Scenic Eclipse II was named at a Spanish-themed but low-key dockside ceremony in Malaga today attended by travel trade, media, local VIPs, government ministers and a full contingent of guests.
And Scenic owner Glen Moroney revealed in an interview with Cruise Passenger that the vessel will be the last of her design – promising something completely different for his next venture. Moroney pioneered the luxury discovery yacht class with the Eclipse designs.
Guests gathered on the forward Observation Terrace to celebrate the naming with champagne and tapas – and watch the traditional bottle smash against her hull.
A crossover-classical Spanish guitarist on the terminal’s upper walkway competed with buskers on the dock below as locals enjoyed their evening promenade, most of them oblivious to the events going on above them.
The ship is midway through a 10-day voyage from Barcelona to Lisbon, after which it will make its way north for the polar summer, sailing the coast of Svalbard.
This naming ceremony takes the total size of the fleet of Scenic and its sister line Emerald Cruises to 23 riverboats and, as of August this year when Emerald Sakkara launches, four luxury yachts.
The godmother for Scenic Eclipse II is astronaut and oceanographer Dr. Kathy Sullivan, the only human to have both walked in space and ventured to the deepest point in the ocean, making her a fitting choice for a cruise line that’s dedicated to exploration.
Sullivan, who jubilantly smashed a bottle of Chassenay d’Arce Champagne, Scenic’s house label, against the hull, told Cruise Passenger excitedly: “Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined I’d be asked to do something like this. It’s not just the icing on the cake, it’s icing with decoration and a cherry. It makes me feel part of the family.” This, from a woman who has seen Australia from space and mapped never-before visited areas of the ocean floor.
Scenic’s co-founder and chairman Glen Moroney told Sullivan in an earlier interview for her podcast, Kathy Sullivan Explores: “[Scenic Eclipse II] is the culmination of two and a half years of toil for a lot of our workers. We build our ships ourselves in Vietnam and Rijeka, Croatia. We come up with the concept, we engineer it, build it, own it and operate it. The whole thing. Some people think we’re crazy and it is very difficult and involved but ultimately, you get what you want and you can build something very specific to your guests’ needs.”
Moroney’s wife and business partner Karen Moroney has brought her trademark bold, glossy design style to Scenic Eclipse II. Although the new ship is similar to its sister Scenic Eclipse – the restaurants are the same, for example, and much of the layout – the décor has subtle changes. “I see the amount of time and effort Karen puts into every single space,” said Moroney. “There’s not one space on Scenic Eclipse II that’s the same as Eclipse I. You just have to keep on improving.”
Scenic Eclipse II will spend the Australian summer of 2023/24 in Antarctica, so Scenic will have two yachts there, before heading across the Pacific for a season sailing 11-night Kimberley cruises between Darwin and Broome from April 30, 2024.
“We’ve got two helicopters, we never have a problem with weather, we’re going to get right into the hinterland and drop into Aboriginal sites, with approval, of course. We’re going to offer heli hiking and heli barramundi fishing. We’ll be doing special landings on islands and setting up barbecues. It’s going to be very special. I’m excited about what this ship can deliver there.”
So can we expect a Scenic Eclipse III?
“No,” said Moroney emphatically. “There will never be a Scenic Eclipse III. There are other things we are working on that will be completely different. If you think this is special, wait till you see the new stuff.”
So when can we expect an announcement? “When I’ve got the money to pay for it,” he laughed.