“Gorgeous… sultry… the ultimate.” These are a few of the adjectives Cruise Specialists staff used to describe Scenic Eclipse after a morning inspecting this intimate, ultra-luxury yacht in September 2022.
Scenic Eclipse is one of two ships from Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours that are new to the ocean cruising scene—the first debuted in late 2019 and the second ship (aptly named Scenic Eclipse II) will launch in spring 2023.
The three Cruise Specialists staff members who toured Scenic Eclipse bring a unique perspective and evaluated the ship based on their extensive experience in the cruise industry:
- Gillian Clark, Cruise Consultant and Expedition Cruise expert, has cruised to all seven continents, and has cruised with or inspected at least 15 cruise lines, including Seabourn, Silversea, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises. She has specifically sailed these expedition cruise lines: Hurtigruten, Tauck, Silversea Expeditions, Atlas Ocean Voyages and Hapag Lloyd.
- Teresa Skeim, Cruise Consultant and Expedition Cruise expert, worked for a major cruise line for 10 years and has cruised with or inspected at least 15 cruise lines, including Silversea, Seabourn, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
- Annie Scrivanich, Senior Vice President, has more than four decades of experience in all aspects of the cruise business.
It seems nothing has been overlooked on this ravishing mega yacht. Dressed in tones of gray and black, the ship sports clean and minimalist lines, including the mammoth-yet-sleek guest services desk that sits at the heart of the ship. The ship though, is anything but cold. Specially commissioned original artwork abounds throughout the public venues and suites. The tour and inspection were exceptionally well organized and it was instantly clear that from the captain to expedition director and the many staff encountered on board, they had a deep connection to each other and are eager to extend that camaraderie to guests. This tour took place amidst a port call in Seattle, which meant actual guests were on board and seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves.
Large Ship Amenities, Small Ship Details
Scenic Eclipse carries 228 guests (200 in Polar Regions to maximize the guest experience) and features a wealth of technology to ensure exceptional cruising in the most remote and fragile corners of the world. What sets Scenic Eclipse apart is that in addition to its incredible set-up for expedition cruising, it has the atmosphere of a luxury yacht, and an almost 1:1 staff-to-guest ratio.
“By comparison, I have been on other expedition ships where there are just one or two restaurants. Scenic Eclipse features 10 dining options, basically unheard of for this size of ship,” said Gillian. “You can frolic with penguins during the day and feast on sushi rolled before your eyes that night. Or have a fine steak dinner. You may even be invited for an exclusive dining experience at the Chef’s Table @ Elements, which is reserved for 10 guests and features an 11-course meal paired with the choicest wines.”
There will be no surprises come the end of the voyage, as Scenic Eclipse is truly all-inclusive (the only extra charges are for the helicopter, submarine or spa treatments). Savor your favorite beverage while unwinding with new friends in one of nine lounges. “Whiskey, Champagne, sake, wine, specialty coffee drinks, you name it, you can have it,” commented Teresa.
Extravagant Suites and a Butler for Everyone
A good night’s sleep is of the utmost importance when your days are filled with active adventures. Every suite features sliding doors opening onto a private verandah or terrace. Scenic Slumber Beds with pillow menu and electronic control for various sleeping positions, Egyptian cotton linen, fine toiletries, ambient lighting options and a separate lounge area is where it all starts. “Every guest is treated to butler service, making your cruise extra special,” said Teresa. “They serve your every whim—whether it be bringing you morning coffee or taking care of your laundry—and at the same time almost magically appear and disappear to make for a seamless and unobtrusive experience.”
Suites range from generously sized 344-square foot Verandah Suites up to the 2,637-square foot, Two-Bedroom Penthouse Suite. This configuration is attained by combining one of the Owner’s Penthouse Suites with a Spa Suite—each impressive in their own right!
“Our tour began in the Owner’s Penthouse Suite on Deck 9, and I can assure you anyone staying here will not want to leave,” stated Annie. “These oversized suites feature a personal private pool and sun loungers, a private lounge and dining area, and a super-sized bathroom, making for the ultimate retreat,” Annie recalled. Special touches en suite for relaxation include a therapeutic bath spa, a dual vitality mist shower with color light therapy, and a spa day bed—which can be used for in-suite private spa experiences. Guests in Owner’s Penthouse Suites also receive canapes and petite fours delivered to the suite, priority dining in specialty restaurants, priority choice of shore excursions and VIP embarkation and disembarkation.
Gillian called attention to the generosity of space in all suite categories, including the verandahs, plus the extra touches: “The showers looked magnificent and the bathrooms had a wonderful layout. All of the suites were very nicely appointed, with closets that were very adequate and super functional. The in-suite coffee station is very nice and is stocked with illy coffee and specialty teas restocked according to your wishes.”
Ready to Explore? Go Eclipse!
The Cruise Specialists team was in awe over the level of technology on board and the tools available for exploration. Appearing to be straight from a movie set, Scenic Eclipse features all the right stuff for endless adventure:
- Helicopter: Two state-of-the-art Airbus H130-T2 helicopters, with seating for up to six guests—they are also the quietest on the market for their category, to minimize disturbances for wildlife. Guests enjoy Bose noise cancelling headphones to maximize listening.
