Launched in late summer 2019, Scenic Eclipse is the first oceangoing cruise ship for Australian company Scenic, a long-standing leader in the luxury river cruise industry. Owner Glen Moroney said he was inspired by the look and feel of yachts; he wanted to provide that kind of experience to his passengers. Mission accomplished. Scenic Eclipse is a contemporary blend of yacht and cruise ship, mixing luxury with adventure. With only 228 passengers onboard, it feels like a private yet social boutique hotel.
1. Scenic Eclipse might be the ship for you if…
You want an adventurous cruise, luxury style.
Aimed at passengers who want to challenge themselves and visit some of the most amazing -- and sometimes remote -- places on Earth, Scenic Eclipse seamlessly blends luxury and adventure cruising. The ship's expedition team leads onboard lectures on nature, science and everything in between. Ashore, they serve as knowledgeable guides, directing passengers through hikes, on kayaking trips or on Zodiac tours to spots like Antarctica or Colombia and Panama. After a day of exploration though, it's all about the luxury onboard, with boutique spaces, sumptuous dining and beautifully appointed cabins. It's the best of both worlds.
You are a foodie.
This ship might hold just 228 passengers, but it offers eight unique dining experiences -- unheard of for a ship this size. Menus are creative, no matter where you dine, and food is thoughtfully prepared. Highlights include French restaurant Lumiere and an opulent Chef's Table, which sadly is open only to a select few per sailing. But, even if you can't get a seat at the Chef's Table, you'll have plenty of excellent options, including Elements (the main dining restaurant) and Koko's, a wonderful Asian-fusion option.
You like big-time bells and whistles.
Scenic Eclipse, with its yachtlike personality, is impressive enough, but it moves into over-the-top territory thanks to its six-person submarine and two six-person helicopters. For a fee, passengers can explore from high above or below the water. And, they'll be doing it in comfort. The sub and helicopters are designed for optimal luxury, with leather seats and room to spare. Pilots of each are trained to make passengers comfortable with the experience -- in addition to serving as guides for exploration.
You like a focus on wellness.
The line's owner's wife, Karen Moroney, directed the design of the ship, and it's clear that wellness and fitness were important from inception. Scenic Eclipse offers a small fitness center, but if you're focused on wellness, you'll probably go gaga for the yoga/Pilates studio, which hosts a variety of classes every day. Several classes, including stretching and sound-healing therapy (think crystals and sound bowls) are designed to improve your sleep and therefore are offered in the evening. Speaking of sleep, Eclipse suites are equipped with adjustable beds as well as red lights bedside. Fans say red lights help you sleep better. Even menus are designed using local, whole ingredients and are easily adjustable for people with allergies or intolerances.
You like big, spacious suites.
Scenic calls all cabins onboard "suites," and all suites come with large balconies. Suites are also quite large, with the smallest coming in at 345 square feet. The decor is chic and modern. We're especially fond of the thoughtfulness that went into the design and the elements created around comfort. Even the suites at the lowest end of the range have lovely seating areas, with comfortable couches and a darkening curtain to divide the space from the bed, which makes it feel private and quiet. Amenities are top-notch, with illy coffeemakers and Dyson hair dryers a standard. And, all balconies are spacious enough to accommodate a full dinner, alfresco.
Scenic Eclipse might not be your ideal cruise ship if…
You're traveling with kids.
Kids certainly are welcome onboard Scenic Eclipse, but there are no kids clubs or age-specific programming aimed at children. Onboard activities are mostly aimed at adults, with an emphasis on learning. Ashore, more active tours might appeal to older kids but aren't necessarily appropriate for young ones. And, children might get bored with more traditional shore tours.
You want hard-charging adventure.
One of the things that appeals about Scenic Eclipse is its aim to allow passengers to comfortably challenge themselves. For some, that might mean trying to kayak for the first time; for others, it might be a longer hike. But, Scenic isn't targeting those adrenaline junkies looking for the most challenging adventures around.
You want production-style entertainment.
Scenic Eclipse has a beautiful and totally comfortable main theater, thanks to its padded chairs that recline with the touch of a button. What it doesn't offer is a full-blown, scripted production show. Instead, the entertainment director serves as the main performer, putting on something of a revue. The ship also has another singer and instrumentalist, who perform in the lounge at night. When Scenic Eclipse is in port, it might host local musicians.