Whatever you do, don’t call Evrima a cruise ship. The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection’s first seagoing venture is most definitely a yacht. A superyacht, at that.
The 298-passenger Evrima launched in November 2022 after what seemed like endless pandemic and supply chain-related delays. But it’s been worth the wait. The company’s mission is “to blend the lifestyle of the Ritz-Carlton resorts with the casual freedom of a yachting vacation”. Although it’s still early days, the formula seems to be working.
Evrima is aimed at the kind of guest who might stay in a Ritz-Carlton resort. These are well-heeled, well-travelled Gen Xers and millennials. Possibly with kids, or travelling with older parents as part of a multigenerational group. Except that this tiny slice of Ritz-Carlton at sea moves, exploring the yachtie ports of the Caribbean in winter and the most desirable corners of the Mediterranean in summer.
Don’t expect to find converts from Silversea and Seabourn on board, either. This is very much not the target market. Instead, Evrima’s guests are yachting-curious regulars from Ritz-Carlton and the other upscale brands of the Marriott portfolio. And these include St. Regis, Edition and W. Collectors of Marriott’s Bonvoy Points can even earn and redeem their loyalty rewards on board.
The first impression of Evrima is one of sleek lines; with a dark hull, raked bow and white superstructure. The ship really does look like a megayacht. Inside, there’s a luxurious sense of space as you step into the very discreet reception. This leads to the airy Living Room lounge and the main restaurant, the Evrima Room, all exuding quiet elegance, tasteful objets d’art and soothing neutrals. You’ll find no flashy atrium here.
The accommodation is laid out between Deck 5 and Deck 8, with six categories from entry-level Terrace Suites to the two Owner’s Suites. The 90 Terrace Suites have a real hotel room feel, with oodles of space and big bottles of Diptyque goodies in the bathrooms. Colour schemes are soothing and muted, in taupe, cream, emerald and teal, with abundant use of texture.
The 12 Loft Suites on the Ritz-Carlton Yacht are gorgeous, like covetable duplex apartments, with the sleeping area downstairs and the relaxing, dining and balcony space upstairs.
Continuing upwards, the spa and exercise space occupy Deck 9, with some thoughtful inclusions. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys a couples’ massage, there’s an outdoor space with two beds, shaded from the sun by gauzy curtains. The exercise studio can be booked privately, with more than 1,500 classes on demand, playing in front of you on a big screen, which is a lot of fun if you’re travelling with friends, or want to make new ones.
Evrima is very much an outdoor ship and the focal point of sunny days is the Observation Lounge on Deck 10, which spills out onto a gorgeous deck area dotted with loungers and giant clamshell beds. There are some stylish touches; directors’ chairs in cream leather and chrome. And there is a wide, semicircular sunbathing space that curves around a shaded whirlpool, dotted with cushions in silver and sapphire tones. Dispensers offer factor 30 and 50 sunblock and aloe vera for anybody who’s overdone it. The DJ is stationed on a raised circular area to fill the space with sound on balmy nights. This, provided the crowd is in the mood, is as much of a party scene as you’ll find here.
The dining experience
When it comes to dining, Ritz-Carlton Yacht restaurants really do reflect the ship’s luxury hotel roots. Don’t expect anything so prosaic as a buffet. Instead, the five restaurants offer breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or just breakfast and lunch, or just dinner, depending on the schedule for the day.
The Pool House is casual, arranged around the infinity pool on Deck 5, with a happy buzz, offering breakfast and then lunch all afternoon long. Guacamole and ceviche, lobster rolls and California wraps, poke bowls and fudge brownies tempt passengers into long, lazy lunches in the sunshine. And all happily fuelled by copious amounts of Whispering Angel, a classy choice for the house rosé. The minimalist Talaat Nam, which has just 80 covers, does Asian fusion that’s easily as good as anything you’d find ashore. Al fresco Mistral, beside a second pool on Deck 8, offers Mediterranean cuisine.
For those who want more formal indoor dining at night, the Evrima Room has an elegant vibe, although there’s no formal dress code here. And for big spenders, S.E.A. carries a certain cachet. The acronym stands for Sven Elverfeld Aboard. And it is the first seagoing venture of the chef at the three Michelin-starred restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg, in Germany. A delicate seven-course tasting menu, with beautifully presented but tiny portions, costs a whopping US$285 per person. It comes with paired wines, making this hugely expensive compared to other cruise ship fine dining restaurants.
I loved the Marina Terrace, which occupies the whole aft end of Deck 3. When the ship is at anchor somewhere suitably yachtie. The back opens up to create a stylish sunbathing area at water level, with a platform from which to launch the water toys. A covered space, protected from the sun but open to sea breezes, serves as a bar with snacks.
Service with a smile
While Evrima looks like a luxury ship and feels like one, too, the vibe is slightly different. Prothero says that some 50,000 employees across the Marriott group applied for 250 positions on board. So the company was able to pick the very best. Around half come from hotels and half from luxury cruise lines. Even in the very early days, when I was on board, there was an air of excitement and confidence in the service.
Ritz-Carlton Yacht’s have not gone down the butler route, but instead assigns a personal assistant to each guest who acts like a concierge, making restaurant reservations and arranging shore excursions. There’s an art concierge, too. Although you won’t find tacky art auctions here. Instead, much of the onboard art collection is for sale. The shop, too, is different, embracing the current trend on cruise ships for vintage and pre-loved. And we’re not talking flea market tat. When I boarded, a Hermès Birkin bag had just gone for a jaw-dropping US$34,000.
Itineraries are designed to appeal to a younger market; guests who are still working and can’t take weeks off for a long cruise. Most are just seven to 10 nights, designed around the chic spots favoured by the superyacht set. Each itinerary aims to have two days at anchor so guests can use the marina platform.
Will Evrima revolutionise luxury cruising? It’s certainly helping to dispel some of the stuffy myths around the market. But there’s hot competition. Scenic Eclipse II is new on the scene, while Emerald Sakara, along with the very well-received Emerald Azzurra, caters for the next price point down. Four Seasons will be entering the fray in 2025 and Orient Express’ Silenseas takes to the oceans in 2026. One thing’s for sure: all these ships will open the eyes of cruising sceptics to luxury life afloat.
Tips for sailing on Evrima
There are a few aspects of Evrima that are different from conventional luxury cruising. This is very much a ship for those in search of peace, quiet and space. There’s little nightlife. For example, just jazz in the Living Room and dancing on deck when there’s a lively enough crowd. There’s no casino or theatre and mercifully, no cruise director.
You will be travelling with families, which may seem out of place on a luxury yacht. There’s a small kids’ club but the assumption is that Evrima will attract well-travelled families with kids who will spend time with their parents rather than simply be parked for the day.
Plan your time around the days at anchor if you want to try the water toys, which is all part of the experience.
Asian fusion-loving Australians will love the somewhat minimalist Talaat Nam, which focuses on Asian cuisine with a contemporary twist and beautiful presentation. You can eat indoors or outside, or at the sushi bar. A series of delicious sharing plates just keeps coming; when I ate here, the sushi, the tender chicken satay, the Thai mango salad, beef rendang and noodles were all perfection. As with all the other restaurants, wines are included.
A refreshing and exciting new choice for anybody with money to spend and reservations about traditional cruising.
Elegant, spacious ship with great dining choices and a superyacht vibe.
Not one for night owls – and unexpected features cost extra, like the kids’ club, at US$45 for three hours, and fast WiFi, at $28 per day. The entry-level pricing is more than that of Silversea or Seabourn, too.