The New Scenic Eclipse
By Anne Kalosh.
Expedition cruising is getting glamorous. While the adventures outside may still be rugged, once travelers are back on board they’ll have every creature comfort on a growing number of vessels.
Take a look at Scenic’s newly introduced 228-passenger Scenic Eclipse, for example.
Billed as a “six-star discovery yacht,” it has all-veranda-suite accommodations, 10 dining venues, a Champagne bar, a spacious spa, a yoga/Pilates studio and butler service. A sleek exterior profile, internal spaciousness, stylish design and original art make Scenic Eclipse a far cry from expedition cruising’s traditionally utilitarian vessels, some of them converted from scientific research use.
Total Sensory Experience
“This is more than just a cruise ship, this is a total sensory experience,” said project director Karen Moroney of Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours. “From the entry foyer to the guest suites and the dining areas, the feel is one of calm, luxury and serenity to allow our guests to truly relax and take in the total voyage experience.”
In addition, a number of artworks were commissioned from renowned international artists and are a focal point of the decor.
Scenic Eclipse can carry up to 228 travelers (200 in the Arctic and Antarctica) on voyages highlighting nature, cultural encounters, historic cities and ancient monuments.
The 114 all-veranda suites range from 345 square feet to a sprawling 2,659 square feet. All accommodations are served by butlers, and the passenger-to-crew ratio is nearly 1:1.
The 10 dining options include Asian fusion, a sushi bar, an upscale French restaurant, a Chef’s Table, teppanyaki grill, a cooking emporium called Epicure and a poolside grill/buffet.
Bars and lounges include the intimate Champagne Bar, elegant Lobby Lounge and the Azure Bar & Café for fare like oysters accompanied by a crisp pinot gris. Top-shelf beverages, fine wine, cocktails, and specialty teas and coffees are included in Scenic’s pricing.
The 5,920-square-foot Senses Spa provides a gym and separate yoga and Pilates studio. A theater hosts entertainment and lectures. There are indoor and outdoor plunge pools.
Two Helicopters & a Submarine
Scenic Eclipse has a Polar Class 6 ice rating. The ship’s zero-speed stabilizer fins are 50 percent larger than standard to provide greater stability by cutting roll more than 85 percent. Other technical features include dynamic positioning, a GPS system that holds the vessel in place so anchors don’t have to be dropped with the potential to damage sensitive seabeds. For added safety, there are redundancies in propulsion and navigation systems and food refrigeration.
Adding to its exploration capabilities, Scenic Eclipse carries two six-guest helicopters and one six-guest submarine capable of reaching depths of nearly 1,000 feet.
“We are extremely proud of this ship and what it brings to the world of cruising,” said Glen Moroney, chairman and founder, Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours. “In terms of innovation, technology and design, it is second to none.”
An Australia-based tour operator that sells internationally, Scenic in recent years branched out to building river vessels for its Scenic and Emerald Waterways brands. Now, having constructed one ocean expedition yacht, a second is due to follow.
Scenic Eclipse is scheduled to be named by the British actress Dame Helen Mirren during festivities in New York on Sept. 10.
The ship will sail between the polar regions, also hitting points in the Caribbean, South America, Alaska, Canada, Europe and Scandinavia, with per diems ranging from $600 to $1,100 depending on the itinerary. Here are more details.
Luxury is the currently the hottest trend in expedition cruising. Luxury line Silversea got into this area in 2008 with refurbished and upgraded ships. And now Silversea, Crystal Expedition Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Ponant, Seabourn and SeaDream Yacht Club are all building sumptuous vessels.
So look for many more top-tier choices in the years to come.
>>Stay tuned for Peter Knego’s story when he sails aboard Scenic Eclipse in early September!
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