- Scenic Neptune Submarine: the U-Boat Worx Cruise Submarine 7 can dive to 300 meters and offers seating for up to six guests (the submarine on board Scenic Eclipse II will hold eight guests)
- Zodiacs: a fleet of these durable boats gets passengers up close to all the must-see views and also deploys guests ashore at many stops
- Kayaks: Tandem kayaks offer active exploration through incredible scenery and wildlife encounters
- On-board marina: specially designed for ease of comfort while boarding and exiting Zodiacs and kayaks
- Additional exploration tools: paddleboards, snorkeling gear, e-bikes, Swarovski telescopes on board and binoculars in every suite
“The level of detail that Scenic placed into designing their exploration tools is truly impressive,” said Teresa. “Imagine gaining a birds-eye view as you soar over Icelandic geothermal lakes, or watching thousands of Emperor penguins from above.”
Another observation: The ship is designed to hold expedition equipment in a position to deploy extremely quickly to maximize time guests have exploring on the water or getting to shore. Additionally, the ship can pull up to solid ice and debark passengers thanks to its dynamic positioning systems.
“Equally impressive to all of the exploration tools is the Discovery Team itself, which consists of up to 20 specialists,” remarked Annie. “Aside from the formal lectures and excursions, it’s the casual conversations that guests will strike up with expedition team members that will be most memorable. Ask the photographer for photo tips, or watch a pod of whales from the deck as a marine biologist points out things you might never otherwise notice. These are not only experts in their field but they are natural storytellers, eager to share their adventures with you—and hear about your own impressions.”
“Because of its exceptional technology, Scenic Eclipse can truly deliver on those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that intrepid travelers are looking for,” said Gillian. The ship has a smooth and powerful ride and it can sit peacefully at anchor, not disturbing the surrounding environment while guests observe and explore. This is not your average sight-seeing cruise, but pure, first-person, take-it-all-in adventure!”
Furthermore, Scenic Eclipse has an open bridge policy, so guests can easily stop in when the bridge door is open and chat with officers while taking in world-class views, enjoying a coffee, and learning about the navigation of the ship.
If your idea of exploration involves sitting in a comfortable chair and sipping a beverage while gazing out at the horizon, Scenic Eclipse has you covered. Teresa and Gillian noted the expansive Observation Lounge is perfectly suited and very well-thought out. It contains a generously sized wall of books for borrowing, a selection of games, and an expansive assortment of Kusmi teas and self-serve coffee. Then it’s as simple as choosing a chair, gazing out one of the Swarovski telescopes, or stepping out on the bow, which is the perfect place to be as you cruise through Antarctica. They also noticed thoughtful touches such as extra handrails on the bow.
The Theater is designed in an in-the-round format, and it enhances the expedition experience as it hosts fascinating education programs by the Discovery Team. Guests will indeed take it all in while in relaxed fashion, with custom designed leather reclining seats, video walls on three sides and a bar at the back of the room.
Ready to Relax? Enjoy the All-Five-Senses Experience
Travelers ready to rejuvenate after all that exploring are in for a treat. Senses Spa is a massive wellness and relaxation retreat, which at 5,920 square feet is unequaled by many spas on larger ships. Temperature-controlled plunge pools, women’s and men’s saunas and steam rooms, and relaxation lounges are just some of the special features. Treatments and products from ESPA, Susanne Kaufmann and John Masters Organics are available for an additional cost.
On the deck above the spa guests will find a fully-equipped gym with the latest technology, along with a yoga and Pilates room.
Where to Discover?
With two ships in service as of spring 2023, the options of where you might travel with Scenic Eclipse are greatly expanding. In the southern polar regions, explore Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. Or take a Chilean Fjords and Cape Horn-focused expedition. Casting your eyes north, cruise through majestic Norwegian Fjords, the Lofoten Islands, Franz Joseph Land, Svalbard, Greenland, Iceland and more. There is also a tempting array of warm weather voyages. In the Pacific you can explore New Zealand, Australia’s Kimberley, the Indonesian Archipelago, West Papua, and the Solomon Islands, to name a few. Or in the Americas, dozens of islands await, from Bermuda and the Bahamas, or into Latin America for in-depth exploration of the Panama Canal, Peru, Uruguay and Brazil—the list continues to grow.
Scenic Eclipse also features more traditional cruise voyages in Europe and the Mediterranean where you call on iconic ports such as Barcelona, Lisbon and Dublin, as well as tony harbors where Scenic Eclipse will feel right at home—such as Puerto Banús, Ibiza, Mahon and more.
“It was so valuable for us as a leading luxury cruise and expedition cruise agency to walk through Scenic Eclipse,” said Annie. We were able to notice things that you simply can’t get an adequate read on by looking at pictures on a website. We considered the interactions with staff, how people treat you when walking down a passageway and witnessed actual guests on board. These nuances will go a long way in assisting our own clients in reserving their voyage on board Scenic Eclipse.
“We’re also very comfortable saying that Scenic Eclipse will deliver on the cost. The variety and quality of the restaurants, the luxuriousness of the suites, the yacht-like atmosphere, the phenomenal attention to detail—it all adds up to a six-star ultra-luxury experience. You’ll want for nothing on Scenic Eclipse,” said Annie.
The Cruise Specialists experts agreed that Scenic Eclipse was like nothing they have seen before. Their advice? Think “longer” versus “shorter” on the voyage you select, as you may never want to leave this ultra-luxury paradise at sea.
There are many more details you can discover about Scenic Eclipse.