In accordance with longstanding maritime tradition, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection celebrated the milestone keel-laying of its inaugural yacht at the Hijos De J. Barreras Shipyard in Vigo, Spain. Representing a unique first for a luxury hotel operator, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection brings the brand’s legendary service to the seas with a yachting experience and has now taken one step closer to its anticipated launch in 2019.
“We are delighted to commemorate this milestone as we embark on our journey to bring The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection to life,” said Lisa Holladay, global brand leader, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. “The keel-laying marks the realisation of a longstanding dream for The Ritz-Carlton brand as we bring our guest experience and service ethos to the seas through these highly unique luxury vessels and one-of-a-kind on-board amenities and experiences.”
Celebrating the official start of a ship’s construction, the keel-laying ceremony was historically used to mark the initial placement of a central beam, which served as the vessel’s backbone. Today, as ships are built in a series of modular components, the symbolic ceremony is used to mark the lowering of the first module into place in the building dock.
As part of this exciting occasion, Douglas Prothero, managing director of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, and Timothy Grisius, global real estate officer for Marriott International, were joined by HJ Barreras Shipyard’s chairman José García Costas, and Tillberg Design of Sweden’s owner and executive project director Fredrik Johansson as the commemorative coins were unveiled and welded to the hull. Representing a symbolic process in the keel-laying, the coins are meant to bring good fortune during construction and throughout the ship’s travels. Also in attendance was Anthony Capuano, executive VP and global chief development officer for Marriott International, alongside The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection executive team and members of investor group Oaktree Capital Management, L.P.
“The keel-laying is a significant moment in the ship building process and signals that we are well on our way to redefining luxury at sea with The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection,” said Prothero. “The intimate size of our ships and compelling itineraries will give our guests the opportunity to explore unexpected destinations, all while enjoying the legendary Ritz-Carlton service. This is an exciting new venture and we look forward to celebrating the many more milestones to come.”
“The opportunity to design The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection has been extremely exciting as we have been able to start from a blank piece of paper and create a whole new brand from scratch. Our guiding principles for all aspects of the yacht’s design have been spacious privacy and personal comfort,” said Johansson. “The keel-laying celebrates how far we have already come in the design process, and in creating the most exclusive and serene experience possible at sea.”
Reservations for the first of three lavish yachts in this series will open in May. The inaugural ship will cruise a wide variety of destinations depending on the season, including the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. The specially designed, small-capacity vessels will measure 190 metres and feature 149 luxury suites to accommodate up to 298 passengers. The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will offer voyages ranging from seven to 10 days, combining signature Ritz-Carlton service and amenities on board with curated destination experiences. The ships of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection are also available for private charter.