He was admiring the new Scenic Eclipse. ‘It’s not like a cruise ship,' he said.
True. It's more like a superyacht.
Feel like a billionaire
Scenic Founder and Chairman Glen Moroney accomplished his mission, after seven years ago seeing Paul Allen’s yacht in Sydney and deciding he wanted to build one, too — ‘a billionaire’s yacht for those of us who are not billionaires,’ as he put it.
The sleek contour of Scenic Eclipse has been captivating viewers along the Eastern Seaboard. Some 600 to 700 travel agents and media are getting a look inside during showcases at Halifax, New York City, Baltimore, Norfolk, Wilmington, Charleston and, the finale later this month, Miami.
The 17,085gt vessel carries 228 passengers (200 in polar regions) for a whopping 75% space ratio.
Combining luxury and discovery
The yacht combines luxury and discovery and offers a nearly 1:1 crew to passenger ratio, said Scenic’s Richard Hickey, director of key accounts.
Scenic Eclipse sports high ceilings, several lounges and a large variety of dining choices. The overall look is dark and glamorous, with spaces in black, chocolate brown, gray, taupe and sapphire blue, with chrome details. There’s an occasional pop of white: the white marble floor and chairs in Elements, the main restaurant, the ocean-view yoga studio, the huge white oval tub in the owner’s penthouse suite.
‘It’s very modern and sleek. It’s beautiful,’ said Diane Neal, owner of Cruises Come True in Annapolis, Maryland, and a trained Scenic Specialist. ‘It has unique features.’ She cited the spaciousness of the suites and the multiple dining venues with their myriad cuisines.
‘It’s very small and intimate,’ Neal continued. ‘It has interesting itineraries and the helicopters.’
Each of the two shiny Airbus H130 helicopters, selected for their reduced noise, fuel efficiency and comfort, has its own hangar with giant doors. On Deck 8 aft, a ‘secret’ passageway leads to the helipad.
Scenic Eclipse also carries a custom-built submarine by U-Boat Worx that looks like something out of a sci-fi movie; all six passenger seats in its acrylic spheres swivel independently for 280-degree views.
There’s also a marina for launching Zodiacs and kayaks and a mud room for expedition gear. This is a true expedition ship or, as Scenic calls it, a discovery yacht.
‘Beautiful but super-strong lady’
‘She’s a beautiful lady but she’s super-strong,’ Capt. Erwan Le Rouzic said. ‘She is 1A Super, the best ice class you can find without being an icebreaker. We are planning to go to places where other expedition ships don’t go.’ Azipods, dynamic positioning and zero-speed ‘supersized’ stabilizers — 80% the size of those on some of the biggest cruise ships, according to the captain — are other technical components.
‘She’s very smooth,’ Le Rouzic said. ‘We already experienced swells after the hurricanes and she stayed very [steady].’
Submarine treks cost $250 for 20 minutes and $495 for 40 minutes, however discovery team leader Travis Wadeley said these stretch out to 1.5 hours and two hours for the full experience. Helicopter rides range from $395 for 20 minutes up to $775 for 40 minutes (the cost is higher in polar regions). He said Scenic is in the process of getting a permit to fly the helicopters in Antarctica, where it will field an 18-strong expedition team.
Apart from helicopters, the submarine, spa treatments and some top-flight vintage vintage wines and liquors, everything on Scenic Eclipse is included in the fare, Hickey noted.
Art and dining
‘Karen Moroney’s fingerprints are everywhere. She handpicked all the art,’ Hickey said of Glen Moroney’s wife, project leader for the yacht’s interior design. The artworks include striking large portraits of women in Asian restaurant Koko’s and a gown made of 5,400 silver spoons in French restaurant Lumiere.
Executive chef Tom Goetter created 10 dining experiences for Scenic Eclipse. Lumiere offers contemporary French fine dining by researvation, with a show kitchen and a Champagne bar. On the menu one evening: Maine lobster bisque, salmon, oysters Rockefeller, chateaubriand of black angus beef with foie gras, sole meuniere, Valhrona chocolate tarte and camembert with fig marmalade.
