Scenic has announced it is building what it describes as “the world’s first discovery yacht” – an audacious move that pitches the Australian-owned river cruise line against the likes of Silversea, Ponant and Crystal.

The $250 million vessel, designed by Scenic owner Glen Moroney and launching in 2018, will herald a new era of luxury adventure cruising. The ship will allow guests to visit areas of the planet usually reserved for the mega yachts of the very wealthy, according to Scenic.

Like the Spaceships Mr Moroney created to conquer the European river market, the Eclipse – with twin helicopters and a submarine – will take the adventure market to a new level.
She will have revolutionary stabilisers to bring big-ship ride to the waters of the Arctic, and will feature the all-inclusive service that has made Scenic such a winner.

Mr Moroney has been working in secret on the designs for three years. He told Cruise Passenger he has already booked an option for a second vessel in 2019. “It will bring a totally new experience to this market,” he said at Scenic’s Night of the Stars awards in Sydney.

The 114-suite ship will operate over 20 cruise itineraries around the globe, feature two twin-engine helicopters, custom-built zodiacs, a 240-seat theatre, heated pools and a submarine.
Moroney stressed the Scenic Eclipse’s safety as Ice Class – 1A Super category – a new benchmark for passenger ships.
“Travelling in the Antarctic and Arctic regions can be challenging,” says the Eclipse brochure. “As a result, we’ve build a discovery yacht that is the safest.
The announcement comes in the year Scenic, with 21 river cruise vessels around the world, is celebrating 30 years of operating.
Launching on 31 August 2018, Scenic Eclipse will make her maiden voyage from Istanbul to Venice before sailing to The Americas; Antarctica; Europe and the Mediterranean; and the Arctic and Norwegian Fjords.

She is designed for 228 guests, with 114 all-verandah suites, including a 233sqm two-bedroom Owner’s Penthouse Suite.
There will be six on board dining options – contemporary fine dining with French cuisine, Pan Asian, Italian and steak to casual al-fresco dining on the Pool Deck or in the Ocean Cafe Lounge.

The ship also features a 450sqm spa featuring an extensive menu of luxury treatments, indoor and outdoor jacuzzis and plunge pools. The wellness aspect is complemented by a well-equipped gym with a separate yoga and Pilates studio.

The interiors have been designed by Karen Moroney who derived inspiration from a number of the world’s leading luxury hotels.
“Each suite has been handcrafted to feature the finest in design and fittings, and the public spaces offer an elegant environment to dine and relax,” says Scenic.
Scenic Eclipse will utilise zero speed stabiliser fins, 50 per cent larger than standard to provide even greater stability. These sophisticated stabilisers, normally only found on the largest private super yachts, also work when the ship is stationary; adding further to guest comfort.

The ship’s two on board helicopters and a seven-seat submarine will be complemented by a fleet of Zodiacs, kayaks, scuba diving and snorkelling gear. A team of experts will give lectures and lead expeditions.
Scenic Eclipse will be built by Uljanik Group in Croatia. There is the option for a second ship to be delivered in June 2019.
Scenic’s chairman Glen Moroney commented: “Our goal with Scenic Eclipse was to open up the private Discovery Yacht experience so that our guests could discover regions previously only visited by a fortunate few.

“In many cases only the supremely wealthy or explorers and adventurers could’ve travelled to the Antarctic hinterland or have ventured below the surface to witness Polar wildlife in their natural habitat but now we are making these experiences accessible to our guests whilst they travel in the utmost luxury and safety.”
The full brochure detailing the 18 different itineraries will be available in February.