Last week, Travel Agent and Luxury Travel Advisor reported that the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company LLC and maritime experts Douglas Prothero and Lars Clasen, in collaboration with funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, LP, will launch a new cruise brand, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, in 2019.
Today, the industry learned that Spain's Astillero Hijos de J. Barreras shipyard (Barreras) has been selected to build the new brand's first 298-passenger luxury vessel. There is an option for a second and third vessel, which the new brand expects to launch in early 2021 and early 2022, respectively.
Interesting? Barreras, which is experienced at building passenger ferries and container ships, has never built a cruise ship. But clearly, the new brand has confidence the yard can handle the construction. Other shipyards that specialize in cruise ship construction are also heavily booked with orders at present.
Travel Agent has requested more information on the shipyard order and will post it here when we receive it.
When the first ship launches, agents can expect seven- to 10-day voyages and mostly point-to-point itineraries that combine the lifestyle of The Ritz-Carlton’s luxury resorts and the casual freedom of a yachting vacation.
While specific itineraries weren’t public at press time, the new 623-foot-long vessels will be able to call at ports that larger ships can’t. The first ship, depending on the season, is expected to cruise the Mediterranean, northern Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. The second ship is expected to sail the same regions with the third -- most likely -- being positioned in Asia.
Reservations are expected to open in May 2018. Pre- and post-cruise stay options will be available at The Ritz-Carlton’s properties across the globe.
In addition to individual guest bookings, the brand expects to accept many full-ship charters. Reservations for meeting planners and corporate/charter operators are expected to open a bit earlier than general reservations.