Eclipsing The competition?

by Vanessa Lee

Vanessa with Glen Moroney (photo credit: Indelible Adventures)

Scenic Eclipse Helicopter

Scenic Eclipse toys

I attended an event hosted by Scenic Tours recently where they announced their stunning new expedition, luxury, ice-class ship Scenic Eclipse that will enter the market in late summer of 2018. Australian Glen Moroney owner of Scenic’s various brands, was on hand, along with his North American team, to fill us in on their impressive plans for the ship, how she came about and all the time that he personally has invested with the ship builders and designers, to ensure that this gorgeous yacht really makes a huge splash. I was very impressed - I have to say.

Interestingly enough, since the announcement from Scenic, several other brands including Ponant and Crystal have also come out with their own press on the new ships they are building which will also be expedition-oriented sailings not just in Antarctica and the Arctic but other destinations along the way. This segment of the cruise industry seems to have exploded all of a sudden. And it will be a race to the finish to see which ship(s) come out first and what each of them will offer to the ever-increasing audience of clients seeking this kind of enriching and authentic experience. And, I would count myself in that group – Antarctica is a huge bucket list item for me.

Until now, Scenic has operated river ship brands including sister company Emerald Waterways but this is their first foray into ocean cruising. And according to Glen, this is “luxury meets discovery” and a “beyond the horizon” moment. A catchy phrase for sure but equally one they clearly plan to delineate for their guests.

The bar is being raised and now these ships are being designed with many new features and loads of bells and whistles. Hopefully not so many of these accoutrements that the intent of the voyages and the destinations these small ships will serve will be lost in the myriad aspects of the onboard experience or in the helicopter or submarine moments!

Here’s what I learned from the affable and obviously passionate Glen Moroney about his decision to build such a ship (and a 2nd to follow in all likelihood) and what his company feels the audience is seeking and searching for when they want to journey to far and away places.

The essential points:

228 guests on a yacht that has 11 decks; 16,000 gross tones; a 5000 sq. ft. spa; a 20,000 sq. ft. main deck along with 5 restaurants (al fresco dining too) and of course with all-inclusive onboard offerings.

The vessel will be designated as a 1A super-ice-class ship with a reinforced double hull, advanced stabilizers, dynamic positioning (so no anchors to harm anything) and 2 engine rooms in separate spaces plus a back-up wheelhouse. For polar sailings the guest count will be limited to 200. All very logical and sensible things to consider when sailing in certain remote regions.  

There will be a submarine for certain sailings which will carry 7 guests at a time for each sojourn (a fee will apply) and there will also be 2 helicopters for guests use (a fee again) but which will enable landscape viewing in remote areas of a magnitude perhaps not seen to such a degree by a cruiser in these waters before. Another feature is a mid-ship marine platform.

All rooms are suites with butler service and verandahs, and gratuities are included in the fare. Full pricing will be released in early 2017 and for now the pricing is preview only but it is taking off as I have been advised that bookings are strong, particularly from the Aussies initially and there is great interest from past Scenic guests.

Other destinations will include The Falkland Islands, Iceland (very hot these days – no pun intended), the Norwegian Fjords – one of my most favourite places in Scandinavia and so worthy of visiting – the Med, of course and the Chilean Fjords too.

All very exciting and loads more information coming all the time.

(will not be published)