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After 6 delays, Ritz-Carlton's first cruise ship may finally be ready to debut

June 09, 2022
5 min read
The cruise ship Evrima
After 6 delays, Ritz-Carlton's first cruise ship may finally be ready to debut
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Is the long-postponed launch of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection finally at hand? We hesitate to even say it, but it looks that way.

The new cruising arm of luxury hotel chain Ritz-Carlton on Thursday sent out emails to customers saying its six-times-delayed first vessel, the 298-passenger Evrima, successfully completed sea trials – a major milestone in shipbuilding that usually comes just before a vessel debuts.

It's a huge sign that Evrima's latest unveiling date, Aug. 6, 2022, will hold.

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If so, it would mark the end to a multiyear saga that had many cruise industry watchers — including us at TPG — wondering if The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection would ever get off the ground.

Evrima was originally scheduled to begin sailing more than two years 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.

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.

As of now, the arrival of Evrima is 30 months behind schedule — a backup of a magnitude rarely seen in the cruise shipbuilding space.

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection's first vessel, Evrima, is designed to have a yacht-like feel. (Rendering 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 ships on order at other lines since the pandemic began in early 2020. However, 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 Hijos de J. Barreras — 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 to a new shipyard facility in Santander, Spain, that specialized in ship conversions and repair projects. The Santander shipyard has been finishing the vessel.

Most major cruise lines that order new cruise ships do so 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.

In March, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection announced that the line's next two ships after Evrima would be built by the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard 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.

Evrima's inaugural voyage has been scheduled for Aug. 6 since the sixth delay for the ship's arrival was announced in March. A spokesperson for The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection on Thursday told TPG the ship still was "on track" to debut on that date.

Assuming it does, it'll begin service with 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 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 by The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection cruise vessel Evrima. (Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
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  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
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  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases