The Ritz-Carlton has celebrated the keel laying of its inaugural yacht as it prepares to become the first hotelier to enter the cruise industry.
Monday’s symbolic ceremony in Hijos De J. Barreras Shipyard in Vigo, Spain, saw the lowering of the first module in place on the building.
The brand, part of Marriott International, has secured financial backing from Oaktree Capital Management to launch The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection.
Douglas Prothero, managing director of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, and Timothy Grisius, Marriott International’s global real estate officer, were joined by shipyard chairman José García Costas, and Fredrik Johansson, executive project director of marine architects Tillberg Design of Sweden, as the commemorative coins were unveiled and welded to the hull.
Prothero said: “The keel laying is a significant moment in the ship building process and signals that we are well on our way.”
Johansson said his “guiding principles” for all aspects of the yacht’s design have been spacious privacy and personal comfort.
He said: “The keel laying celebrates how far we have already come in the design process, and in creating the most exclusive and serene experience possible at sea.”
Reservations for the first of three yachts in this class will open in May.
The first of three 292-passenger yachts will launch towards the end of next year.
They will measure 190 metres and feature 149 luxury suites to accommodate up to the passengers.
The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will offer voyages ranging from seven to 10 days.
The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection ships are also available for private charter.
Before ships were built in a series of modular components, the keel laying ceremony historically used to mark the initial placement of the central beam.
This would serve as the ship’s back bone.
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