I’ve always thought of cruises as occupying the higher end of the leisure travel space. At least one company apparently feels there’s an opportunity to push cruising even further into the realm of the luxurious (and the pricey).
This week, Ritz-Carlton, the purveyor of luxe resort hotels, announced The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, a “unique combination of yachting and cruising (that) 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 personalized service.”
Notice the use of the word “yacht,” to emphasize the new service’s smaller scale and exclusivity. In place of the jumbo floating hotels operated by other cruise lines, the three specially designed Ritz craft will be a relatively modest 623 feet long, fitted with just 149 suites, each with a private balcony, and two duplex penthouse suites.
Because of the ships’ smaller size, itineraries can feature smaller ports inaccessible to traditional cruise vessels, like Capri, Portofino, St. Barths, and Cartagena. Trips will be between seven and 10 days, and cover the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Caribbean, and Latin America, depending on the season.
Naturally, given the Ritz link, everything will be high end. According to the press release:
Throughout the journey, guests will indulge in a cruising style that is unparalleled in the ultra-luxury cruise and private yachting sectors. The Ritz-Carlton yachts will feature a restaurant by Sven Elverfeld of Aqua, the three Michelin-starred restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg; a signature Ritz-Carlton Spa; and a Panorama Lounge and wine bar, offering a wide variety of on-board entertainment. Additionally, the yacht will offer one-of-a-kind curated destination journeys through collaborations with local chefs, musicians and artists, allowing guests to experience the locations in unique and experiential ways, both onboard and ashore.
Yes, like a floating Ritz-Carlton.
The first of the three Ritz ships, designed by Tillberg Design of Sweden, is scheduled to begin cruising in the fourth quarter of 2019. The company will begin accepting reservations in May 2018.
That leaves plenty of time to save up for what will undoubtedly be a very pricey cruise experience.
Reader Reality Check
We can dream, right?
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.