Long-time river cruising operator Scenic's much-anticipated foray into seafaring became a reality on August 15, as the ground-breaking Scenic Eclipse began her inaugural voyage: a 13-day itinerary from Reykjavik, Iceland, to Quebec, Canada.
As well as 228 guests, the world's first "discovery yacht" is packing some serious style, with Scenic declaring her "six star". She is resplendent in specially commissioned works from important artists and other design elements from high-end and big-name furniture and interior designers, B&B Italia, Walter Knoll, Tom Dixon and Jonathon Browning.
Brimming with luxury, Scenic Eclipse has 114 verandah suites which run from 32 square metres to a fabulous 247. Unusually for a smaller ship with expedition capabilities, she has 10 dining options including Asian Fusion, a French fine diner, a chef's table and a poolside buffet. She hosts a 550-square-metre spa and a gym with a separate yoga and Pilates studio.
Scenic Eclipse also carries two six-passenger helicopters and one six-passenger submarine for adventures off-ship.
Other indulgences include an indoor and outdoor plunge pool and butler service for all guests.
While guests will notice the comfort and style, they may not notice the ship packing some technological prowess, including stabiliser fins that are 50 per cent bigger than the usual and which cut roll by up to 85 per cent. A GPS system allows for stationary positioning without an anchor, reducing environmental impact and enhancing safety during Zodiac operations, particularly handy when she ventures into the Antarctic and Arctic.
On those journeys, she will only carry up to 200 passengers.
Scenic Eclipse's debut was delayed a year following industrial turmoil at the shipyard in which she was built.
Getting her in the water means much to the Australian company who persevered to see it happen. Glen Moroney, chairman and founder of Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours, described it as " … the fruition of many years of planning and work from a large and dedicated team to create a vessel and an experience which has set a brand new benchmark in ultra-luxury discovery cruising".