I have recently returned from my penultimate trip of the year and what a hectic and insightful travel year it has proven to be. Let me immerse you into my experience and take you on a bit of a ship tour.

After a five hour rail adventure from Plymouth back to my hometown, I got back Sunday afternoon after 3 short but very enjoyable nights on board the Spring 2023 launched Scenic Eclipse II (this was the first few days of a longer voyage heading to Lisbon). I embarked with a handful of other agents and 2 Scenic Sales team members, in Dublin on Thursday. Our ports of call were scheduled to be Fishguard and the Isles of Scilly. However, due to adverse weather conditions, neither of these ports of call were possible and we instead headed to seek refuge in Cardiff where we over-nighted.

I have to say that Scenic Eclipse II is the most stunning ship to look at, quite James-Bond-Esque. She is one beautiful sleek looking ship. Distinctive, classy and asthetically beautiful. There were quite a few deliveries going on when I arrived which didn’t lend itself to taking any exterior shots unfortunately.

The embarkation process in Dublin was seamless and straightforward. No sooner than I had been dropped off in my taxi (around 1400 hours) on the quayside right up next to Scenic Eclipse II than I was on board with a glass of champagne in my hand. A short while later and I’d gone through the embarkation procedure with Reception at the long and beautiful marble front desk in the stunning Scenic lounge, then a crew member took me to my suite, en route, while passing through the lounge, explaining with one of the life jackets, how they are to be popped on and briefly running through the safety procedures. Once in my suite I watched the full explanatory video on my TV and that was that. There was also a ship wide safety announcement throughout the ship and into the suites. No gathering later in the day to go through the emergency procedures.

I was allocated a Grand Deluxe Veranda suite DD502 forward on Deck 5 – 430 square feet.

Grand Deluxe Veranda Suite DD502 – forward Deck 5
How your preferred tipples are prepared and brought to your suite

I think you’ll agree, having watched my walkaround tour above, that this is indeed a beautiful suite. Everything we need. Plentiful power sockets, up to date technology such as the function to show whether you are in or out of your suite/do not disturb/turn down etc., electronic blind (rather than curtains), Dyson hairdryer (in drawer in the en-suite), plentiful mirrors, binoculars, your excursion headsets, Illy coffee machine, kettle, bar set up (you can request your preferred tipple). The in-suite toiletries were ESPA. You won’t want for anything.

More generally suites all have private balconies. They range from the lead in Veranda at a very generous 344 square feet, up to the Owner’s Penthouse (x 2), at a staggering 2098 square feet. This can also be aquired as a 2 bedroom version by adding a neighbouring Spa Suite at 538 square feet).

The strap line as can be found on their website is where ‘ultra-luxury meets discovery’. It’s my humble opinion that yes, the ship is definitely luxurious, the decor/design on board is elegantly simple and beautiful. Clean lines, sleek, definitely with a ‘top-end’ feel and with all the high tech accoutrements we are coming to expect from new tonnage in this top tier of the market. I do feel however, that their claim to be 6* is a little over ambitious and likely as a consequence of the additional USP hardware they are boasting in the form of the 2 x Helicopters and a submarine. There is no doubt that these are incredible enhancements to guests’ overall experience when cruising aboard a Scenic ocean ship. However, it’s of note that these two unique experiences aren’t available in all destinations/ports. Therefore, if you are considering one of the Scenic twins as your preferred cruise ship choice, I would urge that you have a conversation with us about how accessible these two incredible opportunities will be for you, prior to making any commitment on a specific voyage. The other enhancement to the guests’ experience is the presence of a marina platform and such things as kayaks and zodiacs (for the more discovery side of the product).

Of course this small and perfectly formed beauty is only 228 guests (200 in Polar regions) when sailing at full capacity so she most definitely is offering up luxury yacht vibes rather than cruise ship vibes. There is a lack of all but essential informatory announcements, so you are sure of a wonderful calm and serene ambiance when onboard.

