Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection’s first new mega-yacht has taken a step closer to completion with the traditional launch of the hull into the waters of the Spanish shipyard where it is being built.
The 298-passenger vessel, debuting in February 2020, will now be fitted out with bespoke luxury furnishings based on the style of Ritz-Carlton’s hotels, but with a nautical flavour added that designers say is more in keeping with a private club.
“This is a yachting lifestyle product,” said chief executive Doug Prothero at the launch ceremony.
“We wanted to build something true to the Ritz-Carlton brand, and we have a game-changing design.”
Ship interiors specialist Tillberg is responsible for the ship’s entire look and feel, concentrating on flowing spaces with Scandinavian-style décor and furnishings in neutral shades.
This all-suite, all-balcony vessel, being built at the Barreras shipyard in Vigo, is also claimed to offer more space per passenger than other ships and comes with a crew-to-guest ratio of 1 to 1.21.
Facilities include five dining venues, a watersports marina, and a Ritz-Carlton-operated spa and gym, but in a break from the cruise norm, there will be no show lounge or casino.
“Our guests are not interested in big shows, they want local, customised service. We will have performances and small groups, perhaps bring local culinary celebrities or authors onboard,” explained Prothero.
The new yacht, whose name is due to be announced at the International Luxury Travel Market in Cannes this December, is the first of up to eight such ships Ritz-Carlton is planning, with the next two vessels due in 2021.
Since bookings opened in May, Prothero said business has been “three times more than expected”, with first-time cruisers accounting for at least 50% of the business and more than a third of bookings coming from Ritz-Carlton customers.
North American guests are the biggest market so far, followed by British passengers.
The ship’s maiden season starts in the Caribbean before moving into the Mediterranean in April 2020 and Northern Europe from July. Most voyages range from 7-10 nights with Mediterranean sailings leading in at about £4,500pp.