Throughout my first full day on a Scenic Eclipse Antarctica crusing again in February, I used to be amazed, and possibly even bewildered, by what number of workers members already knew my title.
Eleven days later, on the morning I disembarked from the Eclipse, I used to be equally impressed when room service knew to substitute my favourite onboard juice, pineapple, when the papaya juice I might ordered ran out. It was a pleasant contact that was completed regardless that it was the one time I ordered room service.
“We wish to create marvel for the friends. We’ve got stunned individuals by taking note of the small print. It’s that straightforward,” Eclipse resort director Daniel Wedel had instructed me a pair days earlier.
Scenic makes no bones about its aim of positioning itself atop the posh market within the Antarctic expedition cruise sector, and customized consideration, coupled with a staff-to-guest ratio of roughly 1:1, are simply a part of how the cruise line makes its case. The ship additionally has staterooms which are no smaller than 344 sq. toes, all of which have balconies, and a formidable facilities checklist that features two helicopters, a submarine and 7 eating places, to call just some choices.
Scenic limits Eclipse capability on Antarctic sailings to a modest 199 individuals with a view to stay eligible to cease at touchdown websites which are off-limits below worldwide laws to ships with 200 or extra passengers. And the Eclipse presents a wholesome 10:1 ratio of friends to expedition guides.
The ship additionally comes with a price ticket to match its luxurious positioning, with 12-night itineraries for subsequent season beginning at roughly $19,325 per individual.
A stateroom on the Eclipse. The ship carries a most of 199 passengers for Antarctica sailings. All rooms have balconies and butler service, amongst different facilities. Photograph Credit score: TW picture by Robert Silk
CruiseCenter president Tom Baker, who was on the identical Antarctica crusing as I used to be, stated that in relation to hitting luxurious notes, the Eclipse is true on key.
“I’ll say, that is the most effective service that I’ve had on virtually any cruise ship, together with different luxurious ships,” Baker instructed me one night, shortly after we would shared a 10-course meal on the ship’s French eatery, Lumiere.
“The variety of eating places is a large plus for individuals who need selection and extra of a excessive really feel,” Baker continued. “No person has this; not even Hurtigruten.”
Baker described the Scenic product as splendid for a sure kind of Antarctic buyer: people who wish to see the continent’s spectacular magnificence however who’re equally as excited about high-end consolation. In different phrases, not the standard expedition cruise buyer.
“They like the concept of the smooth journey, and the ship presents that smooth journey in a really snug method. This isn’t roughing it,” he stated.
The Argentina-controlled Primavera analysis station sits sentry over lovely Cierva Cove. Photograph Credit score: TW picture by Robert Silk
Stepfanie Waldek, a contract journey author who additionally was on the crusing, launched into this cruise simply a few months after visiting Antarctica aboard Lindblad Expeditions’ Nationwide Geographic Endurance.
Whereas complimentary of each vessels in addition to of each total experiences, Waldek additionally drew sharp distinctions between the merchandise. The Endurance, she famous, has simply two eating places in contrast with the a lot broader eating choice on the Eclipse. And whereas our Scenic cruise provided an fascinating mixture of academic lectures, it additionally offered common musical leisure.
On a number of events, the lectures had been sparsely attended, partially, maybe, as a result of they tended to battle with prime dinner hours.
“Lindblad skews extra towards conventional expedition. It is extra schooling heavy. And I feel Scenic is extra leisure targeted,” Waldek stated.
She echoed Baker in her evaluation of the Eclipse’s core buyer base.
“I feel Scenic Eclipse is for friends who wish to go to Antarctica but additionally want the posh of a cruise ship, not simply an expedition ship,” she stated. “Individuals who want the total onboard leisure and eating expertise; they’re right here for the ship as a lot as they’re the land.”
A yawning leopard seal enjoys his personal patch of sea ice within the Antarctic Peninsula’s Port Lockroy. Photograph Credit score: TW picture by Robert Silk
Nonetheless, those that are primarily targeted on the tour aspect of an Antarctic cruise will not be disillusioned by the Eclipse expertise. My crusing included two scheduled excursions each day, some by Zodiac solely and a few that included landings. That is along with the choices for helicopter and submarine journeys (at an additional price).
I discovered my off-boat experiences to be extraordinary, largely due to the breathtaking Antarctic surroundings and wildlife but additionally as a result of the ship’s guides had been extremely educated and desirous to go the additional mile for passengers.
The difficult logistics of staging the Zodiacs, after which loading and offloading passengers, had been additionally dealt with with well-organized effectivity.