Cruise ship review: Scenic Eclipse sets new standards for ocean cruising

Our rating

5 out of 5

THE SHIP

Scenic has won a loyal following with its fleet of impressive river cruisers and its all-inclusive philosophy. The sleek Scenic Eclipse, designed to look more like a superyacht than a cruise ship, is the company's first ocean-going vessel. It takes just 228 passengers and each of its generously-sized suites has its own verandah. To ensure a comfortable journey, the company has invested in  advanced technology, including super-sized stabiliser fins that cut roll by more than 85 per cent. Scenic Eclipse also has the highest ice-class rating, making it a smart choice for polar itineraries.

THE LOCATION

Scenic Eclipse will sail a range of itineraries from the polar regions to the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. Our journey follows the east coast of Canada and the US, culminating in an early morning arrival into New York. A typical east-coast itinerary lasts about 10 days and takes in Canadian ports such as Halifax as well as US ports such as Portland Maine and Martha's Vineyard.

THE SPACE

The contemporary interiors feature textural elements, sophisticated metallics and dark tones, as well as original artworks by Byron Bay artist Mitch Gobel and UK artist Hush. The wellness area covers 500 square metres and there are indoor and outdoor pools as well as a marina from which you can access the water directly. The ship carries two helicopters and its own submarine, and incorporates an impressive range of sustainability measures, including advanced wastewater treatment and a dynamic positioning system that allows for anchor-free mooring, a huge plus given some of the fragile environments in which Scenic Eclipse will be operating.

THE ROOM

Even the entry-level suites on this ship are impressive, with spacious dimensions and butler service. Lots of attention has been paid to the details, from the bed – which is not only outstandingly comfortable, but can be tilted  if, for example, you want to sit up and read – to the efficient Dyson hairdryers. There is a separate seating area, and every suite has a balcony.

THE FOOD

This is where Scenic Eclipse knocks it out of the park. There are no fewer than eight dining options, all of which are included in your fare. My personal favourites include Koko's, the sleekly-designed Asian fusion restaurant, and Lumiere, which serves French degustation dinners. But even the main restaurant, Elements, with its perfectly-grilled steaks and handmade pasta, is outstanding. Whisky-lovers will be pleased with the onboard selection, which includes more than 100 different drops from as far afield as Taiwan and Japan.

STEPPING OUT

Scenic Eclipse gives its guests many different ways to explore its destinations. As well as the usual range of shore excursions, from walking tours to culinary expeditions, activities available on our itinerary include helicopter tours and kayaking trips. Only the submarine is out of action, as foreign-owned subs can't be operated in US waters.

THE VERDICT

Scenic vowed to set new standards in ocean cruising with its first ocean-going ship, and it has delivered.

ESSENTIALS

Antarctica in Depth, a 12-day cruise from Buenos Aires to Buenos Aires,  starts from $18,030 a person, including an earlybird saving of $1620 a person. Departing 7 March, 2020.

Antarctica, South Georgia and Falkland Islands, a 19-day cruise from Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro, starts from $29,425 a person, including an earlybird saving of $2770 a person, departing March 18, 2020. See scenic.com.au

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HIGHLIGHT

It's hard to decide which is more appealing – the superb food or the all-inclusive rates.

LOWLIGHT

My neighbour turns the television up so loudt I can hear it through the walls.

OUR RATING

5

Ute Junker was a guest of Scenic Luxury Tours and Cruises.