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Scenic Eclipse II arrives in Sydney, taking luxury cruising to new heights

Scenic Eclipse II arrived in Sydney this morning – the first time an explorer yacht built by Australian maritime design pioneer Glen Moroney has docked on its home coast.

She will join Ponant, Seabourn and Silversea in The Kimberley in one of the region’s biggest luxury cruise seasons to date.

Scenic, a household name for its luxury river cruises, is headquartered in Newcastle, NSW. And so is the former steel city Eclipse IIs next port of call.

The company’s staff, who play an important role in creating unforgettable experiences for countless travelers, will finally get the chance to witness the wonder they helped create.

Discovery yachts are the brainchild of Scenic founder Glen Moroney and his wife Karen. A number of copies have been released since then, but Moroney continues to lead the way with innovations.

Eclipse II has helicopters, submarines and of course all the equipment of ultra-luxury ships. It led the pack in pushing the boundaries of exploration and luxury.

Coral Expeditions - The Kimberley Cruise - King CascadeCoral Expeditions - The Kimberley Cruise - King Cascade

Unveiling the Kimberley in unparalleled style

The Kimberley is known for its rugged beauty, ancient landscapes over a billion years old and diverse wildlife. Imagine sailing past towering red sandstone cliffs and waterfalls as you indulge in butler service on your private balcony. Spacious suites, some of which are over 30 square meters in size, provide plenty of space to relax and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.

Exploration redefined

Scenic Eclipse IIt’s not just about sailing from point A to point B. It’s a platform for discovery. Two onboard helicopters and a submarine unlock hidden bays and pristine coral reefs inaccessible to traditional cruise ships. Guests can experience thrilling underwater adventures with the included SEABOB dive, maneuvering effortlessly through the turquoise waters.

A fleet of Zodiacs, kayaks and e-bikes provide opportunities to explore hidden coves, mangrove forests and secluded beaches. Scenic’s Discovery Teams, a group of experts passionate about the Kimberley, will lead guided excursions and provide insightful commentary on the geology, history and ecology of the region.

They do indeed have their own TV show – Maritime Masters.

Renderings of the new Scenic Submersible.Renderings of the new Scenic Submersible.

Tailor-made routes

Scenic Eclipse II offers a variety of Kimberley itineraries, suitable for different preferences and durations. Here’s a taste of what awaits guests:

  • Kimberley Coast: a 10 day adventure This route starts from Broome and explores the best of the Kimberley, including Montgomery Reef, the Buccaneer Archipelago and the iconic Horizontal Falls. Guests can witness the awe-inspiring phenomenon of tidal water flowing through a narrow gorge, creating a horizontal waterfall illusion.
  • In depth Kimberley: a 14-day exploration delves deeper into the heart of the Kimberley. This extended journey continues north to reach the Mitchell Plateau, a UNESCO World Heritage site of towering sandstone plateaus and breathtaking Aboriginal rock carvings.
  • Remote Kimberley: a 16 day expedition pushes the boundaries of exploration. This adventure sails into the untouched wilderness of the Kimberley, reaching secluded bays and hidden coves teeming with marine life. Guests can expect encounters with saltwater crocodiles, humpback whales and dugongs in their natural habitat.
  • For more offers see our story here

All-inclusive luxury

Scenic has built its reputation on all-inclusive experiences, and the Scenic Eclipse II takes it one step further. In addition to luxurious accommodations and gourmet dining, the cruise fare includes unlimited premium drinks, a stocked minibar in your suite, butler service, zodiac and kayak excursions and a wide range of Scenic Discovery Excursions led by expert guides.

Dame Helen Mirren at the christening of the Scenic EclipseDame Helen Mirren at the christening of the Scenic Eclipse
Dame Helene Mirren, Glen and Karen Moroney and Scenic Eclipse Captain

From accounting to anchors: the Glen Moroney story

Glen Moroney’s journey to becoming a leader in the luxury cruise industry is fascinating. He didn’t start his career dreaming of towering cruise ships and exotic destinations. Instead, Moroney initially pursued a career in accounting.

In 1986, Moroney took a leap of faith and founded Scenic, which initially offered bus tours in Australia. He soon expanded Scenic’s offering to include tours in New Zealand, Canada and Alaska. But Moroney yearned for a bigger challenge: gaining a foothold in the competitive European travel market.

The cracking of the European market and the birth of scenic luxury cruises

Europe, a continent steeped in history and culture, was a natural target for Scenic’s expansion. However, established players dominated the European travel scene. Moroney, however, was undeterred. He started offering coach trips and chartering ships from existing cruise lines.

A turning point came from a suggestion from a senior Scenic employee from Europe. They encouraged Moroney to delve deeper into the world of river cruising. This suggestion resonated with Moroney’s vision for a more immersive and luxurious travel experience.

Traditionally, bus travel involved frequent packing and unpacking as passengers moved from one location to another. Moroney envisioned a more relaxed and luxurious experience, where guests could “unpack once” and enjoy the journey.

Scenic Cruises sails along the RhineScenic Cruises sails along the Rhine
Scenic Cruises sails along the Rhine

Building a dream: the picturesque fleet takes shape

In 2007, Moroney made a groundbreaking decision. He left chartering river ships and began building his own fleet. These custom-designed vessels are said to embody Scenic’s commitment to luxury and innovation. Moroney incorporated features he deemed essential, such as spacious suites with private balconies, high-end finishes and a variety of dining options.

Under the banner of Scenic Cruises, Moroney launched his own ships on Europe’s most iconic rivers: the Danube, the Volga, the Loire, the Rhine and the Elbe. The success of these European river cruises cemented Scenic’s reputation as a leader in luxury travel.

Today he owns shipyards and is the mastermind behind his cruise empire, including Emerald Cruises, which also offers smaller luxury yachts, from his home in Switzerland.

But he is aboard the Eclipser II for its inaugural cruise and will be on deck when staff in Newcastle see their flagship.

A celebration of Australian innovation

The arrival of the Scenic Eclipse II marks a major milestone for cruising in Australia. It is a testament to the vision and innovation of Scenic, a company with its roots firmly in Australia.

The Scenic Eclipse II is in some ways a symbol of how far Australian cruising has come.