Waiting for Evrima: First Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection cruise vessel delayed for an eighth time

Aug 6, 2022

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The story of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection is turning into a variation of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot.” It’s about something that is always coming, but never arrives.

The new cruising arm of luxury hotel chain Ritz-Carlton on Friday said it had pushed back the unveiling of its much-awaited first vessel, the 298-passenger Evrima, for an eighth time.

In a statement sent to TPG, the company blamed ongoing global supply chain challenges and a delay in receiving “certain compulsory materials” necessary for the final stage of finishing the ship. It didn’t specify what those materials were.

The vessel’s construction is being finished at the Astander shipyard in the port city of Santander, Spain.

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The statement said the company was rescheduling Evrima’s debut to Oct. 15, nearly seven weeks later than it was targeting after the seventh delay to the ship was announced two months ago.

Disruptions caused by supply chain issues are just the latest excuse the line has offered for repeated delays to the unveiling of Evrima that now have stretched well into a third year.

Evrima was originally scheduled to begin sailing in February of 2020. But what the line described as problems at Hijos de J. Barreras — the shipyard in Vigo, Spain, where Evrima began its construction — led to two significant delays in 2020 that initially pushed back its arrival by 14 months.

Four more delays announced in 2021 and early 2022, all blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic, subsequently pushed back the line’s debut by another 16 months. The ship’s seventh delay in June was blamed on a metalworkers’ strike in the Cantabria region of Spain where the Astander shipyard is based. The company said the strike interrupted the construction process of the ship, even though workers at the shipyard were not among those striking.

With the latest delay, the arrival of Evrima is now nearly 33 months behind schedule — a backup of a magnitude rarely seen in the cruise shipbuilding space.

Ritz-Carlton Evrima
The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection’s first vessel, Evrima, is designed to have a yacht-like feel. (Image courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection)

To be fair, supply chain issues and staffing shortages related to the COVID-19 pandemic have caused delays for a number of ships on order for other lines since the pandemic began in early 2020. But in most cases, the delays have amounted to just a few weeks or months.

The longer delay in the construction of Evrima suggests a bigger problem at the Hijos de J. Barreras shipyard where the ship’s construction began — one that some industry watchers have said could have been foreseen. 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. It has built ferries, container ships and other specialized vessels in the past.

Related: Virgin Voyages, Seabourn delay new ship launches

Evrima, still unfinished, was moved last year from the Hijos de J. Barreras shipyard to the Astander shipyard, a facility that specializes in ship conversions and repair projects.

Most major cruise lines that order new cruise ships do so from such long-established cruise shipbuilders 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.

In March, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection announced that the line’s next two ships after Evrima would be built by Chantiers de l’Atlantique in St. Nazaire, France, another shipyard with far more experience in cruise shipbuilding than Hijos de J. Barreras. The two new vessels, which will be bigger than Evrima, are scheduled to debut in 2024 and 2025, respectively.

Assuming that Evrima finally does debut on Oct. 15, it will begin service with a seven-night trip from Barcelona to Civitavecchia, Italy (the port for Rome), which will include stops in Spain’s Balearic islands at Mahon, Port d’Alcúdia, Majorca and Ibiza.

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection has touted Evrima as an upscale, yacht-like vessel that will appeal to Ritz-Carlton regulars with an elegant, residential look. The company promises spacious cabins, a stylish spa, lots of deck-top lounge space for sunning and 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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Featured image courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection.

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