Scenic Eclipse will sail to spots including Baffin Bay in the Northwest Passage. // © 2018 Scenic
Feature image (above): Interest in the forthcoming Scenic Eclipse has been so positive that Scenic is adding a sister ship for May 2020. // © 2018 Scenic
Scenic’s first foray into seagoing cruising — which will happen in August with the launch of Scenic Eclipse — has already been so successful that the company has announced a sister ship: Scenic Eclipse II. The vessel will debut May 2020 on a cruise from Athens, Greece, to Lisbon, Portugal.
“Eclipse is already nearly sold out for 2018 and filling up quite nicely for 2019,” said Joni Rein, vice president of U.S. sales and marketing for Scenic. “This demand, which outpaced expectations, made it easy for us to move forward and place an order for Eclipse II.”
So far, the same demographic that enjoys Scenic’s river cruises has been attracted to Eclipse; the majority of bookings have come from past guests, according to Rein.
“Our target demographic is active, well-traveled, has high disposable income and is very discriminating,” she said. “They are typically between the ages of 50 and 70 and travel internationally in luxury accommodations several times per year.”
However, Rein says the interest in activity level seems to differ between seagoing and river cruises and anticipates that the average age onboard Eclipse will be on the lower end of the aforementioned range. She also regards the seagoing product as perfect for charter, meetings and business incentive groups.
Doubling its capacity for luxury expedition cruising allows Scenic to expand into destinations including the Russian Arctic, the Northwest Passage, Southern Greenland, Alaska, Antarctica and beyond. A full roster of itineraries will be available online in April. Prebookings can be made now with a $250 per person deposit.
Aside from the two new ocean ships, Scenic, which has 15 river vessels and eight river cruise ships under the Emerald Waterways brand, has not released any immediate plans for new river vessels.
In addition to the announcement of the second Eclipse newbuild, Scenic recently purchased North American tour operator Mayflower Tours, based in Downers Grove, Ill. Both companies are family founded, with Scenic’s tour operator side offering more than 800 escorted tours in 66 countries, and Mayflower providing hundreds of tours in 52 countries. Now, Mayflower’s founders, John and Mary Stachnik, are retiring; at this point there are no plans to integrate the two company’s booking services.
Mayflower will become Mayflower Cruises & Tours and remain a separate entity, with the same executive team and the same focus as in the past. Mayflower is centered on group sales and will present most of its product slightly differently than Scenic/Emerald. It will not sell 100 percent of the inventory that Scenic/Emerald offers but will have a subset of the product. Where there are similarities, Mayflower plans to do something designed especially for the group market. Scenic and Emerald will also combine their river and seagoing ship operation with Mayflower’s land product.