New for 2016, the small but perfectly formed Scenic Aura is the second of Australian-owned fleet Scenic’s all-suite ships designed to cruise the rivers of South East Asia. With just 22 suites and a maximum capacity of 44 passengers, with 35 crew on hand to attend to their every need, Aura is smaller than her sister Spirit, and is taking Scenic’s impeccable standards of service and all-inclusive luxury to a whole new level. Her five-star boutique feel is enhanced with contemporary design and décor influences from South East Asia.
Passengers As she is Australian-owned, Aura will attract many passengers from Australia and New Zealand, who will be partly attracted by her itineraries’ relatively short distance from home. Aura is also expected to attract a mature, discerning clientele from the UK, American and Canada who appreciate her special touches such as a butler service. Many of these guests will be trying a South East Asian adventure after experiencing an exceptional Scenic cruise in Europe.
Dining Two of the larger Scenic Space-Ships’ most popular dining venues have been adapted to suit the small but perfectly formed Aura. Crystal Dining on the Jewel Deck is the ship’s main restaurant, where breakfast, lunch and a multi-course dinner are served daily. Western favourites are available as well as seasonal dishes inspired by the exotic itinerary. Aura’s open-seating plan is relaxed, however most passengers like to make an effort with their outfits in the evening. River Café on the Sapphire Deck is an elegant, casual place where guests can enjoy coffee, cold drinks and a fine array of snacks prepared with the freshest local ingredients, whenever they feel like it. Aura’s all-inclusive ethos applies to all drinks onboard including alcohol.
Entertainment Aura’s open air cinema on the Sun Deck is the perfect place to enjoy a movie and a drink as the scenery slips by on a balmy evening. The Aura Lounge and Outdoor Lounge are located next to Crystal Dining on the Sapphire Deck and are a great place to have a pre or post dinner drink. The onboard Champagne Reception makes for a sociable start to every cruise and the Farewell Dinner is a great occasion to enjoy in the company of new friends. There is also ample opportunity to enjoy drinks in unforgettable locations off the ship, with Scenic’s Sundowners programme that includes the chance to sip drinks in boats under U-Bein Bridge, the world’s longest teak bridge in Myanmar, as the sun sets. The Scenic Freechoice Dining programme includes the chance to enjoy dinner at the Aureum Palace Hotel or the Red Mountain Estate Vineyard in Inle Lake, Myanmar.
Activities The Diamond Deck’s Vitality Pool is the perfect place to cool off from the hot South East Asian sun, before treating yourself to a drink from the bar. There is a gift shop to browse souvenirs and, from a practical point of view, the guest laundry is a useful facility. Guests can also visit the library to find the perfect reading material to take up to the Sun Deck. Every expense associated with offshore excursions is included and passengers enjoy the services of expert, English-speaking guides. The Scenic Freechoice and Enrich programmes, designed to cater for every taste and energy level, offers experiences such as learning how to make gold leaf at a workshop in Mandalay, enjoying an art-themed tour of Yangon in Singapore and a visit to the many ornate temples in Old Bagan, Myanmar.
Accommodation All Aura’s suites boast separate bedrooms, living rooms and private balconies, and provide the contemporary luxurious décor and facilities to be found in the most exclusive hotels. The front of the Diamond Deck is home to Aura’s two vast 753 sq. ft. Royal Panorama Suites that feature a private outdoor terrace with Jacuzzi and day bed, walk in wardrobe and large luxurious bathroom with bathtub. This deck also houses two 430 sq. ft. Grand Deluxe Suites and four 344 sq. ft. Deluxe Suites. Twelve more Deluxe Suites can be found across the Sapphire and Jewel Decks. The Jewel Deck also has two 258 sq. ft Balcony Suites with Scenic’s signature Sun Lounge Balcony, that opens and closes at the touch of a button.
Spa/Wellbeing The lower Gem Deck’s Gym and Wellness Centre take care of exercise and pampering needs.
Itineraries Aura’s maiden voyage will be on the Mystical Myanmar itinerary, a 20 day round trip from Yangon in Singapore, along Myanmar’s magical, mysterious Irrawaddy River. Passengers embark their cruise on Aura on day four after a three day stay in fascinating Yangon. The 14 day cruise promises many unforgettable new experiences including a visit to the famous Ananda Temple and bustling markets of Bagan, a two day excursion to the floating markets of Inle Lake and a trip to Myanmar’s oldest golf course with its stunning colonial buildings in Thayetmyo. The adventure ends with a final day and night in Yangon.