As a keen fan of Scenic’s luxury river cruises in Europe and South East Asia, I was very excited – and not entirely surprised – when I first heard that the innovative Aussie company was expanding into luxury discovery ocean cruising. Having pioneered incredibly high standards of cruising on the world’s inland waterways – elegant vessels, spacious accommodation, fabulous food, imaginative excursions – it seemed only natural for Scenic to take its experience into the sought-after ocean cruising market.
The first Scenic Discovery Yacht
What can we expect from the line’s first Discovery Yacht, Scenic Eclipse? For a start, the sleek, chic ship will not only explore some of the world’s most exotic destinations, it will do so in inimitable style. The 228-passenger vessel will be equipped with two onboard helicopters to provide thrilling, bird’s-eye views of volcanoes, reefs and remote terrain while its custom-built, seven-seat submarine offers the chance to experience unbelievable underwater sightseeing.
The all-suite Scenic Eclipse will boast the ultimate in accommodation, dining, activities and facilities. The opulent but contemporary interiors, are reminiscent of those in the world’s top luxury hotels.
A floating, five star hotel
Every suite has private verandas and they range from 66 spacious 32-square-metre Verandah Suites to the enormous 233-square-metre Two-bedroom Owner’sPenthouse Suite – that’s bigger than a tennis court – with other categories in between. They will be fitted out with minibars that are replenished daily, HDTVs and climate control for all weather conditions.
And if, like me, you’ve cruised on Scenic’s river ships, you’ll appreciate that everything is included – with the exception of the submarine and helicopter excursions – no annoying extras to pay at the end of your voyage. It will be just the same aboard Scenic Eclipse. As well as having a very high crew-to-guest ratio and butler service for all guests, inclusions cover meals in all five dining venues, soft and top-shelf alcoholic drinks, wi-fi, gratuities, expert local guides for shore excursions, an onboard expedition team, Scenic Freechoice activities plus special Scenic Enrich experiences.
Fine dining aboard
Fine dining in elegant surroundings is a given: five top-notch dining choices include an intimate, contemporary French venue, a Pan-Asian eatery, an Italian and steak restaurant, indoor/outdoor dining on the Pool Deck, the Ocean Cafe and Lounge, plus in-room dining with 24-hour room service. Meals will be prepared using locally sourced produce and menus will include cuisine drawn from the regions the ship cruises through.
Fitness and features
Working off the cruise kilojoules will be a breeze with all the fitness facilities available on board. There will be a heated swimming pool with a retractable roof for all-weather exercise, a gym equipped with all the latest apparatus, plus a separate yoga and pilates studio. The 450-squaremetre spa will offer an extensive menu of pampering treatments as well as indoor and outdoor Jacuzzis and plunge pools.
Activities and exploration
Naturally there will be plenty of opportunities for more challenging off-ship discovery: Scenic Eclipse’s aft marina will be stocked with scuba and snorkelling equipment, kayaks and a fleet of 12 Zodiacs. And for land-based shore excursions, Scenic’s popular e-bikes will be available; I’m a total convert to these magic machines, which offer all the pleasure of cycling without the strain of puffing up steep hills.
The onboard Discovery Team will present lectures and briefings in a state-of-the-art 240-seat theatre and there will be a library where you can relax and read or do some research of your own. A remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) fitted with cameras will send live footage of what’s happening beneath the ship’s hull for guests to view on board.
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Where can you cruise to on the Scenic Eclipse?
Sailing to Antarctica can be a rough ride – they’re not called discovery cruises for nothing – but Scenic has built the safest, most technologically advanced discovery yacht in the world. Its first-class internal safety features, stabilisers and dynamic positioning technology mean that even the rockiest ocean stretches will have a minimal effect on board.
Where can you cruise on Scenic Eclipse? Or rather, where won’t it go? Following its 14-night maiden voyage from Istanbul to Venice in August 2018, the ship will head to America for three Caribbean cruises that will include extended visits to Cuba, one of the world’s most sought-afterdestinations. From the Caribbean, the ship will sail to South America, and from there to Ushuaia, “the End of the World” in Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego, for its first season in Antarctica and South Georgia Island.
After that, the world is your oyster. Scenic Eclipse will sail in the eastern and western Mediterranean, the Arctic, northern Europe and the Norwegian Fjords. World Discovery cruises combine select itineraries (you may want to sign up early in case you don’t want to get off the ship after just one).
If you’re looking for the trip of a lifetime that will take you to places less-travelled, with an experienced team that knows cruising inside out, Scenic Eclipse is destined to fulfill those dreams. Personally, I can’t wait to jump on board. Happy exploring!
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*Photos courtesy of Scenic or Getty Images