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Emerald Cruises’ Newest Luxury Yacht, Emerald Sakara, Christened in San Juan by CLIA President and CEO Kelly Craighead


Accompanied by Scenic Group Founder and Chairman Glen Moroney and Scenic Group Managing Director for the US Ken Muskat, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) President and CEO Kelly Craighead christened Emerald Cruises’ newest, warm water luxury yacht, Emerald Sakara, in front of an esteemed audience in San Juan, Puerto Rico on December 2.

Foto: Emerald Cruises / Scenic Group

In the Pier 4 East terminal, all decked out for the occasion and with music provided by a local cultural band, speeches were made by 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. In attendance were Captain Rob O’Leary, captain of Emerald Sakara, local travel advisors and US trade partners, embarking guests and media from around the world. Kelly Craighead christened Emerald Sakara with a traditional champagne bottle breaking ceremony, followed by an exciting surprise for all in attendance— flyboarders emerged from behind the yacht, providing a celebratory finish to the ceremony. High rez photos and video of the christening are available here.

“We are a pretty unique entity in the cruise industry when it comes to both our river and ocean luxury ships,” offered Glen Moroney, 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 President and CEO of CLIA, Kelly Craighead represents a broad and growing community of the world’s most prestigious ocean, river, and specialty cruise lines, as well as a network of more than 75,000 CLIA Travel Trade Members and stakeholders. She joined CLIA in 2019, bringing a deep knowledge of public policy and how governments around the world work. Under Craighead’s leadership, CLIA has honed its focus on leveraging its diverse community to advocate for a sustainable cruise industry. During the multi-year pandemic, Craighead and the CLIA team worked tirelessly to help ensure the long-term viability of cruising and the ability to safely return to operations in line with other travel sectors. In 2023, the cruise industry is projected to carry 31.5 million passengers – 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,” said Kelly Craighead, President & CEO, Cruise Lines International Association. “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 around the world for future generations. Thank you to Emerald Cruises for this very special recognition.”

The luxury yacht carries 100 guests in 50 deluxe staterooms and suites ranging from 17m2 to 110.8 m—with 44 featuring large walk-out balconies. The open-air infinity pool is surrounded by lounge chairs and day beds ideal for relaxing and enjoying a cocktail from the nearby Aqua Café. A wellness deck complete with spa, infrared sauna and gym allows guests to keep focused on their health goals, while the top deck Sky Bar offers the ideal spot to watch the sun set. Located off the yacht’s stern, a marina platform boasts water toys galore—kayaks, standup paddleboards, snorkel equipment, SEABOBs and a giant trampoline available to guests when the platform is deployed. The extra-spacious La Cucina dining room specializes in fresh, seasonal cuisine with seating indoors as well as on the adjacent terrace, while the warm and welcoming Amici Lounge is a friendly place to gather and enjoy live music in the evenings. Finally, with 76 crew members onboard, guests can count on receiving attentive, personalized service.

Along with its many amenities, Emerald Sakara employs some of the industry’s latest technology, as Scenic Group’s commitment to environmental safeguards and travel sustainability is unwavering. Engines meet IMO tier III emission regulations, including the removal of NOx and SOx from exhaust gases; recycled energy is used to heat water for the yacht’s needs; and advanced sewage treatment complies with the latest regulations. The company has earned a Green Passport from the EU for its recycling efforts.

Text: PM Emerald Cruises / Scenic Group