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Ritz-Carlton orders two larger LNG yachts at Chantiers de l'Atlantique

Finland-based yacht stylist Aivan developed the exterior design for Ilma and Luminara
The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection ordered two larger yachts at Chantiers de l'Atlantique, for 2024 and 2025 delivery.

Ilma and Luminara measure 46,750gt, up from Evrima at 24,000gt, and have 456 berths each, up from 298. They're 242 meters/794 feet long, compared to the first yacht at 190 meters/623 feet.

The price was not disclosed. It is estimated at €400m per ship. 

More top suites

While their profiles and public spaces are similar to Evrima's they have roomier public areas and a larger selection of top-end suites and more categories — all with terraces. Two new, spacious upper suite categories measure up to 100 square meters/1,076 square feet.

'Everything we've learned about the customer is built into these ships,' Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection CEO Douglas Prothero told Seatrade Cruise News.

Whopping 102.5 space ratio

The yachts are super-spacious, with a passenger space ratio of a whopping 102.5, compared to Evrima's substantial 85.5. Like Evrima, Ilma and Luminara will provide nearly one staff member for every passenger.

Prothero said the larger size was driven mainly by the fact that these ships are coming after the new SOLAS damage stability regulations that took effect in 2020 so they needed to be wider. But this also gave an opportunity for enlarging spaces.

Different designers

Instead of Tillberg Design of Sweden, this time Ritz-Carlton went with London-based architecture and design firm, AD Associates, at Marriott's introduction. Finland-based yacht stylist Aivan developed the exterior design, whose profile mirrors Evrima's but has a much longer bow.


The new design has a much longer bow

Like Evrima, each yacht will have five restaurants — some the same as before but with a new-concept specialty restaurant in place of the three-star Michelin chef Sven Elverfeld's, to be decided. Again there will be six bars, a wine vault and a Rtiz-Carlton Spa.

The marina will be expanded with a new mezzanine feature. A special space will house Ritz Kids programming.

For events, groups can stage an exclusive cocktail reception on the expanded bow.

Ilma, by the way, is an old Maltese word for water. (The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection is a Maltese company and the ships are registered in Malta.)


There's a 'big focus on the environment and sustainability' in the yachts' design, Prothero said, adding: 'Our yachting lifestyle has that anyway, with slow cruising.'

The dual-fuel propulsion system will use LNG as the primary fuel (MGO secondary) and has a modular design that allows for conversion to new fuels as they emerge.

This time Ritz-Carlton went with Chantiers de l'Atlantique, a leading cruise shipbuilder, unlike HJ Barreras in Vigo where Evrima was contracted. That vessel is years late, being finished at Astander Shipyard and now expected to enter service in August.

Why Chantiers?

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection had talked with many yards and settled on Chantiers 1.5 years ago.

'They're a Tier 1 yard. We really like the team,' Prothero said. 'They have a great track record and a real strong commitment to research and development and innovation. It's in their DNA ... They are process-driven under the leadership of Laurent Castaing, something they have nearly perfected.'

This is the rare COVID-19 pandemic-era cruise newbuild order. Another is NYK Cruises' luxury ship ordered one year ago at Meyer Werft; it's about the same size as the new Ritz-Carlton pair and also LNG-powered.

Financial matters

Once again, Oaktree Capital Management is the main newbuild investor, and the project is co-managed with Marriott International.

The order came with two options.

Reservations to open in the fall

Reservations for the 2024 season will open to the public this fall. The new yachts will offer itineraries of seven to 10 nights in the Caribbean and Mediterranean.

Prothero said the Ritz-Carlton team will be expanding to handle the company's growth.