The natural wonders of Europe will be unlocked for you on a 6-star, ultra-luxury voyage through Scenic Eclipse’s expert Discovery Team. Here, we chat to geologist and Assistant Discovery Team leader Jonathan Fuhrmann about the European sites he’s looking forward to sharing with guests.
In the Spring, Scenic Eclipse, The World’s First Discovery Yachts™ will be exploring the picture-postcard towns lining the balmy coasts of the Aegean and Mediterranean seas in Europe, travelling through such destinations as Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Croatia.
The Discovery Team is at the core of each of these cruise voyages. They are made up of top experts in their field from all over the globe – from historians, archaeologists, geologists, ornithologists and naturalists who can safely guide and enhance your experience every step of the way.
Image: Amalfi Coast, Atrani
At 168-metres in length, Scenic Eclipse has access to unique small villages and local ports that large ships can’t access. Imagine stepping ashore in the heart of popular destinations like St Tropez and Monaco, rather than being bussed in from commercial ports?
With only up to 228 guests on board and up to six Scenic Freechoice excursions on offer each day, delight in the knowledge and expertise of our Discovery Team to showcase the best natural and cultural experiences; or take your own personal exploration using the Scenic Eclipse e-bikes.
St Tropez, France
Duo Violins in Santorini
Blue Lagoon, Malta
Assistant Discovery Team Leader Jonathan Fuhrmann is incredibly excited and looking forward to welcoming guests and enhancing their understanding and appreciation of some of Europe’s most incredible natural sites, wildlife and history.
We asked Jonathan about the highlights of the European voyages he’s looking forward to sharing with you.
What are some of your favourite destinations you'll be taking guests to during the European voyages on board Scenic Eclipse?
The Mediterranean has a rich history of volcanism, and as a geologist I have a soft spot for these dramatic, natural events. As such, it will come as no surprise that visiting Sicily and Mount Etna is one of my personal highlights of any Mediterranean voyage. Here, the slow collision of the African and Eurasian plates is made visible on the surface, and of course the region and its volcanism are represented in history from ancient times.
Image: Mt Etna, Italy
The Greek Island of Santorini is perhaps known more for its gorgeous, whitewashed villages overlooking the ocean, but this too is a volcanic edifice. The eruption that took place here about 3,600 years ago devastated the Minoan settlements in the region and remains one of the most powerful eruptions in human history. It produced the sheer cliffs that make today's island so spectacular, providing a link between geology, ancient history and the present day.
Image: Santorini, Greece.
What nature-based European Scenic Freechoice activities for guests travelling on board Scenic Eclipse do you think will be particularly memorable for guests?
The ruins of Pompeii, which can be accessed via a Scenic Freechoice activity from Sorrento during the 9-Day Civitavecchia to Athens voyage, are a highlight of any visit to Italy. The remains of the city offer a uniquely intimate snapshot of Roman life, frozen in time and preserved in incredible detail by a catastrophic volcanic eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79AD. The historian Pliny the Younger wrote an influential account of the eruption, rendering the site and the eruption invaluable to historians, anthropologists and volcanologists.
Image: Vesuvius volcano and Pompeii, Italy
What are the benefits of travelling on Scenic Eclipse when it comes to accessing remote islands and places of natural beauty and wonder?
There are several features that make Scenic Eclipse particularly well placed to deliver exceptional experiences. Its dynamic positioning system means that the ship can hold its position even in challenging conditions, leaving the seabed untouched and allowing guests to make full use of her complement of watersports equipment. Of course, there are also the helicopters
* and the submarine Scenic Neptune
* to facilitate exploration not just on the water, but also above and below it.
Can you describe some of the natural highlights in various regions that guests interested in marine life, flora and birdwatching can look forward to?
The Mediterranean is a small sea connected to the ocean by a narrow strait, creating unusual conditions that a wide range of marine and terrestrial wildlife call home. Sperm whales, orca, bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins can all be found here, though they are contending with heavy human use all around the Mediterranean. Birdwatchers may spot the European roller in its gorgeously colourful plumage along most of the north coast, while the spectacular Spanish imperial eagle is restricted to a smaller region around Seville, Spain. And of course, the ship will often have an escort of resident gulls, terns and shearwaters – including perhaps the critically endangered Balearic shearwater, which lives only on the Balearic Islands.
Image: Seville, Spain
What are some of the ways in which the Discovery Team will be creating special and exclusive ‘expedition-style’ experiences during these European voyages?
We will have the unique opportunity to create one-of-a-kind experiences for our guests such as remote beach landings on secluded islands where we will not only have lunch and bar service, but snorkeling, paddleboarding, kayaking, beach activities, naturalist hikes and so much more. We will also have opportunities in these unique locations for remote submarine dives along sea walls, coral reefs and possibly even seeing shipwrecks. Guests can also fly on board one of two Scenic helicopters* for an aerial tour of the islands, or on a destination flight for a round of golf, a mountain bike ride or to a mountain side vineyard.
Image: Paddle Boarding in Spain
On board Scenic Eclipse, no two excursions
are alike. We scout the locations so we can personalise the experience and make it enriching and exciting with what every location offers. Our Discovery Team, who is made up of professionals with years of experience in their fields of expertise and holding Master and Doctorate degrees, add to your experience. Wherever you are, you can end your excursion day fully enriched, empowered and relaxed as you re-embark on board Scenic Eclipse
for an evening of fine dining and celebration of your unforgettable day spent with your Discovery team.
When in Europe, how will time spent in either one of our helicopters* or beneath the water in Scenic Neptune* enhance the guests' appreciation and understanding of various European destinations and the Mediterranean?
Travelling on Scenic Eclipse affords the opportunity to rise above the waves in helicopters*, and to submerge beneath them on board the Scenic Neptune*. Our planet's seafloor is less explored than the Moon, and there are countless species to be found here that no human has ever laid eyes on. Taking off in a helicopter affords a new and totally different perspective on cities for keen photographers, and the landscape too can reveal patterns and stories that may not be visible from ground level.
*Helicopter, helicopter experiences and submarine at additional cost, subject to regulatory approvals, availability, weight restrictions, medical approval and weather conditions.
About Jonathan Fuhrmann
Jonathan Fuhrmann is a geologist and Assistant Discovery Leader on board Scenic Eclipse. He co-ordinates the activities guests can enjoy on and off the ship, providing insights and understanding about the many places that Scenic Eclipse visits. His background is in science communications, working on cruise ships on all seven continents since 2015. He is well versed in glaciology, geology, astronomy, volcanology and photography. “Working on Scenic Eclipse is the perfect opportunity to share my knowledge of the natural world in front of a backdrop of some of our planet's most stunning natural wonders,” he says.