Five Questions with Erwan Le Rouzic
ILONA KAUREMZKYNo wallflower when it comes to expedition cruising, Captain Erwan Le Rouzic who hails from Brittany, France, has been sailing the seven seas for nearly two decades. He’s charged past icebergs, maneuvered in frosty channels of the South Pole, and more daringly, helmed a team of sailing pioneers around the globe in the world’s largest solar-powered boat, MS Turanor PlanetSolar. He’s hit many benchmarks in navigation over his illustrious career, broken Guinness Book of World Records, but it’s the new chapter as Captain of the world’s first Six-Star luxury yacht that is adding an extra twinkle to his eyes these days.
The luxury vessel has an Open Bridge Policy with a unique guest lounge equipped with a Swarovski Optik telescope and Bushnell binoculars. CTP sat down with the renegade chief mariner as the Scenic Eclipse was on a 11-day cruise en route to Cartegena, Columbia.
Canadian Travel Press: Why should Scenic Eclipse be a specific cruise ship to consider for Canadians?
Erwan Le Rouzic: Scenic Eclipse is absolutely exceptional. She is a new benchmark in expedition cruising because she brings every skill to a new level. She is Comfort class. She is the most comfortable on the Seven Seas right now. The smaller ship size allows us to go through deeper passages than large ships. However, we are not at all on the same market as big ships. We are much more maneuverable and can go to more places than the big luxury ships like Seabourn, Regent that have 500 to 1000 passengers on board. These ships are very nice and luxurious, but are limited to where they can go which is not the case for us because she is the right size.
CTP: What are some unique features?
ELR: She is extremely silent with two Azipods. These are electrical motors located under the hull, so they bring no vibration, no noise. We also have two powerful over-sized bow thrusters, and she has dynamic positioning, so she doesn’t need to anchor to operate. She is vibration free and virtually silent. She has a super strong ice classification, the highest in the industry. She is also super fast at 18 knots. Stabilizers are over-sized for the size of ship. They are almost the same size as a 300 metre-long ship. We have anchors on board, but we don’t need to anchor in some places for example to protect the environment. Recently in Newfoundland, we didn’t anchor. We do not damage the bottom and disturb the coral and reefs in the Caribbean. This is a big point for eco-conscious luxury travellers.
CTP: What’s one cruise itinerary ideal for Canadians?
ELR: We plan to do the Northwest Passage next summer which is good for Canadians who will be able to follow the great explorers in the Northwest Passage.
CTP: What are you proud of here?
ELR: That we are offering a new type of experience, a much more extensive experience to our guests. I’m proud that we show a new benchmark into the protection of the environment, a respect of the environment everywhere we go. We educate our guests regarding the environment, and the impact we may have. We have a fantastic crew. All our guests always say they love the food, but they also love the service and how the crew is always attentive and so knowledgeable. The experience in the submarine is magical. It’s a new world. You are there and you feel like you are a child because you discover the ocean in a completely different way. I like the helicopter because it brings a different aspect on where we go. You can see the land, and also the helicopters have a particular way to fly quite close and quite low and, of course, it’s fun!
CTP: For people who are hesitating, who are saying ‘I don’t want to do this’ what do you tell them?
ELR: There is no reason to hesitate. The ship is the best on the planet on the seven seas. She is the most comfortable, she is elegant, the nicest ratio of crew to guest (one on one). The cabins are really big and comfortable, and we have so many different activities: kayak, zodiac, e-bikes helicopters, submarine, snorkelling, lots of nature walks and education. We have fantastic food. She is the best. Why do you hesitate to go on the best ship?