By Anne Kalosh.
Reservations have opened for The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, a new brand that puts the first of three planned all-suite ships into service in early 2020.
Sales recently opened to the general public following several weeks of priority access reservations for Ritz-Carlton and Marriott Rewards loyalty members.
“Sales have been very robust,” Yacht Collection CEO Doug Prothero said. “This is a brand that has a very loyal following and that loyal following loves the Yacht Collection. They don’t just make a booking, they write you a love letter.”
The 298-passenger vessels were designed as sleek super-yachts, with an aft marina for water sports and an ambiance of casual luxury. These 26,500-gross-ton ships stretch 624 feet/190 meters. The crew will number 246, which means practically one crew member for each guest.
The six categories of accommodations start with The Terrace at 312 square feet/29 square meters, with a terrace of 67 square feet/6 square meters. The top address, the Owner’s Suite, measures 1,098 square feet/102 square meters with a terrace of 592 square feet/55 square meters. There are two of those, plus The View Suites, two-story Loft Suites, Grand Suites and Signature Suites.
Besides the main dining venue, an Asian fusion restaurant and an outdoor grill, the first yacht will have a specialty restaurant, Aqua, by chef Sven Elverfeld, whose Aqua in The Ritz-Carlton Wolfsburg (Germany) was awarded three Michelin stars. A signature Ritz-Carlton Spa, indoor and outdoor lounges, and a Champagne Bar are other amenities.
Additionally, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will offer curated experiences by collaborating with local chefs, musicians and artists, allowing travelers to delve into the destinations.
Itineraries mingle great cities with intimate yacht harbors, and feature late-night stays and overnights in chic spots like St. Barts, Bequia, Portofino, Capri, Ibiza and Mykonos. Most voyages range from seven to 10 nights, and practically no itineraries repeat, so cruisers can book back-to-back sailings and visit different ports. Some cruises are timed to events like the Monaco Grand Prix and Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
Shore excursion tracks have been thematically crafted so travelers can easily pick a category that fits their interests and activity levels. The choices are Iconic Sights, Stirring the Senses, Cultural Connections, Active Explorations and Epicurean Experiences.
Iconic Sights offer the opportunity to discover the cultural, historical and architectural marvels of a destination, perhaps by browsing a museum in Montenegro on an exclusive tour with its curator. Stirring the Senses is for those wishing to focus on wellness and wellbeing and may include sunrise and sunset yoga in the Grenadines or an encounter with a spiritual shaman.
For travelers who wish to give back, Cultural Connections offer the opportunity to spend a day helping protect wildlife or the natural environment, among other philanthropic activities. Meanwhile, Active Explorations cater to travelers looking for outdoor adventure such as swimming with turtles in Tobago Cays or a private sea kayak tour off the coast of Reykjavik, Iceland.
And Epicurean Experiences could entail visiting a renowned winery in Bordeaux with The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection sommelier or learning about oyster cultivation in Sete, France.
Meanwhile, a Concierge Ashore will be available to help craft bespoke experiences. These may include insider access to a popular attraction or exploring a local community with a private guide.
The 10-night inaugural cruise on Feb. 5, 2020, sails from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Bridgetown, Barbados, and is priced starting at $7,900. Ports are Samaná and Santo Dominigo, Dominican Republic; San Juan and Vieques Island, Puerto Rico (both midnight departures); Charlestown, Nevis; Terre-de-Haut, Guadeloupe; and Fort-de-France, Martinique.
The Feb. 15 cruise, from Bridgetown to Cartagena, Colombia, stretches seven nights and calls at Bequia (overnight) and Mayreau, St. Vincent and Grenadines; Willemstand, Curaçao (until midnight), and Cartagena (overnight). Fares start at $4,600.
Further Caribbean cruises sail from Cartagena, Bridgetown; Philipsburg, St. Maarten, and Castries, St. Lucia.
On March 28, 2020, the yacht will set off for the Mediterranean with a 12-night crossing from Bridgetown to Lisbon. Cruises in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the Baltic follow.
For example, the April 9 Lisbon to Palma de Mallorca cruise, eight nights, visits Gibraltar, Málaga and Valencia (all with port stays until midnight) and Ibiza (overnight and a midnight departure the second night). Fares start at $6,300.
Subsequent sailings are from Palma to Valletta, Malta; Valetta to Piraeus, Piraeus to Venice, Venice to Cvitavecchia (Rome), round-trip Civitavecchia, Civitavecchia to Monte Carlo, Monte Carlo to Barcelona, Barcelona to Palma, Palma to Lisbon, Lisbon to Bordeaux, Bordeaux to London (Greenwich), Greenwich to Hamburg, Hamburg to Copenhagen, Copenhagen to Stockholm, Stockholm to Copenhagen, Copenhagen to Edinburgh, Edinburgh to Reykjavik and round-trip Reykjavik. The Northern Europe cruises calling at St. Petersburg provide three full days there.
The yacht will return to North America in September 2020, with a 14-night voyage from Reykjavik to Halifax, Nova Scotia, via Greenland, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island. Canada/New England voyages follow. Twelve-night Boston-Montréal sailings, for example, are priced from $10,100.
In late October 2020, the yacht will sail from Boston to Nassau, Bahamas, via the US Eastern Seaboard, for the start of its second Caribbean season.
An e-brochure can be downloaded at www.ritzcarltonyachtcollection.com.
Don’t miss a post, subscribe to QuirkyCruise.com HERE for monthly updates!
© This article is protected by copyright, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission from the author. All Rights Reserved. QuirkyCruise.com.