Reviewed by Amie Keeley
The facts: Scenic Eclipse launched in September – a year after its planned arrival, due to issues with the shipyard where it was being built. But boy, it was worth the wait. When it finally emerged on New York’s Hudson River – with godmother Dame Helen Mirren quayside, ready to smash the bottle – a new dawn in cruising arrived.
Wow factor: This is Scenic’s first foray into ocean cruising and the ‘discovery yacht’ is unlike any other super-luxury ship in terms of design and green credentials. Much has been made of the two helicopters and submarine on board Eclipse, and understandably so. These James Bond-style features set the ship apart from all its competitors and take excursions to the next level.
Design: There’s no doubt Eclipse is setting a new standard in luxury, in large part due to its design. It not only looks like a billionaire’s yacht from the outside but also feels like one on the inside. Black, grey and cream dominate and no expense has been spared on the marble. Highlights include the Observatory Lounge, complete with bookcase and self-service coffee and tea bar plus ocean views; walls made of crystal (yes, crystal) in the yoga and Pilates studio; and a backlit whisky wall in the main bar featuring more than 100 varieties – all included in the fare.
Dining: Nine dining options on board any small ship would be impressive, but to have that many on a ship with a maximum of 228 passengers is a cut above. There are three speciality dining options, the best of which is French-inspired Lumière, not least because of the dramatic life-sized dress made of bent spoons at the entrance. Further speciality dining venues include Teppanyaki @ Koko’s – a private dining experience with an open grill – and the invitation-only Chef’s Table. The remaining restaurants are: Elements, serving Italian, steak and seafood; a poolside grill and buffet at the Yacht Club; casual cafe-dining at Azure; and cooking experience Epicure.
Accommodation: The ship has capacity for 228 passengers, which drops to 200 in polar regions. All 114 suites have balconies and there are four suite grades. Polished black marble bathrooms and floor-to-ceiling TV screens are particularly nice features. It also has a GPS positioning system, meaning there’s no need for an anchor to be dropped on the seabed.
Book it: Scenic Eclipse is sailing in the Americas, Antarctica, Europe and the Mediterranean, as well as the Arctic and Norwegian fjords. Prices lead in at £5,125 for a Deluxe Verandah Suite on a nineday Incredible Iberian Discovery from Lisbon to Barcelona, departing April 11, 2021. The fare drops to £4,875 including a £250 early-payment discount for fares paid in full by December 31. scenic.co.uk
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