This conveys priority access to make a booking.
(But anyone may go to www.fourseasonsyachts.com and register for a wait-list.)
With very limited inventory — just 95 suites — and anticipated high demand for a yacht experience with a hefty $2,500 to $3,500 per diem, Four Seasons Yachts needed to emulate a strategy much like the Centurion Card from American Express, which is available by invitation only to select high-net-worth individuals.
A way to navigate demand
'It's a way to navigate the demand when you have an exclusive product with limited supply,' Larry Pimentel, CEO of Marc-Henry Cruise Holdings, owner/joint operator of Four Seasons Yachts, told Seatrade Cruise News.
One year since announcing itself at the Monaco Yacht Show, Four Seasons Yachts on Tuesday chose the same venue to unveil its nontraditional distribution strategy.
Refundable $10,000 deposiit
Emails will be going out to people with a Four Seasons history, who'll be invited to make a refundable $10,000 deposit for priority access to book a cruise. The deposit applies for up to 18 months.
It's a bit like nailing a reservation at The French Laundry, or securing a Hermès Birkin bag or a bottle of Screaming Eagle. Or getting into Augusta National, the Algonquin Club or the New York Yacht Club. Expensive, rare and available to a select few.
Pimentel said it's not arrogance or snobbery on Four Seasons' part — just supply and demand, since research by EY determined the need to come up with a model to manage anticipated demand for the first yacht.
With 95 suites, some of which can be combined to make only about 65 suites, Four Seasons needs just 3,900 bookings in a year to fill.
Pimentel, who's on the board of the luxury consorium Virtuoso and has championed travel advisors throughout his career via ICTA and ASTA, said 'I strongly recommend our guests use a qualified travel advisor.'
Anyone who goes the priority access route will be invited to appoint a travel advisor and has up to 60 days to add an advisor to their booking.
Commission is 10% for any advisor across the globe.
Personal yacht consultants
Like Four Seasons hotels, the yachts are all about 'client-centricity.'
The line won't have a call center. Travelers or their advisor will get the service of a highly trained specialist called a personal yacht consultant.
'Instead of a private asset manager at a bank, it's a private asset manager of experiences,' Pimentel said.
These currently seven highly trained individuals — a number that's expected to grow — have experience dealing with high net worth individuals.
Bookings open in early 2024
By-invitation bookings will open in early 2024 when itineraries are detailed. The first year will focus on the Caribbean and Mediterranean, with cruises averaging seven days and options to combine voyages up to 21 days without repeating ports.
Calls are planned at 137 destinations in 33 countries with a focus on yacht harbors for Four Seasons' spacious, 207-meter/679-foot yacht. (For comparison, Seabourn Quest measures 210 meters.)
Some itineraries will revolve around events such as the Olympics, the Super Bowl or the Cannes Film Festival.
And Pimentel promised posh ways to explore destinations including 'stunningly beautiful' sea limousines to rent.
The first Four Seasons yacht is scheduled for delivery in late November 2025 and will enter service in late 2025/early 2026. Pimentel said Miami will be the venue for the yacht's debut and naming festivities — fitting since the Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club is the inspiration for the seagoing concept.
The spaciousness and the suites
Just 190 people in a 34,000gt vessel means a space ratio that's multiples larger than anything else in cruising.
And the suites will be stunning.
The top-tier Funnel Suite sprawls across 9,662 square feet over four levels with 280-degree views and a vast veranda. The suite can be expanded vertically to a fifth level. Amenities include a private spa, wading pool, full kitchen and outdoor fireplace.
Pimentel described it in a word: palatial.