In a gradual turning of the tide, several expedition cruise companies launch their season in north-west Australia from this month, and luxury ship Scenic Eclipse hopes to join the flotilla with cruises between Darwin and Broome (or the reverse) from mid-June.
The move not only signals the revival of keen interest in cruising from Australians, but increasing confidence in the cruise industry, since the internationally registered Scenic Eclipse will require regulatory approval from the federal government to sail.
The announcement marks the first time the six-star expedition vessel will sail in Australian waters. The 228-passenger Scenic Eclipse features multiple dining and bar venues, a full-service spa, fitness centre, yoga studio and theatre. It also carries a fleet of Zodiacs, a submarine and two helicopters for the ultimate in expeditionary action.
"We are very proud to bring Scenic Eclipse to our waters for the first time," says Scenic's Australasian general sales manager, Anthony Laver. "Scenic Eclipse's innovative and intimate yacht design provides a wealth of world-class facilities, choice of dining, relaxation and wellness, combined with the unrivalled exploration of the Kimberley region's remarkable coastline for the ultimate, truly all-inclusive, ultra-luxury-meets-discovery experience."
Departures on the 11-day voyages will run between June 19 and August 8. Itinerary highlights include the King George River, Bigge Island's outstanding rock art, Montgomery Reef and the unusual Horizontal Falls. The ship also visits the rust-red and sapphire-blue Buccaneer Archipelago, and the bird-rich Lacepede Islands. Phone 1300 382 493; scenic.com.au