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It’s been a long time coming, with several setbacks along the way, but with much fan-fare and the dazzling New York City skyline as her backdrop, The Scenic Eclipse has officially been christened today.

Dame Helen Mirren was Godmother of the ship and along with her Academy Award-winning Director husband Taylor Hackford, broke a ceremonial bottle of champagne against the hull, bestowing the traditional blessing of safekeeping over all those who sail with her.

It was a million dollar view with the World’s First Discovery Yacht set against the NYC skyline. Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours co-owners Glen and Karen Moroney couldn’t have appeared happier at the official naming ceremony event, with Mr Moroney describing the moment as opening a gateway for a new era in cruising.

“It was an honour to welcome Helen and Taylor on board and to share with them our vision and passion which together with the dedication and talent of our Scenic team has created an experience which has set a brand new benchmark in discovery cruising,” said Mr Moroney.

Dame Helen Mirren at the Scenic Eclipse christening

Dame Helene Mirren, co-owners Glen and Karen Moroney and Scenic Eclipse Captain James Griffiths

Dame Mirren spoke of her new role as Godmother of the ship. “I was thrilled to be invited to take on the role of Scenic Eclipse godmother, even more so now that I have stepped aboard and seen the level of design detail and technology that has gone into her creation. She is an exceptional cruising experience, and I’m honoured to have christened her. I wish her crew and guests many years of sailing adventures and discovery,” Dame Mirren said.

The Eclipse made her own dramatic way to today’s event via a series of build problems.  She had to cancel the launch twice after the Croatian shipyard faced down serious financial problems and a series of strikes by the workforce, meaning Scenic needed to bring in their own contractors to complete the job approximately one year late.

Ironically, Dame Mirren admitted her first experience onboard Eclipse’s maiden voyage will be her first time at sea. “I’ve never been on a cruise,” she said. “I did grow up sailing on boats, on a Thames River estuary. Very small boats of only two or three people. With a sail,” she announced in her christening speech.

And what a christening it was. More than 350 global media – Including Australia’s very own Today Show Weatherman Steve Jacobs – as well as agents, and VIPS stepped aboard for the exclusive ceremony, admiring the state of the art design and luxury finishes on offer throughout the ship.

Boasting a focus on luxury, adventure and sustainability all in one, The Eclipse is hoped to deliver the holiday of a lifetime for up to 228 guests (200 in Polar regions) with 114 all-verandah suites, ranging up to 247m2.

Dining options, as you can imagine, range from Asian Fusion to French fine dining, a Chef’s Table and even a pool-side buffet. Even the SENSES Spa is a whopping 550m2, equipped with latest technology gym gear, and yoga and pilates studios.

Of the stand-out features on offer to guests are two six-guest helicopters and one six-guest submarine the Scenic Neptune, capable of depths of nearly 200m in certain regions. Of course it wouldn’t be a Scenic experience without butler service for all guests and a guest-to-staff ratio of almost 1:1.

Co-owners Glen and Kern Moroney and Dame Helen Mirren

Dame Helen Mirren onboard Scenic Eclipse

When it comes to sustainability, The Eclipse is built with zero-speed stabilizer fins and the highest passenger ship ice class rating of Polar Class 6. Among the various environmental benefits, she also claims to enhance safety during arctic operations.

NYC Ports General Manager Ken Winkler joined Scenic Eclipse Captain James Griffiths in presenting Mr Moroney the 1st Visit Plaque as she arrived into port at Pier 88 today on her maiden voyage from Reykjavik, Iceland.

From here, the Scenic Eclipse will return to the port of Halifax and welcome her first official holiday guests for a 9 day Maritimes Discovery Cruise starting at au$11,160pp.

www.scenic.com.au