Ritz-Carlton has been celebrated and revered since it began in 1983, giving the well-heeled an exceptional place to rest their heads. Synonymous with luxury and class, it was only a matter of time before the Ritz Carlton made its foray into the luxury yacht cruise space.
Enter the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. When it was announced in 2017, the idea of a new luxury yacht collection from such a famous and respected brand perked up the ears of cruisers and general travelers alike. Naturally, over at Cruise Critic, the idea of a Ritz-Carlton Yacht cruise piqued our interest, too.
However, nearly half a decade after being announced, the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection isn't yet a fully realized collection so much as something the cruise world is still anticipating. Finally, after build delays due to supply chain issues and COVID-19 challenges, the brand's first luxury yacht, the 298-passenger Evrima, is scheduled to start sailing in August.
In honor of the final countdown, we're sharing seven things about the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection that we can't stop thinking about.
1. Bonvoy members can redeem points for sailings aboard a Ritz-Carlton Yacht
First and foremost, we can't get over the fact that, because Ritz-Carlton is in the Marriott portfolio, Marriott Bonvoy members can book a high-end luxury cruise with their hotel points. We know there are cruise loyalty programs out there (and we love them), but the seamless connection between Marriott Bonvoy and Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection opens a whole new sea of possibilities.
Bonvoy Members have the option of paying for their entire cruise with points or using points plus cash to pay for part of their Ritz-Carlton Yacht cruise fare.
2. Yacht guests can earn Marriott Bonvoy Elite Night status credits by sailing
Another Bonvoy-related luxury bonus is that Bonvoy members will earn Elite Night credits for every night they spend on board a Ritz-Carlton Yacht. Elite Nights count toward program status, so the more you can earn, the higher your status.
Speaking of status, yet another perk for Bonvoy members is that their program status is valid while aboard the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. This means Bonvoy members will receive onboard extras depending on whether they are Silver, Gold or Platinum members.
3. Ritz-Carlton yachts will visit both big and small ports
Big for a yacht but small for a ship, Ritz-Carlton Yachts will allow cruisers to call at small and big-city ports alike. For example, summer Mediterranean itineraries on the line's 624-foot-long Evrima yacht will combine large ports like Copenhagen and Barcelona with off-the-beaten path ports such as St. Malo in Brittany, France. During Caribbean sailings, Evrima will include homeports and stops in major port players like San Juan and Barbados, but also include stops in smaller ports such as Mayreau, the smallest inhabited island in the Grenadines.
Having the opportunity to experience both types of ports on a single cruise is more than just a luxury, it's a privilege -- and Ritz-Carlton is delivering it on a silver platter on its yachts.
4. Truly personalized experience that rivals what the brand offers on land
Ritz-Carlton hotels and resorts are known for their stellar service, upscale casual vibe, excellent food and beverage options, and personalized service. Clearly this is a brand that knows when to keep a good thing going -- and what its customers expect from its brand -- because word on the seas is that the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will provide the same exemplary service on board its ships.
For starters, every cabin on board will be assigned a Personal Assistant, someone dedicated to making sure every whim and need is taken care of, from booking spa or dinner reservations to working with the Concierge Ashore to curate a private shore excursion in port. (Similar to what other cruise lines call "butlers.")
On top of that, Ritz-Carlton Yachts will boast a nearly 1:1 crew-to-guest ratio, ensuring there's never a wait and everything is personal.
5. The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection is a family-friendly affair
Now's the time for a friendly reminder that the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will echo the family-friendly approach the brand's hotels pride themselves on back on land. Before you let the idea of screaming kids break the blissed-out travel fantasy you've been building in your head, consider that the Ritz has nearly 40 years of experience creating luxury spaces for families.
However, there is a minimum age requirement. Children will have to be at least 6 months old to join a Ritz-Carlton yacht sailing. Keeping with the mission of creating an environment that fosters curiosity through learning and activities, the onboard Ritz-Kids kids club will have programming designed by Jean-Michael Cousteau's Ocean Future Society (yes, that family of Cousteaus). Activities and educational games are built around marine life and preservation.
6. Rooms on board the all-suite yachts feel more hotel than cruise ship
Ships in the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection are designed with all-suite offerings that mirror what you'd expect to find in a hotel, not necessarily on a cruise ship. On Evrima, all 149 suites sport balconies, which the line refers to as "terraces". Fair enough, because these personal outdoor spaces measure between 67 square feet to 592 square feet. (The average balcony is around 100 square feet).
Ritz-Carlton Yacht rooms themselves are also spacious and feature hotel-like layout and design. Rooms range in size from 300 square feet for a Terrace Suite to 1,098 square feet for an Owner's Suite. The modern and sophisticated interiors feature a powder-gray color palette with bold color accents, keeping onboard suites feeling airy, light and contemporary.
In-room amenities are similar to what you'd find in a Ritz resort -- luxe custom bedding, double vanities, floor-to-ceiling picture windows, mounted flat-screen TVs, 24-hour in-room dining and even espresso machines. Some bathrooms feature separate soaking tubs, usually perfectly placed, facing out toward the water.
7. Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection prices actually seem reasonable
For a yacht collection with the cachet of the Ritz name behind it, fares are surprisingly reasonable. The price to sail on a Ritz Carlton Yacht starts around $6,800 at per person for a weeklong sailing, which is on par with other luxury cruises.
Similarly, the list of inclusions on a Ritz-Carlton Yacht are vast and include onboard Wi-Fi, alcoholic beverages both on the ship and in-room, multiple high-quality dining venues and 24-hour in-suite dining and crew gratuities.
(However, for the most bang-for-your-buck, we recommend not paying for your cruise in full with Bonvoy points due to the shockingly low redemption value.)