Ritz-Carlton Yachts: Investing in Training and Inner Culture

Evrima

After launching service in late 2022, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection is set for a major expansion the arrival of two new yachts.

Operated in partnership with Marriott International’s The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, the brand is building on its own concept of luxury cruising.

According to Jens Gorka, senior vice president of cruise hotel operations at The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, the onboard service plays a significant part in the experience.

High-Quality Service

Employees are trained to offer high-quality facilities, he explained, which is one of the main pillars of the brand’s identity.

“The genuine comfort of our guests is our highest mission, and we try to transmit that to the passengers by anticipating their individual needs,” Gorka noted.

Having a good guest-to-crew ratio helps achieve that, he added.

“The crew will do everything possible to deliver, partnering with all departments onboard to make guests’ dreams come true. There are many things that need to come together to make experiences onboard unique and memorable,” he continued.

“That’s how we try to portray luxury. We reward the time the guest gave to us by giving our time back to them and making them feel special.”

Employees Onboard and Ashore

Regarding crew treatment, Gorka said that Ritz-Carlton chose to refer to its onboard team as employees.

When the company first launched its service in late 2022, it recruited staff that had experiences with other luxury brands, he said.

“From the leadership side, 80 percent of our team has previously served in shipboard positions. It gives a sense of understanding of not only what the guests need but also what the employees need,” Gorka noted.

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection is also working alongside the Marriott luxury team, with employees  coming from the chain’s hotels.

“Two of our general managers are previous hotel managers from Ritz-Carlton properties, which brings an immediate understanding of our company’s guests and culture,” he added.

Finding the right employees is a key aspect of a successful operation, he said, with the company carrying out several interviews and selection processes.

Over 17,000 applications were received when the company launched the Evrima, with only a small percentage of this number actually being hired, he said.

“You really need to be with your heart, not only in the product but also in understanding the environment. We ask a lot of our employees every single day. It’s not only the pressure of execution but also the mental pressure of executing it at that level.”

Training and Partnership

The cruise line has a deeper partnership with Marriott in terms of training, Gorka said, with crew members being sent for technical and company culture training at Ritz-Carlton properties across the globe.

Before launching its new ship, the Ilma, later this year, the company is also planning to conduct its own crew training program.

“We have rented a shoreside venue and invested a lot of money in bringing in external help from Ritz-Carlton, with about 30 to 40 trainers who will come from properties worldwide to train our team,” he continued.

“So, we are starting off by investing a lot of money and time in getting our employees ready to understand the luxury.”

Once the company grows its operations and fleet, the plan is to promote crew members “from within,” Gorka said.

“For us, ‘from within’ means not only onboard the yachts but also within Ritz-Carlton and the Marriott family,” he said, noting that the partnership with the hospitality company is very powerful not only on the guest side but on the employee and training side.

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