Captain Serena Melani

Captain Serena Melani Named Master of EXPLORA I

Today, luxury travel lifestyle brand and cruise line Explora Journeys announced the appointment of Captain Serena Melani as Master of EXPLORA I, the first of four ships scheduled to begin operating in May 2023. The cruise line is set to have four new ships sailing by 2026 with a focus on higher-end experiences and more unique destinations. 

In 2010, Captain Melani became Bridge Officer with Regent Seven Seas Cruises and was then promoted to Master of Seven Seas Splendor in 2016, leading to her becoming their first female Captain and first Italian-born female cruise ship Captain. She began her studies at the Nautical Technical School in Livorno before gaining experience as Bridge Officer onboard different types of cargo ships. She was born and grew up in Livorno, an Italian port city on Tuscany’s coastline which is also a major port for the cruise industry today.

Captain Melani was drawn to the Explora Journey’s brand as they share the same passion for the world’s oceans and all they provide. 

“I was very impressed by the love, respect, and knowledge our owners, the Aponte Vago family, have for the ocean. Their personal involvement and care in each detail of the project, to deliver something truly unique in the market, is inspirational. Growing up on the Tuscan coast in Italy, I am thrilled to be part of a European luxury lifestyle brand and to take the helm of EXPLORA I, sailing to amazing destinations, some of which have never been reached by cruise ships before,” she said. 

Explora I
Explora I rendering | Photo: Explora Journeys

“It is gratifying to see Captain Melani join our Explora Journeys at this important moment as we get ready for EXPLORA I to take to the seas. She represents all that I and the founding family envisioned for our new luxury lifestyle brand as a disruptive force in our sector that will make it more diverse and inclusive. We look forward to welcoming more experienced women officers to the brand and our overall Cruise Division as it continues to grow and go from strength to strength,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of the MSC Group’s Cruise Division. 


On May 30, 2022, Explora Journeys celebrated the Float Out Ceremony of EXPLORA I at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. The ship offers 461 oceanfront suites, penthouses and residences designed to be ‘Homes at Sea’ for guests, all with ocean views, a private terrace, a choice of nine dining venues, ten indoor and outdoor bars and lounges, four swimming pools, extensive outdoor decks with private cabanas, wellness facilities, and refined entertainment.