Actress Helen Mirren named godmother of Scenic ship

Academy Award-winning actress Helen Mirren has been named godmother of the Scenic Eclipse expedition vessel. The ship will be christened on Sept. 10 in New York City.

Helen Mirren“Scenic Eclipse is a unique ship that requires an equally unique person to act in this role,” stated Glen Moroney, Scenic’s founder and chairman.

Mirren won an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2007 for her performance in “The Queen.” She was also nominated for Oscars for her roles in 1994’s “The Madness of King George,” 2001’s “Gosford Park” and 2009’s “The Last Station.”

The Eclipse is Scenic’s first oceangoing vessel. It was originally scheduled to debut in 2018 but shipyard problems delayed its completion.

The 200-passenger ship’s maiden voyage is slated to depart Iceland on Aug. 15 on a 13-day discovery sailing ending in Quebec on Aug. 27.

The ultra-luxe Eclipse will have two six-guest helicopters and one six-guest submarine capable of depths of nearly 1,000 feet, indoor and outdoor plunge pools, and butler service for all guests. The 114-suite ship will have 10 dining options, including Asian fusion, French fine dining, a chef’s table and a poolside buffet. There will be a state-of-the-art theatre for entertainment and lectures.

Scenic operates river cruises in Europe, Southeast Asia, Russia and Egypt on 15 ships.

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Ocean-river combos alluring option for cruise lovers

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It seems like something true cruise enthusiasts could really get onboard with: the marriage of a blue water sailing with one that ventures into the inland waterways.

So, it comes as little surprise that the one company with a solid stake in both the ocean and river markets, Viking, quietly launched itineraries that combine an ocean and river cruise.

Viking currently has three itineraries it calls its Ocean & River Voyages. The 15-day Rhine & Viking Shores & Fjords combines a Rhine river cruise with a North Sea sailing (with both 2018 and 2019 departure dates); the 22-day Grand European & Viking Fjords combines a Danube, Rhine and Main cruise with a North Sea sailing (with departures in 2019); and the 18-day Rhine and Amsterdam to Catalonia brings together a Rhine cruise with a sailing along the Atlantic Ocean (with departures in 2018).

It’s an approach worth watching as a slowly growing number of cruise lines build and offer both ocean and river products. In addition to Viking, Crystal Cruises now has vessels that sail both blue and inland waters, and Scenic is gearing up to make its first foray into ocean cruising with the launch of the 228-passenger Scenic Eclipse this summer.

On a smaller scale, Pandaw River Cruises has started to offer coastal sailings in Southeast Asia in addition to its numerous river cruises on the Mekong and Irrawaddy rivers. Closer to home, American Cruise Lines has cruises both along the U.S. and Canada coastlines as well as on U.S. rivers, and UnCruise offers a Columbia and Snake river sailing in addition to its numerous coastal cruises. French river cruise company CroisiEurope has some coastal ships as well. Since for the most part, river cruises can’t go where ocean cruises can and vice versa, it seems the two would work well together as a combined offering for passengers that have the time and the willingness to experience two very different types of cruising.

Perhaps for Viking, there’s a larger goal at play with the combination cruises, too. Travel Weekly’s cruise editor Tom Stieghorst recently reported that Viking’s senior vice president of marketing Richard Marnell admitted that one of Viking Ocean’s core challenges is that the Viking name is still associated primarily with river cruises. Combining the company’s ocean and river offerings could be seen as a way to introduce those river cruisers to the ocean product.

For companies with access to both markets, the opportunity to cross-market and introduce river cruisers to the oceans and ocean cruisers to the rivers is definitely an advantage worth weighing. While some might argue that they are very different markets with distinct passengers, river cruise line surveys of their passengers often find that many of them are ocean cruisers as well, suggesting that there is a potential marketplace for the ocean-river combination cruise.

Scenic Eclipse: Scenes from the Shipyard

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Click the above image to watch the Luxury Yacht Video.

The Scenic Eclipse is well on her way to a 2018 debut, and is currently under construction at a shipyard in Croatia. Scenic recently released new photos of the newbuild process.

Advanced retractable zero speed stabilizers arriving at the shipyard.“Currently, 60% of the ship’s steel construction is complete and soon she will be taking shape on the slipway. Here we can see the retractable zero speed stabilizers being delivered to the shipyard. These stabilizers are a major innovation on Scenic Eclipse, which not only stabilize the ship but also allow safer entry and exit in isolated locations,” the company said.

Azipod Thrusters ready for mounting to hull.

Ice Class 1A Super Hull.