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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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