The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection’s first ship, the 298-passenger Evrima, is finally expected to sail from Piraeus, Greece, on her inaugural cruise on Saturday, October 15. The project has been a roller-coaster ride given pandemic-era issues. It successfully completed sea trials in June before announcing further delays this summer.
During Evrima’s initial construction, I traveled to a European shipyard to hear about the yacht’s design and tour a suite mock-up. The experience should deliver the creature comforts upscale travelers desire, yet in a comfortable, relaxed and non-stuffy way. The company says the ship will have a contemporary look and residential feel inspired by The Ritz-Carlton Residences in Sunny Isles Beach and Miami Beach, Florida, as well as Los Angeles.
Why did the hospitality brand—part of Marriott International—opt to drop anchor within the luxury cruising arena? “Innovation has always been at the core of The Ritz-Carlton,” says Donna McNamara, vice president and global brand leader for The Ritz-Carlton. “We saw a space in the market and an opportunity to bring our unparalleled service and highly personalized experiences to sea, creating new ways for travelers to experience our iconic brand.”
Sumptuous private guest suites will start at 300 square feet with a private terrace, while the ship’s most spacious accommodation, the 1,091-square-foot Owner’s Suite, will offer a 635-square-foot private terrace with whirlpool. Also highly anticipated are Evrima’s two-story loft suites, but all guest quarters will offer personal concierge service, 24-hour room service, private terraces, floor-to-ceiling windows and high ceilings.
Personally, I dislike finding a “connecting door” in a hotel room or cruise cabin. The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection has an innovative solution for this notorious industry dilemma. While touring Evrima’s suite mock-up, I learned about the creative sliding wall between two designated connecting suites. Prior to guests’ arrival, the crew will slide and secure the wall—either open or closed. Multigenerational family groups or couples using both suites will discover a wide-open, condo-like living space, yet guests in adjoining suites who aren’t traveling together will see a typical wall. Presto: The dread connecting door is vanquished.
When it’s time to dine, guests can opt for The Evrima Room, the main restaurant, or Talaat Nam for Southeast Asian cuisine. S.E.A. is another dining draw, with a European tasting menu created by chef Sven Elverfeld of the three-Michelin-starred Aqua at The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg, Germany. “S.E.A. will be incredibly special,” says McNamara. “Chef Elverfeld has held those stars for 14 years running.”
Many leisure activities and amenities are at the guest’s disposal, from the Observation Lounge’s stunning views to pool dips and swims to fine wine and cocktails in The Living Room bar. I’d suggest a visit to Evrima’s spa for the new signature massage, which combines a purifying foot ritual, full-body massage and aromatherapy booster. The spacious spa is home to five treatment rooms with private terraces, a steam room, sauna, relaxation lounge, fitness center, beauty salon and gentlemen’s grooming lounge. Evrima’s aft Marina includes a foldout platform that allows guests to cool off with snorkeling, swimming or water sports right from the boat (when the vessel is anchored). “Accessing the water directly from the yacht and enjoying the view of Evrima while floating in the sea will be amazing,” says McNamara.
Through fall, Evrima will sail the Mediterranean before repositioning to the Caribbean for winter 2022-2023. At press time, fares for Evrima’s weeklong voyage from Barcelona, Spain, to Lisbon, Portugal, departing October 29, start at $8,400 per person, double occupancy. Two additional vessels—the 456-passenger Ilma and Luminara—are slated to debut in 2024 and 2025, respectively.
“A high percentage of guests booked on Evrima are new to the cruising category,” says McNamara. “It reaffirms not only our belief that we could fill a need in luxury cruising, but also the trust that our loyal guests have in our brand to create unforgettable journeys.”