The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection has celebrated the keel-laying for its second luxury cruising superyacht Ilma, amid a major expansion by hotel operators into the luxury segment of the cruise industry.
Part of the Ritz-Carlton hotel group, the Yacht Collection subsidiary already has one cruise yacht in operation, with an order for two more from the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.
A longstanding maritime tradition, the keel-laying ceremony marks the official start of construction, as the first modular block of Ilma was lowered into the building dock.
“We are thrilled to celebrate this important milestone and to partner with Chantiers de l’Atlantique on the construction of Ilma,” said Douglas Prothero, CEO for The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. “As we expand our fleet, we look forward to continuing to create unique experiences that celebrate the yachting lifestyle and are transforming the luxury cruising category.”
Ilma, meaning “water” in Maltese, is due for delivery in 2024, and will be the second yacht for The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection.
The specially designed superyacht will feature the highest space and staff-to-guest ratios in the luxury cruise category and will measure 790-feet, with 228 airy, light-filled suites, for up to 456 passengers.
The onboard experience will reflect the comfort and service for which The Ritz-Carlton brand is recognized, according to a press release.
It will be the first yacht in the collection to use liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a fuel source – further positioning The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection as an innovator with the industry.
“Chantiers de l’Atlantique is very proud of its partnership with The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection,” said Arnaud Le Joncour, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Chantiers de l’Atlantique. “Through this ceremony, we wish the best to Ilma during construction with the assurance that the vessel’s elegant design, quality materials, and environmental performance will position Ilma as a legendary symbol in a new era of luxury cruising.”
Reservations for Ilma are now open to the public. Further details about the vessel are yet to be announced, but Ritz-Carlton has confirmed that each vessel in the fleet will feature personalised service, elevated dining, and luxury amenities, including a signature Ritz-Carlton Spa and dedicated space for Ritz Kids.
Stopping at both intimate and signature ports of call, most voyages will range from seven to 10 nights with no two journeys alike according to the company. The yachts are also available for private charter.
Ritz-Carlton is among a range of luxury hotel operators entering the cruise business. Four Seasons and Aman are also creating yacht-style cruise experiences and positioning them as exceptional luxury vacations, along with Orient Express Hotels, which has announced plans to launch the Orient Express Cruises brand.