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
"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
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.