From strikes to data breaches to commission cuts, Marriott International had more than its fair share of news coverage last year, but what meeting planners may have missed is its decision to enter the cruise market.
That’s right. The largest hotel operator in the world plans to launch The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, a fleet of three yachts that will redefine what it means to meet at sea. And Ritz-Carlton fans better believe that the vessels will mimic the high-end comfort and level of service for which the brand is known.
“Combining The Ritz-Carlton’s unparalleled service with journeys created specifically to offer immersion into the culture of the destination, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will set a new standard in sea travel and redefine the yachting experience,” says Lisa Holladay, global brand leader for The Ritz-Carlton.
In early December, the hotel company announced that the first yacht will be named Azora, meaning “sky blue,” and it will have its inaugural sail in February 2020. The yacht will feature 149 suites, each with its own private terrace, with the ability to accommodate up to 298 attendees. Other onboard highlights include all-inclusive dining, beverages, activities and entertainment as well as WiFi and water sports from the yacht’s marina platform. It will even feature a signature restaurant designed by Michelin-starred Chef Sven Elverfeld of The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg, as well as onboard spa treatments.
Lastly, meeting planners will love the five distinct categories of immersive excursions — Iconic Sights, Stirring the Senses, Cultural Connections, Active Explorations and Epicurean Experiences — that will give groups authentic experiences when docked on land. So far, the collection offers cruises throughout the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Northern Europe and Canada.