Notes of note – as I see it:

  • The crew, without exception, were outstanding
  • Crew members from the Captain down, all accessible and interactive
  • The crew>guest ratio is nigh on 1:1
  • Open Bridge policy
  • State of the art technology
  • Plenty of e-bikes for exploring
  • Oversize stablisers for a smoother ‘ride’ on bumpy seas
  • Advance heating/ventilation and air-con providing 100% fresh air throughout the ship
  • I found the towels in the suites to be ‘skimpy’ although of course there were towelling bathrobes provided as well. Whether, had I asked, larger towels might have been available I can’t be sure
  • There were comprehensive TV channels but I didn’t find any that were music ones – of course we all have other avenues to listen to music through should we so wish. This may have been a considered choice by Scenic
  • The Discovery Team – which vary in number dependant upon destination, are experts in their field of expertise, such as science, glaciology, history, geology, nature, marine biology, to name a few
  • All inclusive – Butler Service for all guests – WIFI included – Varying styles of excursions dependant upon which cruise you are on and where
  • Chef’s Table dining option – Invitation only for past and top suite guests
  • No dining cover charges
  • Hors d’oeuvres not really a ‘thing’ though they were on offer at the Captain’s Cocktail party. More usually they aren’t readily available. That being said, I did find out on the last day, that if you asked for some nuts, they were provided
  • Chef’s Garden – is not yet ready for action (near Lumiere and Azure aft on Deck 5)
  • Scenic Epicure – culinary masterclasses
  • In some areas I found the mix and match concept on upholstery and crockery really unique and lovely
  • Small ship discovery cruising getting you up close and personal to some fascinating, remote and enchanting worldwide destinations
  • There is no formality on this ship, dress codes are relaxed and very much yacht casual. That being said I noticed a wide spectrum in what people’s clothing of choice was. Some guests opted to be smarter than others but the freedom to choose what was comfortable for you was key

Let’s talk ratios and comparisons. You are only on a small ship (17,085 tonnes & 228 guests – with an excellent space ratio of 74.83). For comparisons, Silver Cloud/Wind, are 16,927 tonnes with 252 guests = 67.17 space ratio ; Star Pride/Legend/Breeze at 12,995 tonnes and 312 guests = 41.65 space ratio ; Ritz Carlton Yacht’s Evrima is quite similar in design (exterior visually), and weighs in at 25,000 tonnes with 298 guests = 83.89 space ratio (she however, is not a ‘discovery yacht’ and does not turn her hand to expedition destinations. She does however, have a marina platform with watersports on offer.

Back to the hardware and public areas on board. Scenic Eclipse II definitely offers up a feeling of spaciousness. The only time you may remember the size of ship you are sailing on is when you are in the corridors where the suites are located as they are a little of a squeeze when you are passing other guests and crew. This isn’t a negative just an observation. Personally I’d much rather be afforded the space in my suite than have additional space in the corridors.

Following on from the format of one or more of my previous ship experiences this year, let’s go deck by deck from hereon in.

DECK 3

Down here you have the Discovery Centre where all the expedition gear, storage etc. can be found. There’s also one of the self-service laundries here along with the Medical Centre.

DECK 4

The Scenic Lounge is a staggering size and definitely a favoured resting place amongst guests. Whether for a refreshment from the bar, to wait for a tour departure, to enjoy a game of chess, listen to the pianist and/or other entertainment, have a go at daily Trivia, speak to Reception and/or the on board cruise consultant. It really is the heart of the ship. There is a wonderful selection of incredibly comfortable and some beautifully wide and sumptuous seating. This multi functional expansive lounge is also sometimes the spot for a Lecturer to do their thing or perhaps an evening Soiree.

Scenic Lounge – midships Deck 4

Also on Deck 4 you have the Theatre where low key evening entertainment takes place, along with day time activities such as Whiskey tasting, lectures & port talks take place. On the approach to the Theatre you’ll also find the small on board boutique.

There are a selection of ‘eateries’ on Deck 4. There is the multi faceted Koko’s (evening service only). This restaurant has a Sushi menu, a Pan-Asian cuisine one and the unique Night Market. The latter is a special dining option for just 8 guests per sitting and there are 2 per evening – 1830 and 2030 (requiring reservation). There’s a rotation of 3 different cuisines (I believe Thai, Middle Eastern and Philippino) which are prepared in front of your eyes. I thoroughly enjoyed this theatrical dining performance. The courses were paired with a Sake cocktail, red and white wines and if you wish (and I did), you could request additional Sake either served to you warm or chilled. Heidi who prepared our food, was incredible and a real character.

I also had a meal here one evening, dining from the Pan-Asian menu and had a wonderful experience. I heard that the sushi offering was also excellent. I really loved the two areas of sunken seating for dining in this restaurant for that extra bit of authenticity.

Night Market in brief – longer version available on my YT channel

On the other side of the ship on Deck 4, you have Elements (open dining, no reservations required) and The Chef’s Table (by invitation only) dining options (both evening service only). In the short time I was on board I didn’t actually dine in Elements but did a walk around tour of the restaurant for you.

