Work has officially commenced on Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours’ second polar cruise ship in Croatia. The first sheets of steel for the hull of Scenic Eclipse II were cut last Friday [24 April 2020] at the 3. Maj dockyard in Rijeka following a low-key ceremony.
The 3. Maj shipyard was contracted in December to construct the hull and other parts of the new six-star ship.
As previously flagged by LATTE in August 2019, Scenic Group plans to expand its ultra-luxury ‘Discovery Yacht’ fleet to as many as six ships, reportedly valued at €860 million (approximately AU$1.45 billion).
Scenic Group’s maiden luxury yacht, Scenic Eclipse, was also constructed in Croatia at the nearby Pula shipyard, and delivered in August 2020.
Scenic Group Chairman Glen Moroney has previously acknowledged the expertise Croatian engineers and shipbuilders possess to develop “the most sophisticated cruise ships in the world”.
Initially earmarked to launch this year, the start of construction of Scenic Eclipse II and Scenic Group’s investment comes at a time when the cruise industry is facing widespread challenges and buckling in other parts of the world, as shipyards lay off workers and production and delivery timelines are either paused, delayed or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As a sign of continued confidence in the industry, last week Scenic Group provided a fresh update on the development on Evergreen Cruises & Tours’ maiden yacht, Emerald Azzurra, which is currently being built in Vietnam, and the ninth Emerald Waterways ship, Emerald Luna. Both new ships will enter service in mid-2021.
Scenic is now progressing with developing an expanded five-star yacht fleet under a new Croatian subsidiary called MKM Yachts. Scenic Eclipse II will be the first new ship to be built at the 3. Maj dockyard in four years.
Attending the ceremony to mark the start of development was Croatia’s Minister of Economy, Darko Horvat. On social media last week, Minister Horyat said Eclipse II marked a “new beginning” for the shipyard.
“Today, during the crisis caused by the coronavirus, we are starting a new business that will, we believe, strengthen Scenic’s fleet, as well as Rijeka’s shipyard. As other cruising companies put their projects on hold, Scenic Group 3. Maj begins to create a common future for both Scenic and the Croatian shipbuilding industry on a sound basis,” Croatia’s Minister of Finance, Zlatko Marić commented last Friday.
A keel-laying ceremony for Scenic Eclipse II has been flagged by the end of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, however, the effects of coronavirus may hinder the schedule.
Scenic is likely to take learnings from the construction of its maiden Discovery Yacht and fine-tune the design of Scenic Eclipse II. LATTE understands that some alterations in the overall design are likely, including the Yacht Club’s indoor swimming pool.
Having recently completed its maiden Antarctica season, Scenic Eclipse is currently on track to dock in Rijeka on Saturday 2 May, where it will remain until the coronavirus lockdown concludes.
LATTE will provide further details on Scenic Eclipse II when further details are at hand.