As we reported in June (see earlier story) the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., part of Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is getting into the high end boutique yacht cruise business. Called the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, the venture has been created by the hotel company and cruise industry veterans Douglas Prothero and Lars Clasen, in collaboration with funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P.
Dubbed the "anti-cruise ship" because it accommodates just 298 passengers and is aimed at providing a more bespoke service than larger cruise ships, the first 190 m vessel will be built by shipbuilder H.J. Astilleros Barreras (HJB) in Spain and is scheduled for delivery from the shipyard in 2019.
Power and propulsion will be provided by ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) which will supply solutions that will optimize energy efficiency and allow the vessel to be remotely monitored from shore. Two Azipod D propulsors will enable the ship to maneuver efficiently and effectively while ABB's Remote Diagnostics Service will enable a smarter approach to maintenance.
Alfonso López Loureiro, Sales Director at HJB said, "This is a very exciting concept and we are delighted to have ABB as a partner which has a proven record of delivering systems on many similar, and larger passenger vessels."
Juha Koskela, Managing Director of ABB's Marine and Ports Business said, "We have been serving the cruise industry for three decades. Our efforts during the last 10 years in building up a solid global network to serve the increasing number of customers have been fruitful. Now new partners wish to make use of this experience. Whether it is the largest cruise ships in the world or these luxurious mega-yachts, we serve our customers with consistent quality globally."
The Azipod D is well-suited for smaller vessels because of its lower installed power. Azipod propulsion has gained its strong position in the passenger segment by eliminating bulky traditional shaft line systems, with the electric motor installed in a pod outside the hull, freeing up space for more cabins. The system also produces considerably lower levels of vibration, benefiting the passenger experience. The thrusters' ability to turn in all directions increases ships' access to ports without tug assistance, with the vessel in this case operating in New England, Caribbean and Mediterranean waters.
Since its first installation more than 25 years ago, Azipod propulsion has clocked up over 13 million running hours with an availability of 99.8%.
"When we set out to design and build an ultra-luxury cruise yacht for the Ritz Carlton brand, we wanted to select the critical systems and equipment from among the most experienced suppliers known for their reliability and quality," said Captain Erik Bredhe, Marine Operations Director at the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. "The obvious choice for power and propulsion was ABB, and we expect them to meet and exceed our quality standards as partners for many years."
The Azipod units, along with all elements included in the ABB medium voltage power plant, will be installed with sensors to produce data that can be tracked from shore by both the customer and from the ABB Ability Collaborative Operations Centers - this will allow for a more informed approach during routine maintenance.
The commissioning process will be simplified by the shipyard's early decision to choose ABB as the supplier of the automation for the vessel. With the ABB Ability System 800xA, the crew has access to a fully integrated ship where all systems and equipment work seamlessly together, operated from an intuitive, single-screen access to all information needed to operate the vessel more effectively and safely.