Scenic Eclipse, the first ocean vessel from Scenic, is simply astonishing, says Liz Jarvis

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Scenic Eclipse is the first ship to boast two helicopters on board, as well as a submarine, which would be exciting enough; but what’s really jaw-dropping about this hotly-anticipated luxurious new ship – or discovery yacht – is the design.

Cruise International was invited on board for a sneak preview in Rotterdam, where Scenic Eclipse, the first ocean ship from Scenic, cut a sleek and glamorous profile. This really is a magnificent looking vessel.

Inside, it gets even better.

With just 114 suites and capacity for 228 guests (200 in polar regions), the ambience is one of sophisticated, low-key elegance and exclusivity.

Particularly impressive is the Spa sanctuary, which has ESPA treatments, women’s and men’s saunas and steamrooms as well as temperature-controlled plunge pools and a rather delightful yoga and pilates studio; and the theatre, which will be used for expedition lectures.

The restaurants are all contemporary in feel, and include Koko’s, which has an open Teppanyaki grill and sushi bar, and Japanese-style seating; Lumiere, a stunning French-dining and Champagne bar; a cookery school, Epicure; and the Yacht Club, a poolside grill.

Pleasingly, given so many of its first ocean ship’s itineraries will cover some of the world’s most precious region, Scenic has invested in state-of-the-art technology and environmentally sustainable systems; the GPS dynamic positioning system allows the captain to maintain the ship’s location without dropping anchor onto sensitive seabeds.

Scenic is also a member of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO), which are dedicated to environmentally-friendly tourism in the Arctic and Antarctic regions – essential in the climate emergency.

And yes, it does feel more as though you’re on a yacht, albeit a rather large one.

While we didn’t see the submarine during our visit, we did see one of the helicopters on its pad, and it was very easy to imagine flying over the snow-capped peaks of the Arctic before returning to the ship.

And with Dame Helen Mirren confirmed as its godmother, Scenic Eclipse was always going to be a classy affair.

We’re hoping to be able to sail on Scenic Eclipse at some point in the not too distant future (OK, we’re also properly begging), when we’ll be able to report on the onboard experience; but for now, let’s just say this new ship has raised the bar for the cruise industry once again.

Getting there: A 9-day Incredible Iberian Discovery cruise on Scenic Eclipse from Lisbon to Barcelona, departing 11 April 2021, starts from £4,075pp (£3,825pp including £250 Early Payment Discount when the full fare is paid by 31 December 2019). For more information go to scenic.co.uk