Imagine that you had the opportunity to sail the oceans on one of the world’s newest 6-star luxury yachts, with destinations like Europe, Antarctica, the Mediterranean and the Scandinavian fjords as your playgrounds. Here is the good news: Scenic Eclipse is the vessel for you, offering unforgettable excursions to places previously inaccessible to the ordinary traveler.
Scenic Eclipse has set a new benchmark in luxury expedition ocean cruising suites with 114 luxurious suites across five decks, a sumptuous 5,920ft2 spa sanctuary, 10 dining experiences, butler service to every suite, a staff to guest ratio of 1:1, and two on board helicopters and a submarine offering truly unique discovery experiences.
I had a recent opportunity to view this magnificent vessel, the first ocean cruise ship for Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, a company renowned for its luxury river cruises. The Scenic Eclipse truly offers a wealth of world-class amenities and facilities (of which the ship’s submarine and helicopters would surely qualify), while ensuring that guests can focus exclusively on the voyage (and not on the price of shore excursions, transfers, tips, butler service, onboard dining or premium branded beverages, all of which are included in the all-inclusive price you pay). The Eclipse features an Ice Class 1A Super rating that allows it to navigate through Arctic and Antarctic waters in the summer. It also has the Polar Class 6 rating, the highest passenger ship ice-class rating, to safely navigate in challenging seas. Simply put, the Eclipse has already laid claim as the world’s safest and most technologically advanced discovery yacht.
As you would expect from a “mega yacht,” the Eclipse carries a comparatively small complement of passengers and crew. It carries 228 guests (restricted to 200 in Polar regions) in 114 all-veranda suites, with a crew of 172 for normal regions and 182 for Polar regions.
The yacht’s layout features eight decks, deck 3 to deck 10. Deck 3 houses “mud rooms” for easy access by the Zodiacs and also serves as a tender entrance.
Deck 4 features the welcome lobby and reception, main lounge, lobby bar, Pan Asian restaurant, boutique, theatre, excursion center and a library.
Deck 5 offers a contemporary fine dining restaurant, ocean café and lounge, observation lounge and bar, and an open viewing deck at bow and guest suites.
On Deck 6, guests will appreciate a spa sanctuary, shallow plunge pools and guest suites.
Deck 7 features an indoor/outdoor al fresco restaurant, indoor/outdoor pool, a beauty salon, gym, yoga and Pilates studio, outdoor terrace and guest suites.
Deck 8 is equipped with a helipad and hangars, as well as guest suites.
Deck 9 has the helicopter hangar, spa and penthouse suites.
Deck 10 features a sun terrace.
I had the opportunity to view suites at each level, all of which are best described as sumptuous. Overall there are 66 verandah suites, 28 deluxe verandah suites, 14 spa suites, and the Grand Panorama and Owner’s Penthouse suites.
Veranda suites offer a private veranda, separate bedroom and living area with floor-to-ceiling windows. They feature a pillow menu, mini-bar, deluxe furnishing, HDTV and climate control.
Deluxe Veranda suites are similarly apportioned but are larger than veranda suites, featuring larger bedroom and living areas.
Spa suites (located on decks 8 & 9) have living and bedroom areas with luxury amenities. They feature spa baths and offer space to relax and views from the veranda.
Grand Panorama suites are located on decks six and eight at the front of the yacht. They feature curved verandas on deck 6, and a veranda with terrace on deck 8.
Owner’s Penthouse suites are located on the 9th deck at the bow of the yacht.
Combining the owner’s penthouse suite with a spa suite also creates a two-bedroom penthouse suite that offers the best of all facilities.
The yacht offers multiple onboard dining options, from casual to fine dining.
Options include a contemporary French fine dining restaurant (“Lumiere”) with a capacity for 44 people, a Pan Asian restaurant (“Koko’s”) with 100 seats, an al fresco indoor/outdoor restaurant for 125 people, and an Ocean café and lounge with a capacity of 40.
Cuisine is prepared using locally sourced produce and includes regional cuisines drawn from the regions the yacht cruises through.
Entertainment and Relaxation
The luxury yacht features a spa that offers an extensive menu of luxury treatments, indoor and outdoor Jacuzzis and plunge pools. Other relaxation areas include an indoor heated pool, which features a retractable roof, plunge pool, gym and a separate yoga and Pilates studio.
Sun deck Jacuzzis offer guests another area to relax, as well as spacious bars and lounges.
Guests are entertained in the 240-seat theater that offers lectures by an onboard discovery team. The team, which includes dedicated Antarctic and Arctic experts in their fields, keeps guests updated on a wide range of subjects and interests.
While the sheer beauty and amenities of the Scenic Eclipse are memorable indeed, I was further stunned by some of the unique excursion opportunities offered on this vessel. The yacht features in-air, underwater, and shore excursions to guests, offering two six-seat, twin-engine helicopters, a seven-seat submarine and 12 Zodiacs and kayaks onboard. Guests are able to visit previously inaccessible locales – imagine flying low over the Scottish Highlands, or the gorgeous cays of the Caribbean.
The submarine is custom-built for optimal sightseeing to seldom seen places such as the underwater ruins in Turkey and Greece, as well as kaleidoscopic coral reefs in the Caribbean. Such sights can also be visited by guests with the scuba diving equipment onboard. If you are in the Arctic or Mediterranean, consider an excursion on the vessel’s Zodiacs and kayaks.
Guests can also enjoy shore excursions on Zodiacs and kayaks in the Arctic and Mediterranean seas. A unique “mud room” enables guests to embark and disembark for their excursions quickly and easily.
The Scenic Eclipse has been built with the latest state-of-the-art technological advancements that ensure maximum safety for its guests. Examples include the custom-built stabilizers that are 50% larger than other ships. The Eclipse also features an ice-strengthened hull, a welcome addition for its many Arctic voyages.
Unlike other vessels that use traditional anchors, Scenic Eclipse has been fitted with a dynamic positioning system that uses GPS to accurately maintain the vessel’s position. It is also an eco-friendly way to control the ship. Other environmentally sustainable systems include advanced water treatment systems and efficient low-impact engines.
A nice “touch” I noted was the opportunity for guests to visit the navigational bridge and watch the actual piloting of the vessel real-time. Comfortable accommodations have been placed on the bridge for guests to spend substantial time there if they wished.
To sum up … the Scenic Eclipse is the very best of all cruising worlds, with amenities found on few vessels (of any size) while the small vessel size reflects all the advantages of sailing on your private yacht. It will surely provide any cruiser with the voyage of a lifetime.
Story by Heidi Allison-Shane
Photos courtesy Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours
To book a Scenic Eclipse luxury expedition cruise, click here.