Ritz-Carlton to become first hotel chain to enter the cruise market

If ever you needed evidence that the cruise market is expanding to suit a more eclectic range of tastes and desires, Ritz-Carlton’s decision to enter the industry may do just that. The news announced today by the company, which is part of Marriott International, confirmed that the hotelier is seeking to enter the cruise market with the launch of three brand new luxury yachts.

Marriott International has managed to secure financial backing from Oaktree Capital Management to launch what will be known as ‘The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection’. The first of these – accommodating 292-passengers in 149-suites – will launch in the winter season of 2019. Each suite will come complete with a balcony, with the interior design being in the hands of Swedish design specialist Tillberg Design. The second and third yachts are expected to set sail in 2021 and 2022 respectively, with no details being given as to where the vessels are being built.

Public areas on board the yachts will include a signature Ritz-Carlton Spa, a panoramic lounge, a wine bar and a restaurant inspired by Sven Elverfeld’s Aqua restaurant in Wolfsburg – one of the world’s only three Michelin-starred restaurants. Itineraries for the first of these three yachts will go on sale from May 2018, with intentions of combining Ritz-Carlton’s luxury resorts with cruises ranging in length from seven to ten days.

The first ship will operate itineraries all around the world, with routes being developed for the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. Each itinerary will feature a mixture of daytime port calls and overnight stays in selected ports.

In a statement, Herve Humler, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company said: “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.”

Managing Director of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, Douglas Prothero, said: “The Ritz-Carlton is known for its legendary service and high standards. 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.”

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