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On Ritz Carlton Evrima now


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On Evirima now.  Sort of a mixed bag.  Its not as bad as the TripAdvisor reviews suggest and on many levels, they are doing some things that may well transform the industry.  For context, we are in our late 50s/early60s, active travelers and have cruised extensively.  Most recently, Silversea, Regent, Seabourn, with Seabourn being in the majority.   I’ll use Seabourn as the comparison as I know them best.  As a starting point, the costs on Evrima are higher - quite a bit higher. For comparisons sake, this 10 day trip priced at about 30k for 2 persons in a Signature Suite.  That is the category on board that has a separate sleeping area - most like the PH suite on Seabourn, but probably 25-30% smaller.  By comparison, we have a 2023 booking with Seabourn for 10 nights in the Caribbean in an Owner’s Suite for around 20k.  The question coming on board is whether this is “30 percent” better.   Probably not, but it is interesting and it will get better, I think and I hope

 

For more context, we are told the ship is about 80% full.  Seems to absorb people well.  Nothing is particularly crowded.

 

You do immediately notice the smaller cabin size, less seating, smaller bathroom, smaller shower etc.  I would not describe it as a suite.   On the positive, furnishings are nice, linens are great etc.  Storage is limited.  Instead of a walk in closet, you have two cabinet style closets.   Seems to be a shortage of hangers as well.  Pretty good electronics and the usual cruise ship TV and movie options.  Still surprised that ships can’t sort out the ability to stream to onboard TV.  Presume its an internet limitation.  Speaking of that, free internet is slower than what we have had on other ships.  Functional, but slow.  Upgrades available, but at considerable cost.

 

Public spaces are great and a real strength of the ship.  Well decorated, functional etc.  Food is consistently good.  The restaurants, look and function like real restaurants.  Menus, good service, no large trays, no plastic domes on dishes and not a buffet to be found.  Food is also restaurant quality across the board.  Only downside is that you do need reservations for pretty much all of the evening venues.  You can’t just walk in as the mood may suit you.  They do book up some, but we have dined in all three.  All are different and again restaurant quality.  Lobster and shellfish plentiful everywhere and beef cuts are top quality.  Unfortunately, the menus are the same each day - that can get a bit repetitive.

 

The pool house is a great concept.  All day dining from a menu and never crowded.  You can comeback from a shore excursion and order anything at 3:00 in the afternoon.  Far far better than the buffet and poolside options on Seabourn.   All wine and liquor is top shelf.  All champagne is Moët whether its for a mimosa or out of the glass.  Even rail vodka is grey goose etc…….   The wine they are pouring is also better than standard pours on Seabourn.  More choices, professionally presented.  Most wait staff seem to know something about wine.  No need to deal with so called Sommeliers on Seabourn or Silversea.   Photos of the dining venues are accurate on the web site.  The Marina Terrace is a spectacular space and very unique.  In addition to the outdoor deck, there is a very well appointed bar area that also extends off each side of the ship

 

Entire ship design is different.  No central pool etc.  Frankly the rear pool is very nice.  Strong connection to the sea and not too crowded.  Very little lounge chair saving and the lounge chairs are of very high quality.  Also hot tubs on several other decks.  Fitness center is a weakness.   Well located, but small.  2 ellipticals, about 5 treadmills and 2 bikes.  One set of free weights and a cable machine.  If more than two people are using weights, that is sort of it.  Also no mirrors which is strange.   Temperature is also too warm.  In terms of other public space, no theater, not nightclub and all of that.  Also no bottled water in the gym.  They are trying to do the right thing in terms of limiting the disposable plastic, but forcing everyone to bring the metal bottle from the cabin is not working well.  Seabourn’s approach with the reusable metal bottles is better.  Also, no water available when you leave the ship.

 

 

Service is probably the most mixed.  See lots of effort, but with mixed results.  Have sat in the Observation Bar several nights with no table service.   Finally ended up just ordering from the bar.  Also wrong drink orders from time to time.   Clear that most of the staff is new and some are simply better than others.  Also some standouts in certain venues.  Tendering operations are almost comical. Consistently late to start operations and sort of irregular timing to and from the ship.   Feels like they are literally learning on the job.  You can see the lack of confidence.  Housekeeping is fine.  

