Ritz-Carlton Hotel Chain Takes to the Seas
It has been said that sailing aboard a chartered superyacht is akin to staying at the very best Five Star Resort in the world, and then some. That line is about to become blurred even further, as the world-famous Ritz-Carlton hotel chain has announced that it will soon launch a series of custom-built luxury yachts that will bring the “Ritz-Carlton experience” to the sea.
Named The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, the venture represents a rare foray into the cruise and yachting industries for a luxury hotel operator. According to the company, the first of three luxury cruising yachts in this series is scheduled to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2019. The hotel chain, which is part of Marriott International, will launch the venture with finance partner, Oaktree Capital.
According to SuperyachtNews, Herve Humler, president and chief operating officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, described the new project as a “unique combination of yachting and cruising”, adding that it will usher in a new way of luxury travel for guests seeking to discover the world in a relaxed, elegant and comfortable atmosphere with the highest level of personalized service.
For the superyacht industry, Ritz-Carlton’s move could signal a new opportunity to introduce Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWIs) to super upscale luxury travel on the water. The plan is for the boats to be as far removed from an ordinary “cruise line experience” as possible, and more like celebrity charter of a superyacht. Douglas Prothero, managing director of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection tells SuperyachtNews “Each yacht will feature 149 suites, all of which come with a private balcony, and we will also offer several innovative duplex suites. Like superyachts, our vessels will have a [beach-club] platform that will offer direct access to the water.”
Prothero adds that he expects complete buyouts or private charters to be a popular option, given that the size of the vessels makes them an ideal setup for groups and meetings. “In fact, the yachts have been designed with an innovative wall system in place so that room layouts can be modified to suit the purpose of each voyage. We also believe this will be an exciting new option for those who are between yachts or who have left private ownership, but still want to enjoy the yachting lifestyle.”
More About the New Superyachts From Ritz Carlton
While no specific destinations have been named yet, Prothero tells SuperyachtNews that the itineraries are being developed with an intent to combine the lifestyle of The Ritz-Carlton’s resorts and the casual freedom of a yacht charter vacation. The team is currently working with some seasoned cruise professionals to create the itineraries, ranging from seven to 10 days. While the exact routes are still being established, Prothero anticipates that the first yacht will cruise in a variety of destinations such as the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as within the New England area. The second ship will follow similar routes, but the plan is to offer summer voyages to the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes area. He anticipates the third vessel to focus on destinations in Asia Pacific.
The first vessel, expected to be launched in 2019, will be built at Barreras Shipyard in Vigo, Spain. She will be over 600 feet in length and able to accommodate up to 298 passengers. The vessel will also feature two duplex penthouse suites, with interior finishes jointly designed by The Ritz-Carlton and cruise ship design firm Tillberg Design of Sweden.
While no prices for accommodations aboard have yet to be set, Prothero admits that the target market for the Ritz-Carlton Superyacht experience, is the “upper 1-percent of global travelers.”
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