Ritz-Carlton enters luxury cruise market

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Posted in Cruise News By J.A. Bower

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company this week announced plans to start a small luxury cruise ship operation, scheduled to launch in 2019.

The company’s press release describes the new as combining “the lifestyle of The Ritz-Carlton’s luxury resorts and the casual freedom of a yachting vacation.” Their first vessel will be custom-designed to accommodate up to 298 passengers, and feature 149 suites, each with its own private balcony. Guests can also book one of two 138 square-meter lavish duplex penthouses. The small size of the vessel will enable it to call at unique locations inaccessible to larger ships, including Capri, Portofino, St Barths, and old town Cartagena.

Artist’s rendering of the company’s first vessel (image courtesy of Ritz-Carlton)

Herve Humler, President and Chief Operating Officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C, stated, “The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will have a distinctive personality and the vessels are sure to be true stand outs in some of the most glamorous ports around the world. This unique combination of yachting and cruising will usher in a new way of luxury travel for guests seeking to discover the world in a relaxed, casually elegant and comfortable atmosphere with the highest level of personalized service.”

The company’s yachts will boast a restaurant by Sven Elverfeld of Aqua (the three Michelin-starred restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg), plus a Ritz-Carlton Spa; and a Panorama Lounge and wine bar. The ships will also offer a wide variety of on-board entertainment. Additionally, the yacht will offer one-of-a-kind curated destination journeys through collaborations with local chefs, musicians and artists.

Artist’s rendering of the first Ritz-Carlton ship (courtesy of Ritz-Carlton)

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection is being developed with maritime experts Douglas Prothero and Lars Clasen, in collaboration with funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P., Ritz-Carlton, which owns 94 luxury hotels worldwide, will provide luxury hospitality service under a long-term operating agreement.

After launching its first vessel in 2019, the company plans two additional ships, for 2021 and 2022, respectively. The new brand could carry some 35,000 passengers on an annual basis by 2023. Reservations will open in May 2018. The company’s yachts will also be available for private charter.

Our Take: This isn’t all that surprising as luxury cruise ships delivered between 1988 and 2018 account for less than 3% of the passenger berths for the entire industry. Our cruise expert Adam Martingdale is a huge fan of luxury small ships and we’re sure he will be one of the first to report about this yacht after she is launched in 2019.

 

Artist’s rendering of the first Ritz-Carlton ship (courtesy of Ritz-Carlton)

Artist’s rendering of the first Ritz-Carlton ship (courtesy of Ritz-Carlton)

 

More info at: PR Newswire

 

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