Scenic Eclipse II construction begins with four more ships planned

Scenic Group, which owns the luxury expedition yacht Scenic Eclipse, has begun construction on its second vessel, Eclipse II in Croatia.

The Australian-owned company has also made a commitment to deliver four more luxury yachts after that within the next six years.

If a general trend towards the market favouring smaller ships in the post COVID-19 world emerges, then 228-passenger Scenic Eclipse and her sister ships could stand to benefit.

Glen Moroney, owner and chairman of Scenic Group, said: "This heralds an exciting moment for the Scenic Group as we continue to develop our luxury ocean products under both Scenic and Emerald Cruises brands. The entire team is excited to see the project underway and look forward to welcoming guests onboard this magnificent discovery yacht."

Scenic Eclipse II will be the sister ship to Scenic Eclipse, which has completed her first season sailing around the Arctic, Antarctica, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. The ship was launched in August 2019 and Dame Helen Mirren performed the godmother duties at a christening ceremony in New York City a month later.

Like her sister ship, Scenic Eclipse II will feature two six-guest helicopters, one six-guest submarine, 10 dining options, indoor and outdoor plunge pools and a 1:1 guest-to-staff ratio.

After there was a long delay to the launch of Scenic Eclipse, caused by strikes at the Uljanik shipyard in Croatia, where she was being built, the new-build programme will now be managed by a newly formed company, MKM Yachts, wholly owned by the Scenic Group.

MKM Yachts will take over a portion of Rijeka's shipyard, also in Croatia, and utilise the existing infrastructure and knowledge of Croatian shipbuilders, working in collaboration with Scenic's team.

Moroney added: "The Croatian government has committed to supporting the redevelopment of the shipyard and assist in the funding of our new building program, which will comprise five custom built vessels over the next six years. All vessels will be of the highest six-star standard with the ability to navigate the polar regions."

The company has also committed to building its first 50-cabin yacht under the Emerald Yacht Cruises brand, Emerald Azzurra, which is due to launch in the Mediterranean in summer 2021, which aims to attract a younger, more active clientele with its "affordable" price point.

Sailings across the Scenic Group brands (including Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours and Emerald Cruises) are currently suspended up to June 30, 2020.

The Telegraph, London