Scenic has abandoned plans to bring its ultra-luxury yacht, Scenic Eclipse, to Australian waters next month.
The luxury cruise operator had planned to operate the six-star “Discovery Yacht” in the Kimberley on six one-way voyages between Darwin and Broome, from 19 June to 8 August 2021.
Scenic cited “continued uncertainty” for permits and approval processes for the decision to terminate the program.
In a statement, Scenic Group said: “Over the past few months, Scenic has been working closely with industry bodies such as the Cruise Line Industry Association (CLIA) and the relevant Federal, State and Territory Government authorities, agencies and national health committees, to ensure we comply with all the protocols to operate in the Kimberley region.
“However, despite the Scenic management and operations team’s best efforts, the existing restrictions regarding international flagged vessels means that it is currently not feasible for Scenic Eclipse to operate in Australian coastal waters.”
Anthony Laver, Scenic Group GM, Sales & Marketing Australasia, said; “At the time we launched our Scenic Eclipse Kimberly program we were confident that by late June 2021 we would be able to deliver a unique experience for our guests.
“Whilst the vaccination schedule looked very promising and there was much anticipation that lockdowns and border closures would no longer be required, unfortunately this has not been the case.”
From the moment Scenic confirmed the Kimberley program in March, it has clearly emphasised in marketing collateral that the voyages would hinge on regulatory approvals.
Two weeks ago the company also made trade partners aware it was relaxing its 60-day full-payment requirement for the Kimberley sailings in anticipation of making a final call, yay or nay, in early May on whether the program would proceed.
LATTE understands that the ultra-luxury voyages on Scenic Eclipse had been heavily booked, with some departures tracking towards being fully sold.
However, Scenic began notifying guests and trade partners last Friday that it was unable to proceed with the deployment.
Scenic Eclipse is currently moored at Rijeka, Croatia. Relocating the vessel from the northern hemisphere to Australia would take 30+ days.
“With the continued uncertainty on the timing for permits and approvals to be granted, it is not possible for us to relocate the ship and crew in the hope that at some stage these restrictions may be lifted,” Laver said.
The Group said that given this “continued uncertainty for cruising in the Kimberley region, these developments have resulted in Scenic making the difficult decision to cancel the Kimberley 2021 season.”
It was a decision the Australian founded company said it did not take “lightly”.
“Scenic greatly appreciates the support of their agent partners and guests during this period, and look forward to welcoming them on board a Scenic luxury cruise or land journey soon,” the statement concluded.