 

The whole “private concierge” thing seems useless.  We met a well intentioned person on day one, but have not seen her since.  Unfortunately you have to call them to get dinner reservations.  There is no text or email option.  We have had a couple of instances where requests were missed or misinterpreted   The phone system is also pretty funny - massive static every time.  Should be able to book restaurant reservations on the app.  Feels like the so called private concierge is just a layer that is not needed and no real value or luxury conveyed.

 

 

Shore excursions are a weaker element.  Its a pretty standard list of off the shelf items from all the other lines.  Was also hard to plan in advance as many of the ports did not have things listed until right before we sailed.  Nothing particularly curated or unique.  Its also clear that most of the staff have really never been here.  You are better off just researching things on your own.  Found it interesting that no staff accompany the tours.  We also had a tour in Barbados that was in a vehicle way way too small for 12 people.  Does not seem to be much quality control review or awareness.  That same tour also did not have all the advertised elements - which is unfortunate .  By comparison, tour on Virgin Gorda was with a very good operator - again, issues with consistency.  

 

On board vibe is also very different from other ships.  No cruise director, no announcements at all.  Activities and entertainment are limited.  None of the cruise ship staples - no bingo, trivia, port lectures, enrichment lectures etc.  Fine with us, but take note if that is your thing.  Some music in the evenings to the normal cruise ship standard.  Passenger demographic also skews noticeably younger - although that may be a function of a holiday sailing.  In talking with other passengers, reviews are mixed.  Larger groups and families that are making their own fun, seem to be doing just fine.  Independent couples are also fine.  Frequent cruisers that favor a more social gregarious onboard vibe are the least happy.  There are also folks that expected a higher standard of service that appear frustrated with some of the learning that is clearly still going on.  The luxury may be oversold a bit relative to Seabourn/Silversea/Regent.  Having also stayed in land resorts with notoriously high service levels, this is not yet on par with the Ritz Carlton Reserve properties, Aman Resorts etc.   There are proportionately more people complaining on this trip than most others.  I think it’s a combination of expectations and some of the inconsistencies. 

 

Dress is very casual - you can wear shorts to dinner, few jackets for men.  Women dressed up more - stylish sundresses etc.    That said, it’s resort appropriate and not sloppy.  Upscale resort wear mostly. Just don’t expect a formal night.  Also in terms of the on board experience, they do need a few more activities that would be appropriate to the ambiance they are promoting.  Interesting, their materials make much of the fact that they purposefully schedule sea days to allow you to enjoy the yacht - that is fine, but there is really nothing to do but eat, drink exercise and read.  A wine tasting, cooking class, some sort of enrichment etc would be a nice add and would not diminish from the experience they are trying to offer.

 

On the positive, some of the best and most consistent food and wine I’ve had at sea.   Getting rid of the buffets is a huge plus.  On the minus, service is still evolving, shore excursions need work and they need to find some on board activities that that don’t take away from the concept.

 

In many respects parts of it are very true to what they have advertised.  It’s easily the most hotel like experience I’ve had a sea.  There are things they are doing that the rest of the industry would benefit from in terms of the approach to food service, ship design etc.   The size is good and there are enough places to go.  We have sailed Windstar and Seadream which felt way too small and confining.  That is not an issue here.   

 

Is it more “luxurious” than Seabourn?  Not really.  Is it worth the additional money and the smaller cabin.  Mostly no.   Perhaps most telling, our next three trips on on Seabourn.  Add on costs are also higher.  Shore excursions are expensive.  Laundry is also costly - I get that mostly for free on Seabourn.  We mostly like the unstructured approach and the emphasis on food and drink.  We might take another look in the future if the pricing adjusts to market and/or the itineraries tighten up some.  The purposeful sea days are not needed.  Also sort of annoyed that this trip has us in a port on Christmas Day and a sea day on the following day.  Seems like those could have been reversed.  Its been a nice chance of pace.  It does feel legitimately “different”, but the value is not yet there based on the prices they are charging.  Maybe another look in a year or so.  

