[dropcap size=big]F[/dropcap]ive-star hotel company Ritz-Carlton, which is part of Marriott International, is taking the innovative step of branching into yachting, with its own fleet of three luxury cruise ships in the fourth quarter of 2019.
A partnership between Ritz-Carlton and maritime experts Douglas Prothero and Lars Clasen, the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will sell “uniquely curated” voyages lasting between seven and ten days, calling at a mix of lesser- and better-known ports across the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America.Because of the modest size of the super yachts, they will be able to slip into harbours such as Capri, Portofino, St Barths and Cartagena in Colombia, where bigger cruise ships can’t. Guests will have time to stay overnight to enjoy meals out in the evening, as well as “one-of-a-kind” experience with local chefs, musicians and artists.The specially designed small capacity vessels will measure 190-metres, and accommodate up to 298 passengers in 149 suites, each with their own private balconies.The boats will also feature two 138 square-metre duplex penthouse suites, designed by Ritz-Carlton and leading cruise ship design company Tillberg Design of Sweden. The hotel company says “the onboard experience will reflect the sublime comfort and unparalleled level of individualised guest service for which the iconic brand is recognised”.The Ritz-Carlton yachts will each feature a restaurant by Sven Elverfeld of Aqua, the three Michelin-starred restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg, as well as a spa, and a panorama lounge and wine bar with a variety of onboard entertainment.Herve Humler, president and chief operating officer of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, says: “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. “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.”While we have seen Four Seasons, for instance, launch its own branded private jet, this is the first time a top-end hotel chain has ventured into the cruise industry with this level of ambition. (Four Seasons offers cruises around the Maldives on its catamaran the Explorer, while Aman sails people around Indonesia on the Amandira.)
Reservations for the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will open in May 2018, although prices have not yet been revealed. The yachts will also be available for private charter.