Scenic is building a fleet of its Eclipse luxury expedition yachts.  And now its sister company, Emerald Yacht Cruises,  is expanding into the small ship arena too.

Welcome to the company’s latest reincarnation of deluxe yachting , which will kick off when the new Emerald Azzurra sails from Venice to the Dalmatian Coast and the Greek Islands in September 2021.

Currently under construction, the super yacht Emerald Azzurra will have just 100 passengers – with no interior cabins. The “worst” cabin is an ocean view cabin without a balcony.

Azzurra will take Australians off the beaten track and sail timeless routes on the Mediterranean from the Adriatic Coast, Greece to the Red Sea.

“It’s not a five-star, all-inclusive itinerary,” says Angus Crichton, director of Sales, Marketing and Product of Evergreen Tours, Emerald Yacht Cruises and Emerald Waterways river cruise brand.

Emerald Azzurra is a deluxe, four-star yachting experience which offers great value without overspending. It’s aspirational sailing offering top quality value.

“All meals including beer and wine during lunch and dinner are included. Guests will also have a free shore excursion at different ports,” he added.

The Azzurra will be based year-round on the Mediterranean and offer longer itineraries of 15- days or more which have been tailored-made for Australians who prefer to spend a longer time in Europe. Australians have already started booking ahead to experience Azzurra’s  “small ship super yacht” voyages, Mr Crichton said.

The yacht is scheduled to go on its maiden eight-day itinerary from Venice to Dubrovnik in Croatia in September next year with prices starting from $5,395 per person which includes an early bird discount.

The line will launch its 15-day itinerary from Nice to the Dalmatian Coast in August 2022 with prices starting at $9,000 pp.

The ship is all about the yachting experience with one main restaurant, café on the top deck, a swimming pool and spa. There are no casinos on board.

And there are plans to build more yachts under the Emerald brand. As Mr Crichton said: “We do not do not do things by one.”

Meanwhile, small ship cruise specialist, Cruise Traveller has seen a surge in bookings on small ships.

“There is no doubt the small ship expedition market is resilient and keen to travel again,” said Craig Bowen, managing director of CT, Queensland-based wholesaler and retailer.

“Cruise Traveller’s bookings for 2021 product to the end of May 2020, are 32 per cent up on the same period last year for 2020 sailings. While most of our guests are keen to travel overseas again in the future, the number of small ship voyages around and close to Australia will soon rise markedly and this will help satisfy pent-up demand.

“COVID-19 will continue to cause commercial pain but I believe our small ship industry will emerge from the crisis stronger than ever, with the sector benefitting from a bolstered appreciation of what makes small ship experiences different and special and what incredible travel adventures small ships can unveil for those keen to explore wilder and more remote destinations,” Mr Bowen told Cruise Industry News.