 

 

Hope this is useful.  Happy Holidays

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@arlingtonva

Thank you for your comprehensive, insightful, and well-written review. I think we'll stick with Silversea for now when we want to book a so-called luxury line, but you've piqued my curiosity about Seabourn. Our only Seabourn cruise was 22 years ago, on the old "Pride" (now a Windstar ship, I believe), so of course much has changed since then. As for the Evrima (I hate that name), I got the sense from RC's first marketing promotions that they were promising more than they could deliver. To a certain extent, you've verified that impression.

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Great and honest review, it is most helpful. We too have sailed Seabourn and SilverSea. We are scheduled to sail on Evrima in May. We will keep our expectations low. Agree there is no reason to have a sea day with nothing to do.

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So I’m on one of those sea days now…….  All things considered, itinerary planning might be the biggest weakness.  We lost the day in Bequia on 12/24 due to high winds and no tendering - although I’d swear I’ve seen other ships tender in worse conditions.  That was to be a port intensive day.  To the line’s credit, they pivoted to a stop in St. Lucia - we arrived around 2:00 p.m. Could put your feet on land, but no real time to do much.  We arrived yesterday in Dominica on Christmas Day - everything closed and then a sea day north today to St. John tomorrow.  Unfortunately three days in a row that have been pretty limited.  Understand that the wind/tendering problem sort of is what it is, the sea day should really have been Christmas Day.  All that said, for a sea day, the ship absorbs people well - nothing is crowded.  Still no really day time activities.  

 

As I approach day 9, the service, food and beverage remain exemplary.  There are good things to build on there.  From my perspective, the ship is of a size and atmosphere that would do really well with a highly immersive port intensive schedule - could work in the Caribbean or the med.

 

If you are considering booking, make sure you are comfortable with the schedule, research your shore excursions and prepare to plan independently and be prepared for a proportionately smaller cabin on a cost per square foot basis. 

 

 

 

 

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great review, hopefully we see a few more from others on here as well

 

Certainly the Ritz name sells it .  The history of the horribly delayed build would make you wonder the companies ability to plan all the details.  Can't see that many names but it doesn't appear that many people in the company are from cruising or hotels. 

 

We are looking at a 2024 southern Italy cruise that has a great port schedule  Bigger money than the other luxury cruise ships but it would appear for us to commit that RC has to work out the kinks {or major flaws} given your review. We did two Crystal River (sadly gone) cruises a few years back and they were absolutely flawless.  I would expect that RC would be at that level for this kind of money. 

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My wife and I were on Evrima in December and share this assessment.  Our only additional comments are:

1. Although we enjoyed the restaurants the first three or four days, we were disappointed the menu's did not change significantly.  It was an issue with us.

2. Level of service throughout was lacking in our opinion.  We had a difficult time at several venues, with the exception of the Living Room bar.  They were always on point and exceeded our expectations.

3. As a general comment, the ship is beautiful.

4. Fully concur that the cabins were smaller than other cruise ships we have experienced. 

 

 

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On 12/24/2022 at 10:05 AM, arlingtonva said:

 That is the category on board that has a separate sleeping area - most like the PH suite on Seabourn, but probably 25-30% smaller.  By comparison, we have a 2023 booking with Seabourn for 10 nights in the Caribbean in an Owner’s Suite for around 20k.

We are scheduled to sail on March 5th 2023, Ft. Lauderdale to San Juan. Thank you, Arlington VA for your thorough review.

 

One question.....

 

You stated that the Signature Suite was considerably smaller that the Penthouse Suite on Seabourn. When I check the website descriptions for both, there is only a difference of about 5 sq ft.  Is is the layout that made is feel much smaller?

 

Thanks, and again, great review!

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Fair point,  I actually went back and looked as well. As to the size, the Signature on Evrima feels and lives tighter than PH on Seabourn.  I think its design, furniture and a few square feet.  The PH has the sectional sofa on the back wall and you sort of look over the small table toward the TV.  The Signature on Evrima has a larger 4 person table at the end of the hall and a smaller sofa sort of dividing the living space.  The table on Evrima is too large - highly unlikely you will ever seat four.  The sofa sort of chops up the space too.  No walk in closet is also noticeable.  Frankly one of the bigger design issues is that the bed has a solid wood frame extending to the floor resulting in no ability to store luggage under the bed.  We figured out that if we got rid of the extra pillows and blankets, you could use the upper shelf in the closet, but its tight.  Absent that you have to leave luggage in plain sight or put it on the floor of the closet - not a practical solution as 1/2 the closet is devoted to three drawers and a safe.  Not the end of the world, but was challenging.  My comparison with the 10k delta in price was to cabin 801 on the Seabourn Oviation, which is obviously much bigger.

