Australian tour operator Scenic tours have always specialized in land based tours since their inception. They then started getting into the maritime market with the 2014 launch of Emerald Waterways, a four-star luxury river line based in Europe. Around the same time, they started working on a blue water solution. They had been chartering expedition vessels for a while and guests kept commenting they wanted more and more destination options in a luxurious setting. It was then that Scenic designed what would become the Scenic Eclipse. With an emphasis on luxury, while at the same time having the ability to conduct long expeditions to both poles, the line elected to give her Polar Class 6 (formerly Ice Class 1A). She’s the first luxury vessel with Class 6. (The Hondius was actually the very first pax vessel classed under this designation.)
She was built in Croatia at Uljanik. During construction, the yard suffered financial issues and lead to delays as they were unable to pay workers. She was delayed an entire year and finally just started sailing this August.
There is a sistership planned but given the continued troubles of all Croatian yards currently, her fate is unknown.
The Scenic Eclipse is 551 ft LOA and comes in at 17,085gt. She carries 228pax but when in the polar regions, she’s limited to 220pax.
I was able to board the ship last week in Quebec City while she was being turned around after he inaugural voyage from Iceland to Canada. I took this opportunity to photograph all public areas. This will be a combined First Look and a complete virtual tour of the vessel.
Lets start with the obligatory photos:
She features standard black carpet throughout giving a contemporary feel, however there is extensive use of this faux marble on stairs which is very unique:
The bottom of the ship, deck 03, contains the mud room (with heated boot rack) and zodiac boarding area. The aft part contains the marina where an actual submarine that guests can rent is stored.
At the very front is the theater. The theater is the main area for lectures and presentations given by the expedition staff. Each seat is a luxury recliner with a cupholder.
Walking past that is the main lobby area. (Note the high ceilings.) The lobby bar contains over 100 different types of whiskies. There are large sitting areas around it with the main guest services desk towards the end.
At the very back of the deck are two restaurants. The main restaurant, Elements, features a light colored, white pallet.
Ship geek moment here: I noticed that the windows are quite large for being this close to the waterline. On a polar-classed vessel, this poses a problem. In order to give guests unparalleled views while they dine, they are actually using extra thick glass. Roughly the same thickness of the steel in the reinforced hull. This way there’s no sacrificing safety.
This restaurant runs down the port side of the deck. Mid way through it is the hidden Chef’s Table @ Elements.
On the starboard is Koko’s Asian fusion restaurant.
The very front of deck 05 is the observation deck. As she’s expected to be in harsh climates, it’s interesting to note the presence of a wave breaker. This was quite common on ocean liners. It allowed large waves, that would break over the bow, to be swept over the side of the ship and not reach the superstructure. Here it serves the vital purpose of not allowing waves to break against the observation lounge.
Aft of there are 32 suites with balconies. At the very aft of the deck are some culinary venues. Lumiere is an alternate restaurant on port. Then on starboard is Azure Bar and Grill. This area is a casual restaurant with coffee bar. Then there’s Scenic Epicure. This is a demonstration and hands on kitchen.
Deck 6 contains 30 suites up front. The aft of the deck is the spa. Complete with relaxation rooms, sauna’s and even a plunge pool outside off the stern.
Deck 07 has the navigational bridge up front. Scenic intends to have an open bridge policy while underway. Aft of that are 22 suites. Aft of those, surrounding the main stairwell, are the yoga and Pilates studio on port and the gym on starboard.
The aft part of the deck is this neat indoor/outdoor area called the Yacht Club.
Deck 8 has ten more suites up top. The aft of the deck contains two large hangers storing two helicopters, as well has a full-fledged helipad. The sides of the area retract over port and starboard removing obstructions so the helicopters can operate safely.
Deck 9 contains only ten suites as well as the two very large 2,660 sqft. Owners Penthouses.
This is the top most deck and contains a small sun area as well as the combined funnel/radar mast. Very uncommon on cruise ships, as those two elements are separated by almost the length of the vessel, but extremely common on large mega yachts. As they were designing the Scenic Eclipse after a mega-yacht, it made sense to arrange it this way. Moving these towards the center allows a sleeker forward profile as well as a removing an obstruction for the helicopters.