Luxury travel company, Scenic Group, has become only the second Australian cruise line accepted into the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) as a full-fledged operator.
This month Scenic Expeditions was admitted into IAATO, joining fellow Aussie cruise line, Aurora Expeditions – a founding member of the entity – and its stable of around 50 other Antarctica Operators that include the likes of Abercrombie & Kent, Hurtigruten, Quark Expeditions, Ponant, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Crystal Cruises.
Lisa Bolton, General Manager Product, Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, said IAATO’s mission to advocate, promote and practice safe and environmentally responsible private-sector tourism to the Antarctic is well aligned with the ethos and philosophy of Scenic Group and that of the ultra-luxury Discovery Yacht, Scenic Eclipse.
The “C2” category classed Scenic Eclipse has been purpose-built with state-of-the-art technology and equipment to protect the environment and pristine destinations to which it travels. The GPS dynamic positioning allows the ship to maintain location without dropping anchor onto sensitive water beds and an Advanced Wastewater Treatment Systems and highly efficient engines, reduce emissions, noise and vibrations, for minimal disturbances to the marine life environment.
“The pristine environment of the Antarctic Peninsula is home to an abundance of unique wildlife which must be protected and preserved. The Scenic Eclipse expert Discovery Team provides deep insights into the intricacies of this pristine environment to help guests appreciate its importance and to create memories that last a lifetime,” Bolton said.
“As a member of IAATO, Scenic Eclipse’s guests can be assured that our operations will meet and exceed industry standards. Collectively as members, compliance with IAATO rules and regulations assists in ensuring the long-term viability of Antarctica and its protection for future generations.”
For Scenic, the key benefit of being an IAATO Operator is to ensure and communicate its compliance with operating protocols and standards established by the non-profit member organisation.
“Whilst operating in Antarctica, we all operate as a fleet, supporting other members of IAATO,” she said.
Inaugurated in late August 2019, Scenic Eclipse operated nine sailings to Antarctica over the 2019/20 season. Each sailing operated “close to full occupancy,” Bolton told LATTE, adding the result was “a significant achievement and reflection of the demand for The World’s First Discovery Yacht in its maiden season of operation.”
For the upcoming 2020/21 Antarctica season, Scenic Eclipse has two itineraries scheduled to operate which are the 11-day Antarctica in Depth (six sailings) and the 20-day Antarctica, South Georgia & Falkland Island (four sailings).
Currently, members of IAATO are working closely together to determine the commencement date for the season.
Lead image: Scenic Eclipse at Detaille Island, Antarctica | credit: Niko Paulin