 

As a postscript to the trip, I’d say that if you are happy with the price and the itinerary and don’t value the traditional more constructed cruise environment, its worth checking out.  We met a lot of interesting people - many/most of which were not frequent cruisers.   As noted above, one of my biggest issues was the schedule.  

 

I’d also suggest making restaurant reservations for all nights in all three restaurants when you board.  We just sort of mixed it up with the three.  They are all good.  The Evrima Room is the default option and the easiest to get into.   Its not hard to tweak once you are on board.   Lunch at Talet Nam is also a very good and an elevated mid day experience.  I’d also suggest planning your own excursions unless that has significantly changed since last week.   Lastly, on board filter coffee is pretty weak.  Go for the americanos or espresso types if you like it stronger.  They can produce those really fast.  Definitely take advantage of the Marina Terrace - they will let you know which days its intended to be open when you board.  On wine, just ask.  They typically have about 3 reds and whites at the ready, but will find others if you want something different.  Bars often have nice options.  In almost all cases a fresh bottle was consistently opened.   Best cocktail skills seem to be on the 10th floor observation deck.  

 

Have fun.

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Boarding process was super easy.  Arrived at the pier in San Juan about 200 or 230.  No lines in the terminal, showed covid vac cards, answered a few questions and received keys.  As they intend, closer to a hotel check in in terms of approach.  If you follow their pre cruise instructions and submit your photos in advance, its really simple

 

We were greeted at the top of the gangway and handed over our passports there.  We were then shown where the muster station was and then directed to our cabin.   Luggage was there and the concierge wandered by when we were unpacking and trying to sort out where to put the luggage.   Concierge offered a brief tour of the cabin.

 

They don’t x ray your stuff on the top of the gangway when you return to the ship.

 

Precruise, details on boarding times and protocols were pretty non specific.  Seemed like you were good anytime after noon.

 

Post cruise, they want you out of cabins by 8:00 and off the ship by 9:30.  We had an early flight and left about 7:45.  Ship was cleared at that same time.  No room service on the last morning.   That sort of surprised me.  Have a nice trip

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Thanks for the reply, we boarded in Barbados, got to port around 11:30, seemed a bit disorganized as there were port staff but no Ritz Carlton staff.  Boarded at 12:30 as they stated.  The pre trip on line registration made it very smooth.  On board now and it seems they have made some quick improvements.  Will report back…

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We'll be on the Evrima in <2 weeks for a Central America cruise on the Pacific side. All very good and informative reviews; thank you very much. Concerned about the somewhat negativity about various aspects of the cruise experience. Chalk up some of it to being brand new, tho they have been sailing now for over 2 months and should have worked out the kinks. We'll see what we think of it. We've been on many cruises on the small ships over the years (were on Seabourn this fall, just got off Oceania to the Middle East, and have a Silversea cruise booked in April/May; Regent at the end of the year).

We'll see how it goes and what we think of the overall experience. Already one negative: they recently cancelled both port calls in Nicaragua, replacing them with an overnight and a sea day. Not pleased; we tried to cancel, but RC said NO.

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Thanks for taking the time to do this review and answer questions.  Other than food and drink quality RC seems to be a step down from the other luxury lines.  It looks like a beautiful ship and I do like the more relaxed dress code but I’m glad we cancelled our booking.  Interesting to compare to a hotel experience as RC is my least favorite of the so-called luxury hotel chains.  Seems their “nickel and diming” has carried over to the ship experience.  I'm looking forward to seeing what Four  Seasons comes up with.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

So we just completed a seven day cruise (14 to 21 January, 2023); we were less than impressed. Our biggest issues were both service and menu related. I spent 20 minutes one day out at the main pool trying to get a drink server's attention, gave up and walked inside. Similar issue with the more remote area pools, twice found there were no towels available and had to track someone down and ask for pool towels. We jokingly referred to the menus onboard as "menu roulette," as items described were not what was delivered to the table; several dishes had more than one major/listed ingredient missing. We did however mostly enjoy the quality of the food served.

