Ritz-Carlton sails into the cruise business

We all know the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company for its plush accommodation space, but now it’s gotten a case of FOMO and dived straight into the cruise business.

Launching three new-build yachts capable of holding up to 298 passengers in 149 cabins, Ritz-Carlton will take to the seas towards the end of 2019.

Reservations will open in May next year, with itineraries of seven to 10 days. The line to be called ‘The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection’.

The hotel group has recruited Sweden’s Tilberg Design to work on the style of the yachts, who’s previous designs include the likes of Azamara Quest, Azamara Journey, and Queen Mary 2.

“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,” said Herve Humler, President and Chief Operating Officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.

“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 personalised service.”

Each of the three 190-metre long vessels will feature four different categories and sizes of cabins, as well as two duplex penthouse suites.

These include Signature suites, Veranda suites, Superior suites and smaller Veranda suites.

Two of the vessels will focus on sailing the regions of e Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean and New England, and possibly venture to the Great Lakes, according to Humler.

The third vessel will be based in Asia.

The travel publication also reports the yachts will feature a restaurant by Sven Elverfeld of Aqua, the three Michelin-starred restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg; a Ritz-Carlton Spa; and a Panorama Lounge and wine bar, as well as a variety of onboard entertainment.

Each yacht will also have a rear marina deck, with plans to combine pre and post-trip stays at Ritz-Carlton properties, because hey, you’ve already spent this much!

Their small size will allow the yachts to visit ports that larger ships cannot.

It comes off some research by the hotel company, which showed that more than 400,000 of their guests went on a cruise.

The Ritz-Carlton doesn’t actually have equity in the venture, with Oaktree Capital Management, LP, acting as the financial partner. There will be a separate team overseeing the cruise line based out of Miami, and senior executives are being brought in from the cruise industry.

Commission policies are still under development.

According to Edie Rodriguez, chairman and CEO of Crystal, which in 2015 launched the Esprit to dived into the yacht cruising market, said the launch was a good thing for competition.

Per TMR, Rodriguez said, “Competition isn’t good; competition is great. It will be good for the market, and we wish them the best.”

Source: Travel Weekly

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