First-hand experience of a Scenic Cruise in Central America

Part of our Franchise Team, Cathy, and a group of our talented Travel Counsellors were lucky enough to be on a Scenic cruise around Central America recently and came away thrilled by the experience. A big cruise aficionado, Cathy normally books on much bigger vessels, so Scenic’s small-ship experience was unknown territory to her.

First-hand experience of a Scenic Cruise in Central America

Cathy travelled aboard Eclipse, which launched in 2019 and in a league of its own. The world’s First Discovery Yacht™ is unique not only for its groundbreaking design and the six-star luxury that it brings to ocean cruising, but in the way it uses state-of-the-art technology and amenities to connect its guests with local nature and communities. These include an Airbus helicopter for flying over landscapes including volcanos and glaciers, a customised submarine, Zodiac RIBS, kayaks, paddleboards and even its own pull-out marina.

Inspired by the sleek contours of a sailing yacht, this ship is also about indulgence, with on-board pampering to a level rarely found in any other setting, let alone on a cruise vessel. The spa measures in at an impressive 550m2, and there’s also a yoga studio, a gym, and several outdoor terraces and pool areas.

There’s no stinting on the dining experience either, with global cuisines ranging from casual to haute cuisine and even a champagne bar. Small and intimate is the watchword – especially at the Chef’s Table, an invitation-only dégustation experience for just 10 guests. Cathy’s personal favourite was the delicious Asian fare in Fusion.

Because she had only done bigger cruises with a huge array of facilities and entertainment, Cathy was a bit worried that Scenic would offer a less compelling experience, but in fact she says she ‘absolutely loved every minute’ – to the extent that she didn’t read a single one of the four books she had downloaded onto her Kindle!

She was impressed by the intimacy of the vessel and found that being among only 200 passengers meant that guests got to know one another quickly and that staff knew everyone’s name by Day 3. She also appreciated the open-door policy on the bridge so she could go in and watch from this prestigious position as the ship was guided into dock.

Cathy rated her cabin highly for its spaciousness, ample storage, balcony, personal butler and little extras ranging from a fully stocked minibar to a Dyson hairdryer. The entertainment including live music and a lounge pianist appealed to her, and she also enjoyed the talks about the wildlife that they encountered en route.

During the days at sea, Cathy was very happy sipping champagne in one of the outdoor hot tubs, while land stops tempted her with off-the-beaten-track destinations. These included the town of Antigua in Guatemala, where she was lucky enough to see a local wedding, Huatulco in Mexico, where she was fascinated to see how Mezcal is distilled and taste some of this agave-based drink, and Isla Cerralvo (Jacques Cousteau Island) where you can snorkel amidst incredible marine life. The highpoint though was the pristine Cebaco Island, which again by virtue of being hard to access, is basically a private island for guests, with Scenic staff setting up gazebos for drinks. Costa Rica was also magical, especially for the catamaran dolphin watch; the Eclipse also slowed down to see whales.

The trip also included a night in Panama - where guests each treated themselves to an obligatory Panama hat! – and a night in Los Angeles, where Cathy rounded off her incredible 16-day trip with a lovely meal in Santa Monica.

She came home wonderfully relaxed and full of praise for an experience she wholeheartedly recommends for those looking to see places you wouldn’t be able to with mainstream cruises – places with literally no other ships in sight.

To book your Scenic cruise, talk to your Travel Counsellor today.

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