Skip to main content

Review: Ritz-Carlton Evrima

The first hotel-at-sea concept from Ritz-Carlton.
Hot List 2023




What is the cruise line? Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection

Name of ship? Evrima

Passenger occupancy? 298

Itinerary? European (Mediterranean), Transatlantic, & Caribbean itineraries

Start out with the big picture—what is this cruise line known for? Ritz-Carlton’s foray into cruising melds small-ship (or mega yacht, depending on your past sea experience) journeys with plenty of scenery options: the European Mediterranean (with routes ranging from Turkey to the Canary Islands) spring through fall, and the Caribbean (San Juan to St. Bart’s) in winter. The 624-foot Evrima, which is the first in a fleet of three ships emerging over the next few years, is an antidote to mega cruises that still feels massive to anyone who’s ever truly yachted. 

Guests are on the younger side of the luxury cruising market (the majority being under 55) and primarily culture-loving travelers with a dearth of cruising experience—about 80 percent of guests (so far) have never cruised before, Ritz-Carlton says—eager to explore fabulous ports of call ranging from small (French villages like Sanary-sur-mer) to standard (Bridgetown, Barbados). Clear focuses on cuisine, relaxation, and small entertainment offerings like live music trios and high tea make this feel like a luxury hotel you never want to leave—one that just so happens to be floating at sea. The first of two sister ships, dubbed Ilma, debuts in 2024. A twin ship to the Evrima is slated for arrival in 2025.

Tell us about the ship in general Five deck levels (of nine total) open to guests and hold six restaurants, 149 suite-style cabins, four pools, cigar humidor, two bars (the interior Living Room and top-floor al fresco Observation Deck), a beauty salon and spa deck, a water-level marina terrace with water toys, and a fitness center. Launched in late 2022 after several years of planning and 14 months of delays, it’s a mega-yachting experience that feels more focused on connections with the destination and the people around you—guests and staff alike. Only very slightly smaller than comparable ships by Crystal, Regent, Silversea, and Seabourn vessels, Evrima manages to feel incredibly intimate thanks to its fewer guests (guest capacity is about half those of its competitors), relaxed pace, and overnight ports of call for plenty of time to go ashore.

Who is onboard? Parents in need of a getaway without their teenagers, newly retired folks, and the occasional family with one or two (very well-behaved) kids who can spend their afternoons at the kid’s club. This is not a particularly family-focused offering—there’s one medium-sized pool and a few pool/hot tub options placed around the decks—but thanks to a small daycare option onboard there may be a few token kids around during the day. By night, the vibe is more adults-only, with rowdy singalongs at the Observation Deck champagne and piano bar, and sultry jazz vibes taking over the interior Living Room common space. Dining options also have a squarely adult feel, although they range in formality from casual light bites and bowls between pool sessions, to the 28-seat, reservations-required venue S.E.A., whose Mediterranean-inspired menu includes trademark dishes from the Michelin-starred restaurant Aqua, of the Ritz-Carlton Wolfsburg in Germany. 

Describe the cabins All 149 cabins are suites with their own sea-facing balcony—no interior rooms here. Sizes range from 300-square-foot Terrace suites to 575-square-foot View suites, 600-square-foot two-story Lofts, and the crown jewel Owner’s Suite for over 1,000 square feet of luxury complete with a hot tub on the additional 635 square feet of terrace. The base level Terrace suites are spacious in themselves, with double vanities, a walk-in shower stocked with Dyptique toiletries, a tea and coffee bar, wine-stocked mini fridge, and six-by-ten-foot balconies—but upgrading to a Signature or Grand doesn’t hurt if you want some extra space in the form of a sitting area or bathtub.

Tell us about the crew Evrima crew are about as seasoned as they come—Marriott vetted tens of thousands of industry veterans to select 250 staff, ranging from deck crew to your cabin’s personal butler (also called concierge), all of whom are dubbed the ship’s Ladies and Gentlemen. Personal concierges are unstuffy (it’s less white-glove butler service and more of a blazer-donning personal assistant) and can handle everything from dinner and shore-experience reservations to arranging the unpacking of your suitcase—all while you’re off enjoying the ship or a docking; a Ritz-Carlton Yacht Journeys app downloaded to your phone on arrival keeps them just a text message away at all time. Servers and deck crew are cordially chatty, full of recommendations, and can be one in the same at times—you may notice some swapping their daytime deck uniform for server’s clothes to pour your wine or bartend in the evenings. Impressively, there’s also an art curator onboard offering up tours of the ship’s sprawling collection.

But titles feel almost superfluous aboard Evrima, where everyone from the tender drivers to food and beverage leads will pause to actually get to know you, and recall your name and story (and even your drink order) throughout your stay to make the entire experience feel organic and warm. It’s almost like you’re spending the night in someone’s home (which just so happens to be a 624-foot mega yacht). There were some service issues on the inaugural sailing that I joined (no doubt the result of staffing and sourcing shortages) but each snag was met with a graceful recovery or some spell-binding experience that would make you forget. The personal feel of the ship lended to some truly magical moments; one spirited deck crew/dining server on my sailing hitting the Observation Deck lounge’s piano-bar stage to sing Adele one evening (after some fellow staff let slip she was an incredible singer) is one example that had the ship buzzing for days on end. 

