Ultra-luxury cruise operator Scenic has announced three new Scenic Eclipse II voyages in the East Antarctic and Ross Sea region. The new itineraries will give guests the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the world’s greatest explorers including Dr Douglas Mawson, Robert Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton. Scenic guests will be among just a few who make it that far south each year, immersing themselves in wild landscapes teeming with seabirds, penguins, whales and seal species.
Exclusive to only a limited number of guests per season, the three new itineraries, included in Scenic’s 2024/2025 program, allow guests to experience regions traditionally unexplored and unavailable to exploration cruise lines. Booking early and paying in full at least 12 months prior to departure means savings of up to $7,000 per cabin and free economy or business class airfare, depending on stateroom selected.
The 25-day Mawson’s Hut & Commonwealth Bay, Australia’s Antarctic Expedition sails from the spectacular Milford Sound fjord on New Zealand South Island to Hobart, Tasmania. One of many highlights is a visit to the Mawson’s Huts complex at Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay, in the far eastern sector of the Australian Antarctic Territory. The buildings here were built and occupied by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911–14, led by geologist and explorer Dr Douglas Mawson, a close friend and contemporary of Sir Ernest Shackleton. The site is one of just six still surviving from the so-called ‘heroic era’ of Antarctic exploration. Subject to permits, Scenic Eclipse II will make a landing on Macquarie Island, one of the most wildlife rich places in the world, giving guests the chance to see the endemic royal penguins. Balleny Islands are windswept, remote, and heavily glaciated and have received few human visitors since their discovery in 1839. The surrounding food-rich waters result in diverse wildlife including humpback, fin and minke whales along with crabeater, Weddell, elephant and leopard seals. Prices for the start at $39,795 per person, double.
The 24-day Antarctica's Ross Sea - Majestic Ice & Wildlife has two sailings - from Hobart, Australia to Dunedin, New Zealand or round-trip sailing from Dunedin. Both itineraries (weather permitting) include a visit to Ross Island, the ultimate in Antarctic experience. Here, on a clear day guests can view Mount Erebus, the southernmost active volcano on Earth and visit the historical hut of Sir Ernest Shackleton. The Ross Sea Ice Shelf is the largest floating body of ice on the planet, estimated to be the size of France, with cliffs of up to 165 feet and ice extending across 500 miles. On Cape Adare, guests will be able to take a Zodiac trip to marvel at the largest Adélie penguin rookery in Antarctica, while the volcanic past of Franklin Island offers another opportunity to explore the Adélie penguins and otherworldly landscapes such as the Mars-like Dry Valley, only accessible by helicopter, of which Scenic Eclipse II has two. Fares begin at $39,795.
"We have introduced these new voyages in response to travellers' demand for exclusive destinations combined with ultra-luxury experiences,” commented Claudius Docekal, VP Scenic Ocean Deployment. “Scenic Eclipse II will be the newest and most modern luxury expedition ship operating in remote East Antarctica and the Ross Sea region, setting the benchmark in providing once-in-a-lifetime journeys for our guests. As the only ships to offer an abundance of exploration on Zodiac, helicopter, submarine, kayak and stand-up paddleboard, guests will enjoy exclusive experiences such as exploring the McMurdo Dry Valleys, a landscape that has been compared to the surface of Mars and is only accessible by helicopter."
Catering to a maximum of 200 guests on polar sailings, the Ultra-Luxury Discovery Yachts feature an impressive array of indoor and outdoor spaces for an intimate ultra-luxury voyage, while offering the opportunity for guests to take part in multiple landings each day. During each Expedition Voyage, the onboard 20-strong Scenic Eclipse Discovery Team, compromising naturalists, marine biologists, and glaciologists, are on hand to enrich every site visit, while Zodiac, kayak and stand-up paddleboard excursions present a low-impact way to explore. Alternatively, guests can choose to take to the skies in one of two state-of-the-art helicopters or venture below the ocean’s surface in a custom-built submersible for an incomparable exploration.
All Scenic Eclipse voyages are truly all-inclusive, meaning guests can leave their wallet in a safe place and relax, knowing everything is taken care of. Internal flights, transfers, fine dining experiences, premium branded beverages and once in-a-lifetime immersive excursions are all included in the fare.