Scenic Group has been pursuing luxury ocean cruising with the new Scenic Eclipse, while its other brand, Emerald Yacht Cruises, is coming up with an experience that is different to most cruise brands, according to the2022 Luxury Market Report by Cruise Industry News.
Emerald’s first ship Azzurra was delivered in January. A second ship, the Sakara, will be delivered next year. The two sister ships – built by Halong Shipbuilding Company in Vietnam – can accommodate 100 guests each.
“The Emerald Sakara will be a lot like an identical twin sister,” Maggie Carbonell, the vice president for marketing at Scenic Group USA, told Cruise Industry News. “The benefit of having two yachts is that you can offer different destinations to guests.”
For the summer both yachts will be positioned in the Mediterranean. In the winter, the Emerald Sakara’s destinations will include the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, with the Seychelles as a highlight, according to Carbonell.
“(This will allow us to) offer a broader scope to our guests,” she said.
According to Carbonell, the two ships have been carefully designed to have access to small ports and harbors rather than anchoring them out at sea, so guests can sail straight into the heart of the local culture and history of the destinations.
Onboard, there will be a very relaxing experience with restaurants and a snack bar in the pool area, Carbonell noted.
“There’s also fun with the latest technology, so guests will be able to hit the Marina platform and dive off and explore the ocean. It’s very exclusive and very intimate,” she added
The Sky Deck has loungers and chairs. We also have an infinity pool where guests can have a cocktail and watch the coastline sail by. We think that The Observation Lounge is going to be a very popular place for our guests to sit with binoculars and spot wildlife or read a book,” she said.
The two superyachts will offer a high guest-to-crew ration.
The Sakara and Azzurra will carry 64 crew members. With our guest capacity being 100, that’s more than two to one. So, it will make for very intimate, personalized service experience.”
Both the Azzurra and Sakara are built for warmer climates and that’s what sets them apart from other ships in the market, Carbonell said.
“We’re building the ships to hug the coast and for warm weather deployment. The other lines with luxury smaller ships are normally focusing on colder regions,” said Carbonell.
“But we’ve kind of taken a turn and said, ‘well, let’s build the superyachts and go for warmer weather destination.’”
“So, if you think about the rise of superyachts and yachts as an experience for the ultra luxury, we can bring that out to the masses with these two ships of the Emerald brand.”
The typical Emerald yacht guest is described as “an active, very discerning client who likes the finer things and is unwilling to compromise in their vacation.”
“We have seen the bookings for the Azzurra come in at a much younger age than we did for the Eclipse, our sister brand. Early adopters who have rushed to book superyachts will be 40-year-olds right up to our sweet spot of about 65,” Carbonell said
The two brands – Scenic and Emerald – don’t need to compete with each other, she said. Their offerings appeal to different demographics.
“Our guests on the Eclipse are really looking for operations in places like Antarctica,” said Carbonell.
“Scenic is sufficient for an all-inclusive ultra-luxury type of clientele that just doesn’t want to bring up their wallets, wants the ease of just paying once and have everything included. The Emerald client is more value-oriented. They want to pay for what they want to use.
“(Emerald) is more value minded. It’s a contemporary brand. It’s more active. We have groups of friends sailing onboard and we have activities managers onboard the Sakara and Azzurra. It’s about wellness and health, which are very important to the Emerald guest,” she said. “That’s how we differentiate the brands.”
Carbonell thinks that cruising is top of mind with consumers “interested in continuing to cruise but still very worried about COVID.”
“So, I think we’re coming out with our first ship at the right time for the market that is definitely there for us,” she said.