Here’s What You Need to Know About Ritz-Carlton’s New Cruise Line

by Daniel McCarthy
Here’s What You Need to Know About Ritz-Carlton’s New Cruise Line

The first ship from the Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection will make its debut at ILTM Cannes ahead of its February 2020 launch. Photo: Ritz-Carlton. 

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, a new three-ship cruise line from one of the leaders in luxury travel, is setting its sights high as it readies for its debut in 2020.  

The line, which was revealed in 2017, will make a big splash in the industry, adding three super yachts to the ultra-luxury market, all of which will be small enough to navigate ports and waterways that larger ships cannot reach. 

Ahead of the line’s debut, and two weeks after the Yacht Collection floated out its first ship in Hijos De J. Barreras shipyard in Vigo, Spain, the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection’s CEO Doug Prothero took time to talk to Travel Market Report about the history behind the brand, what it means for the industry, and how travel agents can benefit.   

Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection lower deck
The new ships will include a super-yacht marina. Photo: Ritz-Carlton.

The idea is not a new one 
According to Prothero, Marriott has been looking at getting in on the cruise industry for a long time, and the planning for the Yacht Collection’s actual debut stated about six years ago.  

“It’s a unique property type, it’s a new property type that travels with the sun, and it’s another way to give a unique opportunity to the loyal Ritz Carlton traveler,” Prothero told Travel Market Report. “When it came to putting this together, it’s quite a long process.”  

The Yacht Collection will debut as another entry into the ultra-luxury cruise space, but one that has something special to offer.  

Pre- and posts- at Ritz Carlton resorts could be coming  
Right now, none of the itineraries on offer directly ties into properties, but the brand is working on voyages in 2021 that will have both a land and a sea component.  

“Some of our cruises, we don’t specifically tie into properties, but almost half of our voyages are going to call on ports where we have Marriott properties,” Prothero said. “We might pick a resort where we do five days at the resort and five days on the yacht. We have all kinds of unique benefits for our guests when they’re cruising.” 

Yacht designs are uniquely Ritz 
What we managed to get in a ship this size is really, truly a game changer,” Prothero said.  

The ships, the first of which will launched at ILTM in Cannes, will come into service at 623-feet-long and 21,000 gross tons. They will be able to carry 298 passengers in 149 cabins (all with terraces) and four different suite categories, outside of its two duplex penthouse suites. But that’s not set in stone as suite sizes can be adjusted — each ship is designed with flexible air walls that will allow Ritz to increase the size of the smallest suites, the Terrace suites.  

There will be five dining venues, all of which can be divided into smaller spaces so that even the largest dining room feels like 10 smaller venues, along with a signature Ritz-Carlton Spa, a super yacht marina, and more — all designed to bring the Ritz Carlton experience to the sea.  

“There’s no question that this is a resort at sea. It is designed with a more residential [feel], a hybrid between the resort and super yacht. The renderings tell this story really well. This is meant to make people more at home, more relaxed,” Prothero said.

Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection First Ship
The first of the Yacht Collection's ships was floated out earlier this month. Photo: Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection.

Built with group business in mind  
Prothero said that the collection has already generated interest from a significant amount of group business after opening up bookings earlier this year, including a number of corporate retreats.  

“It’s a perfect target for charters, for buyouts. In addition to just the profile, it’s beautiful and it’s different,” Prothero said.  

Travel agents can earn a TC cabin when selling 10 cabins and a maximum of two TC cabins per cruise. Except for full takeovers, groups will be limited to about 60 persons, approximately 20 percent of total capacity. 

In the future, destination weddings onboard are not out-of-the-question, Prothero said.  

Targeting agent sales  
The Yacht Collection already has a dedicated travel agent portal opened. From there, it welcomes agents for regular webinars to showcase the brand’s opportunities. Older webinars are kept in the portal, so travel agents can watch them at any time.  

Aside from the group aspect, the best thing for agents, Prothero said, is that the brand’s launch creates an opportunity for agents to target the new-to-cruise guests.  

“Would-be buyers of the yacht collection are not people you’re selling cruises to today,” he said. “We can see that that’s a compelling thing. Even with the people not selling cruises, many of them are finding that there’s an interest.”  

Commissions will start at 10 percent and will range up to 16 percent with groups and full ship charters counting towards revenue goals. Pre- and post-cruise programs will be commissionable at 5 percent, while shore excursions will be non-commissionable. 

At up to $100,000 in gross revenue, agents can earn 10 percent, going to 11 percent until reaching $200,000. From $200,000 to $349,999, agents earn 12 percent. From $350,000 to $499,999, the pay is 13 percent, rising to 14 percent between $500,000 and $699,999. Over $700,000, commission pay jumps to 15 percent with a retroactive 1 percent override back to dollar one. 

A one-week Mediterranean cruise will be priced at approximately $5,600 per person, so achieving the highest level would mean selling about 60 cabins. 

Reservations are now open.   

Daily Top List

Most Scenic Train Rides in U.S.

1. Grand Canyon Railway

2. Amtrak: The Adirondack

3. Cass Scenic Railroad

4. Amtrak Cascades

5. Napa Valley Wine Trail

Source: CNT

Could not load file or assembly 'System.Net.Http.Primitives, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a' or one of its dependencies. The located assembly's manifest definition does not match the assembly reference. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80131040)

Why the Caribbean Remains the Preferred Region for Cruise Travel

It’s family-friendly, convenient and like no place else in the world — no wonder the majority of travelers seek this region for their ocean-going getaways.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Here's What’s New in the Maldives
Here's What’s New in the Maldives

Two over-the-top luxury properties immerse guests in the wonders of nature, in decadent style, including an outdoor treehouse restaurant and underwater accommodations.

Ponant Adds Free WiFi
Ponant Adds Free WiFi

The line is also readying for its return to Cuba with an eight-day sailing on the Le Ponant.

Regent to Add Sister Ship to Seven Seas Explorer
Regent to Add Sister Ship to Seven Seas Explorer

The ship, on order from Fincantieri shipbuilders, will be delivered in 2023.

Oceania Insignia, Newly ‘Reinspired,’ Sets Sail on 180-Day World Cruise
Oceania Insignia, Newly ‘Reinspired,’ Sets Sail on 180-Day World Cruise

At $6,000 a month, you can see the world onboard the first of four Oceania ships that have been lightened and brightened.

Agents Talk About Emerging Luxury Travel Trends for 2019
Agents Talk About Emerging Luxury Travel Trends for 2019

River cruising and ocean cruising continue to be perennial favorites, while guided vacation experiences are growing in popularity.

Silversea Sets Course for Second Phase of Silver Wind Refurbishment
Silversea Sets Course for Second Phase of Silver Wind Refurbishment

The refurbishment will include the addition of a fleet of Zodiacs and kayaks for guest exploration, a revamped theater, a completely refurbished spa and salon, and new additions to its suites and staterooms.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards & Outlooks
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Luxury Gold