik in Iceland with visits en route to Lerwick, Shetland Islands and Kirkwall, Orkney. The cruise liner is one of six vessels being built for Explora Journeys between 2023 and 2028.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet member responsible for the port: “Our attractive harbour makes it easy for us to attract cruise brands to the city and we’re delighted that Explora 1 has experienced such a unique arrival and departure.

 “We’re ideally placed to welcome small to medium sized, luxury, boutique ships, and the port’s striking new sustainable terminal extension will go further to complement this range of ships when it opens later in the summer.

 “However it’s the city’s supportive and friendly approach towards passengers to the city, whether they’re passing through or visiting to see attractions that makes the most impact and brings back regular callers time and again. We’re looking forward to growing the number of cruise calls to the city and showcasing what Portsmouth has to offer.”