The luxury resort company will debut a fleet of yachts.
Fans of Ritz-Carlton hotels and resorts will now be able to experience the same luxury on the high seas. The company announced on Thursday the debut of the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, a fleet of three 298-passenger ships that will sail to the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean, among other destinations.
The first yacht will debut in late 2019, followed by a second in 2021, and a third in 2022. Reservations will open in May 2018.
“This is about translating the brand to a floating resort at sea,” Doug Prothero, managing director of the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, told Travel + Leisure. “The level of service that people expect at a Ritz-Carlton resort, they are going to get at sea.”
The yachts, which will be painted a sleek deep blue, are poised to fill an interesting gap in the luxury cruise market. While many brands, including Silversea, Seabourn, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, have been focused on building larger vessels, Ritz-Carlton is going small: The yachts will have just 149 staterooms and a maximum capacity of 298 passengers.
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There will be 236 staff members to cater to these 298 guests — one of the highest staff to guest ratios in the business — as well as a team of on-board concierges who, as Prothero noted, will be allowed to read the mood to develop excursions and activities while at sea.
“Our main mission is to be able to interpret the destination on the go,” he said.
Other on-board amenities will include a spa and multiple dining venues, ranging from an Asian-fusion restaurant to a grill higher up on the ship. Staterooms will all have private balconies, and the veranda suites, which are the entry-level category, will begin at around 312 square-feet. Many will be able to connect, allowing for families and groups to take advantage of the larger space. And in an interesting design twist, there will be 12 Veranda Duplex suites. The bottom level will house the bedroom and have a panoramic window; stairs will lead to an upper-level living room complete with its own bathroom, which is perfect for entertaining.
Sailings will be seven-to-ten days long, but Prothero was quick to point out that the voyages would not be “seven ports in seven days. Rather, it’s more like if you were on a yacht with friends.” The ships will leave late at night or even the following morning, allowing guests more time in the destination.
“Think about it as if you were on your own yacht — you wouldn’t be rushing back,” he said. Each vessel will also have a sweeping, open marina with a fleet of toys to allow guests to get out on the water.
Marriott points loyalists, take note: There will be a cruise specific rewards program, though the details have yet to be ironed out. Families can also feel comfortable on the ship, though it is not being designed specifically for that market. “We expect to see families during peak times around the holidays and when the ships are chartered,” said Prothero.
Two things the ships won’t have: a show lounge and a formal dining room. There will be entertainers on board, including local talent from the destinations, but they will be focused on more discreet performances in smaller venues.
“This is a curated yacht experience that’s going to be targeted to one percent of global travelers,” said Prothero. “We’ve designed and focused the product on an intimate experience.”