Emerald Yacht Cruises Launches Azzurra In Toronto

Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

There's soon-to-be a new ocean ship vying for the attention of Canadian travel advisors.

In JUL 2021, small-ship operator Scenic Group will launch the 100-guest Emerald Azzurra under its new brand division, Emerald Yacht Cruises.

On 5FEB, the Scenic Group team was in Toronto for a trade event thanking advisors for their continued support and giving them a sneak peek at this new "super yacht."

The Scenic Group Team. L-R: Juna Ueda, General Manager, Sales; Patricia Wu, Brand Director, Canada;
Jared Gelfand, BDM, Ontario; Tracy Daniels, BDM, Ontario and Eastern Canada;
and Lisa McCaskill, Vice President, Sales and Marketing.

"We are here to thank the trade for supporting the Scenic Group," Lisa McCaskill, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, told Open Jaw. 

"We have been selling river cruising in Canada since 2008 and we're very well known for our river cruising brand, Scenic. We introduced Emerald Waterways in 2014 and that has also really grown with the trade and their help."

Emerald Azzurra, currently under construction in Ha Long, Vietnam by the same company that built Emerald Harmony, is specially designed with the East and West Mediterranean and Adriatic seas in mind.

Its inaugural 2021-2022 itineraries show the ship calling at ports accessible only by smaller vessels, and that leads to some pretty special harbours making up Azzurra's destinations. For example there's Fiskardo, Greece, a small fishing village surrounded by rolling hills. And Piran, a resort city on Slovenia’s minuscule stretch of Adriatic coastline.

"We believe that with the Emerald Azzurra, we're entering into a different realm than anyone else at the moment. It's that intimate yacht experience that still has an inclusive nature, and a very good price point," said McCaskill. 

"We're already seeing signs that sales from global markets have gone gangbusters and we only announced [the new ship] on Saturday."

Agents will notice similarities in the amenities offered between the Azzurra and Emerald Waterways ships. Public areas include the familiar Reflections Restaurant, the Terrace, Pool Café and Observation Lounge. 

While not fully all-inclusive like sister-company Scenic, Emerald Yacht Cruises is "mostly inclusive," says McCaskill, offering drinks at lunch and dinner, all meals, gratuities and some sightseeing. 

"It has that whole Emerald Waterways inclusiveness and gratuities and tipping, just now brought onto a really cool yacht experience," she says. 

In sharing their impressions of the ship with Open Jaw, travel advisors Joe Fazari with CIT Tours and Barb Tudino with Cruise Holidays Luxury Travel Boutique said they "loved" the new ship, calling attention to its generous room sizes. 

"It's beautiful and really hit the mark with the consumer demands," says Tudino.

"The room size is very attractive. For a lot of people, that's their first question, 'how big is the room?' Especially the entry level cabin can be very tiny, so this is just awesome."

Joe Fazari, Travel Consultant and Group Specialist with CIT Tours and Barb Tudino,
Independent Consultant with Cruise Holidays Luxury Travel Boutique.

With 50 cabins in total, the lead-in oceanview stateroom starts at 182 square feet, going all the way up to the most opulent cabin, the Owner's Suite, starting at 1163 square feet.

When asked the big question – will this type of product work for the Canadian market? – both Fazari and Tudino responded with a resounding "yes."

"There are people that like big cruises, they like that atmosphere, but now the trends are changing. People want more quiet, more relaxation. They don't want to go to a buffet and rush and have big dining rooms," says Fazari.

"I think that's exactly how we're going to market it," added Tudino, "that it's not the big thing. It's intimate, it's luxury, it's affordable."

Scenic Eclipse Gears Up For 2020/21 Season

While the Azzurra took the spotlight at the event, McCaskill reminded the trade that Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours' new ocean ship, the Scenic Eclipse, went into service in AUG 2019 and thanked agents for their continued patience as the ship was delayed several times over the course of a year.

"Scenic Eclipse was a challenge. Thank you for sticking with us," she told the room. 

With building hiccups behind her, the 228-pax Scenic Eclipse is hitting the waters of the Arctic, Europe and Mediterranean for the 2020-2021 season. 

For 2021, McCaskill says agents will notice an increase in 7-night itineraries, a sweet spot in terms of duration for the Canadian market.

Ontario Expansion

Scenic Group, with Canadian HQ located in Vancouver, has enhanced its presence in the east with the addition of two Ontario-based Business Development Managers, Tracy Daniels and Jared Gelfand. They can be reached at tracy.daniels@scenic.ca and jared.gelfand@scenic.ca, respectively.

Juna Ueda speaking at the trade event.

Juna Ueda, General Manager, Sales with Scenic says Ontario-based agents can look forward to more than 50 shows for both of the company's brands throughout the year, where agents can invite clients and potential leads to learn more about the cruising experience offered.

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