Scenic Group used its annual travel partner awards event last weekend, the ‘Night of Stars’, as the platform to reveal its next move in the oceangoing cruise segment. Company Chairman and Owner Glen Moroney announced a new super yacht for the Evergreen Cruises brand would launch from July 2021.
Emerald Azzurra will be the maiden vessel launched under the new entity, Emerald Yacht Cruises. It will complement Emerald Waterways’ fleet of river ships which currently number seven in Europe, with an eighth – Emerald Luna – on the way in 2021, and Emerald Harmony on the Mekong.
Emerald Azzurra will be 110 metres in length and accommodate 100 guests in 50 cabins, about half the capacity of Scenic Group’s maiden ocean ship, Scenic Eclipse. Unlike Scenic Eclipse, Emerald Azzurra will not have a polar-class hull. It instead will be dedicated to the Mediterranean, Adriatic Coast and Red Sea over a 12-month calendar.
Speaking at the Night of Stars in Sydney on Saturday, Moroney said the decision to introduce a superyacht to the Evergreen/Emerald Cruises brand followed a successful period of chartering vessels in Croatia.
Moroney told advisers at the gala that the Adriatic coast had been a hit with passengers, and the charters had “sold really well”.
“[The] problem was that the experience doesn’t live up to what we’d like to deliver, either for Emerald or for Scenic. And the reason for that is certainly not the destination, it’s just the ship,” Moroney said. He cited the charter vessel’s capacity of 36, 1:4 crew to guest ratio; lack of modern facilities, and above all, space. A lack of stabilisers also meant the previous charter vessel, MV Adriatic Princess, was unable to access some ports. (This season, Evergreen/Emerald Waterways is chartering the brand new MS Lastavica and MS Swallow.)
“The experience promises a lot, and the destination is fantastic and people are enjoying themselves. And then once again, stupid us, we think we can do a little bit better,” the Scenic Group boss quipped.
Emerald’s first ocean vessel will feature six cabin categories designed with a modern feel, ensuite bathrooms and all finishes expected of a world-class superyacht. Nearly 90% will feature balconies. Cabins will range from the 18-square-metre lead-in Oceanview Stateroom (without balcony), to the 28-square-metre Balcony Suites, 60-square-metre Terrace and Yacht suites and the top-of-the-line 111-square-metre Owner’s Suite.
“But it’s not just about luxurious cabins and large space. It’s about the other amenities on the ship,” the Newcastle native said.
Consistent with Emerald’s river cruise venue names, the Horizon Bar and Lounge will be located on the Emerald Deck and serves as the ship’s hub. On the same deck, Reflections Restaurant will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and offer 130 seats indoor and a further 48 seats on the surrounding deck. An Observation Lounge will be located at the bow of the ship and open onto Emerald Azzurra‘s viewing platform, but the attention-grabber will be an infinity-edge pool and cafe on Deck 6, aptly named the Pool Deck.
Reflecting on Scenic Group’s ocean ship pool design, namely that of Scenic Eclipse, Moroney admitted that they had learnt a little bit about pool design, referring to Eclipse‘s Yacht Club pool design located within the restaurant.
“The design of the pool is mega-yacht cool,” he added.
The top level of Emerald Azzurra will be the Sky Deck and it will feature a spa area and a bar, which Moroney said he was sure would be a hit with Australian cruise passengers during the day, at twilight and in the evening.
The vessel will also feature a spa with treatment rooms, a gym and hairdresser.
“It’s a modern interpretation of ships in that class at the moment that are 20 to 25, and even 30 years old, or smaller ships that are not able to access the ports or have the modern amenities or the size of the cabins. I’m certain you’ll find it extremely popular,” he told Scenic’s top sellers.
Due to its smaller size, Emerald Azzurra will be able to access smaller, more off-the-beaten-track ports that other cruise ships are too large for. The super yacht will still visit all the major ports such as Rome (Civitavecchia) and Barcelona, but will dock in the centre of smaller ports, such as Bonifacio, Corsica; Port Vendres, France; Fiskardo, Greece; Port Ercole, Italy and Piran, Slovenia. In these ports, guests will be free to explore the town at their leisure with no set itinerary, and fresh produce will be sourced from local markets and served onboard the yacht.
In the larger destinations, guests will enjoy included EmeraldPLUS cultural experiences, a range of included EmeraldACTIVE excursions, and have the opportunity to book DiscoverMORE optional excursions to tailor their cruise.
Guests will have access to a special marina platform for a variety of activities, including paddleboards and snorkelling equipment. The ship will offer three tenders and two zodiacs for shore landings.
On shore, guests will enjoy included EmeraldPLUS cultural experiences, a range of included EmeraldACTIVE excursions, and have the opportunity to book DiscoverMORE optional excursions to tailor their cruise.
Emerald Azzurra is already under construction, with the hull build and machinery fit out being undertaken by the Halong Shipbuilding Company in Ha Long City, Vietnam. The interior fit-out will be directly managed by Emerald Cruises’ project team.
For more information on the product, see emeraldyachtcruises.com.au/