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Gilly

"A luxury hotel that happens to be at sea"

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The article referred to a cruise on board Ponant's Le Lyrial and I share the link here in case it's of interest.

 

A Luxury Hotel that happens to be at Sea

 

I'm fairly sure it challenges some users' definition of "luxury" but I found it an interesting insight to a ship we found ourselves berthed alongside recently.  The article continues through the next few blog posts, ending in Athens.

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contrarely to Hapag Lloyd , Ponant does have its own thread

Ponant is considered as premium - maybe "upper "premium

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If we compare to hotel, that room is at best equivalent to a new four points sheraton but with Hermes amenities.  🙂  

 

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In my opinion, there is absolutely nothing that is the same in a hotel vs. a cruise ship.  Cruise ships cannot compare their 5* dining with that on land (as cruise ships cannot cook on gas stoves/ovens).  And, when you stay at a hotel, you are not confined to the hotel 24/ 7 as you are on cruise ships (except when you stop at ports).

 

Ritz Carlton's new ships are trying to convince their loyal customers to try their cruise ships.  The main reason that I won't even consider Ritz Carlton is because I don't want to be on a ship full of non-cruisers that are trying to compare Ritz Carlton and Marriott to their cruise ship.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Travelcat2 said:

In my opinion, there is absolutely nothing that is the same in a hotel vs. a cruise ship.  Cruise ships cannot compare their 5* dining with that on land (as cruise ships cannot cook on gas stoves/ovens).  And, when you stay at a hotel, you are not confined to the hotel 24/ 7 as you are on cruise ships (except when you stop at ports).

 

Ritz Carlton's new ships are trying to convince their loyal customers to try their cruise ships.  The main reason that I won't even consider Ritz Carlton is because I don't want to be on a ship full of non-cruisers that are trying to compare Ritz Carlton and Marriott to their cruise ship.

 

 

 

If the loyal RC crowd have that expectation coming in, Ritz Carlton cruise should be amazing.  Nothing alienate your customers faster than selling mutton dressed as lamb.  They will end up losing their loyal base if the cruise is a debacle.   This new venture is a huge gamble for them.  Don't think they are taking it as lightly as you think they are.  

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18 hours ago, vistaman said:

contrarely to Hapag Lloyd , Ponant does have its own thread

 

Thank you, @vistamanI totally missed that one, even though I (supposedly!) checked first.  Had I found it, then I'd have posted this there, in anticipation of the way this thread has gone.

Edited by Gilly

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On 8/13/2019 at 8:47 PM, Travelcat2 said:

Ritz Carlton's new ships are trying to convince their loyal customers to try their cruise ships.  The main reason that I won't even consider Ritz Carlton is because I don't want to be on a ship full of non-cruisers that are trying to compare Ritz Carlton and Marriott to their cruise ship.

I would venture to say that most of their loyal customers, at least the ones that travel for leisure and spend the most money, are already seasoned cruisers on Seabourn, Silversea, Regent, Seadream, etc. From the discussions I've had with them and others, the venture was started because they knew a lot of their customers we're cruising and they were losing out on that spend. These ships are meant to capitalize on their loyalty and pull those cruise dollars away from those lines. 

 

The biggest challenges the legacy luxury lines are going to have is that Ritz Carlton Yachts are going to sync up with Marriott Bonvoy Rewards so cruisers can earn points for cruising and can spend those points on free hotels or free future cruises. Its going to create an enormous headache for some of the legacy lines. 

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42 minutes ago, princeton123211 said:

I would venture to say that most of their loyal customers, at least the ones that travel for leisure and spend the most money, are already seasoned cruisers on Seabourn, Silversea, Regent, Seadream, etc. From the discussions I've had with them and others, the venture was started because they knew a lot of their customers we're cruising and they were losing out on that spend. These ships are meant to capitalize on their loyalty and pull those cruise dollars away from those lines. 

 

The biggest challenges the legacy luxury lines are going to have is that Ritz Carlton Yachts are going to sync up with Marriott Bonvoy Rewards so cruisers can earn points for cruising and can spend those points on free hotels or free future cruises. Its going to create an enormous headache for some of the legacy lines. 

 

The only way Ritz Carlton Yachts will be a headache for luxury cruise lines is if they have larger suites, better service and better food. If they don't they will simply have a lot of Ritz Carlton/Marriott customers that may or may not be used to cruising.   Luxury cruisers receive loyalty benefits that we are happy with.  

