After years of delays, Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection turns to experienced shipyard for 2 new ships

Mar 17, 2022

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The new cruise line under development by Ritz-Carlton on Thursday announced it had ordered two more new ships — even as it continues a multiyear struggle to bring out its first vessel.

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection said in a press release that it had contracted with the giant Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France, for the construction of two 456-passenger “superyachts” to be delivered in 2024 and 2025. The ships will be called Ilma and Luminara.

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection said the deal with Chantiers de l’Atlantique also included options for additional vessels.

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The announcement comes just weeks after The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection pushed back the debut of its first vessel, the 298-passenger Evrima, by three months to Aug. 6. It was the sixth time that the company had pushed back the debut of Evrima, which originally was due to begin sailing in early 2020.

The arrival of Evrima is now 30 months behind schedule.

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection originally ordered Evrima in 2017 from a shipyard in Vigo, Spain – Hijos de J. Barreras – that had no experience building luxury cruise vessels. Hijos de J. Barreras got its start building fishing vessels, which was its specialty for many years, and it has built ferries, container ships and other specialized vessels in the past.

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection later blamed troubles at the shipyard for many of the delays in Evrima’s construction. The vessel, still unfinished, was moved several months ago to a second shipyard facility in Santander, Spain, that specializes in ship conversions and repair projects.

The new shipyard that The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will be using for its next ships, Chantiers de l’Atlantique, is one of the world’s best-known cruise ship builders, with a history in passenger ship construction that goes back decades.

In the 1960s, Chantiers de l’Atlantique built the SS France, one of the most famous ocean liners of the 20th century. In more recent years, it has manufactured a long list of vessels for Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, MSC Cruises and other major cruise lines.

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection on Thursday said the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard would  carry out all production and development of the two new vessels.

“We are thrilled to work with Chantiers de l’Atlantique on the development of our second and third
superyachts, Ilma and Luminara,” The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection CEO Douglas Prothero said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “They are a likeminded organization that is committed to excellence and a custom quality process and program that will help execute our vision as we thoughtfully expand our portfolio.”

A spokesperson for The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection told TPG that Evrima will continue to be finished at the shipyard where it currently resides, the Astander shipyard in Santander, Spain.

As of Thursday, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection still contends that Evrima will debut in August.

The two new ships on order will be significantly bigger than Evrima at 46,750 gross register tons. Evrima will measure about 24,000 gross register tons. The new ships will be 794 feet long as compared to 623 feet long for Evrima.

As part of its Thursday announcement, the company said the two new ships would feature the highest space-to-passenger ratio and the highest staff-to-passenger ratio of any luxury vessels in the cruise industry.

Both of the new vessels will be all-suite ships, with 228 suites in all, according to the line. The biggest suites on the ship will measure 1,076 square feet.

The new ships are set to have five restaurants, six bars, a wine vault, a marina and a spa.

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection said the new vessels would operate in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, but specific itineraries weren’t announced. Passengers will be able to book 2024 sailings on the first of the two vessels this fall.

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Featured image, an artist’s drawing of Ilma, courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection.

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