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A beautiful, dark yacht rests in still waters.

From Keel Laying to Setting Sail: The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection

Article by Kat Johnson 03.08.2018

For the traveler who wants to truly escape the beaten path, a new fleet of yachts from The Ritz-Carlton will offer journeys to unique ports of call aboard vessels made for the most discerning guest.  

There has always been something special about traveling by sea. For the restless among us — those whose desire to travel is driven by insatiable curiosity and a sense of adventure — nothing satisfies wanderlust quite like heading out on the open ocean.

With this thrill of discovery as its north star, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection reimagines the cruise experience for today’s most discriminating traveler. The first eagerly awaited yacht, which will set sail in 2020, is being carefully crafted with the utmost attention to detail. The intimate scale allows access to some of the world’s most coveted ports of call while offering guests an unprecedented combination of elegantly modern accommodations, bespoke itineraries and the legendary service of
The Ritz-Carlton.

Age-Old Traditions, Reimagined for a New Era

The latest milestone for The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection reflects one of the maritime tradition’s fondest rites of passage. In January, executives from The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection and Marriott International gathered with representatives from the Hijos De J. Barreras shipyard and design firm, Tillberg Design of Sweden in Vigo, Spain, for the keel laying ceremony, the kickoff to construction that marks the beginning of a ship’s life. Historically, this was the initial placement of the central beam, the keel, that served as the vessel’s backbone, but in modern times it is when the first module is lowered into place. The occasion was the most visible moment yet for The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, drawing a crowd of curious onlookers and international media for a peek at this defining moment in the luxury cruise market.

That’s been the general response to The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, remarked Fredrik Johansson, owner and executive project director of Tillberg Design, which spent five and a half years developing and perfecting the designs for the exclusive new fleet. “We get a lot of questions, a lot of reactions,” Johansson said. “This is a new breed. It’s something completely new that nobody has seen before.”

The keel laying also included a coin ceremony, another longstanding tradition of shipbuilding, in which coins are welded to the hull for good fortune — in this case, nine coins to honor the families of the core team who had worked tirelessly to develop this first yacht. The festivities concluded with a champagne toast.

The celebration marked yet another milestone for The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection as it charts its way from design and development to maiden voyage. But while the keel laying honors an age-old tradition from ship-building history, the Yacht Collection is set to completely break the mold in other regards — an approach that goes against the current, so to speak, of the typical cruise experience.

A Seafaring Adventure Awaits

The three yachts in the collection were custom-designed to accommodate just 298 guests for a highly personalized, deeply experiential journey. The intimate vessels feature 149 suites, each with its own terrace, two luxurious penthouse suites, and thoughtful, modern design inside and out. The smaller scale allows the yachts to call at rare locations not accessible to larger ships, with a relaxed pace (most voyages range from 7 to 10 nights) that includes both overnight and leisurely daytime itineraries. From the convenient perch of coveted docks around the world, guests can explore charming harbors, exclusive beaches, outdoor adventures and inspired destination-based itineraries — highlighting local cuisine, culture and entertainment — crafted from the localized perspective of the experts at The Ritz-Carlton.

Onboard, guests will discover the signature service and intuitive comforts of The Ritz-Carlton on land, thoughtfully reinvented for the sea. Renowned Chef Sven Elverfeld — of the three-Michelin-starred restaurant Aqua at The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg in Germany — will oversee the first-class a la carte restaurant onboard. And a lavish spa experience will pamper guests with the skilled aestheticians, advanced treatments and dynamic natural ingredients they expect in The Ritz-Carlton hotels — but with an unforgettable backdrop of salty breezes and lulling, lapping waves.

Reservations for The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection open for pre-sale to rewards members in May of 2018, and open to the public in June of 2018. Until then, watch this space for more news and developments as they become available, or join the email community to be among the first to receive updates.


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