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More than a decade ago, The Ritz-Carlton first announced its intention of entering the cruise industry. Finally, the luxury hotel brand has announced firm plans for three 298-passenger yachts under The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. The first vessel will launch in 2019, which will make the company the only provider of luxury accommodations both on land and at sea.
Created by The Ritz-Carlton and maritime experts Douglas Prothero and Lars Clasen, in collaboration with funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, The Ritz-Carlton will provide luxury hospitality service under a long-term operating agreement.
“We are delighted to collaborate with The Ritz-Carlton as our hospitality operator in offering the most exclusive yachting experience to be found at sea in a venture that will give new meaning to curated luxury travel,” said Clasen, who has been named managing director of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection.
The ships will each have nine room categories and a total of 149 suites, each with a balcony. More than half of the accommodations will be Veranda Suites, which will vary in size across decks and start at 312 square feet (including a balcony). Two duplex penthouse suites will be 1,485 square feet each. Interior finishes will be jointly designed by The Ritz-Carlton and cruise ship design firm Tillberg Design of Sweden, who has also collaborated with several other lines, including Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Cunard Line, Viking Ocean Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line.
The Ritz-Carlton’s cruise product will offer luxury amenities, such as The Ritz-Carlton Spa; dining that includes a restaurant from Sven Elverfeld of Aqua, the three Michelin-starred restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg in Germany; and a wine bar in the Panorama Lounge.
The company, which plans to offer cruises ranging from seven to 10 days, promises destination-based events with local chefs, artists and musicians. Sailings will launch in late 2019, and reservations for those sailings will open next May. The line will make both daytime and overnight calls in ports that include some smaller, less-frequented choices, such as Capri and Portofino in Italy; St. Bart’s; and Cartagena, Colombia. The first ship will cruise destinations including the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. It will also be available for charter.
“The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will have a distinctive personality, and the vessels are sure to be true standouts in some of the most glamorous ports around the world,” said Herve Humler, president and chief operating officer for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.