The first ship of the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, the Malta-registered Ritz-Carlton Evrima, is about to welcome its first guests. After a three-year delay caused in part by the supply chain crisis, the superyacht hotel is finally about to set off on an inaugural seven-night cruise from Barcelona to Nice, starting on 15th October.
The floating luxury hotel can carry up to 298 passengers and 246 crew members. The high ratio of crew to guests allows the cruise to maintain the personalised experience the Ritz-Carlton is famous for, with every suite having access to a personal concierge as well as a separate concierge to organise trips ashore.
Douglas Prothero, founder and chief executive officer of the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, told Bloomberg that the brand-name appeal helped in recruiting, a fact he puts down to the perceived potential to eventually transfer to a position with the same hotel group on land. He also noted that every position available was over-subscribed.
Mr Prothero was central to the Ritz-Carlton’s foray into the maritime business, with the Yacht Collection being a joint venture between the renowned hotel and his Yacht Portfolio, a maritime investment group.
The company has two additional 456-passenger yachts on order from France’s Chantiers de l-Atlantique, slated for delivery in 2024 and 2025.
According to Cruise Mapper, the Evrima cost €290 million to build.
The Evrima is one of the most highly anticipated luxury vessels ever, and Ritz-Carlton regulars have jumped at the chance to see what the superyacht has to offer.
According to Chris Gabaldon, senior vice president of luxury brands for Marriott International, Ritz-Carlton’s parent company, most reservations are from people who have never been on a cruise before, an indication of the brand’s appeal and of the underserved nature of its target market.
“We are moving into a space we believe many of the affluent consumers have wanted to go but have not had the brand to support them,” he said.
The 190-metre vessel was designed by maritime design firm Tillberg, from Sweden, in collaboration with the Ritz-Carlton team, and built in Vigo, Spain, by Astilleros Barreras Shipyard.
Mr Prothera is at pains to point out that the venture is not about providing a cruise experience, but about “taking Ritz-Carlton casual modern luxury to sea”.
Suites have ceiling higher than the norm for cruise ships, and feature private outdoor terraces overlooking the sea.
The Evrima has several features that would typically be found resorts, from a supervised programme for children to a spa, and has more space per passenger than any other luxury cruise ship, according to Mr Prothero.
“You can be as quiet as you want or get together in a crowd, and there are a number of ways to do that,” he says. At one secluded table for 10, you can host your own dinner party.
Other attractions include an infinity pool and dedicated marina for all kinds of water sports, with paddleboards, kayaks, sailboats, windsurf boards and snorkeling equipment available for guests.
The main restaurant’s menu is crcafted by Chef Sven Elverfeld of the three-Michelin-starred Aqua at the Ritz-Carlton in Wolfsburg, Germany, while Southeast Asian dishes and sushi are also available – and room service is available around the clock.
The uppermost of the Evrima’s 10 decks hosts an indoor and outdoor observation terrace serving as a social hub, serving cocktails and live entertainment every evening.
The itineraries on offer in the first years follow the yachting crowd around Mediterranean and Caribbean hotspots like Ibiza, St Tropez, Bequia, St Barts, Aruba and Tenerife.
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