Ultimate whisky bar - at sea!

Ultimate whisky bar – at sea! (Photo by Fran Miller)

When I entered the central lounge of Scenic Eclipse II, I didn’t expect to find a museum-like display of the world’s finest whiskies! This luxurious super yacht features 120 to 160 bottles, each gorgeously displayed and available for tasting – a benefit of Scenic Eclipse II’s “all-inclusive” cruising format. Can you imagine having Jura’s 30-year-old “The Loch,” a 25-year-old Glendullan, and 2013-2014 “Whisky of the Year” Kavalan Taiwanese single malt available, all for the taking? We were able to freely (emphasis on “free,” well, sort-of) enjoy the high-end selections from Australia, Japan, France, India, South Africa, Sweden, and the US, including Jonny Walker Blue, Jameson Select Reserve Black Barrel, Crown Royal Deluxe, Oban, Glenfiddich, Highland Park 18, and so many more. And I did!

The collection varies from port to port, subject to the whims of Scenic’s founder Glen Moroney, a whiskey enthusiast and collector. He and Scenic bar manager Milos Brasnovic, whose ready radar for special edition and hard-to-find bottles, work together, providing impeccable options for the yacht’s many whisky aficionados who gather nightly at the ship’s spectacular floor-to-ceiling bar display to sample and savor. Designed by Moroney’s wife Karen, who oversees all interior design aspects of each of Scenic’s ships, the bar features translucent, backlit quartz crystal – the dazzling focal point of Scenic Eclipse II’s central gathering space. The lounge area, which includes the bar, comfortably accommodates the ship’s entire 228-passenger capacity.

“It is so fun and rewarding to see our guests’ sense of awe when they initially see the Whisky Bar,” said Brasnovic. “One just doesn’t come across this sort of incredible selection on other cruise ships. Even the premium beverage plans on other cruise lines do not include the high-level we inclusively offer at Scenic. Not to mention that our entire talented bar staff are extremely well educated on each selection, its history, and flavor profile; we enjoy guiding guests on how to properly taste each whisky; and, each of our selections also make for beautiful cocktails.”

Though its name suggests a selection purely comprised of whiskies, the Whisky Bar also features top-shelf vodka, gin, and tequila selections to quench the thirst of non-whisky drinkers. Coffee options via a LaCimbali espresso machine round out the beverage offerings.

For those who manage to free themselves temporarily from the enticing Whisky Bar, Scenic Eclipse and Scenic Eclipse II (billed as the “World’s First Discovery Yachts”) offer a multitude of daily excursions that allow guests to immerse themselves in the wonders of every port—from Antarctica to the Mediterranean to Central America. Although the cruise itineraries may vary dramatically, the one constant is the Whisky Bar, guaranteed to provide a tasty reward for each day’s exploration.