Introducing Captain James Griffiths
Captain, Scenic Eclipse World’s First Discovery Yacht

1. What does it take to be the Captain of a luxury ocean vessel like Scenic Eclipse

It takes around 10 years to get the licences required to command a ship the size of the Scenic Eclipse. Working in polar areas requires a very special set of skills, both my second-in-command and I hold advanced polar water certification and have racked up hundreds of days in high polar latitudes in North and South. I have now spent nearly 20 years in the industry, worked on 12 different ships, commanded six of them and visited over 105 countries. Scenic Eclipse will be a truly demanding ship to operate, the complexity of the helicopters, submarine, Zodiacs, and kayaks coupled with her highly advanced technology and the need to offer the ultimate 6-star service means that I and everyone else involved in the project must be passionate about delivering it.

2. What do you think sets Scenic Eclipse apart from other ships?

Scenic Eclipse is setting an entirely new standard in the Cruise and Expedition industry. We are the first cruise ship to house our own helicopters and submarine and will be the first expedition ship in service to comply with the latest ‘Safe Return to Port’ regulations that necessitate two independent engine rooms, two independent bridges and multi-redundancy in provision areas, galleys and power distribution, as well as Polar Class 6, which puts the ship’s ice strength above 1A Super – the highest of the Swedish Ice Classes before you become an ice breaker. The ship is also fitted with a ‘Dynamic Positioning’ system, this allows us to maintain an exact position and heading automatically by making use of the ship’s oversized bow thrusters and Azipods. This means that we will be able to avoid anchoring and reduce damage to the sea bed, while ensuring the safest possible approach for our helicopters and Zodiac fleet. To give you an idea of how powerful the Scenic Eclipse bow thrusters are, a normal cruise ship would have around 10-20% of total propulsive power assigned to the bow thrusters, Scenic Eclipse has 50%.

3.  Where are you most excited to be sailing to with the Scenic Eclipse?

Scenic Eclipse is a remarkable ship in every regard. I’ve worked as Captain on the world’s largest four masted sailing ship, the MSY Wind Star, which is an excellent warm water ship and the MV National Geographic Explorer, which is a very good cold water expedition ship, but Scenic Eclipse will be a ship that excels in all areas. She will be just as at home moored alongside the most impressive super yachts in the world at Monaco as she will be breaking ice less than 900 kilometres from the true North Pole. I am very excited to take the Scenic Eclipse everywhere, she is the first cruise ship to truly combine ‘go anywhere/see everything’ ability coupled with stunning super yacht looks and the most luxurious on board amenities, so I know she will bring an incredible ‘wow’ factor wherever she sails.

4.  What do you think will be the highlight of a voyage with Scenic Eclipse for your guests and for your crew?

I am genuinely excited to see how guests will react to the Scenic Eclipse. She is designed to exceed expectations. Everyone will take away something different; perhaps a journey to a shipwreck in our submarine, a flight over a glacier with one of our highly trained pilots in a helicopter, maybe watching the sunrise on the bridge with one of our Deck Officers, or memories of the excellent dining venues. For my crew, I have been delighted how quick the very best people in the industry have been to join me on board the Scenic Eclipse. Scenic is not your average multi-national faceless company, it really does feel like a family, so serving our guests on board a ship like the Scenic Eclipse will be a career highlight for many.