 

This is not a luxury experience by any measuring stick, definitely not worth the $$$ charged. Clearly management is out of their depth when it comes to training staff and ensuring a consistent level of luxury and proper service. If things don't turn around soon, Four Seasons Yachts will most likely crush Ritz (IMHO).

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  • 2 weeks later...

I would be interested in what is happening with her now.  She was to leave Costa Rica on January 28 to arrive in FLL on February 9, transiting the Panama Canal on February 2.  Instead she transited the canal on January 30 with destination Miami on February 4.  It appears from Marine Traffic that she may have called at Grand Cayman yesterday, February 2.  Any ideas?  EM

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On 2/3/2023 at 10:16 AM, Essiesmom said:

I would be interested in what is happening with her now.  She was to leave Costa Rica on January 28 to arrive in FLL on February 9, transiting the Panama Canal on February 2.  Instead she transited the canal on January 30 with destination Miami on February 4.  It appears from Marine Traffic that she may have called at Grand Cayman yesterday, February 2.  Any ideas?  EM


I just returned from a land trip to Grand Cayman. I can confirm that Evrima was anchored for a short time just off the coast in front of the Ritz Carlton hotel on Thursday, 2/2. We were staying at the condo community next door. Two men in suits were being filmed on the beach with the ship in the background. There were drones flying overhead for security. One of the men was taken back out to the ship, which then sailed away.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

We were on the Evrima in Central America the last week of January. Truly a beautiful ship, but not in the conventional layout of a cruise ship. All we talked to agreed "this is not a cruise ship". But not in a negative way. We didn't have any service or food problems (maybe they've got this sorted out). Didn't take any ship shorex (we did our own 3rd party tours), so can't comment there. The ship still had some mechanical problems (elevators not working all the time, 2 hot tubs only lukewarm), but they have specialists onboard to fix these. Also 2 personnel from the home office talking to guests to get their feedback. Onboard shop very expensive.We were pleased with the casual evening musical entertainment.

Warning: DO NOT book a stateroom on deck 8 forward! That's right under the gym and in your room you can hear the loud footfalls of people running on the treadmills. They need much better sound insulation between decks!

Very pricey -- yes (even in the lowest category stateroom). Worth it? Maybe - we'd only back for a very unique itinerary in the Caribbean (Med cruises start >$1000/night), perhaps on the Ilma. I think there were a lot of 1%'ers onboard; but everyone we met were very nice.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have had to change my date as they discriminate. My partner has a Russian Passport and they refuse to let her board "because Russia is Sanctioned"  I forwarded them a letter from the Treasury Dept stating that "sanction" is only for a Country's money and not people.  As I paid with US dollars, there is no legal reason.  My neighbor is a federal judge who reminds me that the Supreme Court ruled against airlines that refused to take Arabs after 9/11.  But now waiting for the 4 seasons yacht for which reviews look better than the Ritz

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28 minutes ago, anacreon said:

I have had to change my date as they discriminate. My partner has a Russian Passport and they refuse to let her board "because Russia is Sanctioned"  I forwarded them a letter from the Treasury Dept stating that "sanction" is only for a Country's money and not people.  As I paid with US dollars, there is no legal reason.  My neighbor is a federal judge who reminds me that the Supreme Court ruled against airlines that refused to take Arabs after 9/11.  But now waiting for the 4 seasons yacht for which reviews look better than the Ritz

Sorry you’re having trouble with RC and hope it works out with another line.  Just wondering how FS can have better reviews?  Their ship isn’t even built yet.

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"Just wondering how FS can have better reviews?  Their ship isn’t even built yet."  Reviews of people who have seen design etc.  If you are going to buy a ticket in advance like most did for the Ritz you would similar for FS to purchase tickets.  The only thing "better" I see with the RC is all of the Bonvoy Points.   

also from forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestravelguide/2022/10/06/four-seasons-to-launch-luxury-yachts-in-2025/?sh=54382e6a4fef    and comparison https://www.afar.com/magazine/ritz-carlton-four-seasons-and-aman-are-all-launching-yacht-cruises

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