Emerald Cruises continued a stellar 2023 when Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) president and CEO Kelly Craighead christened Emerald Cruises’ latest luxury yacht, Emerald Sakara, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The ceremony was attended by Scenic Group Founder and Chairman Glen Moroney and Scenic Group Managing Director for the US Ken Muskat and other distinguished guests. The occasion was marked with great fanfare as a local cultural band provided music to set the mood. Distinguished speakers like Glen Moroney, Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico, Crystal J. Bell, Air & Cruise Director of Puerto Rico Tourism Company, Christian Trinidad De Jesus, Deputy Executive Director of Puerto Rico Ports Authority, and godmother Kelly Craighead delivered speeches. The event was attended by Captain Rob O’Leary, captain of Emerald Sakara, local travel advisors, US trade partners, embarking guests, and media from around the world. Kelly Craighead performed the traditional champagne bottle-breaking ceremony to christen Emerald Sakara. The ceremony’s climax was the appearance of flyboarders from behind the yacht, providing a thrilling end to the proceedings.
“We are a pretty unique entity in the cruise industry when it comes to both our river and ocean luxury ships,” Glen Moroney says, the Founder and Chairman of Scenic Group. “We are intimately involved with every aspect of the build process—coming up with the concept, doing the design, overseeing the engineering, then building the ships, including all interior design in-house, then employing all of the crew members directly. Having Kelly as the godmother of our newest luxury yacht, Emerald Sakara, follows that same thought process as she embodies a similar can-do attitude and history, and her leadership and guidance with CLIA over the recent challenging years for the industry is inspirational.”
As the president and CEO of CLIA, Craighead leads a community of the world’s most prestigious ocean, river, and specialty cruise lines, as well as a network of over 75,000 CLIA Travel Trade Members and stakeholders. Having joined CLIA in 2019, she brought a deep understanding of public policy and how governments worldwide function. Under Craighead’s guidance, CLIA has sharpened its focus on using its diverse community to advocate for a sustainable cruise industry. Throughout the multi-year pandemic, Craighead and the CLIA team worked tirelessly to ensure the long-term viability of cruising and its safe return to operations, in line with other travel sectors. The cruise industry is anticipated to carry 31.5 million passengers by 2023, surpassing historically strong 2019 levels.
“The dedication of Emerald Sakara was extraordinary, and I am honored to be an ambassador for the entire CLIA team in the esteemed maritime tradition of godmother,” Craighead says. “The stunning luxury of Emerald Sakara, complemented by Emerald Cruises’ commitment to environmentally responsible tourism, exemplifies CLIA’s advocacy for sustainable tourism and preservation of cruise destinations worldwide for future generations. Thank you to Emerald Cruises for this very special recognition.”
The luxury yacht is designed to accommodate 100 guests in 50 deluxe staterooms and suites, ranging from 185 to 1,185 square feet, with 44 featuring large walk-out balconies. The open-air infinity pool is surrounded by lounge chairs and day beds, offering a perfect place to relax and enjoy a refreshing cocktail from the nearby Aqua Café. The wellness deck on the yacht is equipped with a spa, infrared sauna, and gym, allowing guests to maintain their health goals. Additionally, the top deck Sky Bar provides an ideal spot to watch the sunset. The marina platform, located off the yacht’s stern, offers a range of water toys, including kayaks, standup paddleboards, snorkeling equipment, SEABOBs, and a giant trampoline, available to guests when the platform is deployed. The spacious La Cucina dining room specializes in fresh, seasonal cuisine, with seating available indoors and on the adjacent terrace. Furthermore, the Amici Lounge is a warm and welcoming space to gather and enjoy live music in the evenings. With 76 crew members onboard, guests can expect attentive and personalized service throughout their stay.
The Emerald Sakara yacht is equipped with some of the latest technology in the industry, reflecting Scenic Group’s unwavering commitment to environmental protection and sustainable travel. The engines meet IMO tier III emission regulations, including removing NOx and SOx from exhaust gases. Recycled energy is utilized to heat water for the yacht’s needs, and advanced sewage treatment complies with the latest regulations. The EU has also awarded the company a Green Passport for its recycling efforts.