Leaving Iceland’s capital Reykjavik for a 13-day cruise to Quebec City on Canada’s St Lawrence River, the 228-passenger Polar Class 6 vessel has been designed to be the most luxurious and innovative ship to sail the Antarctic and Arctic, although it will also cruise the Caribbean and Mediterranean. Sinuously sleek and with an ink-black hull, it looks more like a superyacht than an expedition ship thanks to its impressive helicopter deck, submarine docking station and raft of Zodiac excursion boats. It also has butler service for all guests, indoor and outdoor plunge pools, a gym with separate yoga and pilates studio plus 10 complimentary dining options. Guests can choose from French gourmet to Asian Fusion, Italian and Japanese or simple poolside snacks, as well as a chef’s table.
There’s also a large spa and a state-of-the-art theatre for shows and lectures, while its designer interiors have furniture and furnishings by B&B Italia, Tom Dixon, Walter Knoll and Jonathon Browning.
“In addition, we have commissioned a number of artworks from renowned international artists that will be a focal point of the interiors,” says project director Karen Moroney.
“This is more than just a cruise ship, this is a total sensory experience. From the entry foyer to the guest suites and the dining areas, the feel is one of calm, luxury and serenity to allow our guests to truly relax and take in the total voyage.”
Scenic Eclipse is the first ocean ship for Australian-based Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, founded 33 years ago and with a superb reputation for luxury river cruises in Europe, South East Asia, Russia and Egypt.
Classed by Scenic as the world’s first Discovery Yacht, Scenic Eclipse was supposed to launch last August but industrial action at the Croatian ship yard where it was built led to a dramatic intervention by Scenic’s founder and chairman.
Glen Moroney was forced to pay striking workers himself to get the ship finished and hold-ups have also delayed the launch of sister ship Scenic Eclipse II, originally scheduled for May 2020.
But on the day Scenic Eclipse finally set sail Mr Moroney claimed the ship set a new benchmark in “ultra-luxury discovery cruising” with its six-guest helicopters and six-guest submarine – which will cost several hundred pounds each for 20-minute tours.
“In terms of innovation, technology and design it is second to none,” Moroney insisted, adding:“The on board helicopters and submarine and our hand crafted itineraries that take our guests to 38 countries in some of the world’s most stunning and remote locations – these are what truly set us apart.”
Scenic Eclipse will be christened by Dame Helen Mirren in New York City on September 10.
“I am very honoured to have been chosen as the godmother to such a beautiful vessel as Scenic Eclipse,” said the British actress.
“She will have many adventures and a wonderful life as she transports her guests in immaculate style and great safety to beautiful places.”
For more information on forthcoming itineraries go to scenic.co.uk.
In other cruise news, cruise company Royal Caribbean has announced new four-night itineraries that now feature two visits to their private island.
Royal Caribbean’s island, Perfect Day at CocoCay, is the result of a $250 million transformation and is celebrating 100 days.
Bosses have said it “revolutionises private destinations in the travel industry” and is “an experience unlike any other.”
Perfect Day at CocoCay boasts 13 waterslides, the Caribbean’s largest wave pool and an Adventure Pool with a family-friendly obstacle course.