What food and drink options are available on board? All meals and drinks (with some exceptions; see below) are included on Evrima. The ship’s six dining venues range in formality from the bow-nestled Pool House for light bites and breakfast, to the 28-seat, reservations-required tasting menu at S.E.A. created by Michelin-starred chef Sven Elverfeld of the Ritz-Carlton Wolfsburg in Germany. In between there’s the elevated-casual Mistral for al fresco Mediterranean favorites like rack of lamb and seared scallops; the Evrima Room for white-table-cloth dining with wine pairings; and Talaat Nam for Thai-fusion and sushi options. There’s also the Living Room for pastries, coffee, and snacks (plus high tea once or so per sailing), in-suite dining all day long, and the Observation Deck champagne bar for drinks near the adjacent whiskey-stocked humidor. 

S.E.A. is an add-on fee for the multi-course tasting menu (plus extra if you want wine pairings), but well worthwhile if you’re interested in experiencing the signature dishes of a Michelin-star restaurant to mix up the dining scenery on the ship—the plates are small tasting sizes, but come well-paced and along with a bread basket; the experience is slightly more laid back than most Michelin-star venues, and you’ll certainly be full by the conclusion. (There are also some wine and dining upgrades available at other dining spaces around the ship that cost extra, mostly in the high-end Evrima Room.)

Is there a spa on board and is it worth visiting? Evrima's spa is a must-do thanks to its sprawling relaxation deck perfect for a post-treatment nap or hot tub soak with a fresh juice or champagne in hand—all while the picturesque shoreline goes by (Monaco was in view on my particular visit to the spa deck). As Ritz-Carlton already has the firepower of a beloved spa concept, the at-sea version of its signature massage delivers: Knowledgeable and experienced therapists who customize treatments to your needs, plus aromatherapy-forward techniques, ESPA products, and high-tech treatment rooms all had me feeling more like I was at a spa retreat rather than floating somewhere off the Cote d’Azur.

Activities and entertainment The antidote to big cruises, Evrima has plenty of free time and overnight ports of call in its sailings so you can head ashore for a day, or even an entire evening late into the night—gallavanting, dining, and imbibing with new friends met aboard. And the replacement for shore excursions? Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection's “shore experiences” with local guides leave plenty of free time for your own adventures (also for a fee), plus multi-day dockings encouraging passengers to step ashore on their own to explore the mainland by day or night. Onboard, live-music in communal bar areas await groups when they return to the ship in the evening.

If you're set on staying aboard however, there's plenty to do between the pool's loungers, scattered hot tubs, the marina terrace's water toys, five included restaurants (only S.E.A. costs extra), high tea in the Living Room on sea days, endless spa treatments plus the onboard salon (haircuts, man/pedis, and facials galore), morning yoga sessions on the bow, humidor for a scotch and cigar in the evenings, or—if you care to even bother—the state of the art gym complete with a trainer.

How was the experience for families? The kids club is small and limited-use, but there for anyone with kids in tow—CEO Doug Prothero's own two kids tested out the program on the inaugural sailing in 2022 to make sure it has all the trappings little ones need: a play room and soft-play area, books, games, and in-house nannies borrowed from the staff when they're needed. This service is also an extra cost, with rates of $45 per three-hour window, per child.

Where did it sail and how were the excursions? Did anything stand out? Excursions on the Europe circuit include historic city-center tours, winery visits, and workshops like perfume-making and cooking classes. Ports of call can be surprisingly small, resulting in anchorings well offshore that mean guests take a small boat (called a tender) to port—which allows the relatively small vessel to reach areas most cruise ships can't, like quaint South of France villages and idyllic Caribbean ports. On sea days, enjoy programming like high tea and live entertainment while the shoreline whizzes by. 

Anything we missed As someone who's prone to motion sickness (and was nervous about spending a few days aboard a small ship, accordingly) I had no issue thanks to the brisk speed of the brief morning sailings (the France route only sails for a few hours at a time during the day, and overnight) and mostly smooth water conditions. But it's wise to pack some non-drowsy motion sickness medicine for any rough sailings spent in the interior of the ship, especially if you're sensitive to vertigo.

Finally, give a sentence or two on why the cruise is worth booking. There's no denying the 623-foot, 300-guest ship is still something of a playground—you could fit three mega yachts (which start at about 60 meters) on the length of Evrima. It’s perfect for those who dream of a Below Deck-style getaway with enough space to make new friends. But it still manages to feel special, especially in its quiet spaces and the moments between tiring yourself out ashore and getting a nightcap amid the Observation Deck’s rowdy piano bar singalongs.

More from Condé Nast Traveler