The 120-seat main restaurant Elements features Italian cuisine, steak and seafood, and has a wine bar with a selection of 60 cheeses. Tucked inside, the 10-seat Chef’s Table is dark and intimate, with windows onto the galley. It serves a seven-course dinner by invitation only. (Hickey said those in top suites and Scenic Club high loyalty status make the cut.)
Koko’s is three venues in one: an Asian fusion restaurant with a sake bar, a sushi bar and a private teppanyaki grill. Azure provides casual fare all day, from fancy pastries to pizzas, with tapas at dinner. The Yacht Club grill and buffet restaurant borders the heated pool, which is topped by a retractable glass roof.
Epicure, the cooking school (no charge for classes) has 10 Miele induction cooking and an herb garden. And there’s 24-hour room service.
Most unusual is the (almost) in the round theater with tiers of big cushioned armchairs that can recline, with footrests and drink holders. Lectures and expedition briefings are held there.
The big, central Lobby Lounge is home to a dramatic, back-lit onyx bar with a selection of 110 whiskies. Designer chairs, long sofas and a grand piano make this a central gathering place, and the reception desk is found there, too.
In the Deck 5 forward observation lounge are books, large vases of fresh flowers, a dramatic tea display behind the bar and what Hickey called ‘the Rolls-Royce of coffee makers,’ a WMF espresso machine. But, he noted: ‘No electrical sockets, on purpose. We want you to relax here.’
The ship has no casino or disco. Relaxation and wellness take prominence over entertainment.
A long entrance hall with a slate floor leads to Senses Spa featuring Espa products. Ringing an indoor plunge pool are relaxation lounge chairs, some tiled and heated, others cushioned. All have headsets for music. Men and women have separate, ocean-view saunas. Another plunge pool is found on the aft terrace.
The ocean-view fitness center has free weights, treadmills and Technogym equipment. Across the hall is the all-white yoga/Pilates studio with windows and backlit yellow onyx panels.
All veranda suites
There are 114 veranda suites, all with butler service.
They start at a roomy 344 square feet and have a separate seating area (where a large screen HD entertainment system with Bose speakers is hidden in a glass panel). Each side of the bed is individually adjustable for reading or sleeping. Details include leather headboards, Bushnell binoculars, a refrigerated mini-bar that’s restocked daily and a deluxe illy expresso machine.
The spa suites have a very original design. They contain a double-size Philippe Starck Jacuzzi enclosed in glass that can be darkened for privacy, dual sinks and a steam shower equipped with an oversized head and light therapy. A one-hour spa treatment is included. Spa suites measure 538 square feet to 560 square feet.
The top addresses are the pair of penthouse owner’s suites on Deck 9 forward, two levels above the bridge. Each measures 2,099 square feet with a 645-square-foot terrace with Jacuzzi. Features include a wine bar, a dining table seating eight, guest bathroom, Swarovski scope and huge walk-in closet. The spacious bathroom is a real wow with its long double-sink vanity, window seat, large oval tub and a separate, enormous glass-enclosed shower.
The owner’s penthouse suites are for two people but can connect to a spa suite next door.
The voyage calendar has Scenic Eclipse heading from Miami to the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal, down the Pacific Coast of South America and around Cape Horn to Buenos Aires. From there, the ship heads to Ushuaia, its base for Antarctica sailings from late November through March. A 12-day Antarctica voyage starts at $15,215.
Scenic Eclipse then crosses the Atlantic to cruise the Mediterranean, Greek Isles/Adriatic and Baltic, before heading to the Arctic (Svalbard, Greenland, Iceland) from late June to mid-August. A Northwest Passage transit takes the ship to Alaska, then it heads down the Pacific Coast of the Americas and back to Ushuaia for the 2020/21 Antarctica season.
Early-bird savings of up to 10% and on-board credit of up to $1,000 per person are available for select 2020-2022 sailings, and Scenic is paying a $250 bonus commission for bookings by Feb. 28, 2020.