Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection targets IPO in major expansion

Ritz-Carlton-Yacht-Collection

Marriott has revealed its plans to expand its fleet of luxury superyacht liners, operating under the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection brand, as it eyes a potential IPO.

Ritz-Carlton launched the first of its new luxury yacht collection, the specially designed 190-metre Evrima, in 2022, after a three-year delay caused by the pandemic and supply-chain issues.

The second two vessels in the fleet are currently being built by the French shipyard Chantiers de l’Atlantique, with the first due for delivery in 2024 and the second in 2025. The second vessel, 448-passenger Ilma, hit the water on Tuesday (26 September 2023) for the first time during its float-out. The third is Luminara. All three will cruise the Mediterranean in summer and Caribbean in winter.

While Evrima uses traditional marine fuel, both upcoming ships Ilma and Luminara will be powered by LNG and will use ABB’s electric propulsion systems and remote support.

Speaking to Bloomberg earlier this week, Jim Murren, the company’s executive chairman and chief executive officer, said he envisions “a large fleet of exclusive resorts at sea” The company aims for eight to 10 newbuilds for multiple Marriott International brands — probably at Chantiers de l’Atlantique.

Future ships will cruise to additional destinations. “We would like to get into the Pacific for ships four and five,” he explains. “Australia and New Zealand, Singapore,” Murren says.

To that end, the firm is raising up to $400 million, in collaboration with Citigroup Inc. The funding round will help fast-track ships four and five. The IPO would follow.

Evrima, which embarked on its maiden voyage from Barcelona on 15 October 2022, en route to Nice, can accommodate 298 passengers on a cruise holiday that emulates a billionaire’s superyacht lifestyle.

The vessel sold out this summer’s Mediterranean sailings at average fares of $1,500 per person, per day, with an average passenger age of 53 — younger than the average cruise passenger.

Murren says: “These are high-net-worth individuals that if they are not cruising with us, they are on a safari some place or have rented a beautiful villa in the Mediterranean.”

Four Seasons Yacht
Four Seasons Yacht

Ritz-Carlton is facing competition from other high-end hotel brands that are moving into the luxury yachting and cruising space. These include Four Seasons Yachts, Aman and Orient Express.

In a press release issued this week, Four Seasons confirmed its first sailings on the Four Seasons Yacht in 2025/6 will be invitation-only, such is demand.

Murren adds: “We think this particular type of [luxury hotel] guest represents a $5 billion market. “If everyone built [ships] as fast as they could, we still wouldn’t have enough supply to cater to this demand. We have the early mover advantage.”

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