 

As a veteran luxury cruiser, I have no interest (at this point) in Ritz Carlton Yachts (but do have an interest in Scenic Eclipse).  Sailing with a boatload (or yacht load) of people that are not regular cruises holds no interest.  Plus, we get a included night at a lovely hotel on our Regent cruises (and they have put us up twice at the Ritz Carlton in Istanbul).  I have no problem whatsoever with Ritz Carlton/Marriott (we stayed in Marriott for years and earned many points) - only with a cruise line that thinks that it is a hotel.

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2 minutes ago, Travelcat2 said:

Sailing with a boatload (or yacht load) of people that are not regular cruises holds no interest.

I'm not sure we're connecting on this one-- they know full well the majority of those filling the Ritz yachts in the inaugural season are going to be seasoned cruisers from other lines. Most people who don't like cruises aren't going to be enticed just because they stuck the Ritz Carlton logo on the side of a nice boat-- they just don't like cruises period. 

 

I don't think you are comprehending the amount of market research they've done or the fact that they hired away major executives and management from the legacy lines to start this venture. This isn't in any way a startup to try and get non cruisers over to them. 

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35 minutes ago, princeton123211 said:

I'm not sure we're connecting on this one-- they know full well the majority of those filling the Ritz yachts in the inaugural season are going to be seasoned cruisers from other lines. Most people who don't like cruises aren't going to be enticed just because they stuck the Ritz Carlton logo on the side of a nice boat-- they just don't like cruises period. 

 

I don't think you are comprehending the amount of market research they've done or the fact that they hired away major executives and management from the legacy lines to start this venture. This isn't in any way a startup to try and get non cruisers over to them. 

 

You're right - we are not connection on this.  First, I do think that people who do not think that they will like cruising but are Marriott/Ritz Carlton customers may try the cruise line - just because of the name.  

 

I understand that a heck of a lot of market research has been done.  The yacht does look beautiful - no arguments there.  However, I was really taken aback when I learned that there is a charge for the specialty restaurant and that there is no included alcohol.  While included alcohol is not a requirement for a luxury cruise line, most of the luxury lines recognized in the U.S. do have included alcohol (Crystal, Regent, Seabourn and Silversea).  Foreign luxury lines like Hapag-Lloyd Europa II (etc.) do not have included alcohol but cater to families,  

 

It sounds as if Ritz Carlton Yachts will also cater to families.  Nothing wrong with that except that luxury cruise travelers tend to be older (people that can not only afford the price tag but also can take long itineraries).  Many do not want to sail with children (except during the summer and school breaks).  

 

As with any new ship/yacht, it will be very popular the first 2-3 years.  The question is whether the ship (and itineraries) can keep the interest of "loyal" customers in the future.]

 

Neither of us know what will happen.  I hope that the cruise line is successful - it simply is not one that we are interested in now.  The needs of luxury cruisers may take some time to learn (at least it did when Regent was sold the first time........ despite studies, they were doing things that luxury cruisers did not like.  Fortunately, they made corrections). 

 

 

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58 minutes ago, Travelcat2 said:

However, I was really taken aback when I learned that there is a charge for the specialty restaurant and that there is no included alcohol.

We live in at Ritz managed building so sat through their presentation recently. Alcohol will be included-- I think at first they weren't going to but now everything but the top wines and spirits are much like other lines we've been on like Seabourn. The vast majority of the dining is included with the exception of a tiny dining room (I think they said it was for 20 people) that will serve a 2-3 hour tasting menu experience from the chef of the Ritz in Berlin-- the charge is mainly for the rare wine pairing that comes with it. They said there is a main dining room, Asian option, as well as an outside grill that is all included. 

 

1 hour ago, Travelcat2 said:

It sounds as if Ritz Carlton Yachts will also cater to families.  

Not the impression we got at all. They said they wouldn't deny a sailing to children but they are not going out of their way at all to cater to them. Very in line with our experiences on Seabourn and Regent. Regent even has a kids club. 

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On 8/13/2019 at 8:47 PM, Travelcat2 said:

as cruise ships cannot cook on gas stoves/ovens

No, but even some land-based restaurants are switching from gas to electric -- if the electric is induction.

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1 hour ago, calliopecruiser said:

No, but even some land-based restaurants are switching from gas to electric -- if the electric is induction.

 

Some restaurants in our area have added an induction cooktop to their gas ranges (we have done the same in our home).  We also took a Cordon Bleu class (3 day class) on Regent where we tried to use induction.  It is not as easy as it may seem.  It takes some getting used to.  So, if the chefs on this new cruise line have many hours of training on induction, they should be fine.

