Scenic Eclipse Has Arrived! A sleek, streamlined, yacht where luxury meets discovery
by Vanessa Lee
6-seater plus pilot, helicopters
Lisa McCaskill centre on the ship with some of the Canadian sales and res teams
French restaurant , Lumière on Eclipse.
Azure Café and Bar
The brand newScenic Eclipse, first of the line’s ‘Discovery Yachts,’ finally arrived in Canada on one of the inaugural voyages for the ocean cruising segment of the Scenic Luxury Cruises line-up. Taking a whirlwind tour of the yacht when she was in Quebec City, I was able to get a sense of the vessel with her distinctive look.
Rather like Scenic’s river ships, the décor is ultra-modern, contemporary and, in certain areas, somewhat monochromatic -- mostly in the stairwells and corridors along with some public spaces. However, for someone like me who is a bit of a design hound, loves elegance, style and lots of colour, there are also a number of restaurants and lounges that really shine, showcasing a beautiful vibe and a very pretty colour palette.
These spaces are winners in my book and help elevate a ship that tends to offer that modern, sleek, darker look in some areas with almost black/charcoal carpeting and many brown and black shades and fabrics – such as in the ultra-modern Koko’s Asian fusion restaurant.
Overall theEclipsecomes across with a contemporary vibe, with use of chrome in many areas, a high-tech sensibility and some truly fabulous art providing necessary punches of bold colour and glamour. The fabrics and the leathers chosen are high quality as are the fixtures and fittings, and it is clear no expense has been spared.
“My favourite space is Lumière, an elegant little jewel box of a restaurant.”
My favourite space, (which, according to founder and owner Glen Moroney, is already trending with guests) is the stunning, jewel-box Lumière restaurant accommodating just over 30 patrons each night for dinner. It’s exquisite, elegant and wonderfully designed and has a lovely Champagne Bar created out of rose quartz crystal. Reservations are required and Moroney tells me it is packed every night. Each guest can dine at least once per cruise (more often on longer voyages, space permitting). As with the rest of the yacht’s restaurants, there are no additional charges.
Another delightful spot that caught my attention is the Azure Bar and Café, adjacent to Lumière. It offers a charming and relaxed venue for casual dining. The space offers early-risers coffee and takes guests through the day with light bites, tapas, snacks and a variety of beverages. This will be another popular place as it’s bright and attractive and carries the charming, pretty colour theme right through to the outside deck.
Another impressive space is the main lounge with its calming blue/grey colour scheme and a truly stunning 100-bottle whisky bar. There is expansive seating here, a lovely high ceiling and it’s a beckoning space which will be the hub for drinks, entertainment and more.
The main restaurant is Elements. It doesn’t require reservations and focuses on an Italian, steak and seafood menu. It is also somewhat minimalist in décor but in lighter beige tones and has a spiffy, sexy black marble bar at its entrance where wine and cheese tastings are offered each evening. With 100 cheeses available, I suspect I would not get much further into the restaurant than this spot. There is also a separate Chef’s Table within Elements reserved for guests booking the most premium suites or by invitation.
The myriad dining options also include a private Teppanyaki room within Koko’s as well as a Sushi bar, the casual Yacht Club with a poolside grill, bar and buffet and 24-hour room service. The Epicure dedicated cooking class facility is another culinary feature. No one space can take all guests at once though – even the terrific theatre does not have that capacity.
The yacht carries 228 guests in 114 suites, all of which are spacious and well-kitted out, each with a small sitting area and a verandah. In polar regions the capacity drops to 200. A regular crew is 178 and in polar regions increases to 192. The tonnage is just over 17500 GRT which means the space ratio per guest is high – certainly a sign of luxury -- and there are six butlers on the ship each taking care of 15 suites.
There are also several pools and terraces with sun beds, an expansive gym and spa and a really fabulous yoga and Pilates studio as well as a relaxation area with thermal lounges, steam rooms and saunas.
“There is no doubt that the Scenic Eclipse has been purpose-built to impressive luxury standards.”
One of the first of a new breed of truly luxurious expedition yachts,Scenic Eclipsewas purpose-built to impressive luxury standards.
This expanding segment has many ships being built now with a Polar 6-1A super ice-class hull. We heard from the yacht’s Captain, who was passionate and extolled the virtues of his “baby,” including a “wedding-cake structure” and a long bow meaning she will handle the weather and rough seas very well.
Moroney and company have spared no expense in building a yacht with environmentally sustainable systems, GPS dynamic positioning, an advanced propulsion system and other tech advances including custom-built stabilizers 50% larger than those found on many ships. With any luck, these enhancements will make that cruise to Antarctica and the crossing of the infamous Drake Passage more like the Drake Lake and not a Drake shake moment.
Another Eclipse highlight is its pair of helicopters and a submarine. These impressive “toys” will appeal to travellers who long to take a helicopter ride over northern tundra or southern glaciers, or dive below the water (to a depth of 984 feet) in theScenic Neptunesix-seater submarine.
It’s $475 per person for a 20-minute ride and $925 for 40 minutes in a helicopter, and $250 for 20 minutes or $475 for 40 minutes in the sub – all pricing in U.S. dollars. Guests are taken out on a Zodiac to board the sub via a platform on its roof. Other adventure moments may be had by enjoying the tandem kayaks, and, depending on the yacht’s locale, snowshoes or snorkels.
Scenic has an onboard Discovery Team and a fleet of Zodiacs and the focus is very much on providing guests with a superior and enriching vacation – with “six-star service and amenities” -- wherever in the world the yacht may sail.
Lisa McCaskill, VP Sales and Marketing for Scenic based in Vancouver, thanked travel advisors for their patience while waiting for a ship that arrived later than planned. “We believe we’ve delivered a spectacular ship and we’re sure they will agree.”
The demand for whatScenic Eclipseoffers appears to be strong. McCaskill said it is already 50% sold for the Med in 2020 and 2021 and the 2020 Northwest passage voyage is already sold out. Early bird fares for 2020/21 are now available and clients can get 10% off – up to $1K per couple, if booked by 30NOV.
Vanessa Lee Columnist
An internationally-known luxury cruise expert, Vanessa is publisher and editor of Cruise and Travel Lifestyles magazine. She appears with Nina on the bi-monthly video Cruise Factor.