I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for Scenic. After enjoying a lovely trip on the brand new Scenic Jasper (you can read my Cruise International article about it here) last year, I was really impressed by their impeccable service, gorgeous accommodation and all round feeling of laid-back luxury. I was delighted and excited, then, to be invited to The Ivy on Friday for a top secret announcement (I’ve had to keep quiet until now – can you imagine how difficult it’s been?!) and you won’t believe what I’ve got to tell you.
Since their launch in 1986, Scenic have continued to get more and more popular. In 2015, lovely Jasper, along with Opal and Amber, were added to the fleet, and this year, brand new Space-Ships Scenic Spirit and Scenic Aura, travelling the Mekong and Irrawaddy respectively, arrive.
But this announcement, THIS announcement, will blow your socks off. Scenic are building a polar explorer. No, they really are. This ship, the Scenic Eclipse, is something really new; the world’s first discovery yacht, inspired by those jaw-dropping mega yachts, built to order for Scenic with a host of amazing additions. Firstly, it’s going to have the highest ice class rating for a passenger ship: Polar Class 6 (ice class 1A Super if you’re interested), and secondly, it’s got all sorts of flash tech like custom built advanced stabilisers: 50% larger than standard and with zero speed capability (meaning that it won’t need to drop anchor and potentially damage sensitive areas of seabed), a double hull, two wheelhouses, two engine rooms… basically everything technologically possible to ensure the safest journey in the most challenging sea conditions in the world.
But forgetting the tech for a minute, this ship will be the ultimate in luxury – a 6 star ultra-luxury mega yacht, accommodating 228 guests (200 on Arctic and Antarctica cruises) in 114 all-veranda suites. It’s going to have six gorgeous restaurants, all sorts of spacious bar and lounge areas, a 450 square metre spa, an almost 1:1 staff to guest ratio, a theatre, a pool with retractable roof, kayaks, 12 zodiaks, TWO HELICOPTERS and a SUBMARINE! No, I’ve not gone mad, it really will have helicopters that can take guests far beyond where the ship can travel, and a custom built underwater vehicle. It’s madness. It’s genius!
Currently being built in Croatia and officially launching on 31st August 2018, Scenic Eclipse will spend three months in Antarctica every year and will explore the Arctic and Norwegian Fjords, Iceland and Canada. In the Med, it will cruise itineraries like Istanbul-Greek Islands-Croatia-Venice, plus Barcelona to Dublin, Panama, Cuba, the Chilean Fjords, the Falklands… I can’t wait to see the full list of itineraries.
Emerald Waterways announce two new ships for 2017
While we were there, David Winterton, UK Brand Manager of Scenic’s sister company, the boutique river cruise company Emerald Waterways, announced two new Star-Ships, the Liberté, launching April 2017, accommodating 138 guests and set to cruise the Rhone; and the Radiance, also expected April 2017, and slightly smaller to fit the smaller waterways of the Douro, accommodating 112 guests. All this innovation will continue Emerald’s incredible job of attracting first time river cruisers and hopefully will also continue to attract a younger demographic to river cruising, because, frankly, they don’t know what they’re missing!
What an incredible amount of news. And this was straight on the back of Scenic winning the consumer-voted ‘Favourite River Cruise Company’ at the Travel Weekly Globe Travel Awards 2016 the night before. What an incredible week – I bet they all need a lie down.