(8 a.m. EST) -- Scenic's first Discovery Yacht, Scenic Eclipse, debuting this summer, will be joined by a sister ship in 2020. The 228-passenger ice-class Scenic Eclipse II (200 passengers on Arctic cruises) will boast the same impressive features including two six-seat helicopters, a six-seat submarine and aft marina with fleet of 12 Zodiacs.
The decision to build a second ship came from demand for Scenic Eclipse, which has outpaced expectations, according to the cruise line.
"Since we first announced our foray into ocean cruising we have had unprecedented interest in Scenic Eclipse, from guests keen to experience our unique blend of 6-star luxury meets expedition," Scenic founder and chairman Glen Moroney said.
Scenic Eclipse II will embark on its maiden voyage from Athens to Lisbon in 2020, after which it will sail a series of voyages that include the European and Russian Arctic. Itineraries will include remote areas such as Russia's White Sea; the Northwest Passage; southern Greenland; and Alaska to Russia across the Bering Sea. Specific itineraries for the ship's debut season will be announced in April.
Building of Scenic Eclipse II will begin next year in Pula, Croatia, where Scenic Eclipse is under construction. Both ships will have 114 all-balcony suites, 10 dining venues, eight lounges and bars, a full spa, separate fitness areas and indoor, outdoor and plunge pools, as well as a marina with Zodiacs and kayaks, two helicopters and a submarine.
Scenic Eclipse will sail its inaugural voyage August 31 from Istanbul to Venice before repositioning to Canada via Iceland and onto the Arctic. Other destinations the ship will visit include the British Isles, the Caribbean (including Cuba), the Chilean fjords and Antarctica. (Read more about the excursions that will be offered during its first season.) Scenic Eclipse celebrated its float out from the ship yard January 31.
--By Dori Saltzman, Senior Editor