A cruise aboard the luxurious Scenic Eclipse Discovery yacht is like experiencing a holiday retreat at an exclusive and exotic resort. Maybe it was the location, as we cruised along the western coastline visiting the exotic countries of Central America from Panama City to Loretto, Mexico. What a brilliant itinerary, visiting locations other larger ships simply can’t access such as Cebaco Island in Panama, Isla Tortugas in Costa Rica, Acajutla in Guatemala, and picturesque Isla Cerralvo as known as Jacques Cousteau Island in Mexico.
This was my second luxury expedition cruise and I am more enamored with this form of cruising and travel than ever. I think it’s not only the sense of wonder and discovery one experiences, it’s also the up-close and personal immersions in secluded destinations, with all the modern-day comforts we’ve come to expect. I travelled with my elderly mother, who is a relatively mobile 73-year-old with lactose intolerance. I was interested to see how airlines and a luxury cruise line would accommodate her. Check-in was a delight met by our friendly Butler who personally escorted us and carried our bags from our transfer coach to the ship’s lobby. There met by a glass of champagne and more smiles we were checked in and given a short safety brief and escorted to our suite. That was it.
With just over 200 guests and 100 suites, the Scenic Eclipse isn’t just another cruise, it’s a Discovery Experience. Our Grande Deluxe Verandah Suite was a spacious 40m2 elegantly appointed sea haven. With large floor-to-ceiling glass doors, we enjoyed plenty of natural light and sea breezes. I could only dream about the 245m2 Two-bedroom Penthouse Suite, (unfortunately occupied) which boasts the best views onboard. Complete with a spacious curved terrace, personal private spa pool, sun loungers, a private lounge and dining area and a super-sized bathroom, these 2 x 195m2 over-sized suites set the benchmark in ultra-luxury accommodation at sea.
Our spacious suite included the finest toiletries, Egyptian cotton linen and all the ultra-luxury amenities you would expect from a 6-star hotel. We enjoyed our Scenic Slumber Beds, complete with a pillow menu (I chose lavender rose and slept like a baby ) and electronic control – adjustable for your most comfortable lounging or sleeping positions. We relaxed with ambient lighting options to suit the time of day and our mood and enjoyed the separate lounge area, ideal for when I slept and Mum enjoyed a movie. Not forgetting the all-important ‘window to the world’, the private verandah was perfect for making the most of the fresh ocean air and as we enjoyed floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors that open onto sprawling vistas, spectacular seascapes, and marvellous marine life (we did catch pods of playful dolphins and a glimpse of a Blue Whale!).
As a new world of wonder moved by, we basked in the glow of a sunset, enjoying a refreshing drink in this secluded oasis. That’s why I love cruising.
We enjoyed the services of our professional butler, who is specifically trained to meet Scenic’s high standards and catered to our every need, including food intolerances, making our cruise extra special. Our butler ensured everything was taken care of, from meeting us at the pier to bringing us morning coffee, taking care of our laundry, re-stocking our included mini-bar, and delivering a glass of French Champagne which I enjoyed at sunset on our verandah.
For the most part, it was smooth sailing, as Captain Ned Tutton and his team safely navigated us up the western coast of Central America from Panama City to Loretto, Mexico. We sailed in and out of various bays and ports, stopping at unique and inspiring locations.
Fortunately, Scenic Eclipse’s state-of-the-art technology allows for steady navigation through all waters due to its Polar Class 6 rating, electronic Azipod propulsion system, and oversized stabilisers. Its GPS Dynamic Positioning also allows the Discovery Yacht to maintain location without dropping anchors onto sensitive sea beds. This dedication to safety, environmental protection and world-class innovation has allowed Scenic to design the most inspiring and exciting itineraries possible. Our Central American Discovery was unique as it was not a scheduled itinerary, with variations along the way, making it even more exciting and memorable. Our journey included harbourage at a selection of secluded islands, private beaches, and some major ports providing variety and enjoyment.
This was Discovery cruising at its best with an exceptional expedition team of 12 from geologists to naturalists, state-of-the-art Airbus H130-T2 Helicopter and U-Boat Worx Cruise Submarine 7 capable of diving to 300 meters. You could choose to explore from above, below, or remain at sea level. What this allowed was a unique and once-in-a-lifetime experience. Guests enjoyed as little or as much as they liked.
The exceptional crew escorted us by zodiac to private beach locations, ready for us on shore with a pop-up beach bar, deck chairs, towels, private butler service and more. They even set up a floating marina from the back of the yacht. Here we could choose to swim, snorkel, stand-up paddleboard or kayak in comfort, complete with another pop-up bar and music, the atmosphere was fabulous, and sundowners were next level.
Let’s talk about the dining experiences. From dégustations to fine dining to a relaxed café meal, diverse and delicious food experiences were a highlight of our cruise.
Every meal was a celebration. A cornucopia of choice was on offer as inspired chefs crafted delectable dishes using fresh local ingredients. With a range of all-inclusive dining options and different themed dining venues, we never ate the same meal twice. Unless we wanted to, of course.
It’s more than outstanding food and wine – it’s the fresh flavours from each region we visited prepared by innovative chefs across 10 dining venues. With an unrivalled range of dining experiences, we immersed into a multicultural culinary adventure. From contemporary French fine dining at Lumière restaurant and Champagne Bar (my personal favorite), to a fillet of steak at elegant Elements main restaurant or Sushi Delight. We enjoyed an array of cuisine, which changed constantly.
We enjoyed an intimate 10 guest middle eastern feast at Night Market @Koko’s complete with dishes crafted in front of us by our personal chef. This experience was a feast for the senses including Lobster Khachapuri, Moroccan Grandmother Soup, Middle Eastern Taco made with locally caught fish and de-constructed Baklava.
What remained constant throughout was the unrivalled quality of the all-inclusive meals and premium beverages. The impressive selection of cuisines and dining venues offered a variety of choices. We enjoyed the relaxing Yacht Club on deck 7 which was perfect for breakfast and lunch with spectacular sweeping views. An open galleys tour, was another highlight, where we were able to see first-hand the passion and expertise that goes into preparing every meal and met some of the friendly Scenic team in action. Complimentary Wine appreciation and cooking demonstrations were also available for limited numbers.
Simple. Everything was taken care of. From 24-hour butler service to pillow menus, seriously it’s all included. Private transfers (including a charter flight!), specialty dining, most beverages (including some vintage wines and over 100 whiskeys), butler service, wifi, shore excursions, nightly entertainment, use of the Senses Spa facilities, and gratuities. The best part was there was no bill to settle at the end of the cruise (except for my massage!) It truly was all-inclusive. Even our disembarkation was a breeze and included. We simply collected our passports after a leisurely breakfast, and fond farewells to new friends, boarded our tender with Captain Ned waving us off, and headed on a short ride to Loreto Port where our coach to the airport was waiting. After collecting our luggage, we checked in for our private charter flight to Los Angeles and enjoyed a full lunch including a glass of wine (served in Scenic glasses) on board. Amazing!
From nature to cultural encounters, and historic cities to ancient monuments, the Scenic Eclipse has left us with memories that will last a lifetime.
Thank you to all the amazing Scenic staff and crew who went over and above.
Should you be dreaming and envisioning your next luxe adventure with Scenic or would like further information about worldwide itineraries and experiences, be it an exploration at sea, on a river or on land, please feel free to contact me.
By booking with me you’ll receive the following benefits:
Inspired by Luxe,