Whilst we understand how disappointing this must have been if your booking was affected, this is by no means the first time a cruise ship - or indeed a luxury hotel - has been delivered later than originally anticipated. Whilst major yards such as Fincantieri are able to churn out vessels consistently to a reliable timetable, using many pre-fabricated modules in the process, an original new build from a yard without experience of building cruise ships often encounters challenges.
A cruise ship build is complex and costly, and the construction is highly reliant upon a network of specialised suppliers. There is huge demand for yard space, so many shipbuilders with experience of building merchant or naval ships see an opportunity to enter the market, and then find it is not quite as straightforward as it initially appeared. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries had its corporate fingers badly burnt during the process of building ships for AIDA, the Uljanik yard in Croatia floundered through severe financial difficulties before finally delivering the much delayed Scenic Eclipse, and the agreement between SeaDream Yacht Club and Damen shipyard foundered before it had even got underway.
Undeterred, Ritz-Carlton continue to release itineraries and the programme is now on sale through to April 2023. Furthermore, a drip-feed release of information about the ship indicates that the revised launch date of July 2021 will certainly be worth waiting for.
An extensive range of dining options includes something very special indeed, a specialty dining experience designed by Chef Sven Elverfeld of Aqua, the three Michelin-starred restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton in Wolfsburg. This sophisticated venue, S.E.A., will offer an exclusive tasting menu, and it's no surprise that there will be a surcharge to dine here (although it's worth mentioning that not all luxury competitors make a charge - another three Michelin-starred chef, Thomas Keller, has a restaurant on the Seabourn ships with nothing more to pay).
The spacious suites, 149 in all, range from the exclusive Owners Suite with 1,690 square feet of private space including an extensive terrace, to the novel two-level Loft Suites, to the entry-level accommodation with a generous 379 square feet. All will feature their own spacious terrace and guests will be looked after in the Ritz-Carlton signature manner, with 24-hour room service and a concierge to look after all arrangements.
Wellness is key, as you would expect with any Ritz-Carlton property, and a spacious Ritz-Carlton Spa offers rejuvenating treatments in ocean view rooms, as well as adjacent full-service Beauty Lounge, Gentleman's Grooming Salon, sauna, steam room and quiet zones.
The ship has extensive outdoor space and will be a perfect place to relax and watch the beautiful people anchored in a bay in the Caribbean or Mediterranean. It remains to be seen how the ship will operate in cooler climates, but of course everyone has so much personal space, and such excellent service and dining options, that they can expect their yacht experience to match the shoreside equivalent in every way.
When we first introduced The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection way back in May 2018, we mentioned that this is not the first time that a hotel company has kicked at the door of the cruise industry. But this time the strategy has clearly paid off, with a high take-up in the inaugural season from loyal Ritz-Carlton aficionados. This worldwide extension of the Ritz-Carlton brand enables the company to extend the flag to places where there will never be a Ritz-Carlton hotel, and open up a yacht product to their hotel guests who might not normally consider a cruise.
Itineraries include the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Canada and New England, with a focus on overnights in port. Journeys are a relatively short 7-10 days, so the experience is similar to staying at a Ritz-Carlton land-based property, with plenty of opportunity to explore the local area, as well as to relax in the extremely comfortable surroundings.
Key personnel from the land-based collection have leapt at the opportunity to create this totally new product, so if you love Ritz-Carlton, Evrima should deliver everything you know and love about the company and more.