The ultra-luxury Scenic Eclipse, which was to have sailed its first Kimberley season this year, will now cruise the Red Sea for the first time from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
Scenic Eclipse will homeport in Jeddah from July 17 to December 9, offering tailor-made itineraries including port calls at Yanbu, the diving capital of Saudi Arabia and a stunning beach destination for swimming, snorkelling and water sports.
At Yanbu, guests will also be able to experience Iona wreck, a preserved British merchant steamer which sank in 1915 and can now be explored by diving and snorkelling, the line said.
Beyond Saudi Arabia, Scenic Eclipse will also explore the possibility of visiting Aqaba in Jordan and Port Ghalib Marina, a short distance from Luxor in Egypt.
The move is something of a coupe for Scenic’s Glen Moroney, who has championed the discovery yacht class since launching Scenic Eclipse. A second yacht is currently under construction.
Equipped with an on-board submarine, two helicopters, a fleet of Zodiacs and a Specialist Discovery Team, Scenic Eclipse can easily rival an oil sheik’s private superyacht, offering the opportunity for unrivalled exploration.
Insiders at the line point out that after months of negotiating with Governments in Australia, Saudi officials couldn’t have made things easier, welcoming the ship and helping with crew.
“Saudi Arabia will be one of the hottest tourist destinations in coming years and we’re very glad our guests will get to experience it in six-star comfort on board Scenic Eclipse,” said Glen Moroney, founder and chairman of Scenic Group.
“As a business we continue to raise the bar in ultra-luxury cruising and we are confident that this new season will mark the start of a long relationship with the destination and hope to be able to offer more sailings in the region in coming years.”
The sailings will focus on nature, culture, historic cities and ancient monuments, taking guests to experience the rich Saudi heritage and stunning landscapes.