Interview By: Andy Ogg, CTIE, Senior Editor – Travel Professional NEWS®
Interviewing: Ann Chamberlin, VP of Sales, USA – Scenic Eclipse
First off, thank you very much for the time today and joining our fantastic Travel Professional NEWS readers!
Just this last month, the Scenic Eclipse has officially been completed, can you share a bit about the road travelled to complete this amazing new ship?
It started with our owner, Glen Moroney, sitting in his office looking out at Sydney harbor. He saw what could only be billionaires’ yachts and thought, “Why not build a billionaire’s yacht for those who aren’t billionaires?” His vision was to create a mega-yacht that would deliver the ultra-luxury that few people have experienced in places that even fewer people have been. Which means traveling by yacht, helicopter or submarine in absolute safety and comfort.
What sets the Scenic Eclipse apart from other ships in the Scenic fleet?
The Scenic Eclipse is a game changer in the world of expedition travel. It combines all-inclusive luxury with discovery. Not only is the ship itself a marvel of safety and technological advances, enabling it to travel safely to the remote corners of the world, it also offers incredible luxury in both amenities and service. Our yacht is equipped with two helicopters, a submarine, kayaks, and zodiacs for true exploration, plus a camera-equipped remotely operated vehicle (ROV) so guests can explore even when cozily sipping champagne in their staterooms. The Scenic Eclipse is also designed to provide a fantastic sailing experience anywhere in the world. The ship has stabilizers that are only 20% smaller than those on the world’s largest cruise ship, which means it is extremely stable and offers guests a smoother experience. In warm weather destinations, there is a water sports platform for all the toys that guests might want to enjoy, including a trampoline, wake boards, water skis and small sail boats! But the ship is actually purpose-built for polar travel, with a Polar Class 6 ice rating.
What can a guest expect onboard the Scenic Eclipse?
A guest can expect personal and attentive service on a large, yet intimate, yacht. They will enjoy our all-inclusive amenities, starting with all dining and beverages, all excursions, and an experienced and passionate discovery team that brings to life the destinations we visit. They will be providing daily recaps of what guests saw that day and what they can expect the following day, as well as lectures about wildlife, history, geology and more. There is also light entertainment on board including live music nightly.
While it’s still new to the industry, can you share a bit about the prime market for Travel Professionals to approach with the unique offerings of the Scenic Eclipse?
The Scenic Eclipse is for those clients who are curious and seasoned travelers. They may have never considered a cruise before due to the large size of most ships. Our market is people who want up-close-and-personal experiences. It’s adventurers who want to be immersed in a destination, many of which are remote, while still enjoying absolute luxury. Of course there’s butler service. But for us, luxury also means the kind of options you wouldn’t expect on a ship our size – 10 dining venues, eight bars and lounges, and lots more.
Will the Scenic Eclipse be offering any FAM or training on the ships features, benefits and options?
Absolutely. Training opportunities are available with the support of our Business Development Managers team. We understand that it is important for our travel partners to experience the product themselves in order to sell, so we are also hoping to offer some FAM opportunities in the future.
We read about the disturbances at the shipyard, can you share how those challenges affected the progress of the Scenic Eclipse construction?
Yes, the financial difficulties the shipyard had were widely publicized. Our owner had the option to walk away or finish the construction. Glen decided to pay the sub-contractors directly so the ship would be completed with as few disruptions as possible. It was a huge challenge, but the results have been worth it and we had a wonderful Christening event this September in New York City!
With 2019 past the halfway point, is there anything new on the horizon for Scenic as 2020 approaches?
Our journey is just beginning! The Scenic Eclipse 2020-22 collection has just opened with several new itineraries. In addition to polar travel, new itineraries including Alaska, Ireland & Scotland, Costa Rica to Peru, to name just a few, are now available to your clients. We look forward to helping each of them cross of bucket list items as the Scenic Eclipse continues its international expedition.
Any special offers available?
Our new 2020–2022 collection of Scenic Eclipse voyages mean that guests now have even more opportunities to experience the natural wonders of the world in all-inclusive luxury. And if clients book by December 31, 2019, they will get Early Bird pricing – up to 10% savings off full fare (subject to availability), an Early Payment Discount – up to $750 per person (pay in full by October 31, 2019), and Complimentary Deposit Protection on all departures. These fantastic offers won’t last for long, so I strongly recommend our travel partners contact us sooner than later to book their clients’ suites.
During the construction process, many Travel Professionals had issues with cancelled sailing dates, can you share how Scenic handled that for the end client and the Travel Professional involved?
First of all, on behalf of The Scenic Group, I would like to thank our partners in travel for being patient, cooperative and understanding with us as we worked through the challenges. For the affected bookings, we had a communication plan and reached out to each travel partner to ensure that the booking commission was protected and that our travel advisors’ clients were put onto a priority list in order to rebook their trip seamlessly. It wasn’t easy, but the good thing is Scenic Eclipse is now ready to bring your clients extraordinary experiences.
What kind of commissions can Travel Agents expect when booking their clients on the Scenic Eclipse?
I encourage travel partners to reach out to our local Business Development Managers team to discuss detailed business plans.
If an Agent is looking to get started with the Scenic Eclipse or is interested in learning more, what should they do?
We have professional, seasoned Business Development Manager teams across the country who are ready and available to assist our travel partners. We invite travel advisors to visit www.scenicusa.com/agent-portal and contact our team member in their area for marketing materials, ready to-go presentations, consumer shows and trainings. In our Agent Portal, travel professionals can also log in to Agent Academy to learn more about our products, including Scenic Rivers and Emerald Waterways as well as the Scenic Eclipse. We look forward to hearing from more partners soon to build lasting, long-term and fruitful relationships.
Before we conclude, I personally want to thank you for your time and information shared today. We appreciate your involvement in our publication and look forward to speaking with you again soon.