Ritz-Carlton's first yacht to start out in the Caribbean

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Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection reservations will open in May for Marriott Rewards members and in June for the general public.
Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection reservations will open in May for Marriott Rewards members and in June for the general public.

FORT LAUDERDALE -- The first ship sailing for the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will debut in November 2019 in the southeast Caribbean, or what managing director Douglas Prothero called the "old Caribbean, if you will."

He said the 298-passenger ship offers a hybrid of a yachting and cruising, so the itineraries will be similar to those one might do on a private yacht.

"We submit we can take you back to the [forgotten] Caribbean," Prothero said.

As an example, he gave an itinerary that starts in St. Lucia, continues to Bequia, Mustique and Tobago Cays in the Grenadines. Most voyages will be seven to ten days.

The vessel, which doesn't have a name yet, will stay in the Caribbean through March 2020, before heading to Croatia. It will sail in the Mediterranean from April to June and then head westward, eventually arriving in the Baltic from July to September. It will then cross the Atlantic to do Canada/New England itineraries in September and October of 2020.

Reservations will open in May for Marriott Rewards members and in June for the general public, Prothero said.

Prothero said the line's second yacht will expand itineraries to the U.S. Great Lakes in the summer, and that the third yacht is intended to sail in the Pacific.

Ritz-Carlton is still accepting charters for 2020 but will soon close out those efforts, and Prothero pledged not to charter any 2020 cruises after that. "Once we go on sale for FIT, that's it. We will never walk or bounce FIT guests for charters," he said.

Group bookings on an FIT voyage will be no larger than about 60 people, so that FIT guests don't feel overwhelmed, he said.

Prothero said a typical all-inclusive price for a seven-day cruise in the Med would be about $5,600 per person.

Although the ship has 149 suites, that number can be reduced to as few as 107 by opening wall dividers on the 90 Terrace Suites to combine accommodations.

There will be five restaurants on the ship, including a 140-seat main dining room, an Asian fusion restaurant, a pool bar and grill, a seafood grill, and the Aqua restaurant by Sven Elverfeld, the chef of the Michelin three-star Aqua restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton resort in Wolfsburg, Germany.

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