Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Hotels

Ritz-Carlton Ultra-Luxury Cruise Brand Seeks up to $400 Million to Add Ships: Report

6 months ago

The Marriott-controlled ultra-luxury superyacht brand The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection would like to raise as much as $400 million to add two superyachts to its current three, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday.

The operator is backed by investors such as Oaktree Capital Management. Its first ship, the 298-guest Evrima, set sail in October 2022, with the Ilma debuting this year and a third vessel, Luminara, in the works for 2025.

Fares start around $3,100 per person per night for sailings starting at four-night itineraries in the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Central America, and elsewhere. Onboard dining venues include Michelin-starred chefs. (See Bloomberg’s review of the Evrima for more.)

Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection Targets $400 Million Fundraise

Hotels

Marriott CEO Frames Yacht-Like Cruises as a Bet on Luxury and Loyalty

1 year ago

Marriott International CEO Anthony Capuano on Tuesday toured the Evirma, the first sailing vessel in The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. Capuano said in an interview that yacht-style cruises on the 623-foot Evrima — which hosts fewer than 300 people at a time — represent an important pillar of growth for the world’s largest hotel operator by pulling the levers of loyalty and luxury.

More than 70 percent of the bookings since the first October sailing has come from members of Marriott’s Bonvoy loyalty program, and the company sees the yachts as a way to fill in the matrix of interest in its program members.

“Luxury is a big part of the appeal of the Bonvoy program and a big driver of engagement with Bonvoy,” Capuano said.

Fares on the Evrima start at a minimum of $5,000 per person for a week and can rise beyond $25,000 per person.

Drone shot of the Evrima, a custom-built ship from The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. Source: Marriott International.

About 70 percent of Evirma passengers have never been on the cruise before. So the offering is a way to leverage the Ritz Carlton brand name for additional spending from an existing customer base.

“It is core to our strategy to continue to look for ways to connect ourselves with our loyal customers throughout their travel journeys, whether you and I were talking about Marriott Homes and Villas or the launch of a mid-scale like City Express or the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection — they are all touchpoints that allow us to meet the needs of our consumers without ever looking outside the ecosystem,” Capuano said.

Yacht-style itineraries enable a more leisurely pace with more overnights in port than the typical large luxury cruise offers, plus the ability to access and explore smaller ports, such as Saint-Tropez, Ibiza, and St. Barts.

But playing in the luxury space has its perils. The more complex the product and the more high-touch the service, the more room there is for cost overruns. Spanish media have reported on financial filings from a shipyard claiming that the Evirma was budgeted at $300 million but cost twice as much.

Capuano said that the last few years brought a laundry list of “unusual challenges to owner economics,” with a mix of problems affecting supply chains. However, he said his company has long experience in executing luxury products well.

Marriott is the first of its hotel and resort peer companies to test the waters on yacht-style cruising, but three other companies in recent months — Four Seasons, Aman, and Orient Express — announced plans to offer luxurious yacht-style cruise lines.

A “grand suite” on the Evrima, a vessel that’s one of the custom-built yachts in The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. Photo by Francisco Martinez. Source: Marriott International.

More broadly, luxury is a key segment in Capuano’s vision for company growth.

“I continue to drive focus within the organization on luxury,” Capuano said. “Luxury represents about 10 percent of our global room inventory but about 20 percent of revenues through related fees. So from a purely economic perspective, the luxury portfolio and footprint are critically important.”

Marriott runs nearly 500 luxury hotels and resorts, with plans to open about 35 more luxury hotels this year out of a pipeline of roughly 200 properties.

“You can continue to see us make investments movements of dedicated capital to ensure that we maintain our significant lead in the luxury tier,” Capuano said. “We have a singularly unique portfolio in that we have a really compelling blend of classic luxury brands like Ritz Carlton and Saint Regis and emerging lifestyle luxury brands like Edition and W Hotels.”

Cruises

Accor to Launch Yacht-Style Cruise Brand Orient Express Silenseas

1 year ago

One of the hottest areas for hotel companies is the open sea. Accor, the Paris-based hotel giant, hopes to launch a yacht-style cruise line Orient Express Silenseas by 2026, according to a report in Bloomberg News on Wednesday.

Adding to the multi-modal mindset, the 722-foot-long vessel will be branded after a famous railway brand, Orient Express.

Bloomberg reports that the ship will ply the waters of the Mediterranean and Caribbean and host about 120 passengers.

The move follows a multi-year effort by Ritz Carlton to create a yacht-like cruise line, as well as Virgin Voyages‘ semi-elite approach to cruising.

Bloomberg News