Emerald: Shining on River and Sea

Emerald Azzurra

Launching the Emerald Azzurra in 2022 was a significant change for Emerald Cruises. The well-established river brand was going to sea. A year later, Emerald is doubling its ocean yachting capacity with the Emerald Sakara.

The name, Sakara, isn’t meant to refer to Sakara Nigerian folk music nor the ancient Egyptian Sakara burial ground nor the sakara point at the end of a Finnish star. The Emerald Sakara is named after a word in Sanskrit.

“The yacht’s name is Sanskrit for the idea of thoughts becoming things and refers to the philosophy that positive thoughts can manifest into reality,” said Ken Muskat, managing director of Emerald and sister-brand Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours.

New to Small

After moving in November 2022 from a career with large-ship brands like MSC and Royal Caribbean Group, Muskat acknowledged he had a lot to learn about the dynamic small-ship sector.

“Going from the big ships to now ultraluxury, river expedition and ocean yachts, has been amazing. I think for me personally it was the right time in my career to do something different,” he said. “I had never sailed on small ocean yachts until I did the Scenic Eclipse, and I was just blown away.”

Muskat had high praise for the culture of collaboration and quick decision-making created by Emerald and Scenic founder Glen Moroney.

“The passion he has for what he has built and what’s to come, and hearing it from him on a regular basis, is really great. It doesn’t get muffled in the chatter among board members or as it comes down the line. It doesn’t lose the passion. You hear it directly from him,” Muskat said.

Adding the second 100-guest ship with a luxury-forward crew of 76 was a smart move, he said, from both Emerald’s data and the unprecedented expansion in the market.

“There’s a huge group of people who want the luxury experience, who want the one-to-one connection with the crew.

“When you look at what’s going on in the segment, and you look at Four Seasons coming on and Ritz and Explora Journeys and the expansion of Silversea, Seabourn and Atlas, you know, this is obviously a very interesting segment and one that is intended to grow significantly because of all the research all of us have done in seeing that that type of consumer is out there.”

Yacht Experience

Muskat said he’s placing a major emphasis on advertising Emerald’s ocean product in 2023. It’s time more people knew, he said.

The Sakara is a near duplicate of the Azzurra, retaining the large infinity pool at the aft, above the marina platform loaded with kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, snorkel equipment, SEABOBs, and a giant trampoline. The ship also features a wellness deck complete with spa, infrared saunas and gym.

The small, luxury yachts are built for warm-water cruising, Muskat said, visiting destinations in the Caribbean and Central America, the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas, the Red Sea and Arabian Peninsula and transatlantic cruises.

“You can just pull up to an island and have the staff go over and set up an incredible lunch for you on the beach with champagne, and all the water sports toys for you to use. It’s literally like your own private yacht. So it’s not only just the idea of being able to be in the warm weather and warm water in the Caribbean and some of these exotic ports of call, but the fact that you feel like you are on your own yacht with the crew at your beck and call. It makes the Caribbean an unbelievable experience with these ships. Same thing with the Mediterranean,” he said.

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