Ritz Carlton recently announced that they will be unveiling a cruise line consisting of three ships that will begin sailing in 2019. Tailored to those who want a luxury cruise experience with a trusted hotel brand, The Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection will offer itineraries in Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Eastern Canada, New England, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Each “yacht” will host just 300 guests, a far cry from the typical cruise ship capacity of 4,000+ passengers. Tickets to the first excursion will go on sale in May 2018. Which has me wondering two things: 1.) Will Ritz Carlton offer cruise ticket bookings with Marriott or Ritz Carlton points? And 2.) How many of you would go on a Ritz Carlton cruise?
The idea of a typical cruise has never appealed to me. Don’t get me wrong. I like the idea of being on a ship, cruising through gorgeous waters, gorging on food and exploring new cities. But being around thousands of people? That sounds like a vacation from hell, to be frank. Plus, cruise food is generally deemed terrible, so that’s already a huge strike for me. While luxury cruises do seem appealing, they cost an arm and two legs. Why spend thousands of dollars on a “luxury” cruise in a window-less cabin if I can instead fly somewhere in a premium cabin and earn miles?
That being said, I find the Ritz Carlton cruise concept interesting. Kind of like Four Seasons’ Private Jet Experience, except it may be possible to earn and redeem points on these cruises. Nothing has been announced regarding award bookings or point earnings, but I imagine they’ll at least allow members to earn points to incentivize their loyal base. And if Ritz Carlton/Marriott members are able to redeem points for Ritz Carlton cruises, that could give both programs a unique advantage over other hotel rewards programs.
All of this is speculation, since nothing has been announced in this regard. But if I were to guess, I imagine redemption rates would probably be on par with current Hotel + Air packages. If these Ritz Carlton cruises end up being all-inclusive, that could be a terrific value. Especially if the SPG-Marriott merger hasn’t gone through and the 1:3 transfer ratio stays intact. Time will tell.
I’d like your feedback: Would you consider going on a Ritz Carlton cruise, especially if you’re able to earn and redeem points for it? Would you trade in a Air + Hotel package for a Ritz Carlton cruise?
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