With another delay, the new Ritz-Carlton cruise ship is now 30 months behind schedule
Will the debut of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection ever happen? Even eternal optimists may be starting to have doubts.
The new cruising arm of luxury hotel chain Ritz-Carlton on Tuesday said it had pushed back the unveiling of its much-awaited first vessel, the 298-passenger Evrima, for a sixth time -- from May to August.
The company blamed ongoing supply chain and labor challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, which it suggested had slowed the vessel's construction.
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“Like many in manufacturing, we have experienced significant impact from COVID-19 variants as it relates to labor and supply chain disruptions, and we have had to reevaluate the timing of our first voyage,” The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection CEO Douglas Prothero said in a statement sent to TPG.
“We continue to make significant progress on Evrima and look forward to welcoming guests onboard this summer," Prothero added. "We thank our guests for their support as we continue to navigate an evolving global landscape.”
Evrima originally was scheduled to begin sailing more than two year ago, in February of 2020. But problems at Hijos de J. Barreras -- the shipyard in Vigo, Spain, where Evrima initially was under construction -- led to two significant delays to its construction in 2020 that initially pushed back its arrival by 14 months.
Three more delays announced in 2021, all blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic, subsequently pushed back the line's debut by another 13 months.
The new three-month delay means the debut of Evrima is now 30 months behind schedule.
Supply chain issues and staffing shortages related to the COVID-19 pandemic have caused delays for ships on order at other lines since the pandemic began in early 2020. But, in most cases, the delays have amounted to just a few months.
The longer delay in the construction of Evrima suggests a bigger problem at Hijos de J. Barreras. The shipyard had no experience building luxury cruise vessels before winning the order for Evrima in 2017. The company 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.
Evrima, still unfinished, was moved several months ago to a second shipyard facility in Santander, Spain, that specializes in ship conversions and repair projects.
Most major cruise lines that order new cruise ships order them from such long-established cruise ship builders as Germany's Meyer Werft and Italy's Fincantieri. These shipyards have decades of experience building cruise vessels and a wide network of suppliers that specialize in components used in cruise ship construction.
As a result of the latest delay, all Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection voyages that had been scheduled through early August have been canceled.
The ship's inaugural voyage is now scheduled for Aug. 6. It'll be a seven-night trip out of Piraeus, Greece (the port for Athens), that will include stops at the islands of Mykonos, Rhodes, Amorgós and Spetses, Greece; and Bodrum, Turkey.
The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection on Tuesday said passengers on canceled sailings can reschedule their voyages for a later date or contact the line to discuss reimbursement options.
The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection has been touting Evrima as an upscale, yacht-like vessel that will appeal to Ritz-Carlton regulars with an elegant, residential look. The company is promising spacious cabins, a stylish spa and lots of deck-top lounge space for sunning, plus five separate restaurants. The dining venues, notably, will include an a la carte restaurant designed by Sven Elverfeld of the three Michelin-starred Aqua in the Ritz-Carlton Wolfsburg, Germany.
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