Elements Restaurant – Deck 4

DECK 5

This deck is the first where you’ll find some of the suites. On Scenic Eclipse II all of the accommodation ranges from midship>forward. Aside from Deck 4 (which is all public spaces), on the remaining decks midships to aft are public areas. Here on 5 you’ll find the Chef’s Garden (covered above), the Azure Bar & Cafe (all day dining/grazing), Lumiere (evening dining) and outside, the Marina entrances. While I was on board, Azure was my chosen spot for breakfast. A lovely selection of prepared and ‘off-menu’ choices. Lunch also offered up a lovely selection of temptations. The evening and lunch menus in Azure were the same. For a more formal and delectable dining choice, Lumiere is where you should be heading. We did this on night one and thoroughly enjoyed it. There’s a champagne bar within the restaurant where you’d more usually be sat to have a glass of bubbles, caviar and perhaps oysters. Then you’d be seated at your table for your meal. Lumiere (Contemporary French dining), does prefer you to have pre-booked to avoid disappointment and is another venue only open in the evening.

Forward on Deck 5 and literally just next door to my suite, is the Observation Lounge, Library and outdoor terrace/viewing area. I loved this space. Coffee / tea making facilities here. Plenty of books, a couple of stunning Swarovski telescopes, puzzles, games and lots of lovely comfy chairs and sofas. Really fantastic and peaceful place to relax and see what’s going on around and about through the panoramic windows and deck area outside.

Lumiere Restaurant
Soupcon of our meal in Lumiere
Observation Lounge and outdoor Terrace

DECK 6

More suites per my comment on Deck 5. In other news on this deck you’ll find a further Self Service Guest Laundry (making up the two that are on board), aside of course, from the ability to arrange for laundry to be done (at a cost), from your suite. Over and above that you have the sensational 550 square metres of Senses Spa along with it’s own outdoor Spa Vitality pool and outdoor seating area. This wonderful spa offers up plenty of indulgent space where you can opt to have an amazing selection of chargeable treatments. However, you also have included access to saunas, steam rooms, relaxation lounges, thermal loungers, therapeutic pressure showers and a plunge pool.

Senses Spa

DECK 7

Midships port and starboard you will find the Yoga/Pilates room and Fitness Studio respectively. Somewhere here (couldn’t find them)! there are also a couple of hanging chairs (portside). On this deck is another fabulous dining option, the Yacht Club. Located aft. This is a more casual self-service dining experience for breakfast or lunch. Fabulous selection of indoor and outdoor places to sit and a wonderful selection of choices for your culinary pleasure. I made an error when first on board and doing this walk around tour video as I thought it would be open for dinner. It appears to only be open for breakfast and lunch.

Forward on deck 7 is the ‘wheelhouse’ / the Bridge. Basically, if the door is propped open it’s generally OK to quietly approach and ask if you can have a chat and/or look around.

Med Yacht Club – open for breakfast and lunch (not dinner as stated)
Senses Spa

DECK 8

Up on Deck 8 there are some more suites. in addition to this you have the helicopter hangers and the helipad. Pretty incredible stuff…….. Not much else I can say about this area apart from – EXCITING!

DECK 9

A handful of suites.

DECK 10

Up top you have a few lovely cabanas port and starboard, the Sun Deck Pool and Panorama Bar. The bar has both indoor and outdoor options so is suited to all climates.

A little miscellaneous medley!

Within this article you’ll have found multiple links to my YouTube channel to see snapshots and walk around tours of public areas. There are many more that haven’t been included but once you are on my YouTube channel you’ll lots that may also well be of interest to you. As ever, I do recommend that you Subscribe and then you will receive notifications when new content is uploaded. CLICK HERE.

Please bear in mind that my experience on board was only 3 nights and as such, technically really, only two full days. My acquired knowledge therefore, has been slightly limited but I’ve tried to give you as honest and comprehensive an overview as has been possible.

In summary I would say that I believe that, as with all ships/cruise lines, they have their position in the market place which is now so diverse there really is a ship out there for everyone. As an agent, it’s our job to marry the right ship to the right client and that’s what these experiences are all about. Scenic Eclipse II is pretty unique in character and definitely worthy of consideration of you are looking for a luxury small ship experience and are looking to get up close and personal in some of the more remote parts of the world, or see even less remote destinations via smaller ports. The general ambiance on board is extremely relaxed and conducive to getting an opportunity to re-set and recharge your batteries. Anything you need, just ask. The crew are receptive and reactive when approached and are looking to exceed your expectations.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to discuss this new cruise ship proposition with us.