Scenic Eclipse Marks Historic First Helicopter Landing in Antarctica

The aircraft landed on Snow Hill Island, where guests viewed Emperor penguins.

After a successful start to the 2023/2024 Antarctica season, Scenic Eclipse’s crew, led by Captain Radomir Novosel and the specialist Polar Discovery Team, provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for guests on its recent 13-day Antarctica in Depth ultra-luxury voyage. During the trip, guests took part in an exclusive helicopter excursion to land on the sea ice near the Weddell Sea’s Snow Hill Island. The landing allowed them to witness a colony of more than 4,000 breeding pairs of the Emperor penguin, the tallest and heaviest of all living penguin species.

“This incredibly unique experience, available only with ships that have helicopters, offers a truly remarkable moment for our guests,” James Griffiths says, Scenic Group General Manager, Ocean Operations.

The Scenic Eclipse and its sister ship, Scenic Eclipse II, are equipped with two onboard helicopters that offer a unique excursion. These helicopters are custom-built Airbus H130 aircraft and are some of the quietest in the world, ensuring minimal disturbance to the wildlife and environment.

The Polar Discovery Team led the guests to land half a mile away from the colony, after which they hiked closer to glimpse the Emperor penguins. Dr. Maricel Grilli, Scenic Eclipse’s Ornithologist, who has been working with Scenic in Antarctica since 2020, provided in-depth knowledge regarding the behavior and ecology of Antarctica’s most iconic wildlife. The crew followed all IAATO and biosecurity protocols during this unique excursion.

November and early December are considered the best months to observe Emperor Penguin colonies on Snow Hill Island, and the sailing departures during this time fill up quickly. The highlighted sailing for 2024 that provides this rare opportunity is a 22-day Antarctica, South Georgia and The Falkland Islands voyage, departing on Nov. 27, 2024. The itinerary is round-trip from Buenos Aires. The starting fare is $26,398, which includes airfare. Additional helicopter and submarine excursions can be arranged and booked on board.

The bucket-list voyage mentioned offers a lot of experiences beyond Emperor penguins. Guests can sail among spectacular landscapes and small remote islands, led by a large and knowledgeable Discovery team that takes them on excursions in the South Georgia Islands, Falkland Islands, and Antarctica. The South Georgia Islands are known for abundant wildlife and a history of 19th- and 20th-century explorations. The Falkland Islands have a historic and colorful town of Stanley, featuring cottages, museums, military monuments, and a true feeling of British heritage with red phone boxes and English pubs. Antarctica provides guests with a plethora of possibilities, including multiple landings to visit a variety of penguin species traveling back and forth on their ‘penguin highways,’ venturing on Zodiacs to seek out different whale species, or simply lounging on their balcony while viewing large populations of elephant seals lazily basking on ice calves. In addition to the landings and almost daily multi-topic lectures, there are opportunities to kayak and paddleboard past icebergs, take a polar plunge, or sign up for a submarine or helicopter excursion.

Scenic’s ultra-luxury Discovery Yachts are designed to accommodate 200 guests and offer a remarkable selection of indoor and outdoor spaces for an intimate voyage. The spacious suites, which range from 345 square feet to more than 2,600 square feet, showcase elegant furnishings, state-of-the-art amenities, and personalized butler service. The Senses Spa, which measures a whopping 5,920 square feet, offers a variety of holistic therapy sessions, yoga, and Pilates classes. Scenic Eclipse yachts provide up to 10 genuinely all-inclusive dining experiences and nine bars and lounges, catering to every taste, preference, and mood with exquisite cuisine and relaxed dining options.

All Scenic Eclipse voyages are designed to be comprehensive, so guests can feel at ease knowing everything is taken care of. This includes internal flights, transfers, fine dining experiences, premium branded beverages, immersive Discovery excursions, use of spa facilities, gratuities, and more. With Scenic Eclipse, travelers can relax without worrying about additional expenses.

Over 37 years, Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours has expanded its offerings to include all-inclusive river and ocean cruises and curated land journeys to various captivating locations worldwide. In 2019, the company launched Scenic Eclipse, the first-ever Discovery Yacht™, and is set to introduce Scenic Eclipse II in April 2023. Scenic is part of The Scenic Group, comprising Emerald Cruises, Mayflower Cruises & Tours, and Evergreen Tours.

For more information, visit Scenicusa.com or call (844) 788-7985.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.