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Ritz-Carlton may add five yachts, parent Marriott ponders cruise entry - report

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection could build up to five more yachts in addition to the three it is planning at the moment, , while its parent compaby Marriott is likely to launch other cruise brands across its hotel portfolio, Travel Weekly reports in the UK.

Douglas Prothero, chief executive of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, told Travel Weekly of his intentions to expand his brand and expectations of the Marriott group’s developing cruise proposition, believing it to have “enough brands to diversify (into cruise) for quite a long time”. Currently Ritz-Carlton has three 292-passenger and 149-suite vessels on order in Spain, the first launching in 2020 followed by two in 2021.

Prothero said that while expansion was on the cards for the Ritz-Carlton yacht brand, it was also important it remains a niche and specialised product.

“We’re going to build more yachts,” he was quoted as saying. “We don’t know exactly how many more but the intent to build is there. We have one in 2020, two in 2021 and then we expect one or two in 2022.”

“We want to maintain a niche designation; we could easily build 20 of them but we won’t. I think six, seven, eight ships won’t be a problem for us,” he stated.

“We’ll do other cruise ventures under Marriott,” he continued. “And that’s part of the reason why other cruise lines aren’t happy with our arrival in the market because they know we won’t stop with Ritz-Carlton. Any number of our hotel brands would work as a cruise brand. We won’t go head to head with ourselves within the group. We’re doing luxury with Ritz-Carlton and we could do upper premium and premium. We have enough brands to diversify for quite a long time,” he said, according to Travel Weekly.

Several years ago, the Canada-based Four Seasons hotel group that has no connection to Marriott was planning to enter the cruise industry. It had plans to build a 37,000 gross ton spa-orientated ship at what it Meyer Turku today, but the plan fell through.

Four Seasons only wanted to invest a minority stake in the ship owning company – an asset light business model – although it would operate the ship. By contrast, Ritz-Carlton has opted to own the ships it plans to operate.


Ponant takes delivery of Le Lapérouse, the first ship in the Ponant Explorers series

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Ponant, the global leader in luxury expeditions and the only French cruise line, has taken delivery of its new vessel, Le Lapérouse, the first of the six Explorers-class ships.

On June 15, as per the agreed construction schedule, Ponant successfully took delivery of Le Lapérouse, the brand-new vessel and the first of the six exceptional Ponant Explorers series. Construction of the other five ships is currently under way. Le Lapérouse left the shipyard in Ålesund, Norway, on June 16 and will reach Reykjavik, Iceland today, June 19 for the start of her maiden cruise. The inauguration will take place on July 10 in Reykjavik.

“Le Lapérouse is a wonderful achievement for the company and the result of intensive teamwork with Vard and Fincantieri. From remarkable nautical performances to technical excellence and offering an extraordinary level of comfort, everything is in place for the Ponant Explorers series to be a huge success,” says Jean Emmanuel Sauvée, CEO and Co-Founder of Ponant.

With a smaller capacity of just 92 staterooms and suites all with a balcony or private terrace, the ship boasts an elegant design, a long sleek line, state-of-the-art technology, and major innovations. Also designed to respect the environment, Le Lapérouse is the true symbol of a new generation of ships flying the French flag.

The six Ponant Explorers will feature a world first: the “Blue Eye.” The innovative multi-sensorial underwater lounge will allow passengers to discover and experience the underwater world via two portholes in the form of a cetaceous eye looking out on to the sea bed, non-intrusive underwater lighting, and hydrophones integrated into the keel that retransmit the natural symphony of the deep water. The lounge will also feature Body Listening sofas, offering a unique sensorial listening experience by corporal resonance.

MSC Cruises orders fifth Meraviglia-class ship

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

MSC Cruises and STX France signed today an order for the construction of a fifth Meraviglia class cruise ship. Due to be delivered in 2023, this vessel will be equipped with a new generation of dual-fuel engines designed to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG). She will also feature other innovative environmental technologies, notably including an advanced wastewater treatment system compliant with the world’s most stringent regulatory standards, including the provisions enshrined in Resolution MEPC.227 for the Baltic Sea.

This announcement was made at a unique ceremony held at the Saint-Nazaire shipyard in the presence of Bruno Le Maire, the French Minister of the Economy and Finance. STX France and MSC Cruises celebrated three major ship building milestones: the Steel Cutting Ceremony of the 4th Meraviglia class vessel where MSC Cruises announced that the ship will be named MSC Virtuosa; the Coin Ceremony of MSC Grandiosa; and the Float-out of MSC Bellissima. For the first time in Saint-Nazaire’s history, three cruise ships belonging to a single cruise brand are under simultaneous construction at the shipyard.

Speaking before opening the valves to flood the dry dock where MSC Bellissima has been assembled, Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman, said: “With the announcement of yet another new vessel, the 13th under our 10-year investment plan, we are affirming our commitment to sustainable growth for our Company. I say this while three more next-generation MSC Cruises are now simultaneously under construction.

Mr Vago added, “Our fifth Meraviglia class cruise ship will bring a new generation of cutting-edge environmental technology to the market, benefiting from a new generation of LNG-powered engines. This will help us further reduce our environmental footprint and advance in our journey of constant improvement. She will be joined at sea by up to four World Class LNG-powered ships, as part of our overall commitment to environmental stewardship through this and other next-generation technologies and solutions deployed fleet-wide.”

The agreement for the additional Meraviglia-Plus ship represents an additional investment of €900 million.