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For Chantiers de l’Atlantique, Ritz-Carlton yachts an inspiring collaboration

PHOTO: MICHELE VALANDINA CRUISE_Doug_Prothero_Laurent_Castaing_Tim_Grisius.jpg
From left, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection's Douglas Prothero, Chantiers de l'Atlantique's Laurent Castaing and Marius von Tangen-Jordan, senior director of design and development, luxury brands - global and yacht operations, Marriott International, at the order signing Thursday at the Yacht Club de France in Paris
For Chantiers de l'Atlantique, the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection business is deeply meaningful and inspiring.

'The word "relationship" is very important,' Chantiers GM Laurent Castaing said. 'We are used to working for a long time with our partners and to build very fruitful connections. This is what we want to celebrate ... with this new and important collaboration.'

A long tradition of luxury ships

The ultra-luxury market marks a diversification for the Saint-Nazaire yards which currently build for MSC Cruises and Royal Caribbean Group.

'Normandie, Ile de France, France … all these iconic and legendary ships were built at Chantiers de l’Atlantique. And the level of luxury onboard was always ahead of what was expected at the time. This is what we hope to continue in this ultra-luxury sector we are entering,' Castaing said.

Not to be forgotten, more recently Europa 2 was built in Saint-Nazaire and launched in 2013 for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

But even through the Ritz-Carlton ships are in the same size range, 'they are very different in their design,' Castaing said, corresponding to the vision of Marriott International.

At the forefront of environmental performance

Environmental performance is key. 'What we offer is the result of 15 years' research on energy efficiency and its impact. And we are still at work on the subject,' Castaing said. 'This also addresses The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection's commitment to sustainable practices throughout the business.

According to Castaing, 'Even if we are already building LNG-fueled ships and master this technology, it remains a new one and we always try to better it.' Each Ritz-Carlton yacht will be equipped with four dual-fuel engines and utilize LNG as main fuel source, significantly reducing emissions. But 'We will use, for example, a technology which allows better isolation of the tank.'

Energy-saving also comes from a sum of small things: 'They allow us to build the best performing ships in this field,' Castaing said. The Ritz-Carlton yachts will also have very efficient pods and a heat recovery loop, advanced wastewater treatment systems, LED lighting and more.

Stimulating collaboration

Furthermore, Ilma and Luminara are to provide the highest quality standards and comfort level. 'This means a lot of work, together, for us in order find the materials they want and see if they are adaptable to shipbuilding,' Castaing added. 'This will bring us new ideas, make us progress. We like to learn.'

Full workload until 2025

The yachts will be delivered in spring 2024 and spring 2025 and contribute to a full workload at Chantiers de l'Atlantique until 2025.

Each represents some 2m hours of work. Ilma’s construction is to start soon, with the first steel planned to be cut this summer.

Chantiers de l’Atlantique employs 3,400 persons and 8,000 work on site. The yards have a €2bn annual turnover.