Seatrade Cruise Global: Ritz-Carlton aims to revolutionise cruising

New yachts to offer all-balcony suites, indoor/outdoor spaces and itineraries to small ports
Seatrade Cruise Global: Ritz-Carlton aims to revolutionise cruising

By Rebecca Gibson |

The Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection’s first-ever luxury cruise yachts will feature all-balcony suites, multiple indoor/outdoor spaces, five dining venues, spas and much more when they set sail from 2020 onwards.

Speaking during a press conference at Seatrade, Ritz-Carlton’s managing director Douglas Prothero said the 190-metre-long vessels have been designed to deliver a yacht-style cruise experience and accommodate up to 298 passengers in 149 suites. The first is currently under construction at Astillero Hijos de J. Barreras shipyard in Galicia, Spain and is expected to be delivered in early 2019 and become operational that November.

All three ships will offer all-inclusive drinks, onboard gratuities and wi-fi access. Accommodation has been carefully designed to offer maximum flexibility, so Ritz-Carlton can combine suites differently to suit smaller or larger groups. This means that the vessel can offer between 149 and 170 cabins. All suites will have balconies – even those at water level, which will be built as duplex-style loft suites with a bedroom with a window on the ground floor, and a seating area with an outdoor balcony upstairs. The two Owners Suites will offer whirlpools on their balconies.

Each yacht will offer around-the-clock in-suite dining and boast five dining venues, including an Asian fusion restaurant, a poolside grill, casual dining and a main restaurant that has been designed with lots of intimate spaces so it ‘feels like 10 small restaurants’. There will also be an àla carte restaurant called Aqua, which will be developed by Sven Elverfeld, chef of the three-Michelin-starred Acqua in Wolfsburg, Germany.

Other onboard highlights will include a lounge and wine bar with various entertainment options, a library and café named the Living Room, a medical wellness centre, an indoor/outdoor fitness centre, and a signature Ritz Carlton spa with indoor/outdoor treatment rooms.

There will also be an indoor-outdoor solarium, a top-deck outdoor space that will transform into a nightclub-style venue at night, several pools, whirlpools and an infinity-style pool that will be located to the aft of the yacht. In addition, the vessels will have a marina-style platform that can be used for open-air events and parties, and to give passengers direct access to the water and watersports equipment.

In an effort to recreate the luxury yachting experience, Ritz-Carlton has created seven-day itineraries that include calls at four ports, and 10-day voyages that will take guests to six or seven ports. Due to their small size, the yachts will be able to make day and overnight calls at locations that are not typically accessible to large cruise ships, such as Capri and Portofino in Italy, and St. Barths in the Caribbean.

Routes have been carefully crafted so Ritz-Carlton can offer guests the opportunity to book cruises back-to-back and create 15-day voyages that do not repeat ports. Guests may even be able to extend their current cruise with another while onboard their yacht.

Following her November 2019 debut, the first yacht will sail cruises to small islands in the Southern Caribbean, such as Mustique or Tobago Cays. The ship will the homeport in the Mediterranean between April and June 2020, before moving to Northern Europe from July to September. She will then reposition to move to Canada and New England for September and October 2020, before returning to the Caribbean for November and December. Currently, plans for the second yacht is likely to spend summers on the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes in Canada, while the third will probably be deployed in the Pacific.

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