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Excitement levels reached fever pitch on Sydney Harbour this weekend as two rare sightings were made on both sea and land.

First, Scenic Eclipse II made her debut appearance in Australia ahead of a two-year series of voyages in the Oceania region. 

She and her sister ship are described as “the world’s first Discovery Yachts” and her sleek black hull made for a striking sight through the drizzly rail of an autumn day.

Her arrival also prompted the notoriously media and publicity-shy founder of Scenic, Glen Moroney, to make an appearance on home soil and to address expectant travel writers ahead of a ship tour.

Mr Moroney was quick to point out how far he and his company have come since they began with bus tours in the 1980’s.

“I think that over time we’ve turned out to be a very unusual, very unique and very capable company,” he said.

“Unlike anybody else that I know within the cruise industry, we come up with a concept, we design the ship, we build the ship, we own it and we operate it.”

The Scenic family is due to expand even further in 2026 with the launch of Emerald Kaia, a 128-guest yacht that builds on the success of Emerald Sakara and Emerald Azzurra

“So that’s been the journey, 38 years from running bus tours down to Warrnambool and now owning a fleet of four ocean going ships with a fifth one coming. And I’m sure in the future, there’ll be more as well,” added Mr Moroney.

Traveltalk was given a short tour of the 114-suite, all-inclusive ship and from the outset we could tell that this was luxury with a capital “L”. 

The décor is elegant but understated, reminiscent of a luxury hotel at sea. The main bar acts as the focal point but with a choice of 10 dining options, Senses Spa, state-of-the-art theatre and seven other bars to choose from, the 228 guests onboard are spoilt for choice when it comes to places to hang out and relax. 

We were fortunate enough to see the 245-metre-square, two-bedroom Owner’s Penthouse (with its own private Jacuzzi and infrared seats in the bathroom!) and enough space and glitz to impress the high rollers who can afford the price tag.

The main suites were all luxuriously decorated and furnished but as anyone who cruises knows, you don’t spend that much time in your bedroom – unless you’re seasick! It was the “toys” we’d really come to see and SEII didn’t disappoint.

We saw the two helicopters that are aboard (cue endless photo sessions) and that make a voyage aboard such a six-star sensation. Sadly we didn’t have time to see the submarine but it’s a must-do for those who like to travel below the water as well as above it.

“Anyone will tell you I’m extremely focused on our guests’ enjoyment,” added Mr Moroney.

“And I’m very fortunate to have a team that are just as driven as I am, to deliver that level of service for the guests, and that keeps them coming back.”

Arriving in her spiritual home of Newcastle today (April 22), Scenic Eclipse II will then sail up the coastline of Queensland, on to the Northern Territory and Kimberley region, before reaching the coast of Western Australia in 2025.

Anthony Laver, Scenic Group’s General Manager, Sales and Marketing APAC, described the yacht’s debut in Australia as a “landmark moment” and a “game-changer for the local cruising industry”.

“The arrival of Scenic Eclipse II in Australian waters represents a new era in ocean cruising for this region, where ultra-luxury meets discovery.”