In yet another small-ship expansion move, Scenic Group, which owns both the Scenic and Emerald Waterways river lines, and which just added the Scenic Eclipse "Discovery Yacht" to its portfolio last fall, will now add the new Emerald Yacht Cruises to its offerings.
The new small-ship oceangoing brand will launch its first ship, the 100-guest Emerald Azzurra in July 2021.
Since 2014, Emerald Waterways has been offering deluxe European river cruising to the North American market. Emerald Azzurra will become the first ocean vessel owned by the new Emerald Yacht Cruises brand and will, along with sister brand Emerald Waterways, comprise the newly formed Emerald Cruises.
Travel Agent has asked several travel advisors for their take on the announcement and we'll post any feedback here when received. Candie Steinman, franchise owner, Dream Vacations, Ft. Myers, FL, told us that "Emerald Yacht Cruises' Emerald Azzura looks like a wonderful option with some exciting opportunities for small ship cruising. It appears to be yacht cruising which should be at a lower price point than some of the luxury yacht cruises available now."
Emerald Yacht Cruises has loaded its initial 2021-2022 itineraries. Early bird pricing is now available. Voyages on the new 360-foot-long ship are planned to the Adriatic Sea, Mediterranean and Red Sea.
The yacht will call on multiple ports in Greece, Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, France, Turkey, Cyprus, Malta, Spain, Israel, Jordan and Egypt. The line says it will call at top spots desired by guests but also have unique access to the smaller ports and harbors only accessible by small yachts.
“Emerald Waterways has been operating award-winning river cruises in Europe since 2014,” said Glen Moroney, owner and chairman of the Scenic Group. “The launch of Emerald Yacht Cruises and the stunning new Emerald Azzurra are a logical extension of the Emerald Cruises portfolio, adding intimate yacht cruising in the Mediterranean to the existing Emerald Waterways river cruise offerings.”
Spacious Cabins, Most with Balconies
Delivering a boutique yachting experience, Emerald Azzurra’s spacious balcony staterooms and suites will begin at more than 285 square feet of space. They'll have a modern feel and offer upscale amenities. The line says 88 percent of accommodations will have balconies.
In the true style of a super yacht, the ship will offer a marina platform from which guests can head out paddleboarding and snorkeling, among other activities. The ship will carry three tenders and two Zodiacs for shore landings. Steinman likes these yachting and expedition-like features.
Additionally, the ship's design will include an onboard wellness center with gym and spa.
A few highlights of the Emerald Azzurra’s program include the following itineraries:
- The eight-day "Cyprus, Turkey and Greece Delights in the Aegean Sea," also the ship’s inaugural sailing, will depart from Limassol, Cyprus and call at Paphos, Cyprus; Fethiye, Bodrum and Kusadasi, all in Turkey; Mykonos, Santorini and Athens, all in Greece. Guests will fly home from Athens.
- The eight-day "French & Italian Rivieras with Corsica" itinerary in the Mediterranean will depart from Citavecchia (Rome) and visit Porto Ercole (Italy), Bonifacio and Calvi in Corsica, Portoferraio and Portofino in Italy; and Menton, France before disembarking in Nice.
- The 12-day "Ancient World Wonders" cruise will depart from Limassol and call at Haifa (Tel Aviv) and Ashdod (Jerusalem) in Israel, as well as Alexandria, Port Said and Sharm el-Sheik in Egypt prior to ending in Aqaba, Jordan.
In keeping with the brands’ inclusive pricing structure, sailings on Emerald Azzurra will include fine á la carte dining at dinner; breakfast and lunch buffets stocked with fresh, locally sourced ingredients; complimentary sommelier-paired wine, beer or soft drinks with lunch and dinner; all onboard gratuities; transfers to and from the airport; port charges; and all taxes.
"Emerald is giving travel advisors another opportunity to sell the entire Scenic portfolio of cruise options and the introduction of Emerald Yacht Cruises will help bring the yachting experience to the masses, in essence exposing even more clients to the yachting experience," says Michelle Fee, CEO and founder of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative.
On shore, guests will enjoy included EmeraldPLUS cultural experiences and a range of included EmeraldACTIVE excursions, and they can book DiscoverMORE optional excursions to tailor their cruise.
Shipyard & Outfitting
A rendering of Emerald Azzurra's Sky Deck is shown in the photo above. This ship is being built by the Ha Long Shipbuilding Company (HLS) in Ha Long City, Vietnam. The Ha Long Shipbuilding Company is contracted to build the hull and fit all machinery for the yacht.
All interior outfitting will be directly managed by the Emerald Cruises project team. A steel cutting ceremony was held at the shipyard December 7, 2019.