 

princeton123211 - good to hear that they will include alcohol.  Perhaps they should put this on their website as it is not there now.  IMO, you should be in the advertisement business as you make many good points for Ritz Carlton Yachts.  When will they debut?  We do want to keep an eye on it (as well on Scenic Eclipse which is still preferable).  Time will tell if we will ever try these yachts.

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Travelcat2 said:

It is not as easy as it may seem.  It takes some getting used to.

It does - I switched to induction a few years ago when I redid my kitchen, and I love it.  But that's unrelated to the thread......

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On 8/16/2019 at 8:02 PM, Travelcat2 said:

IMO, you should be in the advertisement business as you make many good points for Ritz Carlton Yachts.  When will they debut?  We do want to keep an eye on it (as well on Scenic Eclipse which is still preferable).  Time will tell if we will ever try these yachts.

Funny you mention that-- I am in marketing but not for Ritz Carlton. I think they said the maiden voyage for the first ship is in February although they are taking delivery of it in late 2019. Most of the initial voyages are sold out already. It sounded like their ships are going to follow a routing much more like Europa 2 in that it doesn't repeat many itineraries and keeps moving to different regions like other luxury lines. The first bunch of shakedown cruises in the Caribbean didn't entice us that much since we have been to most of those places but the European and Iceland trips look very interesting. 

 

Their second ship enters service later in 2020 and I think they said the third in 2021-- both are under construction so not just on the order books. 

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On 8/16/2019 at 7:21 PM, calliopecruiser said:

It does - I switched to induction a few years ago when I redid my kitchen, and I love it.  But that's unrelated to the thread......

 

For posters that were discussing Ritz Carlton yachts, it is related.  You cannot take a cook/chef used to cooking on gas or electric cooktops and have them cook on an induction cooktop without practice.  This is but one difference between a luxury hotel and a luxury cruise line.

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2 hours ago, Travelcat2 said:

This is but one difference between a luxury hotel and a luxury cruise line.

That's not a difference at all -- chefs learning new equipment and practising new techniques happens in luxury hotels and land-based restaurants too.  And a luxury cruise line can hire a chef who knows their equipment no differently than can a luxury hotel.   You're pointing out things that are present in different workplaces, regardless of whether they're on land or sea.....chefs make adjustments to their new kitchens; there's no reason they likewise couldn't do that on a ship. 

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22 minutes ago, calliopecruiser said:

That's not a difference at all -- chefs learning new equipment and practising new techniques happens in luxury hotels and land-based restaurants too.  And a luxury cruise line can hire a chef who knows their equipment no differently than can a luxury hotel.   You're pointing out things that are present in different workplaces, regardless of whether they're on land or sea.....chefs make adjustments to their new kitchens; there's no reason they likewise couldn't do that on a ship. 

 

Obviously I disagree with you (based on my discussions with onboard chefs) however, while I enjoy a good debate, if you are going to argue every single comment that I make, it is pointless (and it does not make either of us right). 

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14 hours ago, Travelcat2 said:

You cannot take a cook/chef used to cooking on gas or electric cooktops and have them cook on an induction cooktop without practice.

This isn't some magic trick-- there are plenty of fine dining restaurants that actually utilize both methods because its easier to control even heat on an induction for some dishes. The knock on induction is that you can lose a lot of flavors because you have to change the way you cook-- an example being you cant use a round bottomed wok when you cook asian cuisine. Something is invariably lost in translation there.

 

Cruise ships use them because they are the lesser of two evils-- I'm sure any chef aboard would be much happier cooking with gas but its not practical on a ship and an open flame isn't really safe (although don't tell that to the maitre'd on the QE2 when they used to make my crepe suzette table side flambe-- the flame would nearly reach the ceiling). 

 

It takes a relatively very short amount of time to teach a competent, professionally trained chef to move over from gas to induction when you consider the years of culinary training they've had. It's like a pilot switching what aircraft type they fly-- sure, its different and you need to get trained and recertified, but at the end of the day it still has wings and basically functions the same. 

 

Let me put it this way-- if my wife can make the switch anyone can. 

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I really don't think induction ranges should even be discussed here. They are hardly the barometer I'd use to judge which cruise line I want to sail on. This is simply another distraction like dress codes which seem to fill these boards.

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9 hours ago, wripro said:

I really don't think induction ranges should even be discussed here. They are hardly the barometer I'd use to judge which cruise line I want to sail on. This is simply another distraction like dress codes which seem to fill these boards.

 

So, you wouldn't mind going on a cruise ship where the chefs do not know how to use the equipment?  Some people think that hotels are the same as cruise lines.  Simply put ....... they are not!  Others think that if you can cook something at home, it is the same as cooking on a cruise ship.  Obviously, it is not the same.  The issue here is that Ritz Carlton Yachts are wooing their hotel clients thinking that they will love their yachts/boats as well.  Some may but others probably will not.  Ritz Carlton, Marriott, etc. do not have hotel guests that must eat at the hotel for all of their meals.  The hotels do not have to provide entertainment for them.  

 

Until/unless you have actually cooked on a cruise ship (as we have - but only for 3 days), you may be posting things that you know nothing about.  Not having this experience is not a problem but trying to convince others that it is no big deal does not make sense.  They are cooking massive quantities of food, and, on a luxury ship/boat/yacht, the food - whether it be a steak, soup, or oatmeal - they had better be able to prepare it perfectly!

 

So, if you don't care what food on cruise ships taste like, you're right - it should not be discussed here!

 

P.S.  This reminds me of crews on ships like Oceania where they are used to working for tips and have lower salaries.  Oceania used to take their servers and put them on Regent when they were needed.  They were clueless as to what luxury cruisers expect their service to be.  At one point (when Regent was purchased by Prestige Cruise Holdings - several years ago), top management did not understand what luxury cruisers want.  It took them a while to understand but they "get it" now.  So, people interested in Ritz Carlton Yachts should hope that the crew and chefs are from luxury cruise lines (note:  Viking Ocean was stealing crew members from luxury cruise lines before they launched their ships and they are successful).   Without a lot of training, one cannot come from Carnival, Royal Caribbean, NCL, etc. with experience and expect to provide what Ritz Carlton Yacht passengers expect.

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It's a pointless thing to discuss because induction ranges are part of every ship' s kitchen. It has nothing to do with how luxurious the ship is. But it is a good way to perpetuate a thread and raise the number of one's posts.

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1 hour ago, wripro said:

It's a pointless thing to discuss because induction ranges are part of every ship' s kitchen. It has nothing to do with how luxurious the ship is. But it is a good way to perpetuate a thread and raise the number of one's posts.

 

You post on numerous boards - even ones for cruise lines that you don't sail.  So, are you trying to perpetuate a thread or raise the number of your posts?  I think not and neither am I.  

 

The relevancy of discussing induction cooking is that Marriott/Ritz Carlton is targeting their hotel customers (or so it seems).  Someone at one of the hotels might think that it is a great idea to take one of their best hotel chefs and put her/him on their new yacht.  Obviously, it would be better to hire a chef with ship experience (as well as experience in preparing high end food for cruise passengers).

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The backbone of ANY commercial kitchen, luxury, luxury minus, high end or the Greek diner down the street are the line cooks and prep guys who make  the magic happen. They may, of course, be following the corporate recipes but they have the speed and the timing to keep apps, soups and entrees all coming out for each table at the correct time. It is somewhat of an art to see how it all comes together when there is a line of tickets that have been sent in and they seem to know just how to co-ordinate cooking times for each dish. Those are the pressure jobs. You might often see the Chef expediting...setting up plates....calling out table numbers etc. As long as they are working with quality ingredients, everything will fall into place with these crews and it has nothing to do with "Marriott type " chefs., "Regent type" chefs or any other type.  

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15 minutes ago, fizzy said:

The backbone of ANY commercial kitchen, luxury, luxury minus, high end or the Greek diner down the street are the line cooks and prep guys who make  the magic happen. They may, of course, be following the corporate recipes but they have the speed and the timing to keep apps, soups and entrees all coming out for each table at the correct time. It is somewhat of an art to see how it all comes together when there is a line of tickets that have been sent in and they seem to know just how to co-ordinate cooking times for each dish. Those are the pressure jobs. You might often see the Chef expediting...setting up plates....calling out table numbers etc. As long as they are working with quality ingredients, everything will fall into place with these crews and it has nothing to do with "Marriott type " chefs., "Regent type" chefs or any other type.  

The Executive Chef is crucial.

 

Some years ago on a Regent cruise we were disappointed with the quality of the cuisine.

 

The morning after departure from Honolulu, my brother and I were having breakfast when we made eye contact with the Executive Chef with whom we had become friendly on a previous voyage.

He came over, and we started chatting, and I mentioned our disappointment with the food.

He said that he had boarded in Honolulu, and he reckoned it would take 2 to3 days for standards to be brought up to his  requirements. ( He had worked at 'The Fat Duck' )

 

True  to his word,  there was a massive improvement in the quality of the cuisine.

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