Scenic Eclipse

(6:30 a.m. EDT) -- Citing issues at the shipyard in Croatia, Scenic has delayed the launch of its next new ship, Scenic Eclipse, by five months.

The vessel, which floated out in February 2018, is now slated to debut in late January 2019, forcing the cancellation of 12 sailings, including a repositioning cruise between Europe and the U.S.

A Scenic representative tells Cruise Critic the ship's first sailing will now be an 11-night Antarctica voyage from Ushuaia, departing January 27.

"Despite the best efforts of our Scenic Eclipse Build Supervision Team to make up construction time, we are not prepared to compromise the quality of the vessel and potentially impact guest experiences to meet the original late August 2018 launch date," Scenic founder and Chairman Glen Moroney said in a statement.

Scenic will offer affected passengers full refunds of their cruise fares and consider refunds for reasonable related travel expenses. It will also provide a 25 percent future cruise credit for cruisers who choose to rebook their Scenic Eclipse sailings within the next two years.

Scenic Eclipse is the river cruise line's first oceangoing vessel. Carrying 228 passengers, the expedition ship will feature a luxury yacht-style exterior, an aft marina with its own fleet of Zodiacs, two helicopters, a submarine that holds seven people, lavish interiors, a crew-to-passenger ratio of nearly 1:1 and the highest passenger ship ice rating.

Sister ship Scenic Eclipse II has also been commissioned by the line. This second oceangoing expedition vessel is set to be delivered in 2020.

--By Ashley Kosciolek, Editor