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Scenic Eclipse II, Newcastle-born 6-star luxury homecoming

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It’s an idea that was born around a kitchen table in Charlestown 38 years ago.

And, this week, Glen Moroney’s six-star, $318 million dream became a reality with Scenic Eclipse II becoming the first Scenic ship to cruise into his hometown of Newcastle. 

The 17,545-tonne vessel sailed past Nobbys Headland and nestled into its temporary home in Carrington on Monday, before welcoming a stream of lucky visitors onboard the chance to admire her beauty first-hand. 

Having been christened in Malaga in June 2023 by NASA astronaut Dr Kathy Sullivan, the 10-deck, ultra luxury cruise ship is arguably one of the first of its kind to sail into Newcastle Harbour, attracting the attention of local dignitaries, business owners, travel experts and a sprinkling of Newcastle whose-who. 

Scenic Eclipse II was docked in Newcastle, April 22.

The slick-looking, purpose-built cruising vessel is preparing to voyage the Oceania region for the next two years. 

Its upcoming schedule includes trips to the Kimberley coastline, Indonesia, Fiji, New Zealand and Antartica. 

Referring to itself as “One of the World’s First Discovery Yachts”, Scenic Eclipse II offers cultural, culinary, and photography cruises, underwater in its submersible and in the air in either of its two onboard helicopters. 

Its list of features includes all-verandah suite accommodation, 10 dining experiences, premium branded beverages at nine bars and lounges, an almost 1:1 crew-to-guest ratio, butler service, a 550m2 wellness space equipped with gym, yoga, pilates, salt therapy and infrared sauna. 

And, even that list is modest.

Needless to say, if you are hoping to arrive onboard a sexy new cruise ship, be greeted at reception with a fresh glass of bubbles and the friendly face of one of at least 30 different nationalities onboard, then lose yourself for up to three weeks indulging in quality food, new experiences, and relaxing sessions, then this might have your name all over it.

It’s almost a “choose your own adventure” scenario, with experts to guide you on your journey.

For 60-year-old Scenic Group chairman and founder Glen Moroney, this week’s ship docking represents a homecoming of sorts.

“All I can say is we started from a kitchen table in Charlestown, Newcastle, doing a very simple job, just filling a hotel and running bus tours,” he explained.

“And, we’ve ended up being a very unique company because we came up with a concept. 

“We do the feasibility, we design the ship, we engineer it, we build it, we own it, we operate it.

“And, with all of our sales offices around the world, we distribute that to the consumer. 

“I’m very proud to say there are only four people on this ship that we don’t employ directly – two helicopter pilots, a helicopter engineer and the lady who manages the shop. 

“We do all our nautical technical operations and we do all of our provisioning.” 

And, speaking of provisions, Scenic Group oceans hotel operations VP Tom Goetter joined Mr Moroney in Wickham earlier this week, stocking up on local produce before setting sail for the Great Barrier Reef.

He has more experience working in galleys than his 36-years would indicate.

Scenic Eclipse II GM James Griffiths, Senior Captain Erwan le Rouzic, VP Hotel Operations Tom Goetter, and Discovery Operations Jason Flesher.

The German-born connoisseur stems from culinary prowess, with both his mother and grandmother experienced chefs, and his father a talented winemaker.

His childhood spent living on farms fuels his passion for sustainability, particularly conscious of food wastage and reusability.

“I’ve just been today the first time in Newcastle and the fish market,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“And, we will come back here in six months from now, so I gave my phone number and we exchanged [details] in WhatsApp, and we made a picture (photo) together because when I come back, I will buy from him again.

“I really liked him and I really liked the produce. We had even tried some smoked fish because he had just smoked some. So I want to buy again when I come back. 

“And, I think that’s the core of Scenic. 

“We really want to work with local small suppliers, where you feel something. 

“I don’t want to buy it from a big company, which I never saw the face from. 

“I want to buy it from the people I know.”

Goetter also boasts two large urban cultivators onboard, producing 32 types of herbs, all grown in water only.

He also passionate about dehydrating fruits and vegetables onboard to be reused in dishes